Council Functions

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Alnwick District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to know the average proportion of time the elected representatives of your authority spend as part of their duties for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 on their main activities. The activities that form their duties (employment) as an elected representative are:

1 directly resolving complaints against the executive (Council Staff) of the Council by residents;
2 sitting on committee's;
3 acting for the political parties that they represent and/or ceremonial duties (i.e. all time not spent on sitting on a Committee or resolving a complaint against the executive);

The total time spent by an elected representative for a Council on these three activities should be 100 per cent of the time they spend 'working for a Council' as an elected representative.

I would additionally like to know how much in total was paid to local councillors to meet all their duties (including expenses) for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 by your authority, and how many elected representatives are (and were) represented on your authority for these years.

I would also like to know how many Complaints in total were submitted to your Council in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 for each year. I would further like to know how many of these complaints were formally considered by an elected representative for each of these years.

I would further like to know how many complaints against the Executive (Council staff) led to the elected representatives formally identifying that the Executive had acted wrongly for the years 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, and how many of these formal determinations by the elected representatives identify that there was no wrong-doing by the Executive. How many staff employed by your authority in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 ceased to be employed by your authority as a direct result of a complaint against the Executive, and the Councillors identifying this to be the case.

I would further like to know how much money the Council has paid to a complainant (i.e. victim of a Council's wrongdoing) through its own complaints system (i.e. excluding any intervention by the Local Government Ombudsman, Valuation Tribunal or similar body) in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

I would like to know how much money either in the form of local settlement or additional formal finding of maladministration causing injustice the Local Government Ombudsman has recommended that your Council pay in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 (for each year) and if the Local Government Ombudsman's recommendations have been met in full (including any non-financial recommendations for each year)). Please detail any recommendation that has not been met in full and provide a copy of the Elected representatives decision. Please additionally identify if these costs were met directly by Council Tax Payers or the Council's insurers (excluding self insurance by a Council)

Finally, please provide details of the financial cost of administering all your complaints systems (including FoI and DP) by the Executive for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the number of staff employed in administering complaints and resolving these (Full time equivalent staffing levels). Please also provide details of your total administrative costs for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the total number of staff employed by your authority, as well as any pay increase (including increments) made to the Council's Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) in pounds sterling for each of these years. Please additionally identify if the Chief Executives wages included performance related payments.

If you do not have this reasonably basic management information related to complaints and/or identify that the costs of accessing the information requested will be more than £450 please state this and identify that your Authority does not have either a functioning or accountable complaints system, and does not maintain any basic management information related to this issue.

If you have a complaints system not fit for purpose please identify which political party currently controls your Council, and if this political party has appointed the current Electoral Registration and Returning Officer through its control of the Council (with date of their formal appointment). Please name the current Electoral Registration and Returning Officer, and identify if they are also Head of Paid Service, and Clerk to your Authority. Please additionally provide any documentation maintained by your Local Authorities Head of Paid Service identifying that they personally do not believe it to be appropriate for your Council to have a complaints system that is fit for purpose. This documentation should be in existence due to the provisions of s4 of the Local Government Act 1989.

Yours faithfully


Neil Masson,

Dear Mr Carruthers

Thank you for your request. I will be the officer handling your
request and may be contacted by telephone on 01665 511215 should
you have any questions or concerns about your request.

A final decision on your request would normally be sent to you
within 4 weeks. A week is defined in the Act to mean 5 consecutive
weekdays, excluding Saturdays and public holidays (Sundays are also
excluded, as they are not weekdays).

There are some limited situations under the FOI Act which could
mean that the period for a final decision may be longer than the
normal four weeks. If this occurs in the case of your request, I
will promptly advise you by E-mail.

Should our final decision not reach you on time, please feel free
to call me to discuss any problems that may have arisen. If you
have not heard from us once the allotted time has expired, you are
automatically entitled to make a complaint to the Council. This
will be dealt with under the Council's Official Complaints
Procedure. The complaint will be dealt with by a more senior member
of staff of the Council.

In the event that you need to make such a complaint, you can do so
by writing to the Chief Executive, Alnwick District Council,
Allerburn House, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1YY or alternatively
by sending an e-mail to [email address]. You should state
that you are complaining because an initial decision was not sent
to you within the time permitted.

Yours sincerely

Neil J Masson Assistant Solicitor

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Neil Masson,

Many thanks for your clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Masson, Neil,

I am out of the office until Tuesday 13th October. Any queries will be
dealt with as soon as possible after my return to work. In the event of
any urgent matters including Freedom of Information requests, please
contact Andrew Bennett at [email address] (tel. 01665 511316) or
Tony Farrell at [email address] (tel:01665 511214)

Masson, Neil,

Dear Mr Carruthers

Can I ask if you received my other message, concerning the IT problem?


Neil Masson

show quoted sections

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Masson, Neil,

Yes I did. I am aware and I would guess 20 days started yesterday.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Sent request to Alnwick District Council again, using a new contact address.

Masson, Neil,

4 Attachments

Further to your freedom of information request please see the attached
documents by way of a reply.


Neil Masson

<<3.replyattachment.doc>> <<05-06 Members Allow.doc>> <<06-07 Members
Allow.doc>> <<07-08 Members Allow.doc>>

Neil Masson
Assistant Solicitor
Alnwick District Council
Tel: 01665 511215
[email address]