Council Reserves

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

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

The request was successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

The recent problems with Icelandic Banks indicates that English Council's have very high levels of reserves. The reserves are at a level where it appears that they have sufficient funds not to charge Council Tax for a number of years and/or engage in a massive public works programme. It appears reasonably clear from the level of reserves held by Council's that they have been over-taxing citizens for many years. The reserves also appear to have contributed to destabilisation of the global banking system due to their level.

What documents does the DCLG as the organisation responsible for providing revenue support to Council's hold - identifying the level of reserves that should be held by Council's, and what documents does DCLG hold identifying that the level of reserves held by Council's needs to be reduced. Specifically what guidance has DCLG provided to both Council's and Ministers identifying that they should use their reserves for public works and Council Tax reductions.. and not use them to fund management of Council of Tax for party political purposes and/or reduce exposure of their staff to mismanagement of the Council's by members of local political organisations.

Further what discussions has DCLG held with Treasury identifying that the reserves held by Council's are excessive, and that the reserves held by Council's could be used to support the national economy.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke Carruthers

Sarah Blackman, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Dear Mr Carruthers,
Thank you for the freedom of information request you sent on Wednesday
29th October to Communities and Local Government, regarding local
authority reserves. This is to acknowledge receipt. We will reply in due
course.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Blackman

Local Government Capital Finance
Communities and Local Government

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Sarah Blackman, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

[1]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/en/...
[2]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/Acts/acts2003/ukp...

Reference F0002796.

Dear Mr Carruthers,

I am writing in response to your request for information of 29 October
about council reserves.

I can confirm that Communities and Local Government does hold the
information that you have requested and that I am able to provide you with
the following information.

You ask what documents does the Department hold identifying the level of
reserves that should be held by Councils.

The relevant legislation is the Local Government Act 2003. Attached are
links (top link is to the explanatory note and the second one is to the
Act itself). Section 25 of the Act deals with reserves.

The level of reserves is a matter for each local authority. The Department
does not advise local authorities on such matters. As paragraph 43 of the
explanatory note explains, local authorities must set a level of reserves
in consideration of the risks and uncertainties that might force them to
spend more on their services than they planned for at the beginning of
each financial year.

Communities and Local Government as an organisation aims to be as helpful
as possible in the way it deals with requests for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004. If, however, you are not satisfied with the way in which
your request has been handled or the outcome, you may request an internal
review within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Information
about the Department's review procedures and how to apply for an internal
review of your case is contained [on the Department's website at
[3]http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/...

This also explains your right to apply directly to the Information
Commissioner for a decision in the event that you remain dissatisfied
following the authority's review.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Blackman

Local Government Capital Finance
Communities and Local Government

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/en/...
2. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/Acts/acts2003/ukp...
3. http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/...

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'Council Reserves'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

I particularly want copies of guidance that DCLG provides - as it is very clear that grant's made to Council's can be reduced.. and/or Council's are in a position to lower Council Tax. They appear to have the funds required for a massive public works programme.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Juliet Tomlin, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Dear Mr Carruthers

REQUEST FOR INTERNAL REVIEW

Thank you for your email 10^th December 08 7.06pm, which was received by
me 15^th November 08 in which you seek a review of the response provided
by Communities and Local Government to your request for information under
the Freedom of Information Act.

The review has been allocated and will be considered Aunder the
Department's internal review procedures. A full re-evaluation of your
request will be undertaken.

I will write to you again shortly to advise you of the date by which you
should expect to hear the outcome of the review.

Yours sincerely

Juliet Tomlin

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Tony Evans, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Dear Mr Carruthers

You asked for an internal review of the response by Communities and Local
Government to your email of 2 October 2007, in which you asked to be
advised of documents held by Communities and Local Government which
identified the level of reserves that should be held by Councils, and
guidance that identified when the level of reserves held by Councils needs
to be reduced. Specifically, you requested what guidance Communities and
Local Government has provided to both Council's and Ministers identifying
that they should use their reserves for public works and Council Tax
reductions and not use them to fund management of Council of Tax for party
political purposes and/or reduce exposure of their staff to mismanagement
of the Council's by members of local political organisations. You also
requested to be advised of any discussions held with Treasury identifying
that the reserves held by Council's are excessive, and that the reserves
held by Council's could be used to support the national economy.

Your request has been passed to me as one of Communities and Local
Government internal review officers.

I have now carefully reviewed the papers. I note that Sarah Blackman's
email to you of 26 November 2008, in which she provided you with a link to
the relevant legislation and explanatory notes, advises you that the level
of reserves is a matter for each local authority and that Communities and
Local Government does not advise local authorities on such matters. It
follows from this that that there are no documents held by Communities and
Local Government which identify whether the level of reserves held by
Councils need to be reduced, and that there is no guidance provided to
both Council's and Ministers by Communities and Local Government which
identifies that they should use their reserves for public works and
Council Tax reductions or for any other purpose. There have been no
discussions between Communities and Local Government and Treasury
identifying that the reserves held by Council's are excessive, and that
the reserves held by Council's could be used to support the national
economy.

This has led me to conclude that the original decision, communicated to by
e-mail on 26 November 2008 was correct.

If you are not satisfied with my decision, you may write to the
Information Commissioner asking him to decide whether Communities and
Local Government have complied with their obligations under the Act. You
should direct any such appeal to:

The Office of the Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

In your email of 10 December requesting this review, you raised the issue
of grants to local authorities. This is a separate issue to local
authority reserves, and warrants the making of a new request under the
terms of the Freedom of Information Act. Accordingly I invite you to
submit a new FOI request which should be addressed to
[1][email address]

Yours sincerely,

Tony Evans

Tony Evans
Corporate Collaboration
Knowledge Management Division
Department of Communities & Local Government
Zone 4/D9
Ashdown House
123 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6DE
Tel: 0207 944 4936
[2][email address]

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]