Councils brief to Arc4 in relation to 2013 SHMA

The request was partially successful.

Dear Cheshire West and Chester Council,

Firstly, please provide me with the brief and any other information provided to Arc4 ltd in relation to the 2013 Strategic Housing Market Assessment (or any of its contents).

Secondly, please provide me with any communications between CWaC officers and Arc4 ltd in relation to the 2013 Strategic Housing Market Assessment (or any of its contents).

Thirdly, please provide me with details (to include attendees, dates and minutes) of any meetings attended by CWaC officers and/or Councillors with Arc4 over the last three years.

Yours faithfully,

Ross Jones

Cheshire West and Chester Council

RE: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Case Reference: 101001592816

Dear Mr Jones

Thank you for your email 29th September 2013.

It will be treated as a request within the meaning of the Act: this means that we will send you a full response within 20 working days, either supplying you with the information which you want, or explaining to you why we cannot supply it.

If we need any further clarification or there is any problem we will be in touch.

In the meantime if you wish to discuss this further please contact me. It would be helpful if you could quote the log number 1592816.

Yours sincerely

Scott Robertson
FOI Unit

Solutions Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

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Dear Cheshire West and Chester Council,

Only a day left on this request, please make sure it is responded to within the statutory time limit.

Yours faithfully,

Ross Jones

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to advise you that the Council considers that your request falls under the definition of environmental information and will therefore be dealt with in accordance with Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) legislation. Under EIR all requests must be responded to within 20 working days unless, exceptionally, an extension of up to a further 20 working days is needed if the information requested is BOTH complex AND voluminous.

The Council considers that your request is both complex and voluminous and therefore needs more time to respond. I will forward you a response as soon as possible and in any event no later than 21 November 2013.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Winson
Solutions Assistant

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Dear FOI West,

Could you please advise what is happening with this request?

Yours sincerely,

Ross Jones.

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Jones

Please accept my apologies for the delay. I am still collating a response to your request and will forward it to you shortly.

Yours sincerely

Miriam Wallace
Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

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FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

7 Attachments

Dear Mr Jones

Thank you for your request for information, I apologise for the delay in
responding and can confirm that the Council does hold information relevant
to your request and I am able to provide you with the following response. 

 

As previously advised, the Council considers that your request falls under
the definition of environmental information and will therefore be dealt
with in accordance with Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
legislation.  This is because your request relates to the land, to the
intended use of the land and constraints upon it and measures affecting
the land, and this is environmental information pursuant to Regulation 2
(a), (c) and (e) EIR. 

 

Consequently your request for information under the Freedom of Information
Act is refused under Section 39 (1) as the information requested is
environmental information and therefore exempt under the FOIA.  The
response is therefore provided under the Regulations.

 

Please note that where personal data has been identified within the
documents provided this has been redacted.  This includes names, contact
details and/or reference to individuals personal lives.   This constitutes
personal

information.

 

The disclosure of personal information is exempt from consideration under
EIR and falls to be considered under the Data Protection Act 1998. The
Council relies upon Regulations 5(3) and 13 (1) and (2) (a) (i), that the
information is

personal information of a third party and is exempt from disclosure. The
condition in Regulation 13 (2) (a) (i) applies. The information relates to
a third party. It is personal data as it identifies a living individual.
Disclosure would

breach principle one of the first data principle, being that processing of
personal data must be fair and lawful. The third party has a right to have
their personal information kept private and confidential and has not
consented to

the disclosure. As the disclosure would not be fair, it would not be
lawful. As the disclosure of the information is not fair and lawful, there
is no need to consider the additional conditions in Schedule 2 Data
Protection Act 1998,

which would also apply if the disclosure was deemed fair and reasonable.

 

 

1.       Please provide me with the brief and any other information
provided to Arc4 ltd in relation to the 2013 Strategic Housing Market
Assessment (or any of its contents).

 

Please see attachment ‘SHMA 2013 Tender Documents’.  This includes the
complete tender pack for the 2013 SHMA including the brief for the
assessment.

 

2.       Please provide me with any communications between CWaC officers
and Arc4 ltd in relation to the 2013 Strategic Housing Market Assessment
(or any of its contents).

 

I can confirm that the Council does hold information relevant to your
request. Most of the communications the Council holds relate to progress
updates and drafts of the work involved in organising the SHMAA. In
respect of drafts of documents, meaning documents still in the course of
completion, to unfinished documents and incomplete data, the Council
claims the exception in Regulation 12 (4) (d) ‘material which is still in
the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data’.

 

    The public interest test applies. In relation to the public interest
test the following should be recorded:

·         Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption
and the weight attached to them.

·         Public interest factors in favour of disclosure, and the weight
attached to them.

·         The outcome of the public interest test. The information can
only be withheld if the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

·         Factors in favour of Factors in favour of disclosure
maintaining the exception
Need for free and frank informal General principle of disclosure of
discussion between parties concerning information under EIR
matters at all stages of the decision
making process HIGH

 

HIGH
Safeguarding the right of interested Transparency of administrative
persons such as officers and actions and decision making  HIGH
contractors to obtain advice and
ideas/views and for such advice/views
to be given freely and without fear
of disclosure of that advice or those
ideas/views

 

HIGH
The Council is entitled to have a There is an obligation on the
free and frank debate of relevant Council to provide reasoned
issues as required and to the extent explanations for decisions and
necessary actions and allow the public to
understand the decisions made by the
  Council

HIGH HIGH
Need for Council officers to consider The assessment is of public interest
 matters which are of paramount to the residents and businesses of
interest or importance to the Council Cheshire West and Chester and
and for such notes to remain directly affects them
confidential to the Council and its
advisors  HIGH

 

HIGH
If information is in draft and in the  
course of completion there is no
purpose in releasing such information
as it may not be the final version
and reflect the actual information
which was used for decision making
purposes

 

HIGH
Non-disclosure does not affect the  
transparency of the Council’s actions
as the SHMAA is subject to public
consultation

HIGH

The             

The factors against disclosure are all HIGH in terms of maintaining the
exception and there are four factors in favour of not maintaining the
exception. In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in
maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. Disclosure of the information falling within this category is
refused. The “would adversely affect” test does not apply.

It is the Council’s view that there is no detriment to you in being
refused drafts of the documents leading up to the development of the SHMA
as the final documents are all accessible on its website via: 
[1]http://consult.cheshirewestandchester.go...

The Council has provided copies of information held that does not fall
within the exception for drafts.  Please find these attached as
‘1592816-part2atts-REDACTED’ and ‘29-07-13 Re. SHMA&EVA-REDACTED’.

You have submitted representations on the emerging Local Plan which refer
to the supporting evidence base including the SHMA.  Your comments will be
taken into account as the Plan goes through to the Examination stage.

The drafts were provided in emails, the majority via internal
communications between officers and/or representatives of Arc4 who for the
purpose of the work they were doing are considered to be acting in the
capacity of officers.

     In respect of internal communications, the Council claims the
exception in Regulation 12 (4) (e). The public interest test applies. In
relation to the public interest test the following should be recorded:

·         Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption
and the weight attached to them.

·         Public interest factors in favour of disclosure, and the weight
attached to them.

·         The outcome of the public interest test. The information can
only be withheld if the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Factors in favour of maintaining the Factors in favour of disclosure
exception
Need for free and frank informal General principle of disclosure of
discussion between parties concerning information under EIR
matters at all stages of  a decision
making process HIGH

 

HIGH
Safeguarding the right of officers to Transparency of administrative
obtain advice and ideas/views and for actions and decision making  HIGH
such advice/views to be given freely
and without fear of disclosure of
that advice or those ideas/views

 

HIGH
The Council is entitled to have a There is an obligation on the
free and frank debate of relevant Council to provide reasoned
issues as required and to the extent explanations for decisions and
necessary but without disclosing actions and allow the public to
confidential matters which could understand the decisions made by the
damage the Council’s interests ( Council
commercial or other)   or prejudice
its position HIGH

 

HIGH
Need for Council officers to
consider  matters which are of
paramount interest or importance to
the Council and for such notes to
remain confidential to the Council
and its advisors  and to discussion
of these matters in a safe
environment  and without fear of
disclosure

 

HIGH
If information is subject to  
discussion there is no purpose in
releasing such information as it may
not be the final view and reflect the
actual information which was used for
decision making purposes

 

HIGH
Non-disclosure does not affect the  
transparency of the Council’s actions
as the SHMAA is subject to public
consultation

HIGH

The             

                                   The factors against disclosure are all
HIGH in terms of maintaining the exception and there are three factors in
favour of not maintaining the exception. In all the circumstances of the
case, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the
public interest in disclosing the information. Disclosure of the
information falling within this category is refused. The “would adversely
affect” test does not apply.

 

3.       Please provide me with details (to include attendees, dates and
minutes) of any meetings attended by CWaC officers and/or Councillors with
Arc4 over the last three years.

 

Details provided below.  Where the Council holds supporting documents such
as minutes, these are provided.

 

09.03.11               -              Mortgage Advisors List Appointment
Briefing – Attendees: Gaynor Asquith (arc4); Emma Koivunen (arc4); Joanna
Barnes (CWaC); David Tonks (CWaC)

29.11.11               -              SHMA up-date meeting – Attendees: Dr
Michael Bullock (arc4); David Tonks (CWaC)

24.09.12               -              LDF Panel meeting – Attendees (see
web-link below)

[2]http://cmttpublic.cheshirewestandchester...

15.01.13               -              SHMA 2012 up-date meeting –
Attendees: Dr Michael Bullock (arc4); Jeremy Owens (CWaC); Gillian Smith
(CWaC); Lucy Hughes (CWaC); Duncan McCorquodale (CWaC)

27.03.13               -              SHMA 2013 Inception Meeting –
Attendees: Dr Michael Bullock (arc4); Helen Brzozowski (arc4); Helen
Woollam (CWaC); David Tonks (CWaC) (Agenda and Inception Notes
attached). 

 

Please note that the inception meeting agenda has been redacted in part. 
This is because the Council claims the exception in Regulation 12 (5) (e)
“the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where
confidentiality is

provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest”.  This is a
qualified exception and even if the exception is engaged, the public
interest test applies.

 

     The information is commercial or industrial in nature: the
information is commercial not industrial. The information relates to a
commercial activity being undertaken by Arc4, being the development of the
Strategic Market

Housing Assessment, for the Council.   Arc4 is operating in the
competitive economic open market. It will be subject to the usual economic
constraints and opportunities afforded to individuals and companies
undertaking similar

activities. The Council will make public information about routine agenda
items in relation to the development of the SHMAA, but the  breakdown of
agreed invoicing arrangements is confidential so as not to prejudice the

Council’s relationship with future consultants, or reveal what
arrangements for payment by instalments the consultants may have in place
to ensure their business cashflow is protected. Whilst the redacted
information contains

no figure work, it  would assist other bidders on other jobs to know  what
payment milestones had been put forward/suggested  to or entertained by
the Council.  Disclosure of the specific payment arrangements agreed may

inhibit the Council’s ability to negotiate the most acceptable payment
terms within a competitive market place in future.

 

    The public interest test applies. In relation to the public interest
test the following should be recorded:

·         Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption
and the weight attached to them.

·         Public interest factors in favour of disclosure, and the weight
attached to them.

·         The outcome of the public interest test. The information can
only be withheld if the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs the public interest in disclosure.  

 

Factors in favour of maintaining the Factors in favour of disclosure
exception
The Council has a legitimate commercial General principle of disclosure of
interest to protect and disclosure information under EIR
would harm this interest HIGH
HIGH
Non-disclosure does not affect the Transparency of administrative
transparency of the Council’s actions actions and decision making  HIGH
as the SHMAA is subject to public
consultation HIGH
The exchange of confidential commercial
information which has been kept
confidential by the Council between the
two parties is essential to protect the
financial interests of both parties

HIGH
Disclosure of commercially sensitive  
information puts the Council at a
disadvantage when procuring further
work in the open market

HIGH

                                                 

The factors against disclosure are all HIGH in terms of maintaining the
exception and there are 2 factors in favour of not maintaining the
exception. In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in
maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

               

13.06.13               -              SHMA 2013 Progress Meeting –
Attendees: Dr Michael Bullock (arc4); Jeremy Owens (CWaC); Gillian Smith
(CWaC); Lesley Bassett (CWaC); Helen Woollam (CWaC)

24.06.13               -              EVA 2013 Inception Meeting –
Attendees: Dr Michael Bullock (arc4); Helen Brzozowski (arc4); Helen
Woollam (CWaC); David Tonks (CWaC)

 

 

Finally, there is one additional email and document attached. It details
assumptions and scenarios which are also reported in the final Viability
study.

 

The Council considers that your request has been answered in full by
either confirming that information is not held, providing you with the
information requested, or explaining why any information has been withheld
and the reasons for any redaction.    Where applicable, the Council has
also told you the reasons for the delay in responding to your request.

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled you can request a review by writing to the Solutions Team within
40 working days from the date of the Council’s response.  You are entitled
to a review by the Council if:

·         You are dissatisfied with the Council’s explanation of why the
application was not dealt with within the 20 working day time limit.

·         All the information requested is not being disclosed and you
have not received an explanation why some information is not being
disclosed.

·         A reason for the disclosures under the request being refused is
not received.

·         You consider that exemptions have been wrongly applied, and/or

·         You consider that a fee has been wrongly applied.

Please set out your grounds for seeking a review together with what
specific part of your request those grounds apply to and the outcome you
are seeking.  The Council reserves the right to ask you for clarification
of the grounds for your review request if the grounds are not clear, and
to delay commencing the review if such grounds are not provided.

 

The Solutions Team can be contacted by email via: 
[3][Cheshire West and Chester Council request email] or at the following address:

 

Solutions Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

HQ

58 Nicholas Street

Chester

CH1 2NP

 

The Solutions Team will acknowledge a request for an internal review
within 5 working days and complete the review as soon as possible and no
later than 40 working days from receipt of the request.

 

More information about the Council’s internal review process can be found
via:
[4]http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk...

 

If you remain dissatisfied following the outcome of your review, you have
a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 

The Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45

Website: [5]www.ico.gov.uk

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Miriam Wallace

Solutions Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

 

 

 

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Dear Cheshire West and Chester Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Cheshire West and Chester Council's handling of my FOI request 'Councils brief to Arc4 in relation to 2013 SHMA'.

I'd imagine there is a lot more to the brief than this. To help you with what I'm actually after...

I'm trying to get to the bottom of how core output 2 and 3 of the SHMA have ended up being largely based on the out-puts of a dwelling-led forecast rather than true population or household forecasts.

This might include E-mails and correspondence between officers and Arc4.

Please be as quick as possible in answering this as I need to inform the spacial planning team exactly how they have gone wrong before they attempt to submit the draft local plan for inspection with a misleading evidence base to support 22,000 dwellings over the plan period.

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

Yours faithfully,

Ross Jones

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Ross

Thank you for your email dated 2 December 2013 reference 1592816.

An internal review will be arranged and you will be advised of the date shortly.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Winson
Solutions Assistant
Cheshire West and Chester Council

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FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Jones

Your internal review for reference 1592816 has been arranged for 14 January 2014.

Ruth Winson
Cheshire West and Chester Council

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FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

10 Attachments

Dear Mr Jones,

Please find attached the decision notice and attachments for review, reference number 1592816.

Yours sincerely

Janet Scanlan
Solutions Team

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