Demolition of social/affordable housing

J A Giggins made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

I would like to request more information regarding the statement made by the former Minister for Housing in this linked article http://www.lgcplus.com/news/services/hou...

"Mark Prisk said in a statement to Parliament last week that funding rules drawn up under the Labour administration would be revamped to “end the bias for demolition in the state sector”.

“This will include stating in housing funding bidding documents that demolitions are not appropriate,” he said."

1 Please could you provide me with a copy of the statement, or a link to it if alreadily publicly available.

2 Please could you also supply any correspondence between your department and/or the Minister and the HCA and other interested parties ( Local Authorities, RSL's etc) regarding implementation of the revamp.

3 If possible within the time limits of the FOI Act/EIR regulations could you also please supply any follow up correspondence/monitoring of the revamp. If this is not possible then please proceed with parts 1 and 2 of my request and provide me with advice and assistance as to how to refine part 3 to minimise disruption to your Department.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

Having re-checked my request, I found that the link I supplied didn't work.

It was to an article in the Local Government Chronicle (online version) titled 'Demolition no longer favoured in regeneration'- dated 15 May 2013 - author Keith Cooper.

I have located the article again and copied in another link.

http://www.lgcplus.com/briefings/service...

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Samya Muddathir,

                            
Our reference: 776543             Information request

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Department for Communities and Local Government
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[email address]
 
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Dear Samya Muddathir,

Please you could update me as to when I can expect a reply to this request? I have been reminded that your response was due yesterday.

Many thanks

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Samya Muddathir,

Dear Mr Giggins

Apologies; we will be sending you a response shortly.

Best wishes, Tim Hayward

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Re: Information request (ref: 776543)
Dear Samya Muddathir,Please you could update me as to when I can expect a
reply to this request? I have been reminded that your response was due
yesterday.Many thanksYours sincerely,J A Giggins-----Original
Message-----                             Our reference:
776543             Information request
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  Thank you for your email. We are currently processing your request.
Please quote the reference number above in any further correspondence
regarding this request.   Department for Communities and Local Government
Fry Building 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF [email address]   NOTE:
Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this
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Samya Muddathir,

                            
Our reference: 776543             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear ‎Mr Giggins‏
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for information which was received on 12
February 2015.
 
You requested: I would like to request more information regarding the
statement made by the former Minister for Housing in this linked article
http://www.lgcplus.com/news/services/hou...

Mark Prisk said in a statement to Parliament last week that funding rules
drawn up under the Labour administration would be revamped to �end the
bias for demolition in the state sector�.�This will include stating in
housing funding bidding documents that demolitions are not appropriate,�
he said.

"1 Please could you provide me with a copy of the statement, or a link to
it if alreadily publicly available.2 Please could you also supply any
correspondence between your department and/or the Minister and the HCA and
other interested parties ( Local Authorities, RSL's etc) regarding
implementation of the revamp.3 If possible within the time limits of the
FOI Act/EIR regulations could you also please supply any follow up
correspondence/monitoring of the revamp.

If this is not possible then please proceed with parts 1 and 2 of my
request and provide me with advice and assistance as to how to refine part
3 to minimise disruption to your Department.
 
I am writing to ask you to clarify your request. This is because we are
not certain that we have understood your request correctly. Does the Mark
Prisk request you refer to concern a statement from 2014, or from 2015 (as
your request suggests)?

I will not be able to take this matter further without this extra
information from you. Please let me know by 12/06/2015.
 
If I do not hear from you within the timeframe provided, I shall take it
that you do not wish to pursue this request and will consider the request
closed. 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Tom Clifford
FOI Information Requests
 
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Samya Muddathir,

Please could you refer Tom Clifford to the thread of this request on whatdotheyknow.com:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

and in particular to my email of 16th Feb ( before you acknowledged the request) which clarifies the date of the article as 15 May 2013.

"From: J A Giggins

16 February 2015

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

Having re-checked my request, I found that the link I supplied
didn't work.

It was to an article in the Local Government Chronicle (online
version) titled 'Demolition no longer favoured in regeneration'-
dated 15 May 2013 - author Keith Cooper.

I have located the article again and copied in another link.

http://www.lgcplus.com/briefings/service...

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins"

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Tom Clifford,

Dear Mr Giggins

Many thanks for your email and please accept my apologies for any
confusion.

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Re: Information request (ref: 776543)
Dear Samya Muddathir,Please could you refer Tom Clifford to the thread of
this request on
whatdotheyknow.com:https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...
in particular to my email of 16th Feb ( before you acknowledged the
request) which clarifies the date of the article as 15 May 2013."From: J A
Giggins16 February 2015Dear Department for Communities and Local
Government,Having re-checked my request, I found that the link I
supplieddidn't work.It was to an article in the Local Government Chronicle
(onlineversion) titled 'Demolition no longer favoured in
regeneration'-dated 15 May 2013 - author Keith Cooper.I have located the
article again and copied in another
link.http://www.lgcplus.com/briefings/service... faithfully,J A
Giggins"Many thanks,Yours sincerely,J A Giggins-----Original
Message-----                             Our reference:
776543             Information request
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear �Mr Giggins�   Freedom of Information Act 2000   Thank you for
your request for information which was received on 12 February 2015.  
You requested: I would like to request more information regarding the
statement made by the former Minister for Housing in this linked article
http://www.lgcplus.com/news/services/hou...
Mark Prisk said in a statement to Parliament last week that funding rules
drawn up under the Labour administration would be revamped to �end
the bias for demolition in the state sector�.�This will include
stating in housing funding bidding documents that demolitions are not
appropriate,� he said. "1 Please could you provide me with a copy of
the statement, or a link to it if alreadily publicly available.2 Please
could you also supply any correspondence between your department and/or
the Minister and the HCA and other interested parties ( Local Authorities,
RSL's etc) regarding implementation of the revamp.3 If possible within the
time limits of the FOI Act/EIR regulations could you also please supply
any follow up correspondence/monitoring of the revamp. If this is not
possible then please proceed with parts 1 and 2 of my request and provide
me with advice and assistance as to how to refine part 3 to minimise
disruption to your Department.   I am writing to ask you to clarify your
request. This is because we are not certain that we have understood your
request correctly. Does the Mark Prisk request you refer to concern a
statement from 2014, or from 2015 (as your request suggests)? I will not
be able to take this matter further without this extra information from
you. Please let me know by 12/06/2015.   If I do not hear from you
within the timeframe provided, I shall take it that you do not wish to
pursue this request and will consider the request closed.    Yours
sincerely     Tom Clifford FOI Information Requests   [email address]
  NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this
email.-------------------------------------------------------------------Please
use this email address for all replies to this
request:[FOI #253422 email]Disclaimer: This message
and any reply that you make will be published on the internet. Our privacy
and copyright policies:https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi... you
find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web manager to
link to us from your organisation's FOI
page.-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Tom Clifford,

Apology accepted, but please could you tell me when I can expect a response? I appreciate that it might take a little while to locate the information, but the request is now overdue.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Samya Muddathir,

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 776543             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Giggins
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 12 February 2015.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Samya Muddathir
 
 
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

J A Giggins left an annotation ()

Copy of Mark Prisk's ministerial statement:

"Written Ministerial Statements

Friday 10 May 2013

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Empty Homes

The Minister for Housing (Mr Mark Prisk): The coalition agreement outlined this Government’s commitment to introduce a range of measures to get empty homes back into use, reflecting the general election manifesto pledges of both coalition parties. We want to increase housing supply, remove the blight that rundown vacant properties cause and help support local economic growth from refurbishment and improvements. I would like to update the House on the steps we have taken.

As part of this commitment, we have explicitly rejected the last Administration’s top-down, large-scale Whitehall targets for demolition and clearance. The obsession with demolition over refurbishment was both economically and environmentally wasteful, as well as involving significant damage of our nation’s heritage. By contrast:

The Government have committed £160 million to bring empty homes back into use. Some £100 million of this funding is being paid directly to local authorities, registered housing providers and community groups to bring around 7,600 empty homes back into use as affordable housing. £60 million is being allocated to 20 partnerships which suffer from significant clusters of empty homes which have good market prospects but require an intensive approach to return them to a liveable standard. This will produce a further 3,600 homes, resulting in a combined total of over 11,000 empty homes being brought back into use by March 2015.

In November, we launched a second bidding round to bring up to a further 5,000 empty homes back into use using a further £75 million of funding, with a particular emphasis on refurbishing former commercial and high street properties. Combined with existing empty homes commitments, this funding will take our overall target to over 15,000 empty properties being brought back into use as housing by March 2015.

We are further supporting local authorities to take a lead. Under the new homes bonus, local authorities now earn a financial reward for bringing a long-term empty home back into use. To date this has provided an income to councils of £63 million for 55,000 homes brought back into use.

Our reforms on council tax flexibilities and the new empty homes premium now allow councils to remove the special tax subsidies being given to empty homes and instead use the funding to keep the overall rate of council tax down and support front-line services.

My Department’s refurbishment schemes are also assisting the improvement of social housing and getting empty homes back into use. During the current spending review period, the Government have allocated £1.6 billion to the decent homes backlog programme to provide a grant to local authorities to support them in bringing 127,000 poor quality council homes up to the decent homes standard by April 2015.

In addition, following a number of large-scale voluntary transfers, the Government have made gap funding grants to private registered providers to enable stock to be brought up to decent homes standard. The total amount of gap funding
10 May 2013 : Column 14WS

will be £500 million during the current spending review. It is currently expected that gap funding outside London will contribute to making 43,500 homes decent between 2011 and 2015 (we do not have comparable figures for London).

By the end of April 2015, 18,500 homes will have been renovated through housing private finance initiative schemes.

As outlined in the written ministerial statement of 9 May 2013, Official Report, column 4WS, we have introduced a series of planning reforms to facilitate change of use; this includes making it easier to convert empty offices into homes. Further changes will be implemented to help convert redundant agricultural buildings into new homes.

Our new community right to reclaim land will help communities to improve their local area by making information about land and empty properties owned by public bodies more easily available. It will also help to ensure that underused or unused land and buildings owned by public bodies can be brought back into beneficial use.

The last Administration’s programme created large-scale Whitehall targets for demolition and clearance across the midlands and the north of England. The National Audit Office previously estimated that there were plans for a total of 57,100 properties to be demolished under the scheme. This Government have cancelled the pathfinder programme.

Last year, SAVE Britain’s Heritage challenged the Government’s decision to award transition funding, to help councils exit the pathfinder scheme; in doing so, we needed to balance ending the scheme with not leaving councils in the lurch with unfinished building sites. We have now agreed terms with SAVE to settle that case. Local authorities are now working to align their regeneration priorities more closely to refurbishment. Liverpool remain committed to refurbishing 40 houses on the Welsh Streets, including the former home of Ringo Starr, with strong community involvement and all local authorities that received transitional funding will now undertake the refurbishment of over 2,000 empty houses.

We are reviewing what further steps can be taken to end the bias for demolition in the state sector. This will include revising outdated Office of the Deputy Prime Minister guidance, stating in housing fund bidding documents that demolitions are not appropriate, and working with our independent adviser George Clarke to take forward his best practice recommendations on empty homes.

The number of long-term empty homes has already fallen by 20,000 between 2011 and 2012 and by over 40,800 since 2010. Ministers will keep the House updated with progress."

J A Giggins left an annotation ()

Copy of subsequent Ministerial Statement:

"COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Demolition

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Eric Pickles): I would like to update hon. Members on two separate announcements relating to the issue of demolition.

Planning decision on Welsh Streets, Liverpool

Yesterday, as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, I issued decisions on a called-in planning application and a related compulsory purchase order in relation to an area known as the “Welsh Streets” in Toxteth, Liverpool. The proposal was for demolition of 439 small Victorian era terraced homes. After a public inquiry and careful consideration, the planning application is refused and the compulsory purchase order is not confirmed.

The decision letters fully explain the reasons for these decisions. Issues covered in the planning decision letter include: the heritage value of the Welsh Streets—including the effect on the appreciation of Liverpool’s Beatles heritage as the application site includes the birth place of Ringo Starr; the impact of the proposal on the setting of nearby listed buildings and a conservation area; design issues including local character, history and distinctiveness; and the extent to which the proposal is consistent with national planning policy on bringing back empty homes into residential use.

Revocation of outdated guidance

The Coalition Agreement outlined this Government’s commitment to introduce a range of measures to get empty homes back into use, reflecting the 2010 general election manifesto pledges of both Coalition parties. We want to increase housing supply, remove the blight that rundown vacant properties cause and help support local economic growth from refurbishment and improvements.

In the written ministerial statement of 10 May 2013, Official Report, Column 13WS, Ministers committed to revising outdated guidance issued by the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister which encouraged
16 Jan 2015 : Column 36WS

demolition. I can today confirm that the following pieces of outdated guidance no longer reflect Government policy and so are now cancelled:

Neighbourhood Renewal Assessment and Renewal Areas (DETR, 1997);

Private Sector Renewal Strategies: A Good. Practice Guide (DETR, 1997);

Running and Sustaining Renewal Areas (DETR, 2000);

Addressing the Needs of Run Down Private Sector Housing (ODPM, 2002);

What Works? Reviewing the Evidence Base for Neighbourhood Renewal (ODPM, 2002);

Housing Renewal Guidance - ODPM Circular 05/2003;

Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future (ODPM, 2003);

Assessing the Impacts of Spatial Interventions: Regeneration, Renewal and Regional Development The 3Rs Guidance’ (ODPM, 2004); and

Neighbourhood Renewal Assessment guidance manual (ODPM, 2004).

Instead, this Government are championing a series of policies to get empty buildings back into use. We have:

Provided over £200 million to fund innovative schemes run by community groups, councils and housing associations up and down the country to create new homes from empty properties, both residential and commercial;

Rewarded councils for bringing 100,000 empty homes back into use through the New Homes Bonus;

Given councils new powers to remove council tax subsidies to empty homes, and use the funds to keep the overall rate of council tax down. HM Treasury have also changed tax rules to discourage the use of corporate envelopes to invest in high value housing which may be left empty or under-used to avoid paying tax;

Taken forward the best practice recommendations produced by our independent empty homes adviser, George Clarke—such as refurbishment and upgrading of existing homes should be the first and preferred option, and that demolition of existing homes should be the last option after all forms of market testing and options for refurbishment are exhausted; we have embedded these principles in our housing programme funding schemes;

Cancelled the last Administration’s Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme which imposed targets on councils to demolish homes;

Amended national planning policy through the National Planning Policy Framework to encourage councils to bring back empty properties back into use;

Reformed Community Infrastructure Levy rules to provide an increased incentive for brownfield development, and extended exemptions for empty buildings being brought back into use;

Lifted the burden of Section 106 tariffs on vacant buildings being returned to use;

Introduced a Right to Contest, building on the existing Community Right to Reclaim Land, which lets communities ask that under-used or unused land owned by public bodies is brought back into beneficial use;

Funded a new re-occupation business rate relief to help bring empty shops back into use; and

Reformed permitted development rights in a number of ways to free up the planning system and facilitate the conversion of redundant and under-used non-residential buildings into new homes.

This approach is working. The number of empty homes has fallen year-on-year since 2009, and is now at the lowest level since 2004. Similarly, the number of
16 Jan 2015 : Column 37WS

long-term vacant properties has fallen by around a third since 2009.1 hope our programmes will further reduce the number of empty buildings.

For the avoidance of doubt, the call-in decision is not connected to the cancellation of the outdated guidance. I am placing a copy of the decision letters, attached, in the Library of the House.

It is also available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatemen...

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

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 'Demolition of social/affordable housing'.

Whilst some very useful information has been provided, the actual information requested in parts 2 and 3 of my request has not. Moreover the explanation given seems rather odd:

"I am writing to inform you that some of the information you requested is not held by Department for Communities and Local Government. The business area concerned has searched their records but none of the correspondence within the scope of your request has been found."

Please could you review and then detail the searches made, and by which business area, as it seems very unlikely that there were no communications at all regarding the change in stance on demolition. Maybe the communications are held by other business areas? Also I would have expected there to have been some monitoring of the policy changes.

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

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Ben Heathcote,

                            
Our reference: 776543             Information request

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Dear Mr Giggins

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – ref: 776543

Thank you for your request for a review received on 23 March 2015. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I can confirm that we are considering your concerns and we will aim to
provide you with a response by 22 April 2015.

Yours sincerely

Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner - Finance and Corporate Services
 
[email address]

Ben Heathcote,

                            
Our reference: 776543             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Giggins
 
Internal review
Thank you for your request for an internal review received on 23 March
2015 2015 concerning your request of 12 February 2015. We are considering
the request but we need more time to process it. This is because
information potentially within scope of your original request has been
identified, and this requires further consideration. We will now try to
respond to you by 20 May 2015. 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the internal review procedure provided by the Department. 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF.
Phone: 0303 123 1113
Website: [1]www.ico.gov.uk

 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner - Finance and Corporate Services
 
[2][email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
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2. mailto:[email address]

Ben Heathcote,

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 776543             Information request

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Dear Mr Giggins
Please find attached our response to your request for an internal review.
Yours sincerely
 
 
Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner
 
[DCLG request email]

Dear Ben Heathcote,

Many thanks for your response.

I appreciate the searches you have made, but it still seems remarkable to me that you hold no records of either communicating a change in government policy regarding demolitions, or of monitoring its implementation. It does however provide an explanation of why the policy (which I already know WAS communicated to the HCA and onwards to Housing Associations) is not being applied in my local area.

There is another aspect of your response which seems inconsistent with your holding email of 21st April. You said:

"We are considering the request but we need more time to process it. This is because
information potentially within scope of your original request has been identified, and this requires further consideration. We will now try to respond to you by 20 May 2015"

I appreciate that I now have the option to refer the request/your response to the Information Commissioner, but before doing so I would appreciate it if (under the provisions of FOI/EIR) you could provide the information identified as "potentially within the scope of my original request". Your current response makes no reference to this information, and as I am sure you are aware the time you allowed yourself to conduct this further review exceeded that allowed by the FOI Act/EIR.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Dear Ben Heathcote,

Please can you confirm that you have received my email of 17th May ( sent via and displayed on the wdtk web site) and are considering the request under the EIR's.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Ben Heathcote,

Dear Mr Giggins

I can confirm that DCLG has received the email you refer to, and we are
currently considering our response.
Yours sincerely,

Ben Heathcote

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Re: Information request - internal review (ref: 776543)
Dear Ben Heathcote,Please can you confirm that you have received my email
of 17th May ( sent via and displayed on the wdtk web site) and are
considering the request under the EIR's.Many thanks.Yours sincerely,J A
Giggins-----Original Message-----                         
   Our reference: 776543             Information request
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Mr Giggins Please find attached our response to your request for an
internal review. Yours sincerely     Ben Heathcote Lead FOI Business
Partner   [DCLG request
email]-------------------------------------------------------------------Please
use this email address for all replies to this
request:[FOI #253422 email]Disclaimer: This message
and any reply that you make will be published on the internet. Our privacy
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Ben Heathcote,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Giggins

Thank you for your email of 18 May 2015 and I am sorry that you were
unhappy with my reply. It may help us to provide you with further
information or explanation if you can send us the communication that you
say you have between DCLG and the Homes & Communities Agency.

I should also point out that DCLG has not referred to the change in policy
as a "revamp" in the WMS; this was the term used by the author of the
article you referenced in the Local Government Chronicle.

Regarding the material considered to be potentially within scope of your
original request, please see attached, which were sent to Local
Authorities and MPs respectively following an empty homes funding round.
These were standard letters sent to all who received funding. Please note
that these were determined to be out of scope of your original request
since they are not concerned with "implementation of the revamp".

Yours sincerely,

Ben Heathcote

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Re: Information request - internal review (ref: 776543)
Dear Ben Heathcote,Many thanks for your response. I appreciate the
searches you have made, but it still seems remarkable to me that you hold
no records of either communicating a change in government policy regarding
demolitions, or of monitoring its implementation. It does however provide
an explanation of why the policy (which I already know WAS communicated to
the HCA and onwards to Housing Associations) is not being applied in my
local area.There is another aspect of your response which seems
inconsistent with your holding email of 21st April. You said:"We are
considering the request but we need more time to process it. This is
becauseinformation potentially within scope of your original request has
been identified, and this requires further consideration. We will now try
to respond to you by 20 May 2015" I appreciate that I now have the option
to refer the request/your response to the Information Commissioner, but
before doing so I would appreciate it if (under the provisions of FOI/EIR)
you could provide the information identified as "potentially within the
scope of my original request". Your current response makes no reference to
this information, and as I am sure you are aware the time you allowed
yourself to conduct this further review exceeded that allowed by the FOI
Act/EIR.Yours sincerely,J A Giggins-----Original Message-----       
                     Our reference: 776543          
  Information request
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Mr Giggins Please find attached our response to your request for an
internal review. Yours sincerely     Ben Heathcote Lead FOI Business
Partner   [DCLG request
email]-------------------------------------------------------------------Please
use this email address for all replies to this
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and any reply that you make will be published on the internet. Our privacy
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page.-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ben Heathcote,

It was not so much that I was unhappy with your reply so much as that I find it hard to understand why such a significant change in policy has not been formally communicated & monitored, particularly in a time of economic austerity.

The background to my request to the DCLG can be found in the following three FOI requests to the Homes & Communities Agency on WhatDoTheyKnow.com

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n...

The document/presentation that illustrates that the HCA were aware of the policy change can be found here:

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/doc.ho...

and the document that alerted me to the fact that funding of demolitions was continuing in my area can be found here:http://planning.westberks.gov.uk/rpp/sho....

The flats up for demolition had previously been self certified as 'decent homes compliant' by the Housing Association in question and were occupied until residents were decanted in preparation for demolition/redevelopment, so I assume that funds for refurbishment under either the 'decent homes' or the 'empty homes' scheme detailed in the last two documents you have provided would not have been forthcoming.

I hope this background information will help you to locate further information falling within the scope of my request, but if there is nothing to be found perhaps you could supply me with a contact name of the person/dept responsible for ensuring changes in policy are fully communicated and monitored for compliance.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Ben Heathcote,

Dear Mr Giggins

Thank you for your email below. I have consulted further with colleagues
and we believe that we have provided you with all of the information held
by the Department falling within scope of your request as we understand
it. You may find the document linked to below of interest, however, and I
would especially draw your attention to paragraph 100 on page 20.
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

As the Homes and Communities Agency's guidance on the Affordable Homes
Programme contains the detail of the policy on schemes involving
demolitions, I would suggest contacting them regarding any issues you have
regarding compliance with this policy.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Heathcote

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Re: Information request (ref: 776543)
Dear Ben Heathcote,It was not so much that I was unhappy with your reply
so much as that I find it hard to understand why such a significant change
in policy has not been formally communicated & monitored, particularly in
a time of economic austerity.The background to my request to the DCLG can
be found in the following three FOI requests to the Homes & Communities
Agency on
WhatDoTheyKnow.comhttps://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...
document/presentation that illustrates that the HCA were aware of the
policy change can be found
here:http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/doc.ho...
the document that alerted me to the fact that funding of demolitions was
continuing in my area can be found
here:http://planning.westberks.gov.uk/rpp/sho....
The flats up for demolition had previously been self certified as 'decent
homes compliant' by the Housing Association in question and were occupied
until residents were decanted in preparation for demolition/redevelopment,
so I assume that funds for refurbishment under either the 'decent homes'
or the 'empty homes' scheme detailed in the last two documents you have
provided would not have been forthcoming.I hope this background
information will help you to locate further information falling within the
scope of my request, but if there is nothing to be found perhaps you could
supply me with a contact name of the person/dept responsible for ensuring
changes in policy are fully communicated and monitored for compliance.Many
thanks.Yours sincerely,J A Giggins-----Original Message-----Dear Mr
Giggins Thank you for your email of 18 May 2015 and I am sorry that you
were unhappy with my reply. It may help us to provide you with further
information or explanation if you can send us the communication that you
say you have between DCLG and the Homes & Communities Agency. I should
also point out that DCLG has not referred to the change in policy as a
"revamp" in the WMS; this was the term used by the author of the article
you referenced in the Local Government Chronicle. Regarding the material
considered to be potentially within scope of your original request, please
see attached, which were sent to Local Authorities and MPs respectively
following an empty homes funding round. These were standard letters sent
to all who received funding. Please note that these were determined to be
out of scope of your original request since they are not concerned with
"implementation of the revamp". Yours sincerely, Ben Heathcote
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Information request - internal review (ref: 776543) Dear Ben
Heathcote,Many thanks for your response. I appreciate the searches you
have made, but it still seems remarkable to me that you hold no records of
either communicating a change in government policy regarding demolitions,
or of monitoring its implementation. It does however provide an
explanation of why the policy (which I already know WAS communicated to
the HCA and onwards to Housing Associations) is not being applied in my
local area.There is another aspect of your response which seems
inconsistent with your holding email of 21st April. You said:"We are
considering the request but we need more time to process it. This is
becauseinformation potentially within scope of your original request has
been identified, and this requires further consideration. We will now try
to respond to you by 20 May 2015" I appreciate that I now have the option
to refer the request/your response to the Information Commissioner, but
before doing so I would appreciate it if (under the provisions of FOI/EIR)
you could provide the information identified as "potentially within the
scope of my original request". Your current response makes no reference to
this information, and as I am sure you are aware the time you allowed
yourself to conduct this further review exceeded that allowed by the FOI
Act/EIR.Yours sincerely,J A Giggins-----Original Message-----   
                         Our
reference: 776543             Information request
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Mr Giggins Please find attached our response to your request for an
internal review. Yours sincerely     Ben Heathcote Lead FOI Business
Partner   [DCLG request
email]-------------------------------------------------------------------Please
use this email address for all replies to this request:[FOI #253422
email]Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright
policies:https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi... you find this
service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web manager to link to
us from your organisation's FOI
page.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Please
use this email address for all replies to this
request:[FOI #253422 email]Disclaimer: This message
and any reply that you make will be published on the internet. Our privacy
and copyright policies:https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi... you
find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web manager to
link to us from your organisation's FOI
page.-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

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Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Revamp = change to that which was before.

verb
1.
give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to.
"an attempt to revamp the museum's image"
synonyms: renovate, redecorate, refurbish, recondition, rehabilitate, rebuild, reconstruct, overhaul, make over; More
noun
noun: revamp; plural noun: revamps
1.
an act of improving the form, structure, or appearance of something.

I can't see what the problem is.

Logically either the:

* former Minister contented himself in making changes - which he only communicated to himself.

* the respondees are so badly educated that they do not know know what the meaning of a revamp/ change is ....and do not have access to a dictionary

* they've lost the files.

* or deliberately pretending to misunderstand the request

It's impossible to determine which .

Dear Ben Heathcote,

Thank you for your latest response and advice to contact the HCA. However you have not supplied a response regarding a named contact within the DCLG.
If you refer back to the last paragraph of my email of 11th June you will see that I wrote:

"I hope this background information will help you to locate further
information falling within the scope of my request, but if there is
nothing to be found perhaps you could supply me with a contact name
of the person/dept responsible for ensuring changes in policy are
fully communicated and monitored for compliance."

Please could you provide the requested information.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Dear Ben Heathcote,

Apologies for this further message - I haven't used the 'I have been asked to provide clarification' feature of the wdtk web site before, but I am advised that it will 'reset the clock' should you choose to treat my request for contact details made earlier today as a new request under FOI.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Ben Heathcote,

Dear Mr Giggins
There is no individual or department with overall responsibility for
"ensuring changes in policy are fully communicated and monitiored for
compliance"; any such monitoring considered appropriate will be carried
out on a case by case basis. As such, the information you have requested
is not held by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

If you remain dissatisfied with the way that your request for information
has been handled, you have the right to apply directly to the Information
Commissioner for a decision. Details as to how to do this can be found in
my response to you dated 18 May.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Heathcote

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ben Heathcote,
Thank you for your latest response and advice to contact the HCA. However
you have not supplied a response regarding a named contact within the
DCLG.
If you refer back to the last paragraph of my email of 11th June you will
see that I wrote:
"I hope this background information will help you to locate further
information falling within the scope of my request, but if there is
nothing to be found perhaps you could supply me with a contact name
of the person/dept responsible for ensuring changes in policy are
fully communicated and monitored for compliance."
Please could you provide the requested information.
Many thanks.
Yours sincerely,
J A Giggins

show quoted sections

Dear Ben Heathcote,

In light of your response, could you please supply me under FOI with contact details for the head of your Internal audit department and also the name and contact details of your external auditors.

Many thanks

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Ben Heathcote,

                            
Our reference: 1176489             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Giggins
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for information which was received on 29 June
2015.
 
You requested: [...] contact details for the head of your Internal audit
department and also the name and contact details of your external
auditors.
 
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 and we aim to send a response by 28 July 2015.
 
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 may restrict the release of some or
all of the information you have requested. We will carry out an assessment
and if any exemptions apply to some or all of the information then we
might not provide that information to you. We will inform you if this is
the case and advise you of your rights to request an internal review and
to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.
 
We will also advise you if we cannot provide you with the information
requested for any other reason, together with details of how you may
appeal (if appropriate).
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner - Finance and Corporate Services
 
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

The external auditors should certainly be informed.

Ben Heathcote,

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 1176489             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Giggins
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 29 June 2015.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Knowledge and Information Access Team
Department for Communities and Local Government
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

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