Details of Expenditure

Richard Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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 refused by Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Dear Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Could you please release details of each item of expenditure which have been recorded electronically by the Police and Crime Commissioner's Office.

I would expect a table showing amounts, dates, who payments were made to, and possible other information such as descriptions, reference numbers of supporting documents, cost centre / account information etc.

I am not seeking supporting documents themselves even if electronic copies of them are held.

Please include the required "keys" to interpret any codes present; eg. if codes are used for cost centres or accounts please provide a list of such codes along with the names/descriptions of the entities they refer to.

Please release the data in a plain text based format, such as comma or tab separated variables with the fields named on the first line of the file. I suggest you may wish to also make the information available in other formats such as Excel, or PDF, or on your website, to make it as easily accessible to as wide a group of people as possible.

I understand from the response to a previous request* that the Police and Crime Commissioner's office is not up-to-date with entering transactions onto its computerised systems. I am interested in how much material is missing from the electronic records; could you clarify if material is being entered in date order (so it will be clear which period is missing) and provide the discrepancy between actual expenditure which has left the bank accounts and what has been recorded electronically as of the latest date for which you have this information.

Regards,

--

Richard Taylor
Cambridge
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

* http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ba...

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

Other commissioners are proactively publishing expenditure information, as they are required to do by law:

http://www.southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/Tra...

Dear Mr Taylor

We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information (FOI) request dated 15 February 2013 which was received by the Office of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner on the same date.

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You will receive a response within the statutory timescale as defined by the Act. If we require any further clarification regarding this request, you will be notified.

We would advise you that the nature of certain requests may involve payment of a fee. If this is the case, you will be notified.

Yours sincerely

Rowena Sampson DMS
Policy Officer - Engagement
Office of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Police Headquarters
Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon
Cambridgeshire PE29 6NP

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cambs-pcc, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Taylor

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST: EXPENDITURE

In reply to your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, dated 15th February, 2013 as follows:

“Could you please release details of each item of expenditure which have been recorded electronically by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.

“I would expect a table showing amounts, dates, who payments were made to, and possible other information such as descriptions, reference numbers of supporting documents, cost centre / account information etc.

“I am not seeking supporting documents themselves even if electronic copies of them are held.

“Please include the required ‘keys’ to interpret any codes present; eg. if codes are used for cost centres or accounts please provide a list of such codes along with the names/descriptions of the entities they refer to.

“Please release the data in a plain text based format, such as comma or tab separated variables with the fields named on the first line of the file. I suggest you may wish to also make the information available in other formats such as Excel, or PDF, or on your website, to make it as easily accessible to as wide a group of people as possible.

“I understand from the response to a previous request* that the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office is not up-to-date with entering transactions onto its computerised systems. I am interested in how much material is missing from the electronic records; could you clarify if material is being entered in date order (so it will be clear which period is missing) and provide the discrepancy between actual expenditure which has left the bank accounts and what has been recorded electronically as of the latest date for which you have this information.”

Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act states that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the “appropriate limit”. For Police forces in the UK, the "appropriate limit" is considered to be up to 18 hours of work on one request. This information is given in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

It is estimated that it will take not less than 20 hours to provide a full answer to this request.

Although excess cost removes the force’s obligation under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill, I have supplied information, relative to your request, that was retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful.

Please also note that under the Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 (and 2012 amendment) the Commissioner has a duty to publish "information as to each item of expenditure exceeding £500". It is the Commissioner's intention to publish this information by the end of March 2013.

If you are unhappy with this response, please see the attachment, which sets out your rights to appeal.

Regards

Anna Horne
Head of Engagement and Communications
Office of the Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner
Hinchingbrooke Park
Huntingdon
Cambs
PE29 6NP

01480 422649

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The promised publication by the end of March of spending over £500 does not appear to have occurred; it is not on the Commissioner's website under "transparency information" where the website says it will eventually be published:

http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/acc...

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

I have made the document released available at:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?...

The response shows that on the 22nd of November 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright spent £99.00 of tax payer's money with Shaun Scott Photography for "Take and supply disk of portrait photographs of Police & CrimeCommissioner for Cambridgeshire including copyright."

On the 7th of December 2012 the Commissioner spent £1908.16 on a document scanner.

In January 2013 the Commissioner spent £50 getting car park signs made for himself and his Chief Executive.

On the 6th of February 2013 the Commissioner spent £184.00 on a "Platinum Ergo Chair Ref PLH3/A13/Y/L/AOS"

The Commissioner spent £1700 on "Publishing of advertorial in CambridgeEdition magazine Jan 2013"

Dear Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Your response of 18 March 2013 to my Freedom of Information Request with the subject "Details of Expenditure" stated:

"It is estimated that it will take not less than 20 hours to provide a full answer to this request. "

Could you please provide me with details of how this estimate was arrived at.

I note the Information Commissioner's guidance on the subject of the provision of such information states:

"providing a suitable breakdown is likely to be
required as part of a public authority’s statutory obligations under section 16 to provide advice and assistance"*

I also note the response stated: "It is the Commissioner's intention to publish this information by the end of March 2013." It is now the 15th of April yet I cannot find this information on the commissioner's website. Are you able to provide a link.

Regards,

--

Richard Taylor
Cambridge
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

* http://www.ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/...

cambs-pcc,

Thank you for contacting the Office of the Cambridgeshire Police & Crime
Commissioner. We will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Cambridgeshire Office for the Police & Crime Commissioner

South Cambridgeshire Hall

Cambourne Business Park

Cambourne

Cambridge

CB23 6EA 

Telephone: 0300 333 3456   Fax: 01480 425748

Email: [1][Cambridgeshire PCC request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Cambridgeshire PCC request email]

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The response to this request appears to have informed an article in the Cambridge News:

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridg...

cambs-pcc,

Dear Mr Taylor

Thank you for your recent correspondence seeking clarification in relation to my reply to your Freedom of Information request originally dated February 15, 2013 as follows:

“Could you please release details of each item of expenditure which have been recorded electronically by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.

“I would expect a table showing amounts, dates, who payments were made to, and possible other information such as descriptions, reference numbers of supporting documents, cost centre / account information etc.

“I am not seeking supporting documents themselves even if electronic copies of them are held.

“Please include the required ‘keys’ to interpret any codes present; eg. if codes are used for cost centres or accounts please provide a list of such codes along with the names/descriptions of the entities they refer to.

“Please release the data in a plain text based format, such as comma or tab separated variables with the fields named on the first line of the file. I suggest you may wish to also make the information available in other formats such as Excel, or PDF, or on your website, to make it as easily accessible to as wide a group of people as possible.

“I understand from the response to a previous request* that the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office is not up-to-date with entering transactions onto its computerised systems. I am interested in how much material is missing from the electronic records; could you clarify if material is being entered in date order (so it will be clear which period is missing) and provide the discrepancy between actual expenditure which has left the bank accounts and what has been recorded electronically as of the latest date for which you have this information.”

I understood from your above request that what you are effectively seeking is the detail behind the summary of financial information we have now provided you with.

Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act states that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the “appropriate limit”. For Police forces in the UK, the "appropriate limit" is considered to be up to 18 hours of work on one request. This information is given in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

Although excess cost removes the force’s obligation under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill, I supplied information, relative to your request, that was retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded.

Our cost calculation was based on the actual work done by staff in putting together the summary financial information you have already been provided with. It is known that this preliminary work took more than 10 hours. Having undertaken this initial work, it was realised that the time it is likely to take to retrieve all of the information required, much background information for which is recorded only on paper documents due to the depth and level of detail included, would take not less than a further 10 hours. We based this second assessment on the awareness that for the OPCC to locate “details of each item of expenditure” incurred by the Commissioner’s office a manual review of all invoices, expense claims, requisitions and payments would be required, taking a minimum of 10 minutes to retrieve full data on average, and that there were no fewer than 100 further such lines to review. This equates to a potential further 16 hours and 20 minutes of retrieval time required, and when added to the 10 hours already expended would total more than 26 hours – or certainly “not less than” 20 hours.

In response to your second point, at the time of writing my last response to you it was the Commissioner’s intention to publish details of items of expenditure over £500 by the end of March 2013. Unfortunately other events and demands have necessarily taken precedence. Most of the information required by the Elected Local Policing Bodies Information Order 2011 and the subsequent Amendment Order 2012 is now available on the Commissioner’s website but it remains his intent to ensure that publication is achieved as soon as it is practicable to do so.

Kind regards

Anna Horne
Head of Engagement and Communications
Office of the Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner
South Cambridgeshire Hall
Cambourne Business Park
Cambourne
Cambridge
CB23 6EA

01954 713467 (direct)
07872 678722 (mob)

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

Particularly as I made clear:

"I am not seeking supporting documents themselves even if electronic copies of them are held."

I am rather baffled by the response I have received.

It appears the commissioner claims he has had to consult the supporting documents in order to provide the information I have requested.

The response appears to reveal that in order to release the kind of information supplied to me (which is similar to that now published pro-actively on spending over £500) rather than simply exporting the relevant information from a computerised finance system staff are spending many hours consulting papers.