Evidence sought of best practice by LBH in council's preparation for HDV

The request was refused by Haringey Borough Council.

Dear Haringey Council

In you answer to LBH/6518917 you stated that;

1. (While Turnberry Real Estate did conduct a soft market testing exercise on behalf of the Council in 2015, this did not include Lendlease). Please send me copies of "Turnberry Real Estate ....soft marketing exercise.

2. You also stated that "While the Council did commission some financial modelling of the ‘category 1 sites’ proposed for redevelopment by the HDV as part of the business case considered by Cabinet in November 2015, no option appraisals fitting the description defined in your request were conducted either for the HDV sites or for the separate High Road West or Hornsey Town Hall sites." Please send me copies of "some financial modelling of the "category 1 sites."

3. Your third answer to LBH/6518917 is not the answer to my third question. Please send the value for money appraisals about the use of public assets for each site listed in that question.

Yours faithfully

Rev Paul Nicolson

Dear Revd Nicolson,
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/6518917

Thank you for your request for information received on the 16th August 2017 , in which you asked for the following information:

Please send me the following information;
1. On what date did any representative or representatives of Haringey Council open formal or informal discussions/explorations with Lend Lease.which resulted in the proposal for the Haringey Development Vehicle? This information should indicate the dates of any written opening communications from the council opening the discussions, who was present at the meetings at what locations and the details of the authorisation of the council representatives to initiate and participate in the discussions.

2. The Council will have carried out Treasury Green Book Economic Option Appraisals for each of the following sites listed for development; Northumberland Park, High Road West, Wood Green and Hornsey Town Hall. Who carried out the appraisals? When? How was the appraisal process used in the design and conduct of Council’s consultation with the public on the setting up of the HDV? Were the public involved in contributing to any aspect of the appraisal, particularly the Non-Monetary Quantifiable Costs and Benefits, and the Non-Monetary Unquantifiable Costs/Benefits? Were the appraisals shared with the public? If not, what was the approved basis for not doing so? Who authorised the non-disclosure?

3. Given that such appraisals are used primarily for the making of value for money decisions about the use of public assets, and that those decisions have now been made, please send me copies of the appraisals for each site listed above.

Please note that this request does not relate to any viability assessments that may also have been made for each site in relation to the planning obligations for each site.

My response is as follows:

1. There were no formal or informal discussions with Lendlease prior to the commencement of the procurement process in January 2016. (While Turnberry Real Estate did conduct a soft market testing exercise on behalf of the Council in 2015, this did not include Lendlease). The contact with bidders during the procurement process is described in the February and July cabinet reports which are available on the Council website at www.haringey.gov.uk/HDV.

2. While the Council did commission some financial modelling of the ‘category 1 sites’ proposed for redevelopment by the HDV as part of the business case considered by Cabinet in November 2015, no option appraisals fitting the description defined in your request were conducted either for the HDV sites or for the separate High Road West or Hornsey Town Hall sites.

3. See answer to question 2.

If you are unhappy with how we have responded to your request you can ask us to conduct an Internal Review. If so, please contact the Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this within two months of receiving this response.)

Shared Service Centre
Feedback and Information Governance Team

Yours faithfully,

Rev Paul Nicolson

Haringey Borough Council

Dear Revd. Nicolson

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
LBH/6642117

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 22 September 2017.

 

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 20 October 2017

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Feedback and Information Governance

 

Shared Service Centre | Central Team

Haringey Council 

10th Floor, Alexandra House, 10 Station Road, Wood Green, London N22 7TR

 

www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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legislation.

De Souza Darrell, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Rev Nicholson,

 

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/6642117

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 22 September 2017 ,
in which you asked for the following information:

 

You asked:

 

In you answer to LBH/6518917 you stated that;

 

1. (While Turnberry Real Estate did conduct a soft market testing exercise
on behalf of the Council in 2015, this did not include Lendlease). Please
send me copies of "Turnberry Real Estate ....soft marketing exercise.

 

2. You also stated that  "While the Council did commission some financial
modelling of the ‘category 1 sites’ proposed for redevelopment by the HDV
as part of the business case considered by Cabinet in November 2015, no
option appraisals fitting the description defined in your request were
conducted either for the HDV sites or for the separate High Road West or
Hornsey Town Hall sites." Please send me copies of "some financial
modelling of the "category 1 sites."

 

3.  Your third answer to  LBH/6518917 is not the answer to my third
question.  Please send the value for money  appraisals about the use of
public assets for each site listed in that question.

 

My response is as follows:

 

1.       The documents we hold relating to this soft market testing
exercise are both already published online.  They are the two reports
under the ‘Reports’ heading, within the ‘More Information’ section on the
Council’s dedicated HDV webpages, which can be found [1]here. 

 

2.      In regards to the financial modelling of the category 1 sites,
 this was part of the financial appraisal which underpinned the business
case for the HDV approved by Cabinet in November 2015 (see
[2]http://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/ieLis...
The work was done on behalf of the Council by GVA Bilfinger and Turnberry
Real Estate.  However, the financial appraisal (Appendix 5 to the November
2015 cabinet paper) was in the exempt section of the Cabinet papers
because its publication would have created a substantial risk of prejudice
to the procurement of a private sector partner with which to establish the
HDV.  Pending the conclusion of that process via the signing of the HDV
agreements, this information remains sensitive. 

 

As matters stand, information held by the Council relating to your request
is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA, which provides as follows:

 

(2) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person (including the public authority holding it).

 

3.       Regarding question 3 in your original email, I can confirm – as
stated in our original reply to that email - no option appraisals fitting
the description defined in your request were conducted either for the HDV
sites or for the separate High Road West or Hornsey Town Hall sites.

 

 

If you are unhappy with how we have responded to your request you can ask
us to conduct an Internal Review. If so, please contact the Feedback and
Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this within two
months of receiving this response.)   

 

Feedback and Information Governance Team

Alexandra House

10 Station Road

Wood Green,

London

N22 7TR

E [3][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Darrell De Souza

Business Analyst

 

Rev Paul Nicolson

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Haringey Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Evidence sought of best practice by LBH in council's preparation for HDV'.
Please review the answer below in Para 2.

2. In regards to the financial modelling of the category 1 sites,
this was part of the financial appraisal which underpinned the business
case for the HDV approved by Cabinet in November 2015 (see
[2]http://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/ieLis...
The work was done on behalf of the Council by GVA Bilfinger and Turnberry
Real Estate. However, the financial appraisal (Appendix 5 to the November
2015 cabinet paper) was in the exempt section of the Cabinet papers
because its publication would have created a substantial risk of prejudice
to the procurement of a private sector partner with which to establish the
HDV. Pending the conclusion of that process via the signing of the HDV
agreements, this information remains sensitive.

As matters stand, information held by the Council relating to your request
is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA, which provides as follows:

(2) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person (including the public authority holding it).

This answer is not acceptable because;
As a resident and taxpayer in the London Borough of Haringey I am a person represented by the local authority whose commercial interests might be prejudiced by the profit or loses shown by the financial appraisal of the HDV. As a result of the decisions of the council their commercial interests on public land and assets have become my commercial interests as a taxpaying member of the public with out any consultation. The information I have asked for is essential to informing me about who to vote at the next election. How can I form a reasonable decision the quality of decisions making by the candidates and their political parties I am to chose if I am excluded from essential financial information about the council parting with £2bn of public land and assets?

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

Yours faithfully,

Rev Paul Nicolson

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Revd Nicolson,

 

Internal Review regarding Freedom of Information request reference
LBH/6642117

 

Thank you for email received on 30 October 2017.

 

Your request for an Internal Review has been logged with the reference
LBH/6759217. Please quote this reference number on any further
correspondence.

 

We will now review the response you have been sent to the above request
and I aim to let you know the outcome of our investigation by 27 November
2017. If I need longer, I will write to let you know the reason and when
you can expect a full reply.

 

 

Sue Dyos

Feedback Team Leader 

Shared Service Centre | Central Team

Haringey Council

 

 

 

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Haringey Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Evidence sought of best practice by LBH in council's preparation for HDV'.
The reply to my request for an internal review is long overdue

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

Yours faithfully,

Rev Paul Nicolson

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Rev Nicolson,

Our records show that we responded to the Internal Review on 24 November but we sent it to your personal email address rather than via the WDTK website. I have pasted the content of the response below for your reference.

regards
Sue Dyos
Feedback Team Leader
Shared Service Centre | Central Team
Haringey Council

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

Dear Revd Nicolson,

Internal Review of the Freedom of Information Act request reference: LBH/6642117

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to review the response we have sent to your Freedom of Information request.

This review is regarding your request for: “copies of "some financial modelling of the "category 1 sites"”, in connection with the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).

The response provided to you stated:
“the financial modelling of the category 1 sites was part of the financial appraisal which underpinned the business case for the HDV approved by Cabinet in November 2015. The work was done on behalf of the Council by GVA Bilfinger and Turnberry Real Estate. However, the financial appraisal (Appendix 5 to the November 2015 cabinet paper) was in the exempt section of the Cabinet papers because its publication would have created a substantial risk of prejudice to the procurement of a private sector partner with which to establish the HDV. Pending the conclusion of that process via the signing of the HDV agreements, this information remains sensitive.

As matters stand, information held by the Council relating to your request is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA, which provides as follows:
Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).”

You challenged the application of this exemption as follows:
“As a resident and taxpayer in the London Borough of Haringey I am a person represented by the local authority whose commercial interests might be prejudiced by the profit or loses shown by the financial appraisal of the HDV. As a result of the decisions of the council their commercial interests on public land and assets have become my commercial interests as a taxpaying member of the public without any consultation. The information I have asked for is essential to informing me about who to vote at the next election. How can I form a reasonable decision the quality of decisions making by the candidates and their political parties I am to chose if I am excluded from essential financial information about the council parting with £2bn of public land and assets?”

I have now considered your request for a review of the previous decision and I am sorry to disappoint you but I maintain the decision to apply the exemption for commercial interests under Section 43 (2) of the FOI Act. This exemption of the Freedom of Information Act allows us to withhold information if to provide it would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person and it is in the public interest to withhold the information.

The exemption recognises the possibility that it may be in the public interest to disclose such information even though it would prejudice someone’s commercial interests to make it public. This exemption requires us to consider the public interest arguments both for and against the disclosure of the information.

Public interest arguments in favour of disclosure:

We recognise that this scheme is attracting substantial public interest and we have a duty under the Act to promote transparency. Other arguments for the disclosure are regarding our accountability of the use of public funds and assets, ensuring that public money is being used effectively, and that the local authority is obtaining value for money when purchasing goods and services and engaging in agreements which are for the good of the authority and it’s residents.

Public interest arguments in favour of maintaining the exemption:

As I imagine you are aware, the partnership agreement with the chosen external partner has not yet been signed. Whilst this remains the case, our view is that such financial information about the sites involved remains commercially sensitive. Whilst you argue that the information is necessary for you to make an informed judgement about how to vote, I do not see how the detail of the financial assessment of sites will particularly assist you in this over and above the information and level of public scrutiny the scheme has already attracted.

Once the agreement is in place we could review the situation to determine if the information could be released without harm to anyone’s commercial interests.

Until the agreement is signed however the procurement process - and therefore the window of time for agreeing commercial terms - is still live. If this information was in the public domain it could be obtained by either our preferred bidder or (if the negotiations with the preferred bidder break down) our reserve bidder, which - by revealing to them the assumptions underpinning our commercial position - might cause them to change their commercial offer to the Council in a way that could harm the outcomes (financial and in terms of housing and other benefits) that the Council is seeking to secure through the deal. Until that commercial offer is finalised through closure of the deal, the Council remains vulnerable in this way if the information were released.

We understand that this is a high profile development with a lot of press coverage and external scrutiny. We are publishing as much information about it as we are able to in order to keep the public informed and to be open and transparent. This is on our website. Given the stage of the negotiations we need to protect our own interests and we do not believe it would be in the public interest for this information to be placed in the public domain at present.

I hope that you are satisfied with my response to your complaint. If you are dissatisfied, you may complain to the Information Commissioner, who may be able to help you. Please note that if you wish to refer this case to the Information Commissioner, they normally ask that you do so within two months of our response to you.

You can contact the Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
[email address]
www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Sue Dyos

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