Dear City of London Corporation,

I would like to obtain the most recent Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) reports for every building owned by the City of London Corporation that is six-storeys (not including basement levels) or taller.

Could I also please receive copies of all the most recent FRAs for every six-storey-or-more building, including those owned by a housing association or private owner, that was used to house the Corporation's social-housing tenants.

Could I also please receive copies of all the most recent FRAs (produced before January 1 2018) for every six-storey-or-more building that was used to house the Corporation's social-housing tenants. Please can this also include buildings owned by a housing association or private owner.

I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

I look forward to receiving your response within 20 working days as defined by the statute.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Sheppard

COL-EB-InformationOfficer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Sheppard,
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
 
The City of London (CoL) acknowledges receipt of your request for
information of 19 June 2019.
 
Public authorities are required to respond to requests within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days beginning from the first working
day after they receive a request. The Act does not always require public
authorities to disclose the information which they hold.
 
The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and
port health authority. The CoL is the local and police authority for the
“Square Mile”, ie the historic City of London, and not for London as a
whole. Please see the following page containing a link to a map (‘Explore
the City’), which shows the local authority area covered by the CoL:
[1]https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/maps/Pag....
 
The CoL does have some functions, including Port Health Authority
functions, which extend beyond the City boundary. For further information
please see: [2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Officer
Comptroller & City Solicitor’s Department
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

SUR - FOI, City of London Corporation

1 Attachment

 

Dear Mr Sheppard,

 

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Following your request of 19 June 2019 and our acknowledgement of the 20
June 2019, City of London (CoL) responds as follows:

 

The CoL has attached a list of its Housing blocks that are 6 stories or
above and a link to its Fire Risk Assessment’s that are publicly available
on our website:
[1]https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services...

 

In addition we also look after the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)
which also falls within your request; however, this response acts as a
partial Refusal Notice in accordance with section 17 of the FOIA.

 

FOIA Section 24(1) Exemption

 

The CoL considers that this information is exempt from disclosure in
accordance with section 24(1) of the FOIA (safeguarding national
security). This exemption is applied as the CoL considers that the
disclosure of the most recent FRA for the Central Criminal Court, together
with the associated documents, floorplans, diagrams, schematics, etc.
would provide full details of the access, layout and design of the
building. In view of the fact that this building provides the hub for the
nation’s highest profile security trials, it is considered that this
would without doubt increase the vulnerability of the UK and its citizens
to a national security threat, increasing a likelihood of targeted
measures designed to undermine the safeguarding of this particular
national building and to the nation’s security.

 

The CoL also takes into account that a public authority has to consider a
disclosure under the FOIA as a disclosure to the world. We note the
Information Tribunal’s statement that “Disclosure under [the] FOIA is
effectively an unlimited disclosure to the public as a whole, without
conditions” (Information Tribunal Appeal Decision EA/2006/0011 & 0013).

 

The CoL considers that the application of the exemption at section 24(1)
is consistent with the guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s
Office (ICO), “Safeguarding National Security” (version 1.0, 10/09/2012),
which is available on the ICO’s website.

 

The exemption at section 24(1) is subject to the public interest test,
and, in the CoL’s view, the public interest in maintaining this exemption
outweighs any public interest in its disclosure.

 

In favour of disclosure, there may be general public interest from an
architectural and historic view point, for this building which is
routinely in the public eye.

 

However, the disclosure of more specific documents and information, that
are contained within the FRA, would contribute substantially to any
threats that the building may be at risk of. Should the FRA for this
building be publicly disclosed, as with an FOIA response, it would expose
the UK to an increased threat from terrorist activities. The CoL therefore
considers that it is clearly in the public interest for this information
not to be disclosed under the FOIA.

 

 

FOIA Section 31(1)(a) Exemption

 

The CoL considers that the FOIA Section 31(1)(a) (the prevention and
detection of crime) & 31(1)(c) (the administration of justice) exemptions
apply to the information you have requested ie ‘the most recent Fire Risk
Assessment (FRA) reports for every building owned by the City of London
Corporation that is six-storeys (not including basement levels) or
taller’, also applies to this part of the response.

 

The CoL considers that the disclosure of the Fire Risk Assessment for this
building, would or would be likely to prejudice the prevention and/or
detection of crime and the administration of justice, as it includes
floorplans, diagrams, schematics, etc.

 

Please note that public authorities are compelled under the FOIA to
consider any disclosure made under the Act as a disclosure to the world.
The Information Tribunal has stated that “Disclosure under [the] FOIA is
effectively an unlimited disclosure to the public as a whole, without
conditions” (Information Tribunal Appeal Decision EA/2006/0011 & 0013).
This has also been referred to by the Information Commissioner, eg the
Information Commissioner's Decision Notice FS 50294078. Therefore, in
considering whether or not to disclose information, the CoL has to
consider a disclosure to any single applicant following an FOI request as
a disclosure to the public as a whole.

 

The CoL believes that the disclosure of the information requested would
put valuable, high security information into the public domain. The
disclosure of such information could also identify the building to be more
likely to be singled out by those wishing to harm or infiltrate it.

 

The harm which could be caused by any criminal actions to the building
concerned may occur in several ways, of which the following are some
examples: the disruption of its day to day functioning, affecting the
immediate residential and business community which it serves in the City,
and the wider communities beyond; harm to national and international
security, and that of the City of London Police; the endangering of the
safety of individuals through the disclosure of the security information
contained within the Fire Risk Assessment; and the distress to individuals
should the security of the building be breached.

 

This exemption is a qualified exemption. In other words, the exemption is
subject to the public interest test.

 

Firstly, please note that the public interest does not mean what is of
interest to the public (any information may be of interest to the public),
but what disclosures may best serve the interests of the public.

 

The CoL can accept there may be some general interest, in this instance,
as the building is very much in the public eye. However, as it is such a
public building disclosing the information would put the public who have
the need to use the Central Criminal Court very much at risk. It is for
that reason that we see that the public interest would be best served by
non-disclosure of the Fire Risk Assessment for the Central Criminal Court,
and cannot envisage any circumstances in which it would be at any time in
the future. It is clearly not in the public interest for any harm to
befall members of the general public through any possibility of targeted
infiltration and/or attacks, by creating vulnerability of its security
provision and systems by disclosing such information.

 

In conclusion, the CoL considers that there are no public interest
arguments for the disclosure of this information, and that the public
interest arguments against disclosure are considerable.

 

FOIA Section 38 Exemption

 

Additionally, the COL considers the FOIA section 38(1)(b) exemption would
apply, which relates to Health & Safety, for the same reasons as stated
previously in this response.

 

Despite the application of the above exemptions the CoL is able to confirm
that the last FRA for the Central Criminal Court was carried out in 2017.

 

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the CoL has managed your
enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email address:
[2][email address]. For a link to the CoL’s FOI complaints
procedure, please visit the following page:
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the CoL’s FOI Complaints
Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the Information
Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone:
(01625) 545700.  Website: [4]http://www.ico.org.uk/.

 

The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and
port health authority.

 

The CoL holds the copyright in this communication. Its supply does not
give a right to re-use in a way that would infringe that copyright, for
example, by making copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public or
to any other person. Brief extracts of any of the material may be
reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the purposes of research for
non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and news
reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the copyright owner.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Access to Information Network Representative

City Surveyor's Department

Email: [5][email address]

[6]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

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