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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Kingston upon Thames Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to know the average proportion of time the elected representatives of your authority spend as part of their duties for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 on their main activities. The activities that form their duties (employment) as an elected representative are:

1 directly resolving complaints against the executive (Council Staff) of the Council by residents;
2 sitting on committee's;
3 acting for the political parties that they represent and/or ceremonial duties (i.e. all time not spent on sitting on a Committee or resolving a complaint against the executive);

The total time spent by an elected representative for a Council on these three activities should be 100 per cent of the time they spend 'working for a Council' as an elected representative.

I would additionally like to know how much in total was paid to local councillors to meet all their duties (including expenses) for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 by your authority, and how many elected representatives are (and were) represented on your authority for these years.

I would also like to know how many Complaints in total were submitted to your Council in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 for each year. I would further like to know how many of these complaints were formally considered by an elected representative for each of these years.

I would further like to know how many complaints against the Executive (Council staff) led to the elected representatives formally identifying that the Executive had acted wrongly for the years 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, and how many of these formal determinations by the elected representatives identify that there was no wrong-doing by the Executive. How many staff employed by your authority in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 ceased to be employed by your authority as a direct result of a complaint against the Executive, and the Councillors identifying this to be the case.

I would further like to know how much money the Council has paid to a complainant (i.e. victim of a Council's wrongdoing) through its own complaints system (i.e. excluding any intervention by the Local Government Ombudsman, Valuation Tribunal or similar body) in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

I would like to know how much money either in the form of local settlement or additional formal finding of maladministration causing injustice the Local Government Ombudsman has recommended that your Council pay in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 (for each year) and if the Local Government Ombudsman's recommendations have been met in full (including any non-financial recommendations for each year)). Please detail any recommendation that has not been met in full and provide a copy of the Elected representatives decision. Please additionally identify if these costs were met directly by Council Tax Payers or the Council's insurers (excluding self insurance by a Council)

Finally, please provide details of the financial cost of administering all your complaints systems (including FoI and DP) by the Executive for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the number of staff employed in administering complaints and resolving these (Full time equivalent staffing levels). Please also provide details of your total administrative costs for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the total number of staff employed by your authority, as well as any pay increase (including increments) made to the Council's Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) in pounds sterling for each of these years. Please additionally identify if the Chief Executives wages included performance related payments.

If you do not have this reasonably basic management information related to complaints and/or identify that the costs of accessing the information requested will be more than £450 please state this and identify that your Authority does not have either a functioning or accountable complaints system, and does not maintain any basic management information related to this issue.

If you have a complaints system not fit for purpose please identify which political party currently controls your Council, and if this political party has appointed the current Electoral Registration and Returning Officer through its control of the Council (with date of their formal appointment). Please name the current Electoral Registration and Returning Officer, and identify if they are also Head of Paid Service, and Clerk to your Authority. Please additionally provide any documentation maintained by your Local Authorities Head of Paid Service identifying that they personally do not believe it to be appropriate for your Council to have a complaints system that is fit for purpose. This documentation should be in existence due to the provisions of s4 of the Local Government Act 1989.

Yours faithfully


Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Response overdue

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

John Newnham,

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Hardwicke

Your request for information has now been considered and the response is as follows together with attachments as appropriate.Please note that the second attachment is a draft of a report which it is proposed will go to a meeting of the Scrutiny Panel this year.Please treat it as such.
The Head of Democratic Services and Partnerships disagrees with the " duties of Elected Members" as defined by yourself.He considers it should be split up into "Ward Representation,Decision Making/Policy Development,Community Leadership ."I am informed that we do not hold information recording how much time the Councillors spend on these activities and it is not intended to do so in the near future.
However in order to assist I understand that the 2006 National Census of Councillors in England states that the average time spent by Councillors at Council meetings and Committee meetings etc is 9.8 hours per week;some 7.2 hours a week are spent engaging with constituents and dealing with their enquiries etc;whilst a further 5.6 hours a week are spent in various external meetings,seminars,training etc.
The total amount paid to Councillors for each of the last three financial years in allowances are as follows;
2005/6 £590,687.99
2006/7 £583,424.25
2007/8 £600,047.86
Andrew Bessant is the Council's Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer.He is not the Head of Paid Service and as Head of Democratic Services and Partnerships is not the Clerk to the Authority either.
The number of staff including schools staff was 4,497 for 05/06,4,551 for 06/07 and 4,509 for 07/08.The increase in the Chief Executive's salary for 05/06 was £3,199,06/07 was £4,119 and 07/08 was £4,221.There was no performance-related pay.
If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me.
If you have any concerns or queries about the handling of your enquiry then please contact the Records Manager & Data Protection Officer,Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames,High Street,Kingston upon Thames KT1 1EU telephone 020 8547 5757.E-Mail:[email address]
Further Information on the Act is available from the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Tel:01625 545 700

Yours sincerely

John Newnham

Principal Solicitor
Department of Legal Services
020 8547 4631
Fax 020 8547 5127/3
e-mail [email address]

The information contained in this message is confidential. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and others authorised to receive it. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, copying, dissemination or disclosure of this information is strictly prohibited

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