Funding and benefit payments to Swindon Women's Aid, Swindon Women's Refuge.

Susan Murray made this Freedom of Information request to Swindon Borough Council Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was successful.

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

This request relates to funding and benefit payments made by the council to the following bodies:

Swindon Women's Aid

Swindon Women's Refuge.

Please state the total amounts paid to each of these concerns in each of the last five years to 31 March 2023. The sources should include any funding and housing benefits, or other sums, paid to either body, or residents for occupying accommodation at the refuge.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for contacting Swindon Borough Council.

 

Any Council Tax queries please contact them directly on 0345 302 2316 or
via email on [email address] We cannot support with
these enquires.

 

We have received your email and will pass it on to the relevant department
or action accordingly. If we need to contact you back for further
information, we will do so within 5 working days.

 

Please note this mailbox is monitored Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00.

 

You may also wish to visit our website for support with your query at
[1]https://www.swindon.gov.uk/

 

The following emergency services are available outside of usual business
hours:

 

Social services

To report abuse, neglect or a risk to a vulnerable person:
01793 445500

 

Housing services

To report an emergency housing situation or homelessness:
01793 445500

 

Customer Services

Swindon Borough Council   

The views expressed in this email are personal and may not necessarily
reflect those of Swindon Borough Council unless explicitly stated
otherwise. This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify me
immediately. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you
should not copy it for any purpose, or disclose its contents to any other
person. Senders and recipients of email should be aware that, under the
Data Protection Act 2018 and Freedom of Information Act 2000, the contents
may have to be disclosed. The contents may be subject to recording and/or
monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation This footnote also
confirms that this email has been swept by Anti-Virus software for the
presence of computer viruses. However, Swindon Borough Council cannot
accept liability for viruses that may be in this email and we recommend
that you check all emails with an appropriate virus scanner.
....

References

Visible links
1. https://www.swindon.gov.uk/

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

Thank you for your acknowledgement dated 6 May 2023.

When dealing with this request please include Greensquare Accord in the bodies to whom the council has made payments in respect of Swindon Women's Refuge in the period of time stated.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Swindon Borough Council

[1]Swindon Borough Council
Dear Susan Murray,

Case reference number: FOI005984

Thank you for your request. The Freedom of Information Act creates two
general rights in relation to information:

 1. The right to be told whether or not the information requested is
held
 2. The right to be given that information within 20 working days

We aim to respond to your request within 20 working days.

Kind regards, 

Freedom of Information Representative
Corporate, Anti-Social Behaviour, Leisure and Libraries

Swindon Borough Council

References

Visible links
1. https://myaccount.swindon.gov.uk/q

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I refer to my request under the FOIA and it is with great concern I note you have failed to provide the information within the statutory time limit. The response from you is now delayed and this situation needs to be remedied immediately. Please supply the details requested without further delay.

It is in the public interest for information on Swindon Women's Aid and Swindon Women's Refuge to be made available given there are serious concerns about the operation of these bodies.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Good afternoon Susan,

Thank you for your email. I have sent an email to the relevant team chasing your FOI request. Please kindly wait for their response.

Kind regards,
Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Direct line: 01793 445500
www.swindon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Susan Murray (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

There needs to be an investigation as to the situation at Swindon Women's Refuge. The charge is £444 per week for each unit of accommodation. There are 22+ units of accommodation there for women and children. Given that the place is run of skeleton staff, the landlord declines to undertake repairs and women fail to receive support, prima facie, this is defrauding the benefits system. Rather than support women living there, they are subjected to abuse, threats, bullying and intimidation. It is often the case that women are evicted without notice which means they are put out on the street. At times they are not allowed to collect their belongings and are left with the clothes they stand up in. The manner in which this place operates gives cause for serious concern.

Caroline Airley (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

In Swindon Women's Refuge women are scared to speak out at the conditions for fear of eviction. Basic human rights are denied to women there. It is more like a prison than a refuge.

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Swindon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Funding and benefit payments to Swindon Women's Aid, Swindon Women's Refuge.'.

The FOIA request was made to you on 6 May 2023, plus an additional communication of 7 May 2023. You failed to provide the information within the lawful time limits so a reminder was issued on 12 June 2023. Despite this the information remains outstanding at the present time. Since you fail to comply with the time limits set out in the FOIA this will be escalated now. Please note that in the event you decline to provide this information it will be referred to the ICO by way of complaint.

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

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Susan Murray (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

It is a fact that women and children are being treated appallingly at Swindon Women's Refuge. Since Swindon Borough Council fail to provide this information it gives rise to serious doubts as to their competence to address the problems that exist there. In recent times the women and children had no hot water for a week. This is a common occurrence there and they are often without hot water for periods of time. The landlord fails to deal with this as an emergency repair, to remedy it within 24 hours. At one time they had no hot water for a fortnight. Staff at the refuge did little to help, just issued an additional kettle to heat water. This is not good enough and the extortionate charges of £444 a week need to be examined.

Swindon Borough Council

[1]Swindon Borough Council
Dear Susan Murray,

Case reference number: FOI005984

We have updated your freedom of information case with the following
message:

════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════

Please find the Finance Response with regards to amounts paid to Swindon
Womens Refuge / Swindon Womens Aid - Benefits Data to follow from
benefits Team.

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Officer
Swindon Borough Council

References

Visible links
1. https://myaccount.swindon.gov.uk/q

Swindon Borough Council

[1]Swindon Borough Council
Dear Susan Murray,

Case reference number: FOI005984

We have updated your freedom of information case with the following
message:

════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════

Please find attached the Housing Benefits team response. All payments
made were to Swindon Women's Aid none to Swindon Women's refuge

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Officer
Swindon Borough Council

References

Visible links
1. https://myaccount.swindon.gov.uk/q

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I acknowledge receipt of your two messages dated 4 August 2023.

The response fails to provide the information requested some time ago. This should be posted on this site for the public to be aware of the situation. As it stands you have failed to comply with the FOIA and the request for Internal Review stands. It is in the public interest for this information to be available. In the event you continue to fail to provide the informatIon, this will be referred to the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

John Moat (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The public authority has responded fully to the request. The requestor is vexatiously abusing FOI legislation in order to pursue their grievance with a third party.

Susan Murray (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

To respond to the annotation made by a third party, this request has not been met to date. The council has delayed any response and now attempts to hide the information from public view. This is something that needs to be addressed as it is in the public interest for this information to be made available. Given the council funds the very substantial charges made by Swindon Women's Aid, some £444 per week for flats at the refuge ( there are 22+ flats there) it is clear that substantial amounts of public money are being paid to this outfit. In view of the conditions that exist there, quite frankly this needs to be investigated as to whether it is justified. It is also questionable quite how this is being spent and on what. This request is not vexatious and no grievance exists as is claimed. Any organisation which obtains huge amounts of public money should be accountable. The FOIA is designed to make public bodies accountable. The post by John Moat is untrue and malicious. I query whether this person is connected to Swindon Borough Council, or the trustees of Swindon Refuge. The latter are renowned for their fascist attitude.

Tara Forrest, Swindon Borough Council

4 Attachments

Dear Susan Murray

 

Re: FOI Freedom of Information Request - FOI005984

 

Please find the response to the following questions

 

This request relates to funding and benefit payments made by the council
to the following bodies:
Swindon Women's Aid
Swindon Women's Refuge.
Please state the total amounts paid to each of these concerns in each of
the last five years to 31 March 2023. The sources should include any
funding and housing benefits, or other sums, paid to either body, or
residents for occupying accommodation at the refuge.

 

The amounts paid  to Swindon Womens Refuge and Swindon Womens Aid for the
financial years 2018/19 to 2022/23 are as follows:

 

   
Year Type Total  
Funding - Domestic Abuse  
2018/19 Grant 276,700.00
  Other Expenditure 14,186.86  
2018/19 Total   290,886.86  
Funding - Domestic Abuse  
2019/20 Grant 279,500.04
Funding - Other 15,000.00  
  Other Expenditure 8,556.61  
2019/20 Total   303,056.65  
Funding - Domestic Abuse  
2020/21 Grant 284,811.00
Funding - Other 65,000.00  
  Other Expenditure 16,917.13  
2020/21 Total   366,728.13  
Funding - Domestic Abuse  
2021/22 Grant 287,374.00
Funding - Other 198,341.20  
  Other Expenditure 10,584.75  
2021/22 Total   496,299.95  
Funding - Domestic Abuse  
2022/23 Grant 302,892.00
Funding - Other 50,000.00  
  Other Expenditure 2,372.46  
2022/23 Total   355,264.46  
Grand Total   1,812,236.05  
 
1) Swindon Womens Refuge became Swindon Womens Aid in September 2018.
The first 5 monthly instalments of the 2018/19 DA Grant were paid to  
Swindon Womens Refuge.
ALL other payments have been made to Swindon Womens Aid  
2) Other Expenditure includes accommodation costs, training courses and  
other ad-hoc expenditure
 

For Housing Benefit, the amount paid to Swindon Women's Aid was:

 

Year Type Total
2018/19 Housing Benefit paid £315,139.35
2019/20 Housing Benefit Paid £335,437.80
2020/21 Housing Benefit Paid £314,238.09
2021/22 Houisng Benefit Paid £412,316.63
2022/23 Housing Benefit Paid £409,316.92
Grand total   £1,789,489.79

 

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a review you should contact:

 

Customer Services

Civic Offices

Euclid Street

Swindon

 

The complaints/review procedure involves a full review by the Information
Governance Manager. 

[email address]

 

You can also use our on-line form:
https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20159/ma...

 

It is our usual practice to accept a request for an internal review made
within 40 working days from the date that we have issued a response to a
request.

We are not obliged to accept internal reviews after this date.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of our conclusion, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision before
contacting the Council. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless
you have exhausted the Council's own complaints procedure.

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at :

 

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

If you require any further information concerning this matter please
contact me quoting the reference number at the top of the letter.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Kind Regards

 

 

 

Tara Forrest

(She/Her)

Leadership Support Officer and PA to:
Sam Mowbray - Chief Executive

Mick Bowden - Corporate Director of Finance and Assets

Philip Murkin - Chief Digital Officer

 

Business Support

Swindon Borough Council

 

[1]www.swindon.gov.uk

 

My working day may not be your working day. Please do not feel obliged to
reply to this email outside of your normal working hours.

 

 

[2]cid:image001.png@01D6673D.02E534D0   
[3]cid:image002.png@01D6673D.02E534D0     [4]cid:image003.png@01D6673D.02E534D0                                                    
[5]cid:image004.png@01D904CF.A83F1C70 

 

 

The views expressed in this email are personal and may not necessarily
reflect those of Swindon Borough Council unless explicitly stated
otherwise. This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify me
immediately. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you
should not copy it for any purpose, or disclose its contents to any other
person. Senders and recipients of email should be aware that, under the
Data Protection Act 2018 and Freedom of Information Act 2000, the contents
may have to be disclosed. The contents may be subject to recording and/or
monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation This footnote also
confirms that this email has been swept by Anti-Virus software for the
presence of computer viruses. However, Swindon Borough Council cannot
accept liability for viruses that may be in this email and we recommend
that you check all emails with an appropriate virus scanner.
....

References

Visible links
1. http://www.swindon.gov.uk/
2. https://en-gb.facebook.com/SwindonBoroug...
3. https://twitter.com/swindoncouncil
4. https://www.instagram.com/swindonborough...
5. https://www.swindon.gov.uk/

Dear Tara Forrest,

Thank you for your response of 15 August 2023.

Can I suggest that there is an investigation into the situation that exists at Swindon Women's Refuge? Given the amount of money they receive the conditions that exist there are in need of examination by an independent body. Women and children left without heating in the winter months, women sleeping on mattresses stained with urine and blood, failure to do repairs in flats (or these taking months to do at best) and the severe abuse to which women are subjected by certain staff members. The regime that operates the refuge can only be described as having a fascist mentality. Vulnerable women and children are evicted with no notice and are put on the street. Only recently a very vulnerable women with children was evicted and she is now living in one room with her children.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Murray

Tara Forrest, Swindon Borough Council

Dear Susan

Thank you for your below e-mail, of which I acknowledge receipt.

I have forwarded your email the relevant Council Officer to see how we can assist with this matter. A full response will follow in due course.
Thank you for your patience while we try to resolve the issue to your satisfaction.

Kind Regards

Tara Forrest
(She/Her)
Leadership Support Officer and PA to:
Sam Mowbray - Chief Executive
Mick Bowden - Corporate Director of Finance and Assets
Philip Murkin - Chief Digital Officer

Business Support
Swindon Borough Council

www.swindon.gov.uk

My working day may not be your working day. Please do not feel obliged to reply to this email outside of your normal working hours.

show quoted sections