Grant or Contract?

[Name Removed] made this Freedom of Information request to Copeland Borough Council This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Copeland Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Copeland Borough Council,

Last week, I submitted the following letter to Mr Boyce, but have had no response. Therefore, I am asking again, this time via What Do They Know - I would appreciate a response.

Thank you.

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What is the difference between a Grant and a Contract?

The essential elements of a grant are that the funds must be freely given and the donor receives nothing in return. Unless the grant agreement is a deed, there is no obligation to pay. A grant may be eligible to be a Gift Aid payment if the recipient is a charity. Crucially, a grant is also outside the scope of VAT.

The essential elements of a contract are that there is a mutual bargain with consideration paid. A contract contains reciprocal obligations and the payment may be subject to VAT, depending on the service being supplied. Gift Aid is not available for payments made under a contract and EC rules on public procurement will apply.

In a nutshell, the difference between the two is their legal status and rules on procurement. In the case of “grants” to Works 4 You Limited the essence of the arrangement is that in return for the “grant” it agrees to undertake certain grounds maintenance work. That sounds like a contract. (As the saying goes, if it looks a duck….) I am therefore deeply concerned that Copeland Borough Council and associated Parish Councils could be seen to be dressing up Contracts to Works 4 You Ltd as Grants.

First of all, I would like to highlight that Labour Councillor Hugh Branney is a Director of Works 4 You Ltd, and the parent company, Home to Work Ltd. Secondly whilst Works 4 You Ltd is a company limited by guarantee, and which suggests a not for profit, and possibly a charitable company, it is not registered with the Charity Commissioners. This suggests that it operates for profit. I have been led to believe that its profits are gift aided to the parent company. So some “grant” may possibly include an element of “profit”.

EXE 250314:
2.5 The environmental improvements will be undertaken by Works 4 You against a licence from the Council for sites throughout the borough with a set of minimum quality standards. Works 4 You currently undertake a range of contracts and activity throughout the borough and will be working with local partners (Parishes, Copeland Council and the locality partnerships) to ensure maximum synergy of activity. In particular they will be enabling local feedback through an annual review of past works and planned future work.

Could you please explain the terminology used in item 2.5, with regards to the use of the words, contracts and licence?

While mutual co-operation between Copeland, Parish Councils, etc, with Works 4 You may appear to be beneficial it does raise the issue of procurement rules and whether standing orders on contract awards are being circumvented. If so then this may be viewed as offending the Lord Young principles in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 designed to encourage accessibility to contracting opportunities by local firms. Money earned locally should perhaps be spread around locally so that a number of local businesses benefit which in turn aids the local economy.

EXE 250314:
6.2 The Section 151 Officer comments are: The Social Investment Fund is to provide £400k as a grant to CBC direct and £100k as a grant to Works 4 direct, for works to be carried out for CBC, under licence.

Did Copeland process the £100k awarded to Works 4 You Ltd, under EU procurement rules? Could you please explain what due diligence was carried out, with regards to the awarding of the contract/grant? Did Councillor Branney declare an interest in Works 4 You Ltd? Was dispensation granted to him? If so, under what grounds?

The Copeland Partnership:

My understanding is that Works 4 You Ltd is the preferred contractor for the partnership to carry out work in the Borough. This raises the question: If a grant was given to Works 4 You Ltd, why was an obligation placed upon Works 4 You Ltd to carry out the work, described as Social Investment Fund priority activity? I refer you to earlier: The essential elements of a contract are that there is a mutual bargain.

Whitehaven Lengthsman Scheme:

Grant Application (April 23 2014). Application no: 960341: Why is the project working with Works 4 You and not others?

What was the reason given for working with Works 4 You Ltd and not others? What due diligence was carried out in awarding Works 4 You Ltd a £18,000 grant?

Application no: 960342: What due diligence was carried out in awarding Works 4 You Ltd a £36,756 grant?

Whitehaven Locality Partnership:

Tuesday 12th January 5pm, Copeland Centre, Bainbridge Room:

10. Any Other Business? The Lengthsman Task Group have not had a response from the Whitehaven Town Council with regards to taking on the Lengthsman Scheme, following on from two presentations that Works4You have given at their monthly meetings.

Action: Sarah M-L to work with Mark Holliday produce a formal letter from the Whitehaven Locality Partnership to the Town Council, asking if they could provide some feedback/a response, as the Whitehaven Lengthsman is due to complete, along with the funding at the end of March 2016.

Why are the Whitehaven Locality Partnership working exclusively with Works 4 You Ltd with regard to the Whitehaven Lengthsman Scheme? How did the partnership adopt the Best Value principle? What due diligence was carried out with the partnership awarding grants to Works 4 You Ltd? I understood, rightly or wrongly, that one of their grant conditions was that grants were only for not for profit companies. If that is correct, and Works 4 You Ltd’s memorandum and articles permit it to recoup profits why was it grant aided?

Yours faithfully,

[name removed] [name removed]

Info, Copeland Borough Council

Thank you for your email.

I have forwarded this onto the relevant department on your behalf, who will contact you in due course, if appropriate.

Customer Services Officer
Copeland Borough Council

Tel: 01946 598300
Email: [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Copeland Borough Council, Market Hall, Market Square, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7JG.
www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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Clifford Walker, Copeland Borough Council

Dear Mr [name removed],

I acknowledge receipt of your Request for Information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your request is being considered and you will receive any recorded information held by Copeland Borough Council within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions, which may prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including your rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.

There may be a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me.

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 01625 545700
https://ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely

Cliff Walker
Information Management Officer
Democratic Services
Copeland Borough Council

Tel: 01946 59 8529
Email: [email address]

Copeland Borough Council, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7SJ. Tel: 01946 598300. Fax: 01946 598303. www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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Dear Clifford Walker,

Thank you for your response. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Yours sincerely,

[name removed] [name removed]

Clifford Walker, Copeland Borough Council

Thank you for for your email.

 

I am currently out of the office, returning on Monday 20th June  2016.

 

I will respond to your enquiry on my return.

 

Regards,

 

Cliff Walker

Information Management Officer

Telephone: 01946 598529

 

Copeland Borough Council, The Copeland Centre

Catherine Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7SJ

 

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Dear Copeland Borough Council,

Can I remind you of your obligation to respond to this request for information within 20 working days. A response from you was expected on July 14th. Would you please expedite a response?

Yours faithfully,

[name removed] [name removed]

Info, Copeland Borough Council

Dear Mr [name removed]

Thank you for your email.
I have forwarded this onto the relevant department on your behalf, who will contact to you in due course, if appropriate.

Yours sincerely,
Customer Services Officer
Copeland Borough Council
Tel: 01946 598300
Email: [Copeland Borough Council request email]
Website: www.copeland.gov.uk
Copeland Borough Council, Market Hall, Market Place, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7JG. Tel: 01946 598300. Fax: 01946 598303. www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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Clifford Walker, Copeland Borough Council

Dear Mr [name removed],

Please accept my apology for the delay in response to your FOI request as outlined, the information is taking longer than expected to collate.

The matter has been referred to Legal Manager Mr Boyce for his attention and I will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as is practicable.

Regards,

Cliff Walker
Information Management Officer
Democratic Services
Copeland Borough Council

Tel: 01946 59 8529
Email: [email address]

Copeland Borough Council, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7SJ. Tel: 01946 598300. Fax: 01946 598303. www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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Dear Clifford Walker,

Thank you for getting back in touch with me. While I do understand the legal ramifications that this FOI may incur, I do believe that the questions are simple enough to answer. However, notwithstanding the delay, I am happy to wait another seven working days before invoking the Internal Review process.

Yours sincerely,

[name removed] [name removed].

Dear Copeland Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Copeland Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Grant or Contract?'.

By law, the authority should normally have responded promptly to my request. I granted an extension to Copeland Borough Council of seven working days, and that period has now passed. I trust that the internal review will be carried out promptly. If there is no response to my request for information, I will complain to the Information Commissioner.

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

Yours faithfully,
[name removed] [name removed].

Info, Copeland Borough Council

Dear Mr [name removed]

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Request. Your request for information has been forwarded on to our Freedom of Information Officer, who will respond to your request as soon as possible, and not later than 20 days after receiving your request

Yours sincerely,
Customer Services Officer

Tel: 01946 598300
Email: [Copeland Borough Council request email]
Website: www.copeland.gov.uk
Copeland Borough Council, Market Hall, Market Place, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7JG. Tel: 01946 598300. Fax: 01946 598303. www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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Clifford Walker, Copeland Borough Council

Dear Mr [name removed],

Thank you for contacting Copeland Borough Council with your request for an Internal Review. Please accept my apology for the lack of recent contact as I have only recently returned from holiday.

This has been assigned to a caseworker. We will aim to send you a full response by 6th September 2016 which is twenty working days from the date we received your request.

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cliff Walker
Information Management Officer
Democratic Services
Copeland Borough Council

Tel: 01946 59 8529
Email: [email address]

Copeland Borough Council, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7SJ. Tel: 01946 598300. Fax: 01946 598303. www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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Customer Relations, Copeland Borough Council

Dear Mr [name removed],

Firstly, please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Marissa and one of my roles as the Councils Customer Relations Officer is to investigate any requests for a review of a response issued via FOI.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to conclude my review within timescale.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay and my assurance that I will respond to your request as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Marissa

Marissa Joyce
Customer Relations Officer
Copeland Borough Council

Tel: 01946 598525
[email address]

Working days Tuesday – Thursday

Copeland Borough Council, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7SJ. Tel: 01946 598300. Fax: 01946 598303. www.copeland.gov.uk, [Copeland Borough Council request email]

Working to improve lives, communities and the prosperity of Copeland

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