Highland Council & NHS Highland

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

Dear Highland Council,

a considerable number of people working for NHS Highland (including some of the individuals responsible for responding to the FoI requests it receives) are former Highland Council employees.

Moreover, a considerable number of the job positions that are actually advertised by NHS Highland are internal and are: “OPEN TO NHS HIGHLAND AND HIGHLAND COUNCIL EMPLOYEES ONLY.”

1. Could the Highland Council please provide all the information that it can release under FOISA regarding its partnership with NHS Highland?

2. Could the Highland Council please provide all the information that it can release under FOISA regarding the procedure (including any eventual legislation currently in place) it follows to ensure disinterested assessment of all the inspections carried out at NHS Highland (this includes any aspect in which the Highland Council is supposed to be the body that monitors NHS Highland; for example, the granting of licenses and authorizations, the investigations of complaints, the monitoring of the management of premises, etc.)?

3. Could the Highland Council please provide all the information that it can release under FOISA regarding its own recruitments process (including any eventual legislation currently in place), and say whether or not in its organization members of the same family and friends are allowed to work within the same department, or even together? In this eventuality, what systems does the Highland Council have in place to prevent any conflicts of interests?

4. Could the Highland Council please also provide all the information that it can release under FOISA regarding the procedure (including any eventual legislation currently in place) it follows during its own recruitment process in the eventuality of discovering that a job candidate has friends and/or relatives already working in its organization? What systems does the Highland Council have in place to prevent any conflicts of interests in the eventuality of the job candidate being successful in obtaining or reobtaining the job?

5. Could the highland council please provide a copy of its own investigation and disciplinary procedure currently in use when a member of staff is involved in an incident, and a copy of its own investigation and disciplinary procedure currently in use when a member of staff that has friends a relatives in its organization is involved in an incident?

According to some information that I finally managed to obtain from NHS Highland, it would appear that each of the HMO licences that NHS Highland needs in order to legally run each of its dozens of HMOs (with a current annual income of £15,089.28 each, and managed in liaison with the Highland Council) at Raigmore (Inverness), comprises the following inspection certificates:

• Fire Safety Scotland Act
• Annual Fire Risk Assessment
• 5 Yearly Electrical Inspection
• Annual PAT testing
• CNORRIS Indemnity Insurance (Annual)
• Annual Heating Inspection
• Annual Door Inspection
• 3 Monthly Legionnaire Inspections

The above is the HMO licence that I have been asking for years to see and that, except for the 2016’s PAT testing, I have never managed to obtain from NHS Highland. Even after 2011, when NHS Highland was apparently granted by the Highland Council HMO licences for the first time. (HMO licences would appear to be a legal obligation when running HMOs.)

6. Could the Highland Council please confirm whether or not the information I managed to obtain from NHS Highland is correct, and whether or not any other document is supposed to be always made available for viewing when legally running an HMO?

According to NHS Highland it would appear that the HMO licence I requested to see is under renewal, and that HMO licences are about to be made available for viewing only on request.

7. Could the Highland Council please say what the current legislation says about HMO licences renewal? For example, are HMO licences meant to be renewed after they have expired, or before they expire?

8. What are the legal consequences for a landlord who does not renew an HMO licence as indicated by the legislation?

9. Could the Highland Council please say what the current legislation says about the retention of records, documents and certificates needed to run HMOs?

10. What are the legal consequences for a landlord who does retain records, documents and certificate as indicated by the legislation?

11. Could the Highland Council please provide a copy of its new and reworded H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O. Standards that indicates that HMO licences granted to landlords can be made available to people for viewing only on request?

12. Could the Highland Council please say when it had introduced its new and reworded H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O. Standards and also provide copies of the meetings minutes that brought the Highland Council to the decision of modifying its H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O. Standards?

13. If no meetings minutes were taken, could the Highland Council please say what changes it had introduced in its new and reworded H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O. Standards?

14. Could the Highland Council please say how much it charges for an HMO licence application?

15. Of the 65 HMOs owned and run by NHS Highland at Raigmore, could the Highland Council please say how many HMO licence applications have actually been lodged so far by NHS Highland at the Highland Council for consideration and renewal?

16. Could the Highland Council please say how many of the HMO licence applications that have been lodged so far by NHS Highland at the Highland Council have been considered and renewed in order for NHS highland to be legally authorized to run its numerous and profitable HMOs at Raigmore?

17. Could the Highland Council please say who would be held legally liable in case of an incident in a HMO premise where inspection certificates are not made available (even under formal request) and, as a consequence, it is not clear whether or not the inspections (inspections would appear to be a legal obligation in order to run HMOs) have been carried out? For example, would it be held legally liable the landlord (in this case NHS Highland), the local authority (in this case the Highland Council), or both?

18. Could the Highland Council please say when it was last time that it had carried out an inspection of the numerous and profitable HMOs owned and run by NHS Highland at Raigmore to verify whether or not the premises complied with the standards and licensing conditions? Could the Highland Council please provide a copy of the report and outcome of the most recent inspection?

19. Could the Highland Council please confirm who in the Highland region is responsible for enforcing and monitoring the HMO legislation?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Dear Highland Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Highland Council's handling of my FOI request 'Highland Council & NHS Highland'

Your Highland Council has not responded to my latest FoI request? It was not even acknowledged.

Has your Highland Council received my most recent FoI request? This one was submitted via WDTK.

Could your Highland Council please provide the information that was requested in my FoI request of 04 February 2018?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Highland Council

Dear S Sabato, 
We acknowledge receipt of your request for information under the
EIR legislation received on 06/03/2018.
Subject: 
Highland Council & NHS Highland
Request Detail:
"Dear Highland Council,

a considerable number of people working for NHS Highland (including some
of the individuals responsible for responding to the FoI requests it
receives) are former Highland Council employees.

Moreover, a considerable number of the job positions that are actually
advertised by NHS Highland are internal and are: ?OPEN TO NHS HIGHLAND AND
HIGHLAND COUNCIL EMPLOYEES ONLY.?

1. Could the Highland Council please provide all the information that it
can release under FOISA regarding its partnership with NHS Highland?

2. Could the Highland Council please provide all the information that it
can release under FOISA regarding the procedure (including any eventual
legislation currently in place) it follows to ensure disinterested
assessment of all the inspections carried out at NHS Highland (this
includes any aspect in which the Highland Council is supposed to be the
body that monitors NHS Highland; for example, the granting of licenses and
authorizations, the investigations of complaints, the monitoring of the
management of premises, etc.)?

3. Could the Highland Council please provide all the information that it
can release under FOISA regarding its own recruitments process (including
any eventual legislation currently in place), and say whether or not in
its organization members of the same family and friends are allowed to
work within the same department, or even together? In this eventuality,
what systems does the Highland Council have in place to prevent any
conflicts of interests?

4. Could the Highland Council please also provide all the information that
it can release under FOISA regarding the procedure (including any eventual
legislation currently in place) it follows during its own recruitment
process in the eventuality of discovering that a job candidate has friends
and/or relatives already working in its organization? What systems does
the Highland Council have in place to prevent any conflicts of interests
in the eventuality of the job candidate being successful in obtaining or
reobtaining the job?

5. Could the highland council please provide a copy of its own
investigation and disciplinary procedure currently in use when a member of
staff is involved in an incident, and a copy of its own investigation and
disciplinary procedure currently in use when a member of staff that has
friends a relatives in its organization is involved in an incident?

According to some information that I finally managed to obtain from NHS
Highland, it would appear that each of the HMO licences that NHS Highland
needs in order to legally run each of its dozens of HMOs (with a current
annual income of £15,089.28 each, and managed in liaison with the Highland
Council) at Raigmore (Inverness), comprises the following inspection
certificates:

? Fire Safety Scotland Act
? Annual Fire Risk Assessment
? 5 Yearly Electrical Inspection
? Annual PAT testing
? CNORRIS Indemnity Insurance (Annual)
? Annual Heating Inspection
? Annual Door Inspection
? 3 Monthly Legionnaire Inspections

The above is the HMO licence that I have been asking for years to see and
that, except for the 2016?s PAT testing, I have never managed to obtain
from NHS Highland. Even after 2011, when NHS Highland was apparently
granted by the Highland Council HMO licences for the first time. (HMO
licences would appear to be a legal obligation when running HMOs.)

6. Could the Highland Council please confirm whether or not the
information I managed to obtain from NHS Highland is correct, and whether
or not any other document is supposed to be always made available for
viewing when legally running an HMO?

According to NHS Highland it would appear that the HMO licence I requested
to see is under renewal, and that HMO licences are about to be made
available for viewing only on request.

7. Could the Highland Council please say what the current legislation says
about HMO licences renewal? For example, are HMO licences meant to be
renewed after they have expired, or before they expire?

8. What are the legal consequences for a landlord who does not renew an
HMO licence as indicated by the legislation?

9. Could the Highland Council please say what the current legislation says
about the retention of records, documents and certificates needed to run
HMOs?

10. What are the legal consequences for a landlord who does retain
records, documents and certificate as indicated by the legislation?

11. Could the Highland Council please provide a copy of its new and
reworded H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O. Standards that indicates
that HMO licences granted to landlords can be made available to people for
viewing only on request?

12. Could the Highland Council please say when it had introduced its new
and reworded H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O. Standards and also
provide copies of the meetings minutes that brought the Highland Council
to the decision of modifying its H.M.O. Licence Conditions and H.M.O.
Standards?

13. If no meetings minutes were taken, could the Highland Council please
say what changes it had introduced in its new and reworded H.M.O. Licence
Conditions and H.M.O. Standards?

14. Could the Highland Council please say how much it charges for an HMO
licence application?

15. Of the 65 HMOs owned and run by NHS Highland at Raigmore, could the
Highland Council please say how many HMO licence applications have
actually been lodged so far by NHS Highland at the Highland Council for
consideration and renewal?

16. Could the Highland Council please say how many of the HMO licence
applications that have been lodged so far by NHS Highland at the Highland
Council have been considered and renewed in order for NHS highland to be
legally authorized to run its numerous and profitable HMOs at Raigmore?

17. Could the Highland Council please say who would be held legally liable
in case of an incident in a HMO premise where inspection certificates are
not made available (even under formal request) and, as a consequence, it
is not clear whether or not the inspections (inspections would appear to
be a legal obligation in order to run HMOs) have been carried out? For
example, would it be held legally liable the landlord (in this case NHS
Highland), the local authority (in this case the Highland Council), or
both?

18. Could the Highland Council please say when it was last time that it
had carried out an inspection of the numerous and profitable HMOs owned
and run by NHS Highland at Raigmore to verify whether or not the premises
complied with the standards and licensing conditions? Could the Highland
Council please provide a copy of the report and outcome of the most recent
inspection?

19. Could the Highland Council please confirm who in the Highland region
is responsible for enforcing and monitoring the HMO legislation?

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato"

The Highland Council will endeavour to respond within the legislative time
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of your request is required.
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The Highland Council
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Freedom of Information, Highland Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Response HC0226 3211 Highland Council and NHS Highland.docx.dotx

    58K Download

Dear Mr Sabato,

I refer you to your request for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please see attached the Highland Council's response.

Kind Regards

Eliane Higa
Customer Services Officer
Chief Executive’s Office
The Highland Council
HQ
Glenurquhart Rd
Inverness
IV3 5NX

show quoted sections

Dear Highland Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Highland Council's handling of my FoI request 'Highland Council & NHS Highland'.

In Q3 was also asked if in your organization members of the same family and friends were allowed to work within the same department, or even together and, in this eventuality, what systems had the Highland Council in place to prevent any conflicts of interests?

The ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’, the ‘Social relationships’ and the ‘Conflicts of Interest’ sections found in the Highland Council’s Code of Conduct appear to answer to Q3 only in part. None of the documents released by the Highland Council appear to mention anything regarding the eventuality of having members of the same family and friends working within the same department or together.

3. Could the Highland Council please say if in its organization members of the same family and friends are allowed to work within the same department, or even together? In other words, could the Highland Council please say if it has any policies and procedures, or any other recorded information that can be released under FOISA (including any eventual legislation currently in place) which deals with the eventuality of having members of the same family and friends working together or within the same department?

In Q12 the Highland Council says that the new Standards and Conditions were agreed on 28 March 2017. However, the new and reworded H.M.O. Standards recently introduced by the Highland Council was amended not once but twice in the year 2017. Once on 28 March 2017, and again on 14 November 2017. In the documents released in response to Q12 I only see the minutes of the meeting held on 28 march 2017.

12. Could the Highland Council please also provide the minutes of the meeting the brought your organization to the decision of introducing a further modification to its H.M.O. Standards on 14 November 2017. I am really interested to read why a further modification to the H.M.O. Standards was needed only a few months after the previous amendment.

In its response to Q18 the Highland Council says that “the Council’s Environmental Health Service carried out inspections in April 2017 and thereafter confirmed that all HMO’s complied with the Council’s HMO conditions and standards”.

Q18 was also requesting a copy of the report and not just the outcome of the most recent inspection.

18. Would it be possible to see the report of the inspections carried out by your Council’s Environmental Health Service in April 2017? I am really interested to read what it was actually inspected during the inspections. I refer in particular to the application of Section 11 of your new and reworded H.M.O. Standards.

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

Yours faithfully,

S Sabato

Freedom of Information, Highland Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sabato,

 

I refer to your email below, which has been treated as a review under
section 20 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

 

I have discussed your request with our Human Resources and Licensing
Teams, please find below the information which addresses the points you
have raised in your review request.

 

3. Could the Highland Council please say if in its organization members of
the same family and friends are allowed to work within the same
department, or even together? In other words, could the Highland Council
please say if it has any policies and procedures, or any other recorded
information that can be released under FOISA (including any eventual
legislation currently in place) which deals with the eventuality of having
members of the same family and friends working together or within the same
department? 

 

There is no corporate policy which would prevent members of the same
family and friends working in the same department or together. Applicants,
when applying for a post, are required to declare any relationship to
Council staff and/or elected members to the recruiting manager, who will
assess whether there is the possibility of any conflict of interests, and
seek further advice where necessary.  

 

12. Could the Highland Council please also provide the minutes of the
meeting the brought your organization to the decision of introducing a
further modification to its H.M.O. Standards on 14 November 2017. I am
really interested to read why a further modification to the H.M.O.
Standards was needed only a few months after the previous amendment.

 

The Highland Council’s HMO standards were updated in November 2017 as a
result of the introduction of the Private Residential Tenancies (PRT)
which came into effect from 1 December 2017. As this change to the tenancy
agreements was statutory, no approval was required by the Highland
Licensing Committee to update the standards to reflect this.

 

18. Would it be possible to see the report of the inspections carried out
by your Council’s Environmental Health Service in April 2017? I am really
interested to read what it was actually inspected during the inspections.
I refer in particular to the application of Section 11 of your new and
reworded H.M.O. Standards.

 

Attached is a copy of the HMO Renewal Inspection Form used by the
Environmental Health (EH) Service when undertaking inspections of
premises. EH have advised that these completed forms are not retained
following the inspections, however they have confirmed that all Raigmore
HMO premises met the requirements contained therein.  

 

If you remain dissatisfied with any aspects of my response regarding the
provision of recorded information, you have the right to request that the
Scottish Information Commissioner takes up an appeal on your behalf. 
Their contact details are:

 

Scottish Information Commissioner,
Kinburn Castle,
Doubledykes Road,
St Andrews, Fife
KY16 9DS

 

Telephone: 01334 464610
Fax: 01334 464611
e-mail: [1][email address]

 

Your request should contain details of the aspects of the Council’s
response with which you are dissatisfied and should be made within 6
months of receipt of this review response.  If you are
subsequently dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal to the
Commissioner you then have the right of appeal to the Court of Session
regarding a point of law.

Yours sincerely,

Eliane Higa

Customer Services Officer

Chief Executive’s Office

The Highland Council

HQ

Glenurquhart Rd

Inverness

IV3 5NX

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Highland Council,

thank you for your reply.

I have already appealed to the Commissioner.

I will wait for a reply from the Commissioner's Office before deciding what to do.

Yours sincerely,

S Sabato

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