Ignored - Maidstone Borough Council Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition 18 May 2016 - solicitors

Ed Boyce made this Freedom of Information request to Maidstone Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

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

Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

Maidstone Borough Council Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition 18 May 2016 - solicitors

Please acknowldge and answer promptly because your council has already broken the FOIA by ignoring and failing to acknowledge this request since 17 July 2017.

The above Bankruptcy petition filing date 18 May 2016, bankruptcy order date
2 August 2016, No 31 of 2016 In the County Court at Maidstone. Please name the solicitor and firm the petition was filed on the council's behalf by. Are these your internal or external solicitors.

Please confirm what this petition and bankruptcy order is in relation to, for example business rates, council tax or other.

Yours faithfully,

Ed Boyce

Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

Thank you for confirming that the above bankruptcy case was for council tax.

Please provide the name of the external solicitors and who was appointed as trustees.

Yours faithfully,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Mr Boyce,

FOI 6375

Bankruptcy petition filing date 14 December 2010, bankruptcy order date
15 April 2011, No 246 of 2010 In the Maidstone County Court.

Bankruptcy petition filing date 6 March 2015, bankruptcy order date
9 June 2015, No 19 of 2015 In the County Court at Maidstone.

Bankruptcy petition filing date 16 July 2015, bankruptcy order date
26 January 2016, No 66 of 2015 In the County Court at Maidstone

Bankruptcy petition filing date 18 May 2016, bankruptcy order date
2 August 2016, No 31 of 2016 In the County Court at Maidstone.

Each of the above cases was handled by J E Baring & Co who were appointed as Trustees

I'm sorry this wasn't included in your previous FOI response - Reference number FOI 6375

Regards,

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

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Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Thank you for confirming that the council's external solicitor's firm is J E Baring & Co, please also provide the name of the solicitor and they date J E Baring & Co were appointed as Trustees.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Ed Boyce

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

Ref: FOI 7361

Thank you for your request for information. We will have a response ready for you within 20 working days of the date you made your request.

After considering your request, we may decide to refuse to supply the information under a number of exemptions that exist in legislation. For details of these exemptions, please visit the Information Commissioner’s website: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

FOI Team
Policy and Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ
t 01622 602640 w www.maidstone.gov.uk

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Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 22 August 2018

Ref:   FOI 7361

 

Dear Mr Boyce,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

You wrote to us requesting information on bankruptcy petitions.

 

Under Section 12 of the Act, I am not required to provide information if
it would exceed the appropriate cost limit, which for local government is
set at £450. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 2.5
working days in determining whether the department holds the information,
locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

 

The information is held externally by J E Baring & Co. To access the
information requires a partner to search their archives, which is charged
at £250 per hour, per partner. As we expect this to take longer than one
hour to find each case file and record the information requested, this
would exceed the cost limit set by the Act.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review of our decision, respond to this
email and I will pass it on to Mid Kent Legal Services to conduct a
review. Please ensure you outline your reasons for requesting a review.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Team

Policy and Information

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ

 

 

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Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Maidstone Borough Council are required by law to hold details of all bankruptcy records and it is irrelevant that the council have decided to contract work out to contractors, this does not take away your duty to hold records and you are still responsible for their actions.

Both the council and your contractors J E Baring & Co must know the dates that they were appointed as trustees, this information must be held by both parties.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Mr Boyce,

As advised we do not hold the records. It is held by an external party, and the cost of retrieval of the information has been outlined below.

Regards,

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

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Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Maidstone Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Ignored - Maidstone Borough Council Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition 18 May 2016 - solicitors'.

It is impossible that Maidstone Borough Council does not hold a record of this info/date and must be notified by the trustees.

The ICO shall be asked to make a decision if the review does not comply with the FOIA.

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

Yours faithfully,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Mr Boyce,

FOI 7441 review of 7361

Thank you for your request for an internal review. I have passed this on to Mid Kent Legal Services to review your request and the response. You will receive a response within 20 working days.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. https://ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely,

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

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Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Mr Boyce

FOI #7441 (Review of #7361)

I have considered your request for review, dated 3 September 2018, of your original request dated 26 July 2018.

Your request for review stated:

I am writing to request an internal review of Maidstone Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Ignored - Maidstone Borough Council Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition 18 May 2016 - solicitors'.

It is impossible that Maidstone Borough Council does not hold a record of this info/date and must be notified by the trustees.

The ICO shall be asked to make a decision if the review does not comply with the FOIA.

Your initial request (received 26 July 2018) asked for the following information:

Please acknowldge and answer promptly because your council has already broken the FOIA by ignoring and failing to acknowledge this request since 17 July 2017.

The above Bankruptcy petition filing date 18 May 2016, bankruptcy order date
2 August 2016, No 31 of 2016 In the County Court at Maidstone. Please name the solicitor and firm the petition was filed on the council's behalf by. Are these your internal or external solicitors.

Please confirm what this petition and bankruptcy order is in relation to, for example business rates, council tax or other.

The Council replied on 2 August 2018. In the reply, it was confirmed that the case was in respect of council tax and that the case was handled by J E Baring & Co. At the same time, the Council also dealt with a number of other cases which you had submitted under separate cover, due to the requests being of similar nature. The additional requests we dealt with were:

• Bankruptcy petition filing date 14 December 2010, bankruptcy order date
15 April 2011, No 246 of 2010 In the Maidstone County Court.

• Bankruptcy petition filing date 6 March 2015, bankruptcy order date
9 June 2015, No 19 of 2015 In the County Court at Maidstone.

• Bankruptcy petition filing date 16 July 2015, bankruptcy order date
26 January 2016, No 66 of 2015 In the County Court at Maidstone

On the same day, you responded with the following:

Thank you for confirming that the council's external solicitor's firm is J E Baring & Co, please also provide the name of the solicitor and they date J E Baring & Co were appointed as Trustees.

The Council responded to your further question on 22 August 2018 to advise that your additional question was exempt under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. This exemption can be applied if the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate cost limit.

Response

Before confirming my decision I would like to highlight two points of correction from the responses you previously received. Firstly, J E Baring & Co are not appointed as trustees by the Council as originally stated. J E Baring & Co are appointed by the Council who themselves then appoint the trustees. Secondly, the hourly rate charged by J E Baring & Co should have read £350.00 per hour rather than £250.00. In order to offer assistance, I can confirm that J E Baring & Co were appointed by Maidstone Borough Council in 2011.

Having reviewed your initial request and the subsequent correspondence, I can confirm that I uphold the decision that was taken to apply the Section 12 exemption. As J E Baring & Co appoint the trustees and the relevant solicitor to the case, it is not information held by Maidstone Borough Council. As previously advised, the cost of J E Baring & Co searching through their archives for the information falls outside of the cost limit as highlighted in the Section 12 exemption.

If you are not content with the outcome of your review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Kind regards

Gary Rowland
Trainee Lawyer (ACILEx) - Corporate Governance
Mid Kent Legal Services | Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils
Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Town Hall, Civic Way, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

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