Latco - Building, utilities and IT Costs

Waiting for an internal review by Kent County Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Kent County Council,

Can you please answer the below For each financial year since 2015,

Please answer these questions by breaking them down into each individual Latco;

1)How much per year have Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People been charged for use of Kent County Council properties?

1.1)For each Latco, can the buildings used and their address be listed. Also a percentage of how much of the building is used by Kent County Council, in terms of headcount.

2)What metric is used to calculate this figure from question 1? and who within the council would have to sign this figure off? How often is this figure reviewed?

3) Are there any other private organisations 'renting' space within Kent County Council buildings? If so, how are the rents calculated and how often are these rents renewed?

4) Are the Latco's , Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People, paying for managed support services for these buildings? For example facilities, security and maintenance? If so, how is this value also arrived at?

5) How much are Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People paying for the consumption of Kent County Council IT Services?
Can this please include all aspects of IT ( hardware/software/support costs ) and a break down of these services, what services are provided to the Latco's by Kent County Council?

6) if yes, how much has been paid per month and how is this value arrived at?

7) Are Kent County Council (Kent Taxpayer) in any way giving financial assistance to these Latco's? Other than the services defined within support services defined on the Kent County council service agreements on the Kent County Council website.

8) Are the Kent tax payer in any way liable for the works conducted by GEN2/Cantium Business Solutions and The Education People. If yes, can the value of this liability be broken down per Latco and who has signed for this liability.

9) Kent County Council spent £23 Million pounds on property at Kings Hill. Can I please request any communication regarding who the tenants will be for this prior to the completion of purchase?

10) As Kent County Council have spent £23 Million pounds, is there a business case for the spending of £23 Million pounds and any written documentation to justify the £23 Million pound costs associated with this purchase and is this public, as such a purchase should surely be validated by the Kent tax payer. Can this please be provided?

www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/count...

11) In the event any of the above are correct or give an advantage to the identified private sector organisations, do you believe this is state sponsorship of a private sector organisations?

Yours faithfully,

Tommy D

 

Information request
Our reference: 12409035

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Dear Sir
   
Thank you for your email which we received on 24 February 2020.
 
Kent County Council (KCC) acknowledges your request for information, which
we will consider under the relevant legislation (Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and/or Environmental Information Regulations 2004).
 
Assuming KCC holds this information, we will endeavour to supply the data
to you as soon as possible but no later than 23 March 2020 (20 working
days from date of receipt).
 
We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information.
 
Please quote our reference - 12409035 in any communication regarding this
particular request.
 

Please see our [1]Information Rights Privacy Notice for details of how we
process your personal data.

Yours sincerely

Kelly Leeson 
Information Access Officer
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-counci...

2 Attachments

 

Information request
Our reference: 12409035

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Sir,
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 24 February 2020.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 Kelly Leeson 
 Information Access Officer - Information Resilience & Transparency Team 
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Kent County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Kent County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Latco - Building, utilities and IT Costs'.

The request response is not accurate, and disregards important aspects that should be in the public domain. It wholly undermines freedom of information requests when significant parts of the request are just missed out completely.

1) How much per year have Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People been charged for use of Kent County Council properties?

Response - The companies occupy office space and are charged for this depending on the amount of space they require for their staff. This is a fee commensurate with market rate.

Issues with response -

a)Fee is commensurate with market rate
How is this validated?
I reference attached a rental property in Kills Hill, this is purely building rental costs and doesn't include security/reception staff/IT Services and this is priced at £75,923 per Annum.

Based on the figures provided all by Kent County Council, the KCC Latco's, as a combined total have a presence in 24 Offices county wideare. As a total they are paying less per year for the use of 24 offices, than for this one office in Kings Hill that doesn't include security/reception staff and IT services.
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/commercial-p...

b) Based upon the above, do KCC actually believe they are charging market rate for the use of their properties?

2)What metric is used to calculate this figure from question 1? and who within the council would have to sign this figure off? How often is this figure reviewed?

a) The response advises an all inclusive fee per desk cost. Can you please advise what this cost is per 'seat' and itemised list of what this includes?

b)The response includes 'The fee is fixed for the first few years of trading', is this fixed for 3 years? This would have been defined, so a definitive answer would be appreciated.

c) The response also includes 'Approval to set up each of the
LATCOs went through KCC’s governance process with business cases setting out the costs and benefits of establishing a LATCO. All received the relevant approvals.' I appreciate this has been through the appropriate governing process, however this does not make the set up above scrutiny.

5) How much are Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People paying for the consumption of Kent County Council IT Services? Can this please include all aspects of IT ( hardware/software/support costs) and a break down of these services, what services are provided to the Latco's by Kent County Council?

Response - The provision of IT services for Kent County Council is no longer an in-house service but provided by Cantium Business Solutions Ltd.

'Cantium Business Solutions Ltd ensure their
own IT requirements are met internally'

Issues:

a) This does not make sense. Cantium provide IT support services for Kent County Council. Does this mean they don't pay any costs for consuming Kent County Council IT services for the 2 years since incorporation because they are the IT support company?

b) The way this is presented, it sounds as if all IT costs for the Latco's, go straight to CBS. Is this correct?
Who owns KCC IT infrastructure?
Who pays for 3rd party support of this infrastructure?

c)again it is to be reviewed in a few years, is there a contractual number associated with any review of services?

7) Are Kent County Council(Kent Taxpayer) in any way giving financial assistance to these Latco's? Other than the services defined within support services defined on the Kent County council service agreements
on the Kent County Council website.

Answer: The companies are independent of KCC and are expected to operate as separate commercial entities. KCC has the following agreements in place with the companies on which interest is charged:

Issues:

a)Clarification required, KCC are not accountable financially for any of Gen2/CBS/The Education Peoples works.

And have not acted as a guarantor to help them attain work in the private sector?

b) I run a business based in Thanet, can I please have a 2.2 Million loan ? How would my business or any other private sector business go about securing this funding?

9) Kent County Council spent £23 Million pounds on property at Kings Hill. Can I please request any communication regarding who the tenants will be for this prior to the completion of purchase?

Answer - Kent County Council do not have any correspondence relating to prospective tenants for these properties. KCC have appointed managing agents to handle the letting of any unlet
space in these properties on its behalf.

Issues:
a) Just for clarification, there have been no email correspondence from anyone at Kent County Council regarding any proposed tenants at these identified properties?
Kent County Council, cry on TV we don't have any money and using our cash reserves. £26 Million pounds is a significant sum of money on property, that bearing in mind they have reduced their numbers with the outsourcing of Property Services/IT, Finance and HR/Education Services.

b) The references attached show no detail, as to what KCC intends to do with the properties and justification of spending £26 million on property. Are KCC looking to purchase any other buildings and act as a landlord? Or just this one, that there is no public justification for?

c) Are you honestly saying KCC spent £26 Million and there was email trails regarding possible tenants? If there was, can these be provided to aid with transparency. Unless there is something to hide of course....

11) In the event any of the above are correct or give an advantage to the identified private sector organisations, do you believe this is state sponsorship of a private sector organisations?

Response: KCC has endeavoured to ensure that none of its wholly owned companies has received an advantage over its competitors through state aid. There has been no action to distort
competition in the market in terms of grant payments or preferential terms. The call off facilities and loan referred to in question 7 include interest charges on unpaid balances and
are all expected to be repaid by the expiry of the agreement

Issues:
a) KCC have endeavoured to ensure that any of its wholly owned companies have received and unfair advantage, is this a serious statement?

Discounted property costs - how can you honestly believe 30k a year to be located within a grade 2 listed building County Hall, and that includes services, is the market rate. Wow!
State loans, that cannot be attained by other private sector organisations
Tiny IT costs, and potentially not even charging for IT services in respect of CBS.

Note the above, does justify the statement 'KCC have endeavoured to ensure that any of its wholly owned companies have received and unfair advantage. As a business owner in the private sector, I feel aggrieved and astonished that KCC are using Kent Tax payers money to take business away from other businesses in Kent. Maybe I should stop paying me rates, as I am paying for you to help take work away from me.

All of the above needs investigating and accurate transparent responses is required.

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

Yours faithfully,

Tommy D

 

Information request
Our reference: 12409035

show quoted sections

Dear Kent County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Kent County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Latco - Building, utilities and IT Costs'.

The request response is not accurate, and disregards important aspects that should be in the public domain. It wholly undermines freedom of information requests when significant parts of the request are just missed out completely.

1) How much per year have Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People been charged for use of Kent County Council properties?

Response - The companies occupy office space and are charged for this depending on the amount of space they require for their staff. This is a fee commensurate with market rate.

Issues with response -

a)Fee is commensurate with market rate
How is this validated?
I reference attached a rental property in Kills Hill, this is purely building rental costs and doesn't include security/reception staff/IT Services and this is priced at £75,923 per Annum.

Based on the figures provided all by Kent County Council, the KCC Latco's, as a combined total have a presence in 24 Offices county wideare. As a total they are paying less per year for the use of 24 offices, than for this one office in Kings Hill that doesn't include security/reception staff and IT services.
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/commercial-p...

b) Based upon the above, do KCC actually believe they are charging market rate for the use of their properties?

2)What metric is used to calculate this figure from question 1? and who within the council would have to sign this figure off? How often is this figure reviewed?

a) The response advises an all inclusive fee per desk cost. Can you please advise what this cost is per 'seat' and itemised list of what this includes?

b)The response includes 'The fee is fixed for the first few years of trading', is this fixed for 3 years? This would have been defined, so a definitive answer would be appreciated.

c) The response also includes 'Approval to set up each of the
LATCOs went through KCC’s governance process with business cases setting out the costs and benefits of establishing a LATCO. All received the relevant approvals.' I appreciate this has been through the appropriate governing process, however this does not make the set up above scrutiny.

5) How much are Cantium Business Solutions / GEN2 / The Education People paying for the consumption of Kent County Council IT Services? Can this please include all aspects of IT ( hardware/software/support costs) and a break down of these services, what services are provided to the Latco's by Kent County Council?

Response - The provision of IT services for Kent County Council is no longer an in-house service but provided by Cantium Business Solutions Ltd.

'Cantium Business Solutions Ltd ensure their
own IT requirements are met internally'

Issues:

a) This does not make sense. Cantium provide IT support services for Kent County Council. Does this mean they don't pay any costs for consuming Kent County Council IT services for the 2 years since incorporation because they are the IT support company?

b) The way this is presented, it sounds as if all IT costs for the Latco's, go straight to CBS. Is this correct?
Who owns KCC IT infrastructure?
Who pays for 3rd party support of this infrastructure?

c)again it is to be reviewed in a few years, is there a contractual number associated with any review of services?

7) Are Kent County Council(Kent Taxpayer) in any way giving financial assistance to these Latco's? Other than the services defined within support services defined on the Kent County council service agreements
on the Kent County Council website.

Answer: The companies are independent of KCC and are expected to operate as separate commercial entities. KCC has the following agreements in place with the companies on which interest is charged:

Issues:

a)Clarification required, KCC are not accountable financially for any of Gen2/CBS/The Education Peoples works.

And have not acted as a guarantor to help them attain work in the private sector?

b) I run a business based in Thanet, can I please have a 2.2 Million loan ? How would my business or any other private sector business go about securing this funding?

9) Kent County Council spent £23 Million pounds on property at Kings Hill. Can I please request any communication regarding who the tenants will be for this prior to the completion of purchase?

Answer - Kent County Council do not have any correspondence relating to prospective tenants for these properties. KCC have appointed managing agents to handle the letting of any unlet
space in these properties on its behalf.

Issues:
a) Just for clarification, there have been no email correspondence from anyone at Kent County Council regarding any proposed tenants at these identified properties?
Kent County Council, cry on TV we don't have any money and using our cash reserves. £26 Million pounds is a significant sum of money on property, that bearing in mind they have reduced their numbers with the outsourcing of Property Services/IT, Finance and HR/Education Services.

b) The references attached show no detail, as to what KCC intends to do with the properties and justification of spending £26 million on property. Are KCC looking to purchase any other buildings and act as a landlord? Or just this one, that there is no public justification for?

c) Are you honestly saying KCC spent £26 Million and there was email trails regarding possible tenants? If there was, can these be provided to aid with transparency. Unless there is something to hide of course....

11) In the event any of the above are correct or give an advantage to the identified private sector organisations, do you believe this is state sponsorship of a private sector organisations?

Response: KCC has endeavoured to ensure that none of its wholly owned companies has received an advantage over its competitors through state aid. There has been no action to distort
competition in the market in terms of grant payments or preferential terms. The call off facilities and loan referred to in question 7 include interest charges on unpaid balances and
are all expected to be repaid by the expiry of the agreement

Issues:
a) KCC have endeavoured to ensure that any of its wholly owned companies have received and unfair advantage, is this a serious statement?

Discounted property costs - how can you honestly believe 30k a year to be located within a grade 2 listed building County Hall, and that includes services, is the market rate. Wow!
State loans, that cannot be attained by other private sector organisations
Tiny IT costs, and potentially not even charging for IT services in respect of CBS.

Note the above, does justify the statement 'KCC have endeavoured to ensure that any of its wholly owned companies have received and unfair advantage. As a business owner in the private sector, I feel aggrieved and astonished that KCC are using Kent Tax payers money to take business away from other businesses in Kent. Maybe I should stop paying me rates, as I am paying for you to help take work away from me.

All of the above needs investigating and accurate transparent responses is required.

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

Yours faithfully,

Tommy D

Kent County Council

Good morning,

This request is already being dealt with as an internal review, as requested 10th May. This case is currently under investigation and you will be made aware of the judgement as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Kelly Leeson | Information Access Officer | Information Resilience & Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.87, Sessions House, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | Phone 03000 415985 | Fax 03000 420303 |  Access to Information | Please see our Information Rights Privacy Notice for details of how we process your personal data in line with our data protection obligations |

show quoted sections

Dear Kent County Council,

Still waiting for internal review. Only waiting since 10th May.

Yours faithfully,

Tommy D