Maidstone Borough Council - Equita service level agreement

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 - Equita service level agreement

Please provide a copy of your service level agreement with Equita whose agents the council using to enforce council tax etc.

Please also confirm how long the council have used Equita for enforcement, list the dates.

Also confirm whether all the enforcement agents instructed on behalf of the council are required to provide their name and badge or I.D. card for identification that confirms what company they are listed on the Certificated Enforcement Agent/Bailiff to carry out work on behalf of.

Do any of your enforcement agents carry out work for any company other than the one that should appear on their bailiff certificate/ license details of which must be provided by law when requested as above.

Yours faithfully,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Ed Boyce

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

Ref: FOI 7842

 

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:
[1]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 [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk

 

 

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Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

2 Attachments

Date: 26/03/2019

Ref: FOI 7842

 

 

Dear Ed Boyce

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

I am writing to confirm that the Council has now completed its search for
the information which you requested.

 

A copy of the information is enclosed.

 

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, please 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

t []01622 602640 w [1]www.maidstone.gov.uk

To access our digital services please visit www.maidstone.gov.uk/service
Sign up to receive your Council Tax bill by email http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/emailbilling

We understand the importance of ensuring that personal data, including sensitive personal data is always treated lawfully and appropriately and that the rights of individuals are upheld.

We are required to collect, use and hold personal data about individuals. Data is required for the purposes of carrying out our statutory obligations, delivering services and meeting the needs of individuals that we deal with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, service users, members of the public, Members of the Council, our business partners and other local authorities or public bodies.

To view our full statement to see how your data will be stored and processed please visit https://maidstone.gov.uk/dataprotection

This email is confidential. If you receive it by mistake, please advise the sender by email immediately.
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Unless a purchase order is attached this email is not a contract or an order.
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Thank you for confirming that all enforcement agents working for Equita Ltd are required to provide ID on request and your draft agreement expressly states above they can not assign work to sub- contractor enforcement agents who work for Newlyn Plc or otherwise, and must not refuse to identify themselves by producing ID and their Bailiff Certificate when requested.

Maidstone Borough Council have failed to produce the dates since 1993 that the council have instructed Equita Ltd, please provide all dates that you are required to hold records of without further delay.

Thank you for providing a draft from 2014 what date was this put before and approved by councillors or officers and when were the Common Seals of Maidstone Borough Council , Swale and Tunbridge Wells affixed and in whose presence and what date did it come into effect.

Also list the authorised signatory executed as a Deed by Equita Ltd.

37. Assignment And Sub-Contracting

37.1 This Agreement is personal to the Contractor shall not assign, charge, novate, declare a trust of or otherwise dispose of this Agreement or any part of it without the prior written approval of the Council.

37.2 Except as agreed between the parties, the Contractor shall not sub-contract its obligations under this Agreement without prior written approval of the Council and shall provide to the Council all details reasonably requested in respect of any and all approved sub-Contractors.

37.3 The Contractor shall be liable for the acts and omissions of any sub- contractor and the Contractor shall remain liable to the Council for the performance of the Contractor's obligations under the Contract.

37.4 Nothing in the Agreement shall operate to restrict the Council from assigning, charging, novating, declaring a trust of or otherwise disposing of this Agreement or any it's rights or obligations under it to any third party.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Ed Boyce left an annotation ()

This is a good example of what has been allowed to occur in the UK and condoned by the police who fail and/or refuse to act to protect families from rogue bailiffs etc.

Kent Police & Rogue Bailiffs unlawful eviction - Maidstone Against Corruption https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ImXM1mZ...

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

1 Attachment

Date: 15/05/2019

Ref: FOI 7966

 

 

Dear Ed Boyce

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

I am writing to confirm that the Council has now completed its search for
the information which you requested.

 

A copy of the information is enclosed.

 

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, please 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

t []01622 602640 w [1]www.maidstone.gov.uk

To access our digital services please visit www.maidstone.gov.uk/service
Sign up to receive your Council Tax bill by email http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/emailbilling

We understand the importance of ensuring that personal data, including sensitive personal data is always treated lawfully and appropriately and that the rights of individuals are upheld.

We are required to collect, use and hold personal data about individuals. Data is required for the purposes of carrying out our statutory obligations, delivering services and meeting the needs of individuals that we deal with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, service users, members of the public, Members of the Council, our business partners and other local authorities or public bodies.

To view our full statement to see how your data will be stored and processed please visit https://maidstone.gov.uk/dataprotection

This email is confidential. If you receive it by mistake, please advise the sender by email immediately.
Any unauthorised use of the message or attachments is prohibited. Unless stated otherwise, any opinions are personal and cannot be attributed to Maidstone Borough Council.
Unless a purchase order is attached this email is not a contract or an order.
It is your responsibility to carry out Virus checks before opening any attachments.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Thank you for confirming a Deed was sealed between Maidstone Borough Council, Swale Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Equita Ltd, please provide a copy of this original deed because you have only provided a copy of a draft from 2014.

Please confirm who the Authoirsed Officers were who delegated their authority and provide the title and name of the officers in whose presence the Council Seal was affixed.

Please also provide the name of the Authorised Signatory, the names of the directors and/or secretary of Equita Ltd that signed the Deed of Arrangement.

And also provide the outstanding dates since 1993 that Maidstone Borough Council have instructed Equita Ltd.

And clarify whether the Council have assigned any of it's rights or obligations under this deed to any third party, please provide a copy of all prior written approvals by the Council.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Ed Boyce
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST
 
Ref: FOI 8103
 
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:
[1]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 [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Maidstone Borough Council have failed to provide a copy of the original sealed Deed of Assignment between Maidstone Borough Council, Swale Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Equita Ltd and have only provided a draft from 2014.

And have also failed to confirm who the Authorised Officers were who delegated their authority or the title and name of the officers in whose presence the Council Seal was affixed etc

Why is Maidstine Borough Council failing to provide this information and all outstanding information that is long over-due after being requested on 26 February 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

2 Attachments

Date: 22/07/2019

Ref: FOI 8103

 

 

Dear Ed Boyce

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

This email relates to FOI 8103. Please find attached the dates since 1993
that Maidstone Borough Council has instructed Equita Ltd (Appendix 1).

 

We cannot currently provide a copy of the original deed, the names of the
Authorised Officer, the names of the officers in whose presence the
Council Seal was affixed, the name of the Authorised Signatory, the names
of the directors of Equita, or confirm whether the Council has assigned
any of its rights or obligations under this deed to any third party. This
is because we are currently unable to locate the copy of the original
deed.

 

We will keep looking for the original deed. In the meantime, we have
provided you with the Notice to Extend – please see Appendix 2 (attached).

 

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, please 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

t []01622 602640 w [1]www.maidstone.gov.uk

 

To access our digital services please visit www.maidstone.gov.uk/service
Sign up to receive your Council Tax bill by email http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/emailbilling

We understand the importance of ensuring that personal data, including sensitive personal data is always treated lawfully and appropriately and that the rights of individuals are upheld.

We are required to collect, use and hold personal data about individuals. Data is required for the purposes of carrying out our statutory obligations, delivering services and meeting the needs of individuals that we deal with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, service users, members of the public, Members of the Council, our business partners and other local authorities or public bodies.

To view our full statement to see how your data will be stored and processed please visit https://maidstone.gov.uk/dataprotection

This email is confidential. If you receive it by mistake, please advise the sender by email immediately.
Any unauthorised use of the message or attachments is prohibited. Unless stated otherwise, any opinions are personal and cannot be attributed to Maidstone Borough Council.
Unless a purchase order is attached this email is not a contract or an order.
It is your responsibility to carry out Virus checks before opening any attachments.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Thank you for confirming that Maidstone Borough Council has had a Deed of Arrangement with Equita Ltd since 31 December 1999 that you have not provided a copy of, please do so.

Please also confirm if you had a Deed of Arrangement since 1993 as stated in your repsonse dated 26 March 2019;if so please provide copies.

Quote: Various dates since 1993.

On 15 May 2019 ( coincidetally the same day you state the Deed of Arrangement expired) the council confirmed the Bailiff Service Agreement was approved under delegated authority to the Head of the Revenues and Benefits Shared Service on 28 April 2014 and the Director of Enviroment and Shared Services on 29 April 2014, but have not supplied the names of these officers, please do so and confirm who delegated this authority to them and under what authority they delegated their 'delegated authority' to the Head of Legal at Maidstone on 30 April 2014 and the Legal Services Manager at Swale Borough Council on 8 May 2014 and the Head of Legal at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on 2 May 2014, please also provide their names, in whose presence the council seals were affixed and authorised by.

One of the Directors and the Managing Director of the company were authorised signatories on behalf of Equita Limited.

The Notice to Extend is invalid without the original dated, signed and sealed Deed of Arrangement that you say came into effect from 15 May 2014 , although the Notice to Extend this Deed of Arrangement was not dated, signed and sealed until 30 November 2017 that has been crossed out and replaced with 2018 without any name or initials or position of the alterer, please clarify the correct date of the Notice to Extend and provide the names and positions of the people that signed it.

It also appears that the Deed of Arrangement (15 May 2014) that you say you have lost ( reason given as to why you cannot provide the names of the signers), expired on 15 May 2019, according to the Notice to Extend, so why have you not provided a copy of the current Deed of Arrangement since this date, because the last date the council provided (Appendix 1) is 26 Februay 2019, coincidently the same date as this FOI request was sent to Maidstone Borough Council.

If Equita Ltd is still carrying out work on behalf of the councils' you must have a Deed of Arrangement in place.

I look forward to receiving a copy of the "lost" Deed and all other deeds and outstanding information that must be retained by law.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

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 'Maidstone Borough Council - Equita service level agreement'.

Maidstone Borough Council have not provided all the information requested and have not responded to the follow-up requesting the outstanding information on the 22.7.2019. A review will ensure that the Council has the opportunity to prove that they are not intentionally concealing information that is a criminal offence, prior to seeking a decision from the ICO.

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

Yours faithfully,

Ed Boyce

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 05/08/2019
Ref: FOI 8103
 
 
Dear Ed Boyce
 
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. [1]https://ico.org.uk/
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [2][email address] w [3]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 

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Gary Rowland,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Boyce

 

Review of FOI #8103

 

I have considered your request for review, dated 5 August 2019, of your
follow up request received on 14 June 2019.

 

Your request for review stated:

 

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 'Maidstone Borough Council - Equita service
level agreement'.

 

Maidstone Borough Council have not provided all the information requested
and have not responded to the follow-up  requesting the outstanding
information on the 22.7.2019. A review will ensure that the Council has
the opportunity to prove that they are not intentionally concealing
information that is a criminal offence, prior to seeking a decision from
the ICO.

 

Your follow up request asked for the following information:

 

Thank you for confirming a Deed was sealed between Maidstone Borough
Council, Swale Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and
Equita Ltd, please provide a copy of this original deed because you have
only provided a copy of a draft from 2014.

 

Please confirm who the Authoirsed Officers were who delegated their
authority and provide the title and name of the officers in whose presence
the Council Seal was affixed.

 

Please also provide the name of the Authorised Signatory, the names of the
directors and/or secretary of Equita Ltd that signed the Deed of
Arrangement.

 

And also provide the outstanding dates since 1993 that Maidstone Borough
Council have instructed Equita Ltd.

 

And clarify whether the Council have assigned any of it's rights or
obligations under this deed to any third party, please provide a copy of
all prior written approvals by the Council.

 

The Council issued the following response on 22 July 2019:

 

This email relates to FOI 8103. Please find attached the dates since 1993
that Maidstone Borough Council has instructed Equita Ltd (Appendix 1).

 

We cannot currently provide a copy of the original deed, the names of the
Authorised Officer, the names of the officers in whose presence the
Council Seal was affixed, the name of the Authorised Signatory, the names
of the directors of Equita, or confirm whether the Council has assigned
any of its rights or obligations under this deed to any third party. This
is because we are currently unable to locate the copy of the original
deed.

 

We will keep looking for the original deed. In the meantime, we have
provided you with the Notice to Extend – please see Appendix 2 (attached).

 

Response

 

Having fully considered your request for review, I have located and
attached a copy of the original Services Agreement.  I have also consulted
with Equita,  the Council’s contractor, who are party to the Agreement.

 

Under section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, the Council can
refuse a request where disclosure could be prejudicial to the commercial
interests of a third party or the Council.  Equita have confirmed that
disclosure of the information contained in the appendices to the Agreement
is commercially prejudicial to their ability to compete in the open market
for contracting opportunities with other bodies that could require similar
services. There is a real and significant risk that disclosure could
provide a commercial advantage to Equita’s competitors as disclosure would
affect Equita’s ability to compete in other tenders if these key
cost/overheads were disclosed as the company’s competitors could then use
this information to outbid Equita for the provision of services.

 

I have considered the public interest in disclosing this information, such
as the benefit to the public in seeing how public funds are allocated for
the provision of services.  On balance, the public interest in applying
this exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure of this
information.  Unlike the Council, Equita is a private limited company and
disclosure of this information could reduce Equita’s ability to secure the
provision of future maintenance services for best value.  It is important
to maintain a competitive market for services as this benefits the Council
and other public authorities and consumers which could be threatened by
disclosure of Equita’s commercial information and the commercial
information of its suppliers. As such I have decided to disclose the
Agreement but not the appendices.

 

Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by
contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints),
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Gary Rowland

Trainee Lawyer (GCILEx) - Corporate Governance

Mid Kent Legal Services | Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough
Councils

Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10

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

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Town Hall, Civic Way, Tunbridge Wells,
TN1 1RS

Tel: (01622) 602276   Email: [1][email address]

[2]www.swale.gov.uk     
[3]www.maidstone.gov.uk       [4]www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk

 

The contents of this e-mail, together with any attachments, may be
confidential or subject to legal professional privilege.  It should not be
shared with anyone without first consulting Mid Kent Legal Services. 

If you are not the intended recipient, please do not forward this email or
the attachments to anybody.  Please notify the sender and delete all
copies of this email from your system.

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.swale.gov.uk/
3. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/
4. http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/

Dear Gary Rowland,

Thank you for providing a copy of the lost Deed of Arrangement (Bailiff Services Agreement) made on the 15 May 2019 that does not state what date it was signed or by who and neither does the Notice of Extension.

Please provide all outstanding information as previously requested because this request is long overdue and by law, under all circumstances, should have been responded to fully and completed by now.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Boyce

Gary Rowland,

Dear Mr Boyce

The Deed is dated 15 May 2014 at page 3. This is the date the Deed was executed and commenced.

To be validly executed, a Deed requires a common seal along with the signature of an authorised signatory. Without a seal, execution requires the signature of a witness. There is no requirement for each signatory to write the date beside their signature.

With regards to the names of the individual signatories, a response has already been provided by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council at the following link https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

I am unable to provide any additional information. As per my previous response, if you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Kind regards

Gary Rowland
Trainee Lawyer (GCILEx) - 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
Tel: (01622) 602276   Email: [email address]
www.swale.gov.uk      www.maidstone.gov.uk       www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk

The contents of this e-mail, together with any attachments, may be confidential or subject to legal professional privilege.  It should not be shared with anyone without first consulting Mid Kent Legal Services. 
If you are not the intended recipient, please do not forward this email or the attachments to anybody.  Please notify the sender and delete all copies of this email from your system.

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