MRP [Margate Renewal Partnership] funding

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Kent County Council,

We, from 15 groups** that form the Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group ie Residents' Associations, business groups and other community organisations, are writing to request information about your funding of the following organisations or projects. Specifically, we would like to know

MRP [Margate Renewal Partnership]
1. What is the relationship between this MRP and KCC?
2. What is the relationship between this MRP and Margate Town Partnership?
3. Has any money from KCC funds been given to the MRP since 1 January 2005? If so, how much was given in each of the 5 financial years ending on 31 March 2010? Will you please also report:
a. What were the conditions under which the money was given and have the recipients of the money complied with those conditions?
b. How has that compliance been verified by KCC officers?
c. What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if the recipients have not complied with the conditions of the funding?

Our preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.

Many public authorities release their contracts with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public’s interest. The public have an interest in knowing the terms of contracts and grants awarded by public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then we would like to know the following:
• When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
• All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed.
• The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements

We ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements. They go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. We would also point to the Information Commissioner’s guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: ‘Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.’

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

We would be grateful if you could confirm, in writing, that you have received this request, and we look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.


Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

** Arlington House Residents' Association, Cliftonville Partnership, Cliftonville Residents Assoc, DAAG, Dalby Sq Project, Dane Valley Woods, Godwin Rd, GRASS, Grotto Hill, Hawley Square, Margate Civic Society, Old Town Action Group, Senior Citizens’ Forum, SRAAG, St Paul’s Community Centre

Kent County Council

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group
Thank you for your email below.
Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 21st July 2010 (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 - FOI/10/0745 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

Best regards

Corporate Access to Information Team, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 696265 or 01622 694261 - Fax: 01622 696075

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Kent County Council

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Thank you for your request for information. Please accept my sincere
apologies for the slight delay in responding to you; I appreciate that the
Council has not complied with statutory timescales on this occasion

As a partner in a number of key Margate Regeneration Projects, KCC plays
an active part on the Margate Renewal Partnership Board. Please see the
MRP website for details of Board Members.

KCC understands that the staff of MRP (the Programme Director & Program
Assistant) are employees of Thanet District Council, and that there is a
close working relationship between MRP and Margate Town Partnership.

KCC contributed £30k last year and £30k this year towards the running
costs of MRP. The Council's support for MRP is conditional upon progress
against the objectives and targets set out in the MRP Framework and
Implementation Plan.
primary role of the programme team is to co-ordinate activity of the
partners, to keep the Board informed of progress and recommend corrective
action where necessary. The performance of the programme is monitored on
a quarterly basis by the MRP Board through a `traffic light' reporting
system. Minutes of Board meetings are made available via MRP's website

If you are unhappy with his response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/10/0745.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner's website

Best regards

Caroline Dodge
Corporate Access to Information Coordinator, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 221652 - Fax: 01622 696075

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