Oxford City Council / ODS - Furlough Money Received

Pat Mastelotto made this Freedom of Information request to Oxford City Council

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Dear Oxford City Council,

I would be most grateful if you would provide me, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, answers to the following questions:

1. How many Oxford City Council employees have been furloughed each month from March 2020 to the end of January 2021. How much Government furlough money was received each month and in total? Did the Government furlough money cover all the furloughed staff's salary or was their salary topped up by Oxford City Council? If the latter, please disclose how much it cost Oxford City Council each month and in total, topping up employees salary?

2. How many Oxford Direct Servicves (ODS) employees have been furloughed each month from March 2020 to the end of January 2021. How much Government furlough money was received each month and in total? Did the Government furlough money cover all the furloughed staff's salary or was their salary topped up by Oxford City Council/ODS? If the latter, please disclose how much it cost Oxford City Council / ODS each month and in total, topping up employees salary?

3. Will Oxford Direct Services continue to make use of the furlough scheme for as long as they are eligible to claim, regardless of operational issues?

Yours faithfully,

Pat Mastelotto

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Pat Mastelotto,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference:9840
 
Thank you for your email below.  Your request was received on 1st February
2021 and you will be sent a response within 20 working days (of receipt)
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000/ Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), subject to the information not being
exempt or containing reference to a third party.
 
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recognises the unprecedented
challenges all are facing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
 
In particular they understand that resources, whether they are finances or
people, may be diverted away from usual compliance or information rights
work. Whilst the ICO can’t extend statutory timescales, they will not be
penalising public authorities for prioritising other areas or adapting
their usual approach during this extraordinary period.
 
Therefore while the Council will make every effort to comply with the
Statutory Requirements you may experience understandable delays when
making information rights requests during the pandemic.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 

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freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Pat Mastelotto,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference:9840
 
Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your Freedom of
Information Act 2000 request received on  1st February 2021 as follows:
 
1.How many Oxford City Council employees have been furloughed each month
from March 2020 to the end of January 2021. How much Government furlough
money was received each month and in total? Did the Government furlough
money cover all the furloughed staff's salary or was their salary topped
up by Oxford City Council? If the latter, please disclose how much it cost
Oxford City Council each month and in total, topping up employees salary?
 
The table below provides the information required  which relates to Oxford
City Council.
 

Month Furlough Grant No of Employees Salary Top Up
Apr-20 29958.55 44 17498.43
May-20 74,189.80 60 17356.28
Jun-20 77,799.30 66 18969.13
Jul-20 11,675.30 19 2798.45
Aug-20 12,800.50 10 3235.44
Sep-20 7,462.51 6 3375.82
Totals 213,885.96   63233.55

 
 
2. How many Oxford Direct Servicves (ODS)  employees have been furloughed
each month from March 2020 to the end of January 2021. How much Government
furlough money was received each month and in total? Did the Government
furlough money cover all the furloughed staff's salary or was their salary
topped up by Oxford City Council/ODS?  If the latter, please disclose how
much it cost Oxford City Council / ODS each month and in total, topping up
employees salary?
 
Please see below, we have not yet submitted the January claim.
 

Month Grant Number of staff
March - -
April 234,345.60 171
May 437,751.38 261
June 373,124.92 214
July 253,235.38 136
August 130,732.89                  77
September 52,083.48 49
October 5,293.93 6
November 113,664.76 117
December 115,849.32 130

 
 
ODS is topping up the grant money for furloughed staff to 100%.
 
To break this down further would require a significant amount of resource
time. Therefore, I am of the opinion, however, that retrieving the
information you require would exceed 18.5 working hours so consider
Section 12 of the FOIA to applies in this instance.
 
Section 12 of the Act makes provision for public authorities to refuse
requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed
the appropriate 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.
 
 
3.Will Oxford Direct Services continue to make use of the furlough scheme
for as long as they are eligible to claim, regardless of operational
issues.
 
This question is not a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 as it is asking for an opinion/explanation not for recorded
information held by the Council.
 
If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [1][email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford
City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS.  After
the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask
the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may do this
by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [2][email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 
_____________________________________________

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Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your reply of 10 February 2020.

As an example for Oxford City Council for the month of April:

£29,958.44 is money received from the Government and that 44 employees were furloughed. I was under the impression that the Government was contributing 80% of an employees salary and that Oxford City Council was making up 20%. I am therefore confused as to how the figure of £17,498.43 is arrived at as this is substantially more than 20%. I would therefore request that you provide a brief explanation as to how Oxford City Council's furlough contribution is calculated.

I believe that the data you have provided for Oxford City Council, the total grant money received of £213,885.96 is incorrect and you are missing one month of data.

I would be grateful if you would delay your reply until you have the data to provide the furlough figures requested for January 2021.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Mastelotto

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Pat Mastelotto,

Oxford City Council – Reference:9840

Further to your email below, at this stage we consider your email is seeking clarification on the figures provided rather than an internal review. I have asked the department to recheck their figures and provide the January 2021 figures once available.

Once an updated response is provided if you are still not satisfied you are entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s) made.

If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s) made. You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either email – [email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS. After the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf. You may do this by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

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Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your response of 16 February 2021.

In addition to the revised and correct figures of furlough money received from the Government, I would be grateful if you could also provide a brief explanation as to how Oxford City Council's contribution to a furloughed employee's salary is calculated.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Mastelotto

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Pat Mastelotto,

   

Oxford City Council – Reference:9840

 

Further to the email below, I can respond  as follows:

 

As an example for Oxford City Council for the month of April:

 

£29,958.44 is money received from the Government and that 44 employees
were furloughed. I was under the impression that the Government was
contributing 80% of an employees salary and that Oxford City Council was
making up 20%. I am therefore confused as to how the figure of £17,498.43
is arrived at as this is substantially more than 20%.  I would therefore
request that you provide a brief explanation as to how Oxford City
Council's furlough contribution is calculated.

 

I believe that the data you have provided for Oxford City Council, the
total grant money received of  £213,885.96 is incorrect and you are
missing one month of data.

 

I would be grateful if you would delay your reply until you have the data
to provide the furlough figures requested for January 2021.

 

In addition to the revised and correct figures of furlough money received
from the Government,  I would be grateful if you could also provide a
brief explanation as to how Oxford City Council's contribution to a
furloughed employee's salary  is calculated.

 

 

The table below relates to Oxford City Council.

 

We believe there may have been some misunderstanding about the information
requested. We have reviewed the information and provide an updated data
table below.

 

Month Claim No of Salary Top Up
Amount Employees cost
Apr-20 29,958.55 44 9,100.15
May-20 74,189.80 60 22,858.39
Jun-20 77,799.30 66 28,124.59
Jul-20 11,675.30 19 2,921.10
Aug-20 12,800.50 10 3,376.77
Sep-20 7,462.51 6 3,427.22
Oct-20 7,583.63 7 2,103.46
Jan-21 2,884.17 2 604.75
Totals 224,353.76   72,516.43

 

 

We also wish to clarify some points in relation to this information.

 

The cost to top up salary is the employee’s normal gross pay less the
amount claimed for salary under the Furlough scheme.

 

It is not appropriate to apply a standardised calculation to check the
amount claimed against  the salary top up as suggested because the rules
about what could be claimed were not that straight forward. Initially
employers could claim up to 80% of salary capped at a salary maximum of
£2500. Employer National Insurance and Pension costs could also be claimed
until the end of August 2020. The percentage that could be claimed also
changed reducing to 70% and increasing again to 80%. In addition
adjustments were also have been necessary due to the timings of making
claims and paying staff.

 

 

Update response from Oxford Direct Services (ODS)

 

1.     The furlough grant claimed for January comes to £253,709

 

2.     If and explanation is required for ODS the contribution to the
furlough claim is made up of:

a.     20% of the furloughed staff’s salary to top up the 80% funded by
the government to 100%

b.     Employer’s National Insurance contributions on 100% of furloughed
staff’s NI’able pay

c.     Employer’s pension contributions on 100% of furloughed staff’s
pensionable pay

 

The government’s monthly grant payment is capped at £2,500 per individual.
ODS is making up the grant to the full salary and therefore this could be
well in excess of 20%.

 

If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [1][email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford
City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS.  After
the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask
the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may do this
by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Kathryn Winfield

Information Governance Requests Officer

 

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [2][email address] | T: 01865 252007

My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

 

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.

Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.

 

 

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