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Oxford Direct Services - Furloughed Employees

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Dear Oxford City Council,

1. Please give details of the number of Oxford Direct Services employees who have been furloughed every month since March 2020 to April 2021. In addition please provide details of the department of all furloughed staff (Civil Engineering, Property Maintenance, Recycling & Waste etc) on a monthly basis.

2. Please give details of the number of Oxford Direct Services employees who have been made redundant each month between March 2020 and April 2021 and the total sum of redundancy payments.

3. Have Oxford Direct Services had to make use of third party contractors at any time due to their own employees being unable to work due to being on furlough?

Yours faithfully,

Graham Goddard

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Mr Goddard,

Oxford City Council – Reference: 10089

Thank you for your email below. Your request was received on 30th April 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.

show quoted sections

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Goddard,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference: 10089
 
Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your Freedom of
Information Act 2000 request received on 30th  April 2021 as follows:
 
1. Please give details of the number of Oxford Direct Services employees
who have been furloughed every month since March 2020 to April 2021. In
addition please provide details of the department of all furloughed staff
(Civil Engineering, Property Maintenance, Recycling & Waste etc) on a
monthly basis.
 
Please see the attached spreadsheet
 
 
2. Please give details of the number of Oxford Direct Services employees
who have been made redundant each month between March 2020 and April 2021
and the total sum of redundancy payments.
 
Response to follow
 
3. Have Oxford Direct Services had to make use of third party contractors
at any time due to their own employees being unable to work due to being
on furlough?
 
No. We did not subcontract work as a direct decision to furlough. None of
our sub contracted work related to any work which would have been
delivered by our directly employed workforce
 
 
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,

You said: "No. We did not subcontract work as a direct decision to furlough. None of
our sub contracted work related to any work which would have been
delivered by our directly employed workforce"

1. Why did Oxford Direct Services employ third party painters and fencers while have their own similarly qualified staff on furlough?

2. Why were third party contract fencers and painters allowed to work on behalf of Oxford Direct Services while their own employees were on furlough.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Goddard

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Mr Goddard,

Thank you for your email.

I have forwarded your two new further questions onto the department to respond directly as they are not considered to fall within the remit of an internal review and are not valid requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as they are asking for an opinion/explanation not for recorded information held by the Council.

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.

show quoted sections

Dear Oxford City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Oxford City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Oxford Direct Services - Furloughed Employees'.

I should like to reword my request for an internal review in a manner that is not requesting an opinion.

1. Please list the names of third party contractors that have supplied painters and decorators and fencing teams to carry out work on behalf of Oxford Direct Services since March 2020.

2. Please provide dates that contracts for work were signed with the various third party contractors to supply painters and decorators and fencing teams to carry out work on behalf of Oxford Direct Services.

3. Please give specific details of work (dates, projects, locations etc) carried out by third party painting and decorating contractors and fencing teams.

4. Why were Oxford Direct Services own painters and decorators and fencing teams on furlough while third party contractors were able to work?

5. You have failed to answer my request for details and payments of redundancy in the allotted time.

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

Yours faithfully,

Graham Goddard

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Mr Goddard,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference: 10089 and 10177
 
Thank you for your email.  At this stage your reworded questions 1-3 are
not considered to be an internal review, but are considered a new request
received on 7th June 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.
 
Regarding Q4 and 5 from your email
 
4. Why were Oxford Direct Services own painters and decorators and fencing
teams on furlough while third party contractors were able to work?
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. I shall forward this question onto the
department for them to answer directly.
 
5. You have failed to answer my request for details and payments of
redundancy in the allotted time.
 
Apologies for not answering this question on FOI request 10089 within the
20 working days, but after numerous emails chasing a response from the
department,  I have today received  the following response from the
department:
 
FOI request 10089:
2. Please give details of the number of Oxford Direct Services employees
who have been made redundant each month between March 2020 and April 2021
and the total sum of redundancy payments.
 
During March 2020 and April 2021 ODS made three employees redundant.
Two of the redundancies were voluntary.
The total cost of redundancy for the three individuals was  £52,255.65
 
I trust this concludes the matter for FOI 10089.
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear freedomofinformation,

4. Why were Oxford Direct Services own painters and decorators and fencing
teams on furlough while third party contractors were able to work?
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. I shall forward this question onto the
department for them to answer directly.

How will Oxford Direct Services communicate this information?

Yours sincerely,

Graham Goddard

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Mr Goddard,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference: 10177
 
Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your Freedom of
Information Act 2000 request received on 7th June 2021 as follows:
 
ODS have provided a response to your questions where we hold the
information, however as some of your questions are quite wide I have
therefore provided information for the Building Services R & M team. If
you require similar information for the construction team could you list
the projects you are interested in and I will do my best to assist
further.
 
1.     Please list the names of third party contractors that have supplied
painters and decorators and fencing teams to carry out work on behalf of
Oxford Direct Services since March 2020.
 
                                                             Painting work
for Building Services team

2020-21
Contractor
LA Woods
Jones & Reeves
Mitie
Trident

 
This work is for seasonal external painting work across areas of Oxford.
This work is always carried out by external contractors. Under the
furlough rules agreed with HMRC, work that is carried out by external
contractors can continue whilst own staff are on furlough
 
                                                       
Fencing   

WKH Developments Ltd
LTG Construction
Aspire Community Enterprise Ltd
Property Care Ltd
Pittaway Fencing
PMS Oxford Ltd

Fencing contractors were used to supplement the capacity needed to
complete the work of the in house building services fencing team.
  
2. Please provide dates that contracts for work were signed with the
various third party contractors to supply painters and decorators and
fencing teams to carry out work on behalf of Oxford Direct Services.
  
Painting - Three of the external painting contractors were set up as an
approved list of contractors at the start of 2020/21. Trident was added to
provided extra resource in late summer 2020. All of the contractors were
invited to quote for various areas of work. Once agreed a PO (contract)
was agreed to complete the work.
 
3. Please give specific details of work (dates, projects, locations etc) 
carried out by third party painting and decorating contractors and fencing
teams.
 
I am writing to let you know that the Authority requires further
information. . Section 1. (3) (a) of the FOIA provides that
 
“Where a public authority -
 
(a) reasonably requires further information in order to identify and
locate the information requested, and
(b) has informed the applicant of that requirement,
 
the authority is not obliged to comply with subsection (1) unless it is
supplied with that further information.”
 
 
In order for ODS to provide further detail can you advise over what period
you are requesting this information and the areas of work that you are
seeking more information on to avoid a search taking longer that the time
allowed for an FOI and then ODS will  seek to assist.
 
Are you able to clarify what information it is that you wish to receive
please?
 
It would be helpful if you could be more specific in describing the
information you require.
 
The 20 working days timeframe for responding to this part of your request
will be paused  from 16^th June 2021 until the Authority has been
supplied with further information. Should the Council not receive a
response to this email by 5^th July 2021, this part of your request will
be closed accordingly.
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
_____________________________________________

show quoted sections

Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your response of 16 June 2021.

You wrote:
2. Please provide dates that contracts for work were signed with the
various third party contractors to supply painters and decorators and
fencing teams to carry out work on behalf of Oxford Direct Services.

Painting - Three of the external painting contractors were set up as an
approved list of contractors at the start of 2020/21. Trident was added to
provided extra resource in late summer 2020. All of the contractors were
invited to quote for various areas of work. Once agreed a PO (contract)
was agreed to complete the work.

In other FOI requests when asked why third party contractors were working on behalf of ODS when their own staff were on furlough, the Council's reply has been ambiguous claiming both that third party contractors had not been employed or that contracts had been signed prior to lockdown restrictions. This is clearly not the case when Trident was added in late summer of 2020, well into lockdown restrictions.

1. Please provide specific dates that contracts were awarded to Trident and Mite for painting work. At the time the contracts were awarded how many Oxford Direct Services own painters were on furlough?

2. How many of Oxford Direct Service's own painting staff were at home on furlough each month between March 2020 and May 2021 while third party painting contractors were working for ODS?

3. Why did Oxford Direct Services award painting contracts while their own staff were at home receiving taxpayer subsidised furlough payments?

You wrote:

Fencing

WKH Developments Ltd
LTG Construction
Aspire Community Enterprise Ltd
Property Care Ltd
Pittaway Fencing
PMS Oxford Ltd

Fencing contractors were used to supplement the capacity needed to
complete the work of the in house building services fencing team.

4. How many of Oxford Direct Service's own fencing staff were at home on furlough each month between March 2020 and May 2021 while third party fencing contractors were working for ODS?

Yours sincerely,

Graham Goddard

Lorraine Cheshire,

6 Attachments

Good Morning Mr Goddard

 

Further to your FOI request 10177, I am responding directly to Question 4
as this is not deemed to be part of an FOI enquiry.  Please see below:-

 

“ Why were Oxford Direct Services own painters and decorators and fencing
teams on furlough while third party contractors were able to work?”

 

ODS always uses external painting contractors to undertake a range of
external seasonal work which is not carried out in-house. External fencing
contractors have been used to supplement the capacity of internal fencing
team in order to meet the deadlines for completing fencing work.

The guidance from HMRC allows for external contractors to be used.
Furloughed staff have been in accordance with HMRC guidelines.  

 

 

Kind regards

 

[1]cid:image003.png@01D5CADB.872DEC40  

Lorraine Cheshire | Customer Experience Manager

 

ODS | Horspath Road | Oxford OX4 2RH

[2][email address] | [3]www.odsgroup.co.uk

01865 252919 | 07825 365408

 

[4]cid:image002.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300[5]cid:image003.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300 [6]cid:image004.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300 [7]cid:image005.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300

 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.odsgroup.co.uk/
4. https://www.facebook.com/OxfordDirectSer...
5. https://www.linkedin.com/company/12053277
6. http://www.twitter.com/ODS_doinggood
7. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOFfsRq...

Dear Lorraine Cheshire,

YOU WROTE: " ODS always uses external painting contractors to undertake a range of
external seasonal work which is not carried out in-house. External fencing
contractors have been used to supplement the capacity of internal fencing
team in order to meet the deadlines for completing fencing work."

You imply that external contractors were employed in order to meet deadlines. This is hardly surprising when ODS employees have been furloughed.

Please provide the numbers of ODS staff on the fencing teams that were furloughed every month while third party fencing contractors were employed by ODS.

Why were ODS fencing teams unable to work while third party contractors working on behalf of ODS were able to work?

Yours sincerely,

Graham Goddard

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Mr Goddard,
 
Thank you for your email below, which is not considered to be an internal
review.
 

 1. Please provide specific  dates that contracts were awarded to Trident
and Mite for painting work. At the time the contracts were awarded how
many Oxford Direct Services own painters were on furlough?

Answer to this question provided to you in FOI-10104 response earlier
today
 
2. How many of Oxford Direct Service's own painting staff were at home on
furlough each month between March 2020 and May 2021 while third party
painting contractors were working for ODS?
Answer to this question provided to you in FOI-10104 response earlier
today
 
3. Why did Oxford Direct Services award painting contracts while their own
staff were at home receiving taxpayer subsidised furlough payments?
This question has been forwarded onto Oxford Direct Services for them to
respond to you directly.
 
For future reference -Questions are  not considered  valid requests under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 when they are asking for an
opinion/explanation not for recorded information held by the Council.
 
 
The new question you ask regarding, 4. How many of Oxford Direct Service's
own fencing staff were at home on furlough each month between March 2020
and May 2021 while third party fencing contractors were working for ODS?
 
Could you please submit this question separately using  a new email link
as the "what do they know" system is designed for one request per thread
only.
 
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.
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

ODS Freedom of Information,

6 Attachments

Good Morning Mr Goddard

 

As advised by my colleague at Oxford City Council this question is not
covered by the Freedom of Information Act.  

 

However, for your information, seasonal painting work is carried out by
contractors every year and not by our workforce. Details of the companies
that carry out the annual painting work has already been provided to you.
HMRC have confirmed that the furlough scheme does not preclude the use of
contractors and therefore this work was carried out entirely legitimately.

 

Furlough payments made to ODS staff were topped up so that the employee
received their full pay to ensure that any furloughed employee was not
negatively impacted financially.  This was agreed with Oxford City Council
and the relevant unions.

 

I would also request that questions that do not relate to an FOI are sent
to the following mailbox [1][email address] where they
will be addressed via myself or a member of my team.

 

 

Kind regards

 

[2]cid:image003.png@01D5CADB.872DEC40  

Lorraine Cheshire | Customer Experience Manager

 

ODS | Horspath Road | Oxford OX4 2RH

[3][email address] | [4]www.odsgroup.co.uk

01865 252919 | 07825 365408

 

[5]cid:image002.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300[6]cid:image003.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300 [7]cid:image004.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300 [8]cid:image005.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300

 

 

 

 

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This email was Malware checked by UTM 9. http://www.sophos.com

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. All communications sent to or from Oxford City Council may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation. if you have received this email in error please notify the author by return email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.odsgroup.co.uk/
5. https://www.facebook.com/OxfordDirectSer...
6. https://www.linkedin.com/company/12053277
7. http://www.twitter.com/ODS_doinggood
8. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOFfsRq...

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Graham Goddard please sign in and let everyone know.