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Polling Station accessibility

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Dear Kingston upon Thames Borough Council,

Kingston Council has reached an out of court settlement regarding a polling station not being fully accessible in 2014 to people with disabilities.

Please provide the following information:
1. Why was this case, in which Kingston Council was clearly in breach of its equality duty, not settled by mediation?
2. Who specifically took the decision to contest the case?
3. Who specifically authorised and signed off public money to instruct a QC?
4. What is the total monetary cost to the Council for the services of the QC? From which budget is this deducted?
5. Prior to the case, how many complaints were made regarding the accessibility of Sunray Community Centre? [Not restricted to its use as a polling station]
6. Details of subsequent changes made to the community centre in light of the case.

Should individual names not be permitted to be disclosed, please provide the relevant positions held, e.g. CEO, Council leader, Corporate Solicitor etc.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Lynne Finnerty.

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<Complaints & FOI>, Kingston upon Thames Borough Council

Dear Lynne Finnerty ,

Freedom Of Information Request

 

Thank you for your e-mail to the Customer Contact Centre containing a
Freedom of Information request.

 

Your request has been processed under the job number CAS-413686-X1V4S1 and
a response will be sent to you within twenty working days as defined by
the Act.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 
Freedom of Information Team

Royal Borough of Kingston

[1]http://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200232/c...

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Andrew Bessant, Kingston upon Thames Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Lynne
Please see my response to your FOI request attached.
Yours sincerely
--

Andrew Bessant
Head of Corporate Governance and Monitoring Officer
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Tel: 0208 547 4628

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The information contained in this message is confidential. It is intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and
others authorised to receive it. If the reader of this message is not the
intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, copying,
dissemination or disclosure of this information is strictly prohibited.

 

 

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Andrew Bessant, Kingston upon Thames Borough Council

Dear Lynne
I have just realised that I omitted answering your fourth question and
inadvertently renumbered the subsequent two. The reply to your original
question 4 is that the information is not held at the moment as we haven't
yet had a final invoice for all of the work undertaken.
Sorry about that.If you would prefer me to send you an updated letter I'm
happy to do that.
Regards
Andrew

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately Q1 has been misinterpreted. Why was the matter not settled by mediation without using the services of a QC, i.e. why was no attempt made to settle prior to a court case?

Q2 - Who provided the legal advice [which took no account of the Equality Act]?

No need for an updated letter re Q4. When is a final invoice expected for the work undertaken by the QC?

Thank you.
Regards,
Lynne.

Andrew Bessant, Kingston upon Thames Borough Council

Dear Lynne
Although the Council had suggested mediation at various points throughout
the process it was not until a few days before the scheduled Court hearing
in June that the other side agreed to that. Thus we already had our
Barrister lined up for a High Court hearing for which he had done a lot of
preparatory work so it made sense to retain him for the Mediation session
itself, which took place on the day that the Court hearing would have
taken place.
Our legal advice came from the South London Legal Partnership which is a
shared service covering Kingston, Richmond, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth.
We don't yet have the final invoice for the cost of the QC but i will
chase that.
Best wishes
Andrew

Dear Andrew,

Please could you provide an answer to the outstanding request, i.e. final cost for the services of the QC and advise the budget from which it is deducted.

Best wishes,
Lynne.

Andrew Bessant, Kingston upon Thames Borough Council

Hi Lynne
I am just checking out whether we have had the final invoice. In the
meantime i can confirm that the costs have been met from the Local
elections cost centre.
Regards
Andrew

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