Redcar & Cleveland: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and fees for residential care for younger adults

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council,

Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) claim that they would like to pay their carers the Living Wage but that they are not paid enough by social care funders such as yourself to do so.

I wonder if you could please tell me:

1) what representations Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) have made to the Council asking for increases in the fees paid for social care provided by them, in order to pay their carers the Living Wage.

2) Some idea as to the fees currently being paid by the Council to LCD for residential care, per resident per week. A range of fees or a set of anonymised figures of the fees perhaps. Other councils have opted to supply statistical median and range as they were concerned that individual fees could make it possible for people to have a guess at which residents had which fees.

3) Equivalent information for fees paid to other providers for residential care in care homes for people with physical impairments under the age of 65.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Information Security, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

FOI request - Ref FOI/15/0104

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your attached request for information.

I have asked the relevant officers of the Authority to commence enquiries immediately to find all applicable information relating to your request under the FOI Act and to supply any which is found to me.

Your request has to be processed within a maximum of 20 working days, which means the Council must provide you with the information it has (assuming no exemptions are claimed) by 27/02/2015. If it is possible to provide you with the information within a shorter timescale then that will be done.

Should you have any queries about this matter please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

FOI Officer

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Blackett, Neil, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached our response to your FOI request

 

Neil Blackett

Complaints & Information Governance Officer

People Services

Seafield House

Kirkleatham Street

Redcar

01642 771528

 

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Dear Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Redcar & Cleveland: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and fees for residential care for younger adults'.

You've refused to provide information in response to any of my request, citing commercial sensitivity.

I disagree. I don't see why provision of information as to representations made by LCD to increase fees to enable them to pay the living wage, or statistical data on fees paid to LCD or to other providers, should be commercially sensitive or put anybody at any commercial risk.

Further, I have made the same request to a large number of councils and Health and Social Care Trusts. Well over 90 have responded providing all the above information. They evidently don't feel that the information is commercially sensitive. Also, as they have provided the information and it is in the public domain, surely this makes the information you hold less commercially sensitive?

Finally I disagree with your application of the Public Interest Test. There is a strong public interest in ensuring carers are paid enough to have a reasonable quality of life, both for them and the people they care for; similarly, there is a strong public interest in ensuring that value for money is achieved in payments for people's residential care, especially in these cash-strapped times.

Thank you

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

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Information Security, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

I acknowledge receipt of your email and will initiate an internal review of the response to your FOI request. This will involve a Senior Legal Officer being asked to review the request and the response you have received.

You will be contacted again as soon as the internal review is complete. Whilst there is no statutory timetable for this process, I would hope to have a response within 20 working days.

Kind Regards

FOI Officer

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Dear Information Security,

It may assist you in deliberation of the application of the S43 exemption - Commercial Sensitivity - to know the following.

I asked Lewisham Council exactly the same questions and they relied on the S43 "Commercial Sensitivity" exemption, even after internal review. I asked for the Information Commissioner's help and opinion. Following the Informatin Commissioner's Office's intervention, Lewisham Council has now decided that S43 does not apply to this information, and has thus released all the information requested.

I very much hope I don't have to refer your reliance on S43 to the Information Commissioner, but I will do if required.

The Information Commissioner said:

"As you know, the Information Commissioner has been considering the Council’s decision to withhold information under section 43(3) in response to your request.

"Subsequent to the Commissioner’s intervention, the Council has amended its response to your request. It has withdrawn its reliance on section 43 and has disclosed further information in response to your request."

I await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Information Security,

I have collated all the responses I have received so far into a spreadsheet which may be viewed at https://www.dropbox.com/s/rwv0gmjjbvrbm2... . You will see that 132 councils have supplied the information I requested, with the exception of a few who only have less than five service users in Leonard Cheshire Disability homes and so risked releasing sensitive personal information by replying.

I hope that serves as documentary proof that release of similar information by your council would be minimal in impact or risk to commercial sensitivity, and thus be of use to you in your conduct of my previously requested internal review.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Information Security, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

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Dear Mr Paulley

Further to my acknowledgement of your request I can confirm that a Senior Legal Officer has undertaken a full and thorough review of the response you received and I am now in a position to response.

The Reviewing officer has had a meeting with the officer of the authority who drafted the response to your initial request, to determine whether the exemption applied to your request was correct. Whilst it was previously decided that your request was refused on the grounds of commercial interests - s.43 (2), following the internal review the Legal Officer has taken the decision to revoke this exemption as he is not satisfied that provision of the information would prejudice the Councils ability to participate competitively in commercial activities.

However upon completing your response it has been determined that some of the information you request, specifically that in relation to fees currently paid by the council to LCD for residential care and fees paid to other providers for residential care, is already publically available. This information is therefore exempt from disclosure under s.21, however in order to be helpful and assist you we have provided you with web links to the relevant webpages.

Please find attached an updated response document, which contains the information you requested.

I trust this concludes your internal review to your satisfaction but if I can be of further assistance please let me know.

Yours sincerely

FOI Officer

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