Risk management strategy documentation

Susan Kennedy made this Freedom of Information request to Thanet District 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 Thanet District Council,

The Good Councillor Guide says "Being financially responsible for a public body can be daunting. The rules set by Government are designed to make sure that the council takes no
unacceptable risks with public money. The words risk management should be
engraved upon every councillor’s mind. The good news is that the rules protect
you and your council from possible disaster. Your council should establish a
risk management scheme which highlights every known significant risk in terms
of the council’s activities and makes clear how such risks will be managed."

1. Would you please supply a copy of the council's overall risk management strategy which outlines how risks are identified, managed, mitigated against and monitored?
2. Would you please provide risk management documentation that relates specifically to the council's recent exploration of a CPO in relation to the former Manston airport e.g. risk management strategy, risk register?
3. Would you please provide specific details of the independent legal advice obtained in relation to a CPO of Manston and how the council has assessed risks in relation to this legal advice?

Yours faithfully,

Susan Kennedy

Sophie Chadwick, Thanet District Council

Ref No: 67865/2761367
Subject:        Risk Management
 
Dear Ms Kennedy
 
Thank you for your communication of 13/08/2014 requesting information
about risk management.
 
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days. 
 
If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
 
 
Sophie Chadwick
Customer Contact and Engagement Manager
 

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Adrian Halse, Thanet District Council

 
Ref No: 67865 / 2761367
Subject:Risk Management
 
Dear Ms Kennedy
 
Thank you for your communication received on 13/08/2014 where you
requested information about risk management and risk relating to Manston.
 
I have provided a response to each of your questions below:
 
 
1. Would you please supply a copy of the council's overall risk management
strategy which outlines how risks are identified, managed, mitigated
against and monitored?
 
I can confirm that the Corporate Resources Directorate holds this
information. The information is exempt under Section 21 of the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA), because the information is accessible to you, as
it is already in the public domain.
 
[1]http://thanet.gov.uk/publications/govern...
 
 
 
2. Would you please provide risk management documentation that relates
specifically to the council's recent exploration of a CPO in relation to
the former Manston airport e.g. risk management strategy, risk register?
 
I can advise you that, following a search of our paper and electronic
records, I have established that the information you requested is not held
by Thanet District Council.
 
It should be borne in mind that the Council has done no more than take
advice on viability of the airport at this stage and made no commitment to
a CPO. Furthermore it has considered the implications of the airport on
the draft Local plan. If a proposal to commit to a CPO is considered at a
meeting of this council, the risks would need to be clearly stated to
enable an informed decision to be taken. If such a proposal was approved,
the risk would then be entered onto the risk register.
 
 
3. Would you please provide specific details of the independent legal
advice obtained in relation to a CPO of Manston and how the council has
assessed risks in relation to this legal advice?
 
The Council has sought independent legal advice in relation to the
possibility of this but at the present time this is not available for
disclosure as such information is exempt by reason of section 42 (legal
professional privilege) and section 43 (commercial interests). The public
interest test would apply to those exemptions. In favour of disclosure is
the desire to be open and transparent and looking to be accountable to the
public at large. On the other side there are issues upon which the Council
needs to take advice which would be compromised if it were to be in the
public domain and as it is considering the financial position of the
airport which is in private ownership and the Council needs to be aware
that whatever decision is taken it is likely to face some legal challenge
the public interest test is exercised in favour of not disclosing this.
 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor,
Thanet District Council, P O Box 9 Cecil Street, Margate Kent CT9 1XZ, or
send an email to [email address].
 
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
 
Adrian Halse
Policy & Business Planning Manager
 
 
 

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Dear Adrian Halse,

Ref No: 67865 / 2761367
Subject:Risk Management

Thank you for your response to my first question.

In response to my second question:

2. Would you please provide risk management documentation that relates
specifically to the council's recent exploration of a CPO in relation to
the former Manston airport e.g. risk management strategy, risk register?

You advised that, following a search of our paper and electronic
records, the information you requested is not held by Thanet District Council. I assume this means that there has been no risk identified to the Council's exploration of undertaking a CPO. Is this correct?

In addition you advised that that given that the Council has done no more than take advice on viability of the airport at this stage and made no commitment to a CPO it has not yet proceeded on a course of action towards a CPO. Yet my understanding is that the council has sought expressions of interest for a potential back-to-back indemnity partner. Has there been any analysis of risk in relation to this undertaking? Specifically, has the Council considered the risk of selecting a potential partner before undertaking both a valuation of the site at Manston and the potential compensation costs that the owner might conceivably be due? Specifically again, has an analysis of risk in undertaking any kind of back-to-back CPO arrangement been undertaken in advance of entering into any discussions with potential back-to-back indemnity partners?

You say that if a proposal to commit to a CPO is considered at a
meeting of this council, the risks would need to be clearly stated to
enable an informed decision to be taken. Can you please tell me what risk identification process will be undertaken in advance of any Council consideration of a CPO and how identified risks would be presented to any councillors voting for or against such a CPO in advance of them voting? I would assume that all identified risks would need to be evaluated and presented to Council in advance of such a proposal being approved rather than post approval which is what your mail suggested to me.

Additionally, if there are identified risks with regard to a CPO that are entered onto the risk register, how will such risks be made known to the public?

In response to my 3rd question:
3. Would you please provide specific details of the independent legal
advice obtained in relation to a CPO of Manston and how the council has
assessed risks in relation to this legal advice?

I am not clear why openness, transparency and accountability to the public are compromised in this regard. My question pertains to the generality of undertaking a CPO of this nature and not to the specifics of any individuals or organisations with which the Council may or may not do business. If the Council is aware that decisions it may take are likely to involve some kind of legal challenge the surely the public need to be aware of any legal guidance in relation to this? I seek further clarification from you here, please.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Kennedy

Amanda Buckingham, Thanet District Council

 
18 September 2014
 
Ref No:67865/2761367
Subject:Risk Management
 
Dear Ms Kennedy,
 
I confirm receipt of your email of 15/09/2014 asking for further
clarification on the response that you were sent from Adrian Halse, Policy
and Business Planning Manager.   This will be forwarded for a further
response as soon as possible.
 
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
 
 
Amanda Buckingham
Customer Contact Officer
 
 
 

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Dear Amanda Buckingham,

I am still waiting for a response to my last communication. Would you please advise as to when I might expect this?

Yours sincerely,

Susan Kennedy

Amanda Buckingham, Thanet District Council

Dear Miss Kennedy,

I have forwarded your email to the manager concerned this morning and will discuss with him when he is in the office later today.

Kind Regards,
Amanda

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Adrian Halse, Thanet District Council

 
Ref No: 67865 / 2761367
Subject:Risk Management
Dear Ms Kennedy,
Thank you for your communication received on 13/08/2014 where you
requested clarification on the email sent to you by Adrian Halse on
01/09/2014.

 1. Firstly, there has been no risk identified within the Council’s risk
management documentation regarding the exploration of a CPO in
relation to the former Manston airport. The Council’s risk management
documentation is used to document risks arising from the Council’s
current activities, rather than risks which might arise in the future
(if, for example, a particular decision were to be  taken). In the
event of a proposal being taken to a meeting of Cabinet or Council for
a decision, information relevant to the matter under consideration
would be set out in a report prepared by officers prior to the
meeting.  The general rule is that all such reports (unless they
contain confidential information) are made public.
 1. Regarding your question relating to the seeking of expressions of
interest for a potential back-to-back indemnity partner, the Council
has conducted a soft-market testing exercise and is still in the
process of evaluating the results.
 1. You ask how risks on the risk register will be made available to the
public – the risk register is currently available to the public via
the meetings and agenda section of the Council’s website
[1]http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDoc...
see item 184.
 1. You have questioned the application of the public interest test in
relation to your third original question. If you are dissatisfied you
have the right to ask for an internal review, the way to do this is
set out below.

 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to:  Information Request Assessor,
Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XZ,
or send an email to [2][email address].
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF
Yours sincerely
 
 
Adrian Halse
Policy & Business Planning Manager
 
 

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