Rough Sleeping Request

Rachael Venables made this Freedom of Information request to Common Council of the City of London as part of a batch sent to 33 authorities

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 refused by Common Council of the City of London.

Dear Common Council of the City of London,

I'd like a list of items confiscated from people suspected of being homeless or rough sleeping in your authority in the last five years (1st Jan 2013 - 31st Dec 2018). Can you date each confiscation, alongside the details of the items, and the location from where they were removed.

If this is possible, I'd also like a full list of the anti-homeless, hostile architecture that you are aware of having gone up in the authority in the same time period. Can you divide that information by calendar year, including:
- details of the device (e.g. spikes in spots where homeless people often sleep, metal bars, sprinklers etc.)
- location
- whether planning permission was needed or granted
- the cost, if that cost was met by the council

If accessing some of the above information would go above the cost-threshold for an FOI please just provide the data that falls under the budget.

Yours faithfully,

Rachael Venables

COL-EB-InformationOfficer, Common Council of the City of London

Dear Ms Venables,
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
 
The City of London (CoL) acknowledges receipt of your request for
information of 2 January 2019, below.
 
Public authorities are required to respond to requests within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days beginning from the first working
day after they receive a request. The Act does not always require public
authorities to disclose the information which they hold.
 
The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and
port health authority. The CoL is the local and police authority for the
“Square Mile”, ie the historic City of London, and not for London as a
whole. Please see the following page containing a link to a map (‘Explore
the City’), which shows the local authority area covered by the CoL:
[1]https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/maps/Pag....
 
The CoL does have some functions, including Port Health Authority
functions, which extend beyond the City boundary. For further information
please see: [2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Officer
Comptroller & City Solicitor’s Department
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
 
 
 

show quoted sections

DCS FOI, Common Council of the City of London

1 Attachment

 Dear Ms Venables,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Following receipt of your request for information on 2 January 2019 and
our acknowledgement of 3 January 2019, the City of London (CoL) responds
as follows:

 

I'd like a list of items confiscated from people suspected of being
homeless or rough sleeping in your authority in the last five years (1st
Jan 2013 - 31st Dec 2018). Can you date each confiscation, alongside the
details of the items, and the location from where they were removed. No
items have been confiscated or removed in the period detailed.

 

If this is possible, I'd also like a full list of the anti-homeless,
hostile architecture that you are aware of having gone up in the authority
in the same time period. Can you divide that information by calendar year,
including:

- details of the device (e.g. spikes in spots where homeless people often
sleep, metal bars, sprinklers etc.)

- location

- whether planning permission was needed or granted

- the cost, if that cost was met by the council

 

FOIA section12 – Appropriate Limit

 

In accordance with section 1(1)(a) of the FOIA the CoL confirms that it
may hold information relevant to this section of the request. However, it
estimates that to comply with the request would exceed the cost/time
allowed for in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (made under section 12 of the FOIA),
called (as you may know) the 'appropriate limit', of £450, representing 18
hours work by one person equivalent. Public authorities are not required
to comply with requests free of charge which it is estimated may exceed
the appropriate limit. Where they do comply, they are allowed to charge
the full permitted cost, at the statutory chargeable rate of £25 an hour.
For resource reasons, it is the practice of the CoL not to comply with
requests which exceed the appropriate limit.

 

In accordance with the FOI Fees Regulations an authority is allowed to
take into account, in calculating the estimated compliance time, the time
taken in -

 

"(a) determining whether it holds the information,

(b) locating the information,

(c) retrieving the information, and

(d) extracting the information from a document containing it."

 

In accordance with the Information Tribunal’s Decision Notice ref:
EA/2006/0085, which makes reference to calculation of estimates and
compiling the information, the CoL also considers the description covers
compiling the information, in so far as it can be said that the
information does not technically exist until it is compiled.

 

The CoL receives approximately 1200 planning applications per year. To
search for the information requested (‘a full list of the anti-homeless,
hostile architecture that you are aware of having gone up in the authority
in the same time period’) would require an officer to manually search over
7200 planning applications, open each one, and inspect each document in
the application individually.

 

The CoL estimates the length of time that it would take to locate, read,
retrieve, and compile the information in your request would be in excess
of 600 hours which, in accordance with the rate allowed to be charged,
would be the equivalent to a cost of £15,000.

 

It is difficult sensibly to make an estimate, but this estimate has been
calculated on the basis of 5 minutes inspection time for each planning
application to ensure the content is relevant and correlates directly to
your information request. Clearly in reality, the search times would be
much greater.

 

Please also note that the Commissioner has stated (FS 50227557) with
regard to FOIA section 12, to which the above Fees Regulations relate,
that the purpose of the section "is to prevent the possibility of a
disproportionate level of search and that it is reasonable in these
circumstances to adjudicate on the basis of a reasonable estimate of the
worst case scenario". Nevertheless, we consider that our estimate is not a
worse case estimate but a conservative one, as explained above.

 

Finally, please note that the Commissioner has stated (FS 50353495) that
“Section 12 of the Act provides an exclusion from complying with a
request. It is not subject to a public interest Test”.

 

In accordance with best practice guidance as described in the Information
Commissioner's decision notice ref FS 50203140, after applying the
appropriate limit a public authority is required to provide advice and
assistance, in so far as is possible, as to ways in which an applicant
could reduce his/her request so that it may fall within the appropriate
limit. However, where in general a request is broad in nature and scope,
the Commissioner has upheld the view (FS 50353385, FS 50353499) that it
can be impossible to offer any advice and assistance to enable the
applicant to narrow a request. We consider that in this instance, because
of the nature of your request, the amount of information involved, and the
amount of time required to retrieve, read, extract and collate the
information, the CoL is unable to provide guidance as to how to narrow it.

 

However, all planning all CoL planning applications may be searched by
using the following link:
[1]http://www.planning2.cityoflondon.gov.uk...

 

By selecting the ‘advanced’ tab, you can filter results by date.

 

You may also add ‘Description Keywords’ such as the ones stated in your
request, under ‘details of the device’ to the search, which may assist in
narrowing the results.

 

The CoL would therefore apply the FOIA exemption section 21 – information
available, to the applicant, by other means, to the following part of your
request:

‘I'd also like a full list of the anti-homeless, hostile architecture that
you are aware of having gone up in the authority in the same time period’.

 

Please note that the City (the "Square Mile") has a resident population of
about 7,650* which includes approximately 1,350 children aged up to 19
years old.

 

*Office of National Statistics 2018

We hope this assists.

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the CoL has handled your
enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email address:
[2][email address]

For a link to the CoL's FOI complaints procedure, please visit the
following page: [3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which
is located the FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the CoL's
Complaints Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the
Information Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information
Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: (01625) 545 700. Website: [4]www.ico.org.uk.

Please note that the Act applies to the City of London only as a local
authority, police authority and port health authority.

The CoL holds the copyright in this communication. Its supply does not
give a right to re-use in a way that would infringe that copyright, for
example, by making copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public or
to any other person. Brief extracts of any of the material may be
reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the purposes of research for
non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism,  review and news
reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the copyright owner.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

[5]cid:image001.jpg@01D31041.249F61A0 Business Support Manager | 
Commissioning and Partnerships
Division 

City of London Corporation
|Telephone 020 7332 3498|
[6]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

 

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References

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1. http://www.planning2.cityoflondon.gov.uk...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback
4. http://www.ico.org.uk/
6. http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/