Spending Details

caebrwyn made this Freedom of Information request to Carmarthenshire 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 refused by Carmarthenshire Council.

Dear Mr Tillman,

Please list, in accessible electronic form, the details of all Council spending over £500 for the following Departments;
a) Chief Executive, including the Legal section.
b) Regeneration and Leisure Department, please only include Regeneration projects and all areas of Planning.
c) Democratic Services Unit
d) Media/Press Department

Please include all details and confine your response to the financial years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
Please contact me if you require further clarification of my request.

Yours faithfully,

J Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 11th April, 2011 and is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We are therefore required to provide you with a response within 20 working days, which will be on or before 16th May, 2011.

If we require any clarification or further details, we will contact you as soon as possible - if this is the case, then the timescale for response specified above may be subject to change.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me, remembering to quote the reference number provided above in any communications.

Yours faithfully

John Tillman

Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data

Adran y Prif Weithredwr

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer

Chief Executive's Department

Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127

Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 11th April, 2011 and is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I am writing to ask you to clarify your request. This is because we need further details from you to identify the precise scope of the information you are requesting, as follows:

1. Please confirm whether the information you are seeking includes individual employees' salaries and expenses.

2. When asking for "all details" regarding expenditure, please confirm what specific items of information you require.

Once we have received sufficient clarification we will be required to respond within 20 working days.

If you need any assistance with this, please contact me by telephone, or by email.

If we do not hear from you within three months of the date of this email, it will be considered that you no longer wish to pursue your request and that it has been withdrawn.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,
Clarified as follows;

1. I do not require details of individuals' salaries but I do require;
a)details of expenses and bonus payments including the identity (if that is not possible then the council department to which the expenses claim relates),
b)amount,
c)date and
d)reason for the claim.

2. By 'all details' I mean;
a) amount spent inclusive of VAT
b) to whom was the payment made, ie an individual, an organisation, a company etc
c) the date of payment
d) the reason for the payment - ie provision of all services, all goods, appraisals, reports, independent advice, ie all incurred expenditure
e) the council department to which the expenditure relates.

Please contact if you require further explanation.
Yours sincerely,

J Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 11^th
April, 2011 and has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

The specific information you requested was as follows:

"Please list, in accessible electronic form, the details of all Council
spending over £500 for the following Departments;

a) Chief Executive, including the Legal section.

b)Regeneration and Leisure Department, please only include Regeneration
projects and all areas of Planning.

c) Democratic Services Unit

d) Media/Press Department

Please include all details and confine your response to the financial
years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011."

I wrote to you on 18th April asking for clarification regarding your
request.

You responded on 18th April as follows:

"1. I do not require details of individuals' salaries but I do require;

a)details of expenses and bonus payments including the identity (if that
is not possible then the council department to which the expenses claim
relates),

b)amount,

c)date and

d)reason for the claim.

2. By 'all details' I mean;

a) amount spent inclusive of VAT

b) to whom was the payment made, ie an individual, an organisation, a
company etc

c) the date of payment

d) the reason for the payment - ie provision of all services, all goods,
appraisals, reports, independent advice, ie all incurred expenditure

e) the council department to which the expenditure relates."

The Council obviously holds information on expenditure. However, after
carefully considering your request it is evident that supplying the
information in the format you have requested would not be straightforward
and require a very large amount of work to be undertaken.

To illustrate the scale of the task, for the relevant services within
Regeneration & Leisure, for both financial years covered by your request,
there were 6,257 non-salary transactions above £500 recorded on our
electronic financial management system.

The transaction listing information that we can extract from the system is
not specific enough to establish the exact nature of each of the
transactions and it would be necessary, therefore, for staff to manually
locate, retrieve and analyse information held on invoices and then compile
and present the information.

In addition, within the transaction listing there will be a number of
accounting adjustments, recharges, possible cancelled invoices and
importantly, the treatment of VAT that would again require investigation
and analysis.

The same exercise would have to be carried out in respect of Chief
Executive's department's 900 transactions and a further factor would be
obtaining all the detail required in respect of expenses claims, which
would also have to be carried out manually, by referring to managers
and/or expenses claim forms.

It is difficult to provide a precise estimate of how long this would take,
however, if one assumes that it would take approximately two minutes to
check each transaction, then a figure of over 119 hours (or 16 working
days) can be arrived at. This does not take into account the additional
time required to provide the details of many thousands of expenses claims.

Under Section 12 of the Act, a public authority is not obliged to comply
with a request if it considers that to do so would exceed the appropriate
limit. This limit is defined in The Freedom of Information and Data
Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 as £450, which
equates to 18 hours of work at the standard rate specified in the
Regulations of £25.00 per hour.

In calculating this limit, the time spent on the following can be taken
into account:

1. Determining whether the information is held;

2. Locating the information or a document containing it;

2. Retrieving the information or a document containing it, and

3. Extracting the information from a document containing it.

As such, complying with your request would exceed the cost limit as
explained above.

We normally advise requesters how to could reduce or refine your request
to within the cost limit. We might, for instance, be able to provide a
breakdown of spend per department, broken down by budget headings which
give an indication as to the nature of the expenditure. However, I would
reiterate that we cannot provide individual transaction details, as
explained above.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to
contact me, by telephone if you prefer.

In accordance with Section 17 (5) of the Act, please consider this email
to be a formal notice that we will be unable to comply with your request
in full, as explained above.

If you disagree with this decision or the way in which your request has
been dealt with, you have the right to complain in the first instance to:

The Head of Administration & Law

Carmarthenshire County Council

County Hall

Carmarthen

SA31 1JP

Email: [email address]

If you remain unhappy with any subsequent decision, you have the right to
appeal to the Information Commissioner to rule on your complaint.

You may write to him at:

Information Commissioner

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

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