Suffolk County Council - Concertus Property & Design Consultants: Doc. Ref. No. 16-0081

The request was refused by Suffolk County Council.

Dear Suffolk County Council

I am writing to make an open government request for all the information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000.

Thereby, please send me the document(s) produced by Concertus Property & Design Consultants, for Suffolk County Council (SCC), with the reference/job number: 16-0081. This, together with any associated documentation – including the brief(s), or such like, used to commission the production of the said document(s).
Further, I request details of the reasons necessitating the production of the said document(s) for SCC, the cost of its/their production, and the ultimate value of its/their production to SCC and the population for which it serves.

I would like for the above information to be provided to me in electronic format at the email address given.

If this request is too wide or unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me. As I understand that under the Act you are required to advise and assist requesters. If any of this information is already in the public domain, please can you direct me to it, with page references and URLs if necessary.

I understand that you are required to respond to my request within the 20 working days after you receive this letter. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Mr MacDonald

Freedom of Information, Suffolk County Council

INFORMATION REQUEST – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Thank you for your request, here is your reference number 16273. Please quote this in any future correspondence you may have with us.

We will process your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 as appropriate. We aim to answer your request within 20 working days from the date we received it.

While no charges are made for the submission of requests, the council is entitled to apply reasonable costs for disbursements (i.e. photocopying, postage etc).  Where such costs are under £5.00 the council is pleased to make no charge, however, if costs exceed that limit then these additional costs are payable to the council.  Where charges will apply proper notice will be given to you prior to the information being released.  For more information on charges please use the following link to our website: http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/freedom-...

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,
Becky

FOI Lead Officer
Performance and Information Management
Suffolk County Council
Constantine House
Constantine Road
Ipswich
IP1 2DH

Tel: 01473 265960
Fax: 01473 216843
Email: [email address]
Web: www.suffolk.gov.uk

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Freedom of Information, Suffolk County Council

1 Attachment

INFORMATION REQUEST RESPONSE

Thank you for your request for information, reference number 16273. Please quote this in any future correspondence you may have with us.

Please find attached a copy of our response to the information you requested.

Most information supplied by Suffolk County Council will have been produced within the Council and will continue to be protected by copyright.  You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law.  Documents (except photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting.  Any other reuse, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

If the information you have been sent includes a copyright statement, you must not alter or remove this statement.  For information about re-using copyright see the Office of Public Sector Information website at www.opsi.gov.uk.  The copyright in some documents may rest with a third party.  For information about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website at www.ipo.gov.uk.

If you are dissatisfied with the way your request has been handled, you have the right to ask for an internal review.  Under Regulation 11(2), internal review requests should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this letter and should be sent to: Information Management Services, Constantine House, Constantine Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DH or, alternatively, by email at [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,
Becky

Performance and Information Management
Suffolk County Council
Constantine House
Constantine Road
Ipswich
IP1 2DH

Tel:     01473 265960
Fax:    01473 216843
Email: [email address]

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The response states:

"The Council has determined that further requests relating to the Lowestoft Records Office are repeat, obsessive, would impose a significant burden on the Council and the teams processing the request and lacks any serious purpose or value. "

This is astonishing. It appears the council have pro-actively decided that they will refuse any requests about the Lowestoft Records Office as vexatious.

Dear Suffolk County Council

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Suffolk County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Suffolk County Council - Concertus Property & Design Consultants: Doc. Ref. No. 16-0081'.

Firstly, I am intrigued to know how in your response a link has been made to Lowestoft Record Office? To my mind, this seems most peculiar, as there is no mention whatsoever of this branch of the Suffolk Record Office in either part of the request.
In this regard, therefore, I would be very grateful if you could explain more fully and precisely how the Council can conclude this request to be 'vexatious', and how also the Council can determine the request to be ‘repeat’ – by, in so doing, pointing to the previous request the Council state as having already been complied with and also to which they deem this request to be 'identical or substantially similar'.
And further, to detail where the 'substantial amount of information on this subject, [that] has already been released' is made available to the public (albeit Lowestoft Record Office was not the subject of the request in the first instance – explicitly or otherwise).

Secondly, it is clear now from a document since released by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (namely, 'HG-014-08167 The Hold - Appendix 6: Job Descriptions and Briefs', pp.100-110*), that the reference number in question, '16-0081', is/was a project or tender reference number that, along with the documents associated with it, relate to the 'Invitation to Tender' for the 'Build Contractor for 'The Hold'. It is apparent also from this document that the reference number '16-0081' refers to rather more, by way of documentation, than the two reports the Council suggest in their response; and would appear to refer, instead, to a further twelve 'tender documents'.
To my knowledge this particular tendering process is complete, with a build contractor selected and ready to start. So, again, I would be very grateful if you could explain why no mention was made of these documents or the tendering process itself in the Council's response. And why, therefore, none of these tender documents were supplied in response to the request.

Amongst further points raised in the request that the Council have neglected to respond to: that of 'cost' is chief amongst them. As it is clear from the Council's own publicly available documents the cost of this work, undertaken by Concertus, runs into the hundreds of thousands of pounds. And so must surely be something, in and of itself, worthy of a more detailed response from the Council.

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

Yours faithfully

Mr MacDonald

* 'HG-014-08167 The Hold - Appendix 6: Job Descriptions and Briefs' https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

Freedom of Information, Suffolk County Council

Dear Mr MacDonald
 
We are sorry that you are unhappy with the response to your access to information request 16273.
 
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) we will conduct an internal review of our response.
 
Internal reviews are conducted by the Information Management Operations Manager. As determined by the Information Commissioner as best practice we aim to complete your internal review within 20 working days.

Kind regards

Performance and Information Management
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich
IP1 2BX

Tel:     01473 265960
Email: [email address]
Web:   www.suffolk.gov.uk

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Freedom of Information, Suffolk County Council

Dear Mr MacDonald

 

Thank you for your correspondence on 23 July 2018 where you requested an
Internal Review following your request for information about 16273.

 

Your concerns were:

 

“I am writing to request an internal review of Suffolk County Council's
handling of my FOI request 'Suffolk County Council - Concertus Property &
Design Consultants: Doc. Ref. No. 16-0081'.

1. Firstly, I am intrigued to know how in your response a link has been
made to Lowestoft Record Office? To my mind, this seems most peculiar, as
there is no mention whatsoever of this branch of the Suffolk Record Office
in either part of the request.

In this regard, therefore, I would be very grateful if you could explain
more fully and precisely how the Council can conclude this request to be
'vexatious', and how also the Council can determine the request to be
‘repeat’ – by, in so doing, pointing to the previous request the Council
state as having already been complied with and also to which they deem
this request to be 'identical or substantially similar'.

And further, to detail where the 'substantial amount of information on
this subject, [that] has already been released' is made available to the
public (albeit Lowestoft Record Office was not the subject of the request
in the first instance – explicitly or otherwise).

2. Secondly, it is clear now from a document since released by the
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 
(namely, 'HG-014-08167 The Hold - Appendix 6: Job Descriptions and
Briefs', pp.100-110*), that the reference number in question, '16-0081',
is/was a project or tender reference number that, along with the documents
associated with it, relate to the 'Invitation to Tender' for the 'Build
Contractor for 'The Hold'. It is apparent also from this document that the
reference number '16-0081' refers to rather more, by way of documentation,
than the two reports the Council suggest in their response; and would
appear to refer, instead, to a further twelve 'tender documents'.

To my knowledge this particular tendering process is complete, with a
build contractor selected and ready to start.  So, again, I would be very
grateful if you could explain why no mention was made of these documents
or the tendering process itself in the Council's response. And why,
therefore, none of these tender documents were supplied in response to the
request.

3. Amongst further points raised in the request that the Council have
neglected to respond to: that of 'cost' is chief amongst them. As it is
clear from the Council's own publicly available documents the cost of this
work, undertaken by Concertus, runs into the hundreds of thousands of
pounds. And so must surely be something, in and of itself, worthy of a
more detailed response from the Council.”

 

Having now conducted a formal review of your request, I can confirm that
our response to your request (ref 16273) is upheld for the following
reasons:

 

Point 1 - The reference to Lowestoft Record Office in the County Council’s
response to your original request is because the Concertus job number you
provided (16-0081) was used by them with regard to a piece of work they
performed for Suffolk County Council on the Lowestoft Record Office.  The
same job number (16-0081) was also used by them in relation to the piece
of work referred to below on ‘The Hold’. 

 

In the absence of any explicit information in your request to clarify
which piece of work your FOI related to, it was assumed that it could
relate to either, or both, and the response was prepared accordingly. 

 

Suffolk County Council has received numerous requests for information on
the Lowestoft Record Office asking for substantially similar information,
owing to the large number of requests made and the large amount of
information released the Council deemed Lowestoft Record Office to be a
vexatious subject and applied the appropriate exemption. Information that
was provided however, can be found on Suffolk County Council's disclosure
log which can be found via the following link:
[1]https://foi.suffolk.gov.uk/

 

Point 2 - In your request you asked specifically for 'documents produced
by Concertus Property and Design Consultants' the tenders, if held, would
not have been produced by Concertus and as such not fall within the scope
of your request.

 

Point 3 - At the time the request was made the documents requested had not
been signed off and the negotiation of the final contract sum not agreed
and as such was not able to be provided.

 

Accordingly, I believe the Council met the requirements of the legislation
and uphold the exemptions that were applied to the response.

 

Of necessity this response has to include reference to legislation. If
anything is unclear please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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.

 

Kind Regards

 

Becky

FOI Lead Officer

Performance and Information Management

Suffolk County Council

Constantine House

Constantine Road

Ipswich

IP1 2DH

 

Tel: 01473 265960

Fax: 01473 216843

Email: [2][email address]

Web: [3]www.suffolk.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

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