Surrey Council, Leonard Cheshire and the Living Wage

The request was successful.

Dear Surrey County Council,

In January 2015, I sent Freedom of Information requests to all bodies with social care responsibility throughout the UK to ask them about their contracts with Leonard Cheshire. You refused, citing the exemption afforded in S43 of the Freedom of Information Act. A key reason for your reliance on that exemption was that you were "currently identifying particular care
packages for review across providers"; an aspect you later relied upon with the ICO, to whom you stated "The Council noted that it was currently undertaking a review of some of its care packages. The review may lead to further commercial discussions".

You were the only body with social services responsibility, of the 172 throughout the country, to refuse to provide the information concerned.

I am hoping that your potential negotiations have now occurred and thus that the S43 exemption is now no longer relevant. To that end, I should be grateful if you could tell me the following for your situation as of the end of January 2015:

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) had made prior to the end of January 2015 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 being paid by the Council to LCD for residential care at the end of January 2015, 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.

Further, I should be grateful if you could inform me if Leonard Cheshire have made any representations to you since January 2015 asking for you to increase the fees paid to them to enable them to pay the Living Wage (the version that was around before the Autumn statement, that is the amount set by the Living Wage Foundation, not the "living wage" invented by Osborne for his autumn statement).

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley
YOUR REQUEST REF NO. 14108  UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your request for information received on the 14 February
2016.  Your request reference is as above.

We will respond to your request promptly and in any event within 20
working days from the date of receipt of your request.  If you wish to
contact me to discuss the progress of your request, please use the contact
details given below and quote the reference number given above.
Regards

Mrs Mary J Elliott
Freedom of Information Officer (Mondays to Thursdays only)
Corporate Information Governance Team
Legal & Democratic Services
Surrey County Council
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

email: [Surrey County Council request email]

Tel: 020 8541 7969
Fax: 020 8541 9009

From:        Doug Paulley <[FOI #316389 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Surrey County Council <[Surrey County Council request email]>,
Date:        14/02/2016 22:15
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Surrey Council, Leonard
Cheshire and the Living Wage

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Dear Surrey County Council,
   
    In January 2015, I sent Freedom of Information requests to all
    bodies with social care responsibility throughout the UK to ask
    them about their contracts with Leonard Cheshire. You refused,
    citing the exemption afforded in S43 of the Freedom of Information
    Act. A key reason for your reliance on that exemption was that you
    were "currently identifying particular care
    packages for review across providers"; an aspect you later relied
    upon with the ICO, to whom you stated "The Council noted that it
    was currently undertaking a review of some of its care packages.
    The review may lead to further commercial discussions".
   
    You were the only body with social services responsibility, of the
    172 throughout the country, to refuse to provide the information
    concerned.
   
    I am hoping that your potential negotiations have now occurred and
    thus that the S43 exemption is now no longer relevant. To that end,
    I should be grateful if you could tell me the following for your
    situation as of the end of January 2015:
   
    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) had made
    prior to the end of January 2015 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 being paid by the Council to LCD for
    residential care at the end of January 2015, 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.
   
    Further, I should be grateful if you could inform me if Leonard
    Cheshire have made any representations to you since January 2015
    asking for you to increase the fees paid to them to enable them to
    pay the Living Wage (the version that was around before the Autumn
    statement, that is the amount set by the Living Wage Foundation,
    not the "living wage" invented by Osborne for his autumn
    statement).
   
    Thank you
   
    Yours faithfully,
   
    Doug Paulley
   
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
   
    Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
    [FOI #316389 email]
   
    Is [Surrey County Council request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
    requests to Surrey County Council? If so, please contact us using
    this form:
   
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...
   
    Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
    published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
    [2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
   
    For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read
    the latest advice from the ICO:
    [3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
   
    If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your
    web manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
   
   
   

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

I wonder if you could please update me on the status of my request? The 20 working days have passed.

Thank you!

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Adults Information Governance, Surrey County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Paulley,

Please find attached our response to your request of 14 February. I echo
the sentiments of the letter by apologising for the length of time the
response has taken.

Regards,

Simon Santos

Information Governance Team
Adult Social Care Directorate
Surrey County Council
Millmead House
Millmead
Guildford GU2 4BB

Tel: 01483 517 679
Secure email: [email address]

Please note our core working hours are 10.00 AM to 4.00 PM

show quoted sections

Dear Adults Information Governance,

Thank you for your letter.

It may interest you that of the 174 councils and Northern Irish health and social care trusts I asked in January 2015, 131 commission residential care placements from Leonard Cheshire. Of those, 20 refused to provide information on fees. 19 were because they had only one client or a very small number of clients with LCD. The remaining 1 is Surrey Council. Out of all 174 councils, only 1 refused to provide the information due to the S43 exemption - yourselves. (Two others attempted use of S43 but the ICO persuaded them to release.)

Residential care provision and contracts is under constant consideration throughout all commissioning organisations, particularly given the current austerity measures. In any case, each commissioning organisation is thoretically responsible for reassessing each resident once a year. As a result, a lot of commissioners were undertaking such reviews at the time of the request. Yet despite that, 111 released councils released LCD fee information. Of those that don't place residents with LCD, most gave information about fees paid to other providers (a few had either very few or no clients with other providers and so were unable to do so.)

All this information was released by these councils in public, directly via WhatDoTheyKnow. In many cases, they released copies of letters as well as specific figures for fees. Yet as far as anybody can determine, the release of this information has had precisely no impact on the commercial abilities of either LCD or of the councils concerned.

In these circumstances, one has to consider whether the required condition that the Council's interests would be prejudiced by the release of such information meets the required test of being "more likely than not" as described in S43(2), in particular after such a period of time, and in particular after so much other information has been released.

Please conduct an internal review of this decision - and if you do uphold it, I will trouble the Information Commissioner for a full decision notice this time.

Your arguments regarding the range of factors considered in the setting of fees are somewhat parenthetical to your argument. I already know this, that there are a variety of different factors taken into consideration, including any "co-morbid" impairments, the degree of need and so on. However, the usefulness or otherwise of the information is of limited importance to the employment of S43, and I therefore don't understand why you quote it as an argument in your employment of such. You could cite it as a cautionary note for people who are less informed about the fee-setting process than I, but that's about it.

Please release the information.

Doug Paulley

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley

INTERNAL REVIEW INTO THE HANDLING OF THE RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION REQUEST REF:14108
INTERNAL REVIEW REF: 14513

Your email of  25.04.2016   requesting a review of the handling of your
request has been passed to me.  As requested, we will conduct an internal
review into the response to your request.

We aim to conduct all reviews within a maximum timescale of 20 working
days.  We will send a written reply detailing the results of the review.
 If this deadline cannot be met for any reason, we will write to keep you
informed of the progress of the review.  

Regards

Mary Elliott

Mrs Mary J Elliott
Freedom of Information Officer (Mondays to Thursdays only)
Corporate Information Governance Team
Legal & Democratic Services
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel: 020 8541 7969
Fax: 020 8541 9009
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

FOI, Surrey County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Paulley

INTERNAL REVIEW INTO THE HANDLING OF THE RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION REQUEST REF: 14108
INTERNAL REVIEW REF: 14513

I have now completed the review of the handling of your request and attach
my report for your attention

I apologise for the delay.  Unfortunately, the details of the request for
the internal review were incorrectly entered into our tracking database.

Regards

Mrs Mary J Elliott
Freedom of Information Officer (Mondays to Thursdays only)
Legal & Democratic Services
Surrey County Council
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel: 020 8541 7969
Fax: 020 8541 9009

show quoted sections

FOI, Surrey County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Paulley

Following discussion with the Information Commissioner, the Council has
re-considered its position given the age now of the information and that
you indicated in your request that you only required some idea as to the
fees being paid.

We can confirm that the range of fees as at January 2015 for all suppliers
was £750 to £3,500 and we can confirm that payments to LCD are within that
range.

As you will appreciate, the amount paid in respect of each placement
depends on the specific issues associated with each individual placement.
 The individual generally does not have physical impairments but a set of
physical sensory and learning conditions at various levels of complexity.
 The complexity and where is the best place to support these individuals
may lead to some significant high value packages of care needing to be
agreed from time to time.

Regards

Mary Elliott

Mrs Mary J Elliott
Freedom of Information Officer (Monday to Thursday)
Corporate Information Governance Team
Legal Democratic & Cultural Services
Surrey County Council
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel: 020 8541 7969

show quoted sections

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley

Following on from the email below and subsequent correspondence with the
Information Commissioner, given the passage of time, we are now able to
confirm that the range of fees for LCD at that date were £950 to £1600.

Regards

Mary Elliott

Mrs Mary J Elliott
Freedom of Information Officer (Monday to Thursday)
Corporate Information Governance Team
Legal Democratic & Cultural Services
Surrey County Council
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel: 020 8541 7969
Fax: 020 8541 9009

From:        FOI/COR/SCC
To:        [FOI #316389 email],
Cc:        [email address], [email address],
Adults Information Governance/FAM/SCC@SCC
Date:        19/10/2016 15:41
Subject:        FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF: 14108
INTERNAL REVIEW REF: 14513
[Ref. FS50635730]
Sent by:        Mary Elliott

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Paulley

Following discussion with the Information Commissioner, the Council has
re-considered its position given the age now of the information and that
you indicated in your request that you only required some idea as to the
fees being paid.

We can confirm that the range of fees as at January 2015 for all suppliers
was £750 to £3,500 and we can confirm that payments to LCD are within that
range.

As you will appreciate, the amount paid in respect of each placement
depends on the specific issues associated with each individual placement.
 The individual generally does not have physical impairments but a set of
physical sensory and learning conditions at various levels of complexity.
 The complexity and where is the best place to support these individuals
may lead to some significant high value packages of care needing to be
agreed from time to time.

Regards

Mary Elliott

Mrs Mary J Elliott
Freedom of Information Officer (Monday to Thursday)
Corporate Information Governance Team
Legal Democratic & Cultural Services
Surrey County Council
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel: 020 8541 7969

show quoted sections

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org