Surrey: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and fees for residential care for younger adults

The request was refused by Surrey County Council.

Dear Surrey County Council,

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) have made 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 currently being paid by the Council to LCD for residential care, 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.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley
YOUR REQUEST REF NO. 12234  UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your request for information received on the 30 January
2015.  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 #251390 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Surrey County Council <[Surrey County Council request email]>,
Date:        30/01/2015 14:26
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Surrey: Leonard Cheshire,
the Living Wage and fees for residential care for younger adults

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

Dear Surrey County Council,

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) have made 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 currently being paid by the Council to LCD for
residential care, 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.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

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

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #251390 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...

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

Adults Information Governance, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

Your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, ref. 12234

I write further to your request made under the Freedom of Information Act
received by the Council on 30 January 2015. Section 1 of the Freedom of
Information Act provides an entitlement to the public to be advised of
whether information is held by public authorities and, further to this, to
have it communicated to them should it be so.

In your request you asked to be provided with information in relation to
the following:

1) What representations Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) have made 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.
Our Procurement service hold no records of correspondence from Leonard
Cheshire Disability concerning paying a living wage to care staff.
2) Some idea as to the fees currently being paid by the Council to LCD for
residential care, 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.

It might be helpful if I explain at this stage that the amount the Council
pay for care in any single case varies considerably as our approach to
providing care depending on the needs of the individual and the
availability of a placement to meet those needs. As such we support each
individual in accordance with their level of personal need with the amount
paid reflecting this.

In terms of the provision of the  actual figures you request provided to
Leonard Cheshire disability and the wider provision of residential care
the Council has concluded that the exemption listed at 43(2) should be
applied.  This section provides an exemption to the right to have
information communicated; if to do so would, or would be likely, to
prejudice the commercial interests of any party. It is the Council's
position that providing you the information you've requested even in the
form of a median would prejudice our commercial interests in future.

As this is a qualified exemption, a public interest test must be conducted
in the application of the exemption and I share with you the Council’s
consideration of the factors applicable to your request below.

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure:

·        Facilitate accountability and transparency around the spending of
public money on residential care.

·        Facilitate debate around current issues, in particular the saving
commitments necessary for adult social care directorates.

·        Further individual understanding on tendering decisions taken by
the Council in the residential care arena.

Public interest factors put forward by our Finance Service for withholding
the information:

·        The disclosure to the world at large would reduce the Council’s
ability to hold effective and competitive tenders with providers.

·        It would also be likely to have an impact on the wider market
place positioning and the market place dynamic in residential and nursing
placement provisions

On balance I consider the public interest is best served by maintaining
the exemption, to ensure the Council enter any financial and commercial
negotiations in the strongest possible position. I therefore uphold the
exemption set out in Section 43(2).

If you are unhappy with the handling of your request for information and
wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, in the first
instance you should contact the Freedom of Information Officer for Surrey
County Council, quoting your request number given above, at the Surrey
address detailed below.

Freedom of Information Officer
Surrey County Council
Room 129
County Hall
Penrhyn Road
Kingston Upon Thames
Surrey
KT1 2DN
[1][Surrey County Council request email]

If you are not satisfied by Surrey County Council’s response to your
complaint, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for
a decision. The Information Commissioner will normally expect you to have
exhausted our complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at the Cheshire address below.

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

We supply this information based on your original request. Please do not
hesitate to contact me at the above address, should you have any queries
regarding the information enclosed.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Muttram
The Information Governance Team
01483 517679
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Surrey County Council request email]

Dear Surrey County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Surrey County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Surrey: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and fees for residential care for younger adults'.

You have used the exemption for Commercial sensitivity.

I don't agree that this applies; for the LCD data or, even more especially, for the other data. I don't see how the provision of this data would cause any problems.

Further, I have made the same request to a large number of councils and Health and Social Care Trusts. To date, well over 90 have provided the information requested. These trusts evidently don't have concerns about commercial sensitivity. Also, the availability of this information for other trusts surely reduces the sensitivity of the information you hold.

Finally I disagree with your application of the public interest test. It is my view that amounts paid to providers is of great personal interest, particularly in these cash-strapped times.

Thank you

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,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley

INTERNAL REVIEW INTO THE HANDLING OF THE RESPONSE TO FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION REQUEST REF: 12234
INTERNAL REVIEW REF: 12387

Thank you for your email requesting a review of the handling of your
request.  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
Room 129
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel: 020 8541 7969
Fax: 020 8541 9009

From:        Doug Paulley <[FOI #251390 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Surrey County Council <[Surrey County Council request email]>,
Date:        28/02/2015 15:17
Subject:        Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Surrey: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and fees for residential care
for younger adults

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

Dear Surrey County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Surrey County Council's
handling of my FOI request 'Surrey: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and
fees for residential care for younger adults'.

You have used the exemption for Commercial sensitivity.

I don't agree that this applies; for the LCD data or, even more
especially, for the other data. I don't see how the provision of this data
would cause any problems.

Further, I have made the same request to a large number of councils and
Health and Social Care Trusts. To date, well over 90 have provided the
information requested. These trusts evidently don't have concerns about
commercial sensitivity. Also, the availability of this information for
other trusts surely reduces the sensitivity of the information you hold.

Finally I disagree with your application of the public interest test. It
is my view that amounts paid to providers is of great personal interest,
particularly in these cash-strapped times.

Thank you

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

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #251390 email]

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...

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,

It may assist you in deliberation of the application of the S43 exemption - Commercial Sensitivity - to know the following.

I asked Lewisham Council exactly the same questions and they relied on the S43 "Commercial Sensitivity" exemption, even after internal review. I asked for the Information Commissioner's help and opinion. Following the Informatin Commissioner's Office's intervention, Lewisham Council has now decided that S43 does not apply to this information, and has thus released all the information requested.

I very much hope I don't have to refer your reliance on S43 to the Information Commissioner, but I will do if required.

The Information Commissioner said:

"As you know, the Information Commissioner has been considering the Council’s decision to withhold information under section 43(3) in response to your request.

"Subsequent to the Commissioner’s intervention, the Council has amended its response to your request. It has withdrawn its reliance on section 43 and has disclosed further information in response to your request."

I await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear FOI,

I have collated all the responses I have received so far into a spreadsheet which may be viewed at https://www.dropbox.com/s/rwv0gmjjbvrbm2... . You will see that 132 councils have supplied the information I requested, with the exception of a few who only have less than five service users in Leonard Cheshire Disability homes and so risked releasing sensitive personal information by replying.

I hope that serves as documentary proof that release of similar information by your council would be minimal in impact or risk to commercial sensitivity, and thus be of use to you in your conduct of my previously requested internal review.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear FOI,

Please tell me what has happened with the Internal Review I requested on 28 February 2015. The ICO say that they think all Internal Reviews should be done within 20 working days; that was up on 28th March but I still haven't heard anything. What's the situation please? I don't want to have to refer to the ICO - but I will if necessary.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

40wd 28.05.2015

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley

Thank you for your email.

I will investigate what progress has been made and chase this up for you.

Regards

Mary Elliott

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

Tel: 020 8541 7969
Fax: 020 8541 9009

From:        Doug Paulley <[FOI #251390 email]>
To:        FOI <[Surrey County Council request email]>,
Date:        07/04/2015 16:56
Subject:        Re: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Surrey: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and fees for residential care
for younger adults

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

Dear FOI,

Please tell me what has happened with the Internal Review I requested on
28 February 2015. The ICO say that they think all Internal Reviews should
be done within 20 working days; that was up on 28th March but I still
haven't heard anything. What's the situation please? I don't want to have
to refer to the ICO - but I will if necessary.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

show quoted sections

Hilary Jones, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

I apologise for the slight delay ,the information comprising your internal
review has been escalated to me for assessment and I will be responding to
you by Tuesday  21 April if not before: thank you for your consideration
in this matter, kind regards Hilary Jones  

Hilary Jones
Corporate Information Governance Officer
Corporate Information Governance team
Legal & Democratic Services
Surrey County Council
Room 138
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel:    02082132650
[mobile number]
Email: [email address] (for content without a protective
marking)
GCSX email: [email address] (for protectively marked
content up to RESTRICTED)
Making Surrey a better place
Forward thinking - responsive and reliable -working with others - value
for money

show quoted sections

Dear Hilary Jones,

On 10th April you said:

"I apologise for the slight delay ,the information comprising your internal review has been escalated to me for assessment and I will be responding to you by Tuesday 21 April if not before"

It's now 24th April and you haven't responded.

Please advise

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Adults Information Governance,

What is happening with my request for internal review please? It appears to have stalled. Is there any prospect of a response?

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Adults Information Governance, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

Reviews of requests are carried out by our Corporate Information
Governance team. I have copied them into this email so they may provide
you with an update.

Kind regards,

Jenny Muttram
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

From:        Doug Paulley <[FOI #251390 email]>
To:        Adults Information Governance <[email address]>,
Date:        28/04/2015 08:02
Subject:        Re: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000, ref. 12234

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

Dear Adults Information Governance,

What is happening with my request for internal review please? It appears
to have stalled. Is there any prospect of a response?

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

show quoted sections

Dear Adults Information Governance,

I have requested that the Information Commissioner conduct a S50 assessment, in the following terms.

Dear ICO,

Please can I ask that you undertake a S50 assessment of Surrey Council's failure to undertake an independent review?

The correspondence is here. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

I submitted my request on 30th January, and on 27th February the Public Authority issued a S43 refusal. I requested an Internal Review the next day, 28th February.

I have since submitted further information and/or reminders on 24th March, 25th March, 7th April, 24th April and 28th April. The authority have given me various assurances as to when I will receive the
response to my internal review, but I have yet to receive it.

I am aware that you state that internal reviews should normally be completed in 20 working days, and in all cases within 40 working days. It is now more than 40 working days since I requested the internal review on 27th February and I haven't had the response.

Please conduct an assessment.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Adults Information Governance, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

Thank you for your email below. I have copied this to our Corporate
Information Governance team for their awareness, as they are responsible
for reviews of the councils requests.

Kind regards,

Jenny Muttram
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

From:        Doug Paulley <[FOI #251390 email]>
To:        Adults Information Governance <[email address]>,
Date:        28/04/2015 18:41
Subject:        Re: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000, ref. 12234

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

Dear Adults Information Governance,

I have requested that the Information Commissioner conduct a S50
assessment, in the following terms.

Dear ICO,

Please can I ask that you undertake a S50 assessment of Surrey Council's
failure to undertake an independent review?

The correspondence is here.
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

I submitted my request on 30th January, and on 27th February the Public
Authority issued a S43 refusal. I requested an Internal Review the next
day, 28th February.

I have since submitted further information and/or reminders on 24th March,
25th March, 7th April, 24th April and 28th April. The authority have given
me various assurances as to when I will receive the
response to my internal review, but I have yet to receive it.

I am aware that you state that internal reviews should normally be
completed in 20 working days, and in all cases within 40 working days. It
is now more than 40 working days since I requested the internal review on
27th February and I haven't had the response.

Please conduct an assessment.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

show quoted sections

Hilary Jones, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

Apologies for inconvenience - your response review will be with you
shortly,

Kind regards Hilary Jones  

Hilary Jones
Corporate Information Governance Officer
Corporate Information Governance team
Legal & Democratic Services
Surrey County Council
Room 138
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel:    02082132650
[mobile number]
Email: [email address] (for content without a protective
marking)
GCSX email: [email address] (for protectively marked
content up to RESTRICTED)
Making Surrey a better place
Forward thinking - responsive and reliable -working with others - value
for money

show quoted sections

Dear Hilary Jones,

On 29th April you said:

"Apologies for inconvenience - your response review will be with you shortly"

It's now 8th May. You haven't sent it. Please tell me what is happening with my Internal Review.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Adults Information Governance,

What on Earth is happening with my internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Adults Information Governance, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

As per my email below, this team are not responsible for internal reviews
of our own responses to requests, so are unable to give you an update. The
council's Corporate Information Governance team are responsible for
conducting reviews and I have copied them in to this email so that they
may get in touch with you.

Kind regards,

Jenny Muttram
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

From:        Doug Paulley <[FOI #251390 email]>
To:        Adults Information Governance <[email address]>,
Date:        12/05/2015 21:11
Subject:        Re: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000, ref. 12234

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

Dear Adults Information Governance,

What on Earth is happening with my internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

show quoted sections

Dear Adults Information Governance,

You say "Corporate Information Governance team for their awareness, as they are responsible
for reviews of the councils requests." This may theoretically be the case, but they aren't behaving very responsibly or responsibly have they? I still haven't had a response to my request of 28th February, despite many prompts. 165 other councils have complied, yet your council is the only one yet to complete an internal review. Why? What's so difficult about it? What's so different about your council? Why so many promises of responses within certain dates that are then ignored with apparent impunity?

Please register a complaint against the people supposedly "handling" my request for internal review. I've been waiting for the response got over 10 weeks now.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paully

Re : Your request for Review under the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
ref. 12234

I am sorry for the delay concerning your request for a review. Having
reviewed the available documentation we are seeking further information
and  clarification from the relevant services. We are currently awaiting
their response and will be seeking to respond to you by the end of the
month.

regards
Grisilda Ponniah
Corporate Information Governance Manager

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

By the end of the month, it will have been three months since I requested the internal review, and over four since my Freedom of Information Request.

170 of the 171 local authorities I sent the request to have provided the information or completed their internal review. Yours is the only one outstanding. Now you are telling me your response may be another 11 days? What has happened, is Surrey Council's Freedom of Information system in serious disarray?

Check out the ICO's guidance on timescales for completing internal reviews, available at http://www.kingqueen.org.uk/foi_good_pra... .

"The Commissioner considers it important that internal reviews are completed as promptly as possible
"the Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve
exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer."

What was so exceptional about my request please?

"In our view, in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days."

It's been 54 working days since I requested the internal review. If it makes it to the end of the month, that is 62 working days.

"In such cases we would expect a public authority to be able to demonstrate that it had commenced the review procedure promptly following receipt of the request for review and had actively wo
rked on the review throughout that period. "

Yet you are still collating information to conduct the Internal Review.

Has there been some monumental cock-up? Some seismic problem? The entire office resigned at once? I ask because I personally think the protracted delay is unacceptable and frankly offensive.

Doug Paulley

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Surrey County Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

1
IR 12387 Internal review of the handling of the response to Freedom of
Information request 12234 Mr Paulley .
I am tasked with undertaking an independent review of the handling of Mr
Paulley’s request for information primarily concerning the organisation
Leonard Cheshire (LC), fees currently being paid for residential care to
“LC” and equivalent to other providers for residential care in care homes
for people with physical impairments under the age of 65.

Background

Mr Paulley’s request was received on 30 January 2015 and was for the
following:

“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) have made 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 currently being paid by the Council to LCD for
residential care, 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.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley”

The Council replied as follows on 27 February 2015 by email to Mr Paulley

Dear Mr Paulley,

Your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, ref. 12234

I write further to your request made under the Freedom of Information Act
received by the Council on 30 January 2015. Section 1 of the Freedom of
Information Act provides an entitlement to the public to be advised of
whether information is held by public authorities and, further to this, to
have it communicated to them should it be so.

In your request you asked to be provided with information in relation to
the following:

1) What representations Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) have made 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.
Our Procurement service hold no records of correspondence from Leonard
Cheshire Disability concerning paying a living wage to care staff.
2) Some idea as to the fees currently being paid by the Council to LCD for
residential care, 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.

It might be helpful if I explain at this stage that the amount the Council
pay for care in any single case varies considerably as our approach to
providing care depending on the needs of the individual and the
availability of a placement to meet those needs. As such we support each
individual in accordance with their level of personal need with the amount
paid reflecting this.

In terms of the provision of the actual figures you request provided to
Leonard Cheshire disability and the wider provision of residential care
the Council has concluded that the exemption listed at 43(2) should be
applied.  This section provides an exemption to the right to have
information communicated; if to do so would, or would be likely, to
prejudice the commercial interests of any party. It is the Council's
position that providing you the information you've requested even in the
form of a median would prejudice our commercial interests in future.

As this is a qualified exemption, a public interest test must be conducted
in the application of the exemption and I share with you the Council’s
consideration of the factors applicable to your request below.

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure:

·        Facilitate accountability and transparency around the spending of
public money on residential care.

·        Facilitate debate around current issues, in particular the saving
commitments necessary for adult social care directorates.

·        Further individual understanding on tendering decisions taken by
the Council in the residential care arena.

Public interest factors put forward by our Finance Service for withholding
the information:

·        The disclosure to the world at large would reduce the Council’s
ability to hold effective and competitive tenders with providers.

·        It would also be likely to have an impact on the wider market
place positioning and the market place dynamic in residential and nursing
placement provisions

On balance I consider the public interest is best served by maintaining
the exemption, to ensure the Council enter any financial and commercial
negotiations in the strongest possible position. I therefore uphold the
exemption set out in Section 43(2).

If you are unhappy with the handling of your request for information and
wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, in the first
instance you should contact the Freedom of Information Officer for Surrey
County Council, quoting your request number given above, at the Surrey
address detailed below.

Freedom of Information Officer
Surrey County Council
Room 129
County Hall
Penrhyn Road
Kingston Upon Thames
Surrey
KT1 2DN
[1][Surrey County Council request email]

If you are not satisfied by Surrey County Council’s response to your
complaint, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for
a decision. The Information Commissioner will normally expect you to have
exhausted our complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at the Cheshire address below.

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

We supply this information based on your original request. Please do not
hesitate to contact me at the above address, should you have any queries
regarding the information enclosed.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Muttram
The Information Governance Team
01483 517679
Email: [email address] [History of request]

Complaint:

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Surrey County Council's
handling of my FOI request 'Surrey: Leonard Cheshire, the Living Wage and
fees for residential care for younger adults'.

You have used the exemption for Commercial sensitivity.

I don't agree that this applies; for the LCD data or, even more
especially, for the other data. I don't see how the provision of this data
would cause any problems.

Further, I have made the same request to a large number of councils and
Health and Social Care Trusts. To date, well over 90 have provided the
information requested. These trusts evidently don't have concerns about
commercial sensitivity. Also, the availability of this information for
other trusts surely reduces the sensitivity of the information you hold.

Finally I disagree with your application of the public interest test. It
is my view that amounts paid to providers is of great personal interest,
particularly in these cash-strapped times.

Thank you

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

............................................................................................................................
 Investigation

Following discussion with the Procurement Service  on behalf of the Adult
Social Care Service it was considered important to gain clarification
whether the provider ie “LC” had been consulted to provide a view as to
the release of the information.

It was confirmed that they hadn’t. However the Service wishes to note the
importance of the contractual relationship, the relationship of the
support to the individual, and what is paid by the Council for that
support referring to the specific requirements for  particular individuals
which will differ .

In addition in respect of individuality this aspect was discussed in
relation to whether the personal data exemption was applicable. It was
noted that this did not apply.

The Service reiterated their view in relation to the application of
commercial sensitivity and provided additional clarification in support of
their concern.

They advise that they are also currently identifying particular care
packages for review across providers. The review is to determine if the
care and support packages provided including the fees charged are
appropriate. Releasing data on rates could compromise the Council’s
available options.  

It is considered that this additional information if provided to assist
the requester would have provided useful clarification in support of the
use of the exemption.

Also it is understood that providers are subject to contractual agreements
and a breach of commercial information into the public domain could
potentially result in a breach of contract in some cases  

It was kindly noted that the requester had made a statement in his
original request that referred to the supply of “statistical median and
range “information.  

Therefore it was prudent to see whether there was any other additional
information which could have been provided to assist the requester. The
Service has confirmed that they do not hold any median data information.

However they wish to assist and they have now provided the following
information which was available during 2012 but is not held for the
current year on this website. Whilst this information is accessible via a
link
(see http//
[3]www.surreypb.org.uk/news/PLD%20PVR%20Cabinet%20Paper%20%20Final%20270312.pdf)
the extract is enclosed:

“Surrey County Council fund residential places outside of Surrey for
approximately 609 people. Of these, 410 are located in areas immediately
bordering Surrey, of which 90% are living in West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent,
East Sussex, Croydon and Sutton. For the remaining 200, 90 live in the
South West, 47 live in the South East, 22 live in London, 21 in the
Midlands, 10 in Wales and 11 in the North and Scotland. The average cost
of these placements is £1,276 per week.”

In addition the Service were also pleased to assist and provide an update
in relation to question 1) and advise that since the response was sent , a
letter has now  been received from Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) .
Please note that this correspondence had not been received by the Council
at the time the response was sent.

The Council is required under the Local Government Transparency Code 2015
to publish details of its contracts and its spend data.

[4]http://new.surreycc.gov.uk/your-council/...

The Council also publishes an annual Statement of Accounts which is
externally audited.

[5]http://new.surreycc.gov.uk/your-council/...

Factors considered in the review:

·        Was the request dealt with in accordance with the legislation?
·        Was the exemption cited engaged?
·        Was it applied appropriately and does the public interest lie in
disclosure?

Findings

·        Was the request dealt with in accordance with the legislation?

Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides that the
Council should comply with Section 1(1) of the Act (right of access to
information) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth
working day following the date of receipt of the request.

Section 17 provides that if the Council is relying on an exemption in the
Act then it must specify what exemption is being applied and why (if that
would not otherwise be apparent) the exemption applies.  If the exemption
relied on is a qualified exemption requiring a public interest test then
it must state the reasons why disclosure of the information is not in the
public interest. The Council must also include details of its complaint
procedure and how to complain to the Information Commissioner if still
unhappy with the result of that complaint.

The response was due on or before 30 January 2015 and was sent on to Mr
Paulley on 27 February 2015. Therefore, I consider that the response
complied with Section 10 of the Act.

The Council’s email of 27 February 2015 included the requirements set out
in Section 17 as above and I consider met the provisions of Section 17 of
the Act.

·        Was the exemption cited engaged?

The exemption applied was the exemption set out in Section 43 (2) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 which states:

“Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would,
or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person
(including the public authority holding it)”

Commercial interests relate a person’s ability successfully to participate
in a commercial activity.

It is considered that the procurement of services by the Council would
come within the definition of commercial interests.

The Council has set out how it would be prejudiced by the disclosure.
 Therefore, I consider that the exemption has been engaged.

However it is understood it would have been beneficial for the Service in
its consideration of the exemption to have clarified and communicated the
aspect of commercial sensitivity as it impacted on the contractual
relationship with the specific provider.

Disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act is deemed to be to the
public at large and therefore the information would be available to other
providers which could prejudice the Councils ability to bid competitively
for new contracts in the public sector.

·        Was it applied appropriately and does the public interest lie in
disclosure

In conjunction with the aspects mentioned above and in the original
response letter the Council is required under the Local Government
Transparency Code 2015 to publish details of its contracts and its spend
data: it is considered that the publication of this information partially
assists in some way meeting the public interest for accountability of
expenditure of public monies.

Therefore, I consider that the exemption was applied appropriately and in
my view the balance the public interest does not lie in disclosure in this
case.

Conclusions

Accordingly I do not uphold Mr Paulley’s complaint.  

Recommendations/Action required

The Services have been reminded of the importance of liaising with the
organisation and the importance of providing any additional /
clarification information which would assist the requester.

I trust that you find this additional information useful.

I can confirm that a copy of this review has been sent to the IAO and Head
of Service to note my comments.
Hilary Jones
Corporate Information Governance Officer
Corporate Information Governance Team
Legal and Democratic Services

9 July 2015

I trust that this explanation now satisfies your enquiry. If you are still
unhappy with the decision you have the right to apply directly to the
Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of
action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website:
[6]http://www.ico.gov.uk/. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
at:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Hilary Jones
Corporate Information Governance Officer
Corporate Information Governance team
Legal & Democratic Services
Surrey County Council
Room 138
County Hall
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DN

Tel:    02082132650
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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Surrey County Council request email]
2. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...
3. file:///tmp/www.surreypb.org.uk/news/PLD%20PVR%20Cabinet%20Paper%20%20Final%20270312.pdf
4. http://new.surreycc.gov.uk/your-council/...
5. http://new.surreycc.gov.uk/your-council/...
6. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

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