The Ocean Complex, Exmouth- What financial support has it received from EDDC?

The request was refused by East Devon District Council.

Dear East Devon District Council,

I would like to make a formal request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. I am also making this Request under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2004.

Request 1. What information does East Devon District Council hold about their financial support, in any form (incl loan, promise, undertaking) , for LED in specific respect of their Ocean operation in Exmouth?

Request 2. Please supply full details of all funds paid by East Devon District Council, to LED or any other person/body, in respect of their take-over and running of the Ocean by LED.

Request 3. What responsibility/guarantees/undertakings has East Devon District Council taken on/given in respect of The Ocean?

Request 4. When and how was any financial support of LED in respect of The Ocean decided? What opportunities exist/existed for public scrutiny of the Ocean aspect of ELD’s operation and any financial support from the public purse?

Request 5. Has East Devon District Council taken on any responsibility/assistance, financial or otherwise, in regard to The Ocean bringing into operation the full range of facilities that the building was expected to provide?

Yours faithfully,

tim todd

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000443852 .

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Dear East Devon District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of East Devon District Council's handling of my FOI request 'The Ocean Complex, Exmouth- What financial support has it received from EDDC?'.

As is all too often the case, your undertaking to comply with the statutory requirements with regard to responding to an FOI request, has proved meaningless. This request, and others, are overdue.

Kindly comply with the Act and provide a promt response that addresses my questions.

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

Yours faithfully,

tim todd

P Freeman left an annotation ()

It is impossible for them the provide a prompt response - the time for that is in the first (say) 10-working-days of the request. Anything after that cannot be considered prompt, so asking for a prompt response now, after the 20-working-day deadline, cannot possibly be met.

East Devon District Council

Dear Mr Todd,

Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

Request 1. What information does East Devon District Council hold
about their financial support, in any form (incl loan, promise,
undertaking) , for LED in specific respect of their Ocean operation
in Exmouth?

East Devon District holds a Guarantee between Harlequinns Bowling and Leisure Limited as Landlord of Ocean Blue, LED Leisure Management Limited as Tenant and East Devon District Council as Guarantor.

East Devon District Council in consideration of a premium (determined at a commercial rate) paid by LED have agreed to cover 80% of the rent to the Landlord should LED become in default. The guarantee lasts for 5 years.

Request 2. Please supply full details of all funds paid by East
Devon District Council, to LED or any other person/body, in respect
of their take-over and running of the Ocean by LED.

None other than the above agreement.

Request 3. What responsibility/guarantees/undertakings has East
Devon District Council taken on/given in respect of The Ocean?

Detailed in 1 above.

Request 4. When and how was any financial support of LED in respect
of The Ocean decided? What opportunities exist/existed for public
scrutiny of the Ocean aspect of ELD's operation and any financial
support from the public purse?

02 July 2014 Cabinet minute 49 which can be accessed here http://eastdevon.gov.uk/council-and-demo...

Request 5. Has East Devon District Council taken on any
responsibility/assistance, financial or otherwise, in regard to The
Ocean bringing into operation the full range of facilities that the
building was expected to provide?

None other than item 1 above

I hope this information is helpful.

If you feel dissatisfied with the way we have responded to your request, please contact our Monitoring Officer to request an internal review at [email address]

You may also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at www.ico.gov.uk

Regards

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

tim todd left an annotation ()

Though I have not yet gone carefully over the information provided, it seems that when they want, EDDC can provide a prompt answer in the space of a morning!!
Begs the question why has this been sitting around unanswered for so long. It happens too often to be pure cooincidence that the answer is ready so soon after a chase-up!

Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Mr Todd

Thank you for your email.

For clarification, this request was received by us on 7th December and responded to on 11th January. The Council's offices were closed for business between Christmas and New Year meaning that your response was provided to you on the 20th working day following its receipt. In the light of this clarification, please can you confirm to me whether or not you still wish to pursue your internal review and, if so, on what basis.

Many thanks

Kate

Mrs Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Kate Symington,

Thank you for your request for clarification.

As far as I am aware the FOI specifies which days are working days for the purposes of the Act, and I cannot see that these necessarily reflect the days that EDDC chose to close its offices. The 20 working day limit is of course the outside limit, the obligation under Section 10 (2) (1) is...a public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt. If the delay were an isolated occasion I would be inclined to ignore it but it isn't and therefore I wish to pursue it.

Further, I do not consider my Requests 1 and 4 have been fully answered. You have advised that Cabinet was addressed on 2nd July 2014, and that they made a decision and you have provided an outline of that decsion . The reference to a working group, and a presentation to Cabinet by the Chief Executive, shows that the Council holds more information than has been provided to me. You have not claimed any exemption, it should be provided .

You have also failed to provide the detail of the actual amounts that may be involved, only the percentage of an unknown figure. Again, no exemption has been sought, the figure should be provided.

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

Tim Todd

P Freeman left an annotation ()

See https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... page 9 which states:

"The Act defines a working day as ‘…any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United Kingdom’."

Page 6 notes that the requirement to respond "promptly" is separate to and in addition to the requirement to respond within 20-working-days. EDDC almost NEVER meet this requirement of the FoIA.

The FoIA itself defines "working days" in section 10 (the section which defines the 20-working-day rule), in paragraph 10(6) to be specific (see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000... ).

Henry Gordon Lennox, East Devon District Council

Mr Todd

 

I am sorry that you feel dissatisfied with our response to your request
for information. You have helpfully stated the particular aspects of the
request which you do not feel have been addressed and so this is what I
have focused the internal review on.

 

1.       You feel that the 20 working day deadline has been exceeded as
you do not agree that the council should discount those days on which the
offices were closed over the Christmas period.

2.       You do not feel that the information provided in respect of your
questions 1 and 4 sufficiently responds to these elements of your request.

 

In respect of point (1) above, I am sorry if you do not feel that our
response was as prompt as it should have been. I do not intend to enter
into an argument about what is a working day and what is not except to say
that it would be unreasonable to expect our FOI officer to come into the
offices when we are closed and so, realistically, she could not respond to
you during this time. I take on board your point that in an ideal world we
should be aiming to respond to requests more promptly and we have put
measures in place to improve upon our response times, including recruiting
another officer to support the work involved. To put things into context,
at any one time, we have around 40 – 50 requests outstanding and I am
confident that the majority of these are responded to well within deadline
but, where a request is more complex, or requires input from a number of
different services/officers, this can add to the time needed to process
our response.

 

Turning now to point (2) above and our responses to your specific
questions:

Your first question was

What information does East Devon District Council hold about their
financial support, in any form (incl loan, promise, undertaking) , for LED
in specific respect of their Ocean operation in Exmouth?

We responded by explaining that EDDC holds a guarantee between Harlequinns
Bowling and Leisure Ltd, as landlord of Ocean Blue, LED Leisure Management
Ltd, as tenant, and EDDC, as Guarantor. We then explained the position
should LED become in default.

You have asked for the actual amounts involved and these are as follows:

Yearly rent due:

a)      A peppercorn rent for the first year of the term (if demanded)

b)      £125,000 a year for the second year of the term

c)       £150,000 a year for the third year of the term

d)      £175,000 a year for the fourth year of the term

e)      £200,000 a year for the fifth year of the term

 

Your question (4) asked

When and how was any financial support of LED in respect of The Ocean
decided? What opportunities exist/existed for public scrutiny of the Ocean
aspect of LED's operation and any financial support from the public purse?

We responded to say that this decision was taken by Cabinet and to provide
you with the relevant minute of this meeting. You have queried whether
further information is held in respect of this decision and I confirm that
we do hold a copy of the minutes of the Leisure East Devon Joint Working
Group held at Knowle on 11^th June 2014  where the matter was discussed,
amongst other operational matters. This meeting was attended by officers
and Members of EDDC together with the Chief Executive of Leisure East
Devon. These minutes are not publicly available and are exempt from
disclosure under S43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

LED is an independent commercial organisation which is run as a
not-for-profit trust, reinvesting any surplus back into the provision of
leisure, health and cultural activities in East Devon. We have sought the
views of LED in considering the disclosure of this information and they
have confirmed to us that they feel that these minutes are commercially
confidential and should not be disclosed.

 

I trust this now concludes your request but if you remain dissatisfied
with our response, you have the right to refer the matter to the
Information Commissioner [1]www.ico.gov.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

HENRY GORDON LENNOX

 

Monitoring Officer

East Devon District Council

Tel: 01395 517401

Ext: 2601

Email: [email address]

 

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References

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tim todd left an annotation ()

Now subject of a complaint to ICO dated 15/02/2016

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