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Trading Standards Investigations into Lettings Agents and Property Managers

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Dear Wandsworth Borough Council,

Would you please supply the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The number of trading standards investigations carried out in relation to letting agents and property management companies in the past 5 years. If the number of investigations is less than 15, please extend the period to 10 years.

With the data please expand using the following criteria:

What was the exact nature of those investigations and outcome on a case by case basis and who were the alleged offending agents involved in those cases. With this in mind please clarify the investigations using the following format taking note of the examples.

Date: xx/xxxx
Company: ABC Agents
Offence/s: Breach of section xx of xxxx Act /Reg xxxx
Nature of Offence: Misleading action/Omission/Money Laundering/Failure to Register for Redress Scheme
Action Taken: Warning Issued/Court Proceedings Taken (Outcome)/ Referred to Police/SFO/CMA/ Or Relevant comment

Date: xx/xxxx
Company: (Under Investigation)
Offence/s: Breach of section xx of xxxx Act /Reg xxxx
Nature of Offence: Misleading action/Omission/Money Laundering/Failure to Register for Redress Scheme
Action Taken: Under Investigation/Proceeding With Court Case/Referred to Police/SFO/CMA/Or Relevant Comment

It is understood that disclosure of any company’s details is not covered by the DPA and therefore cannot be withheld unless there is a current ongoing investigation against the company. In stating this exception only applies to ongoing investigations and does not preclude the company being named relating to previous investigations. If there is an ongoing investigation then please indicate the investigation and omit the company’s name.

Finally, the release of this information is in the public interest and appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

M Doyle

Freedom Of Information, Wandsworth Borough Council

Request for Information - 2017/15872 - Trading standards investigations

Thank you for your request for information received on 03/11/2017.

This will be processed in accordance with the appropriate access to
information regime.

Regards

FOI and DPA Officer
[1][Wandsworth Borough Council request email]

IMPORTANT:
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References

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1. mailto:[Wandsworth Borough Council request email]

Freedom Of Information, Wandsworth Borough Council

Request for Information - 2017/15872 - Trading standards investigations

 

I refer to your request for information received on 03/11/2017. Please see
the information below in response to your request: -

With the data please expand using the following criteria:

 

What was the exact nature of those investigations and outcome on a case by
case basis and who were the alleged offending agents involved in those
cases. With this in mind please clarify the investigations using the
following format taking note of the examples.

 

Date: xx/xxxx

Company: ABC Agents

Offence/s: Breach of section xx of xxxx Act /Reg xxxx Nature of Offence:
Misleading action/Omission/Money Laundering/Failure to Register for
Redress Scheme Action Taken: Warning Issued/Court Proceedings Taken
(Outcome)/ Referred to Police/SFO/CMA/ Or Relevant comment

 

Date: xx/xxxx

Company: (Under Investigation)

Offence/s: Breach of section xx of xxxx Act /Reg xxxx Nature of Offence:
Misleading action/Omission/Money Laundering/Failure to Register for
Redress Scheme Action Taken: Under Investigation/Proceeding With Court
Case/Referred to Police/SFO/CMA/Or Relevant Comment

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Date |Nature of Offence |Action Taken |
|--------------+--------------------------------+------------------------|
|10^th May 2011|Offence under the Consumer |Company and company |
| |Protection from Unfair Trading |director accepted formal|
| |Regulations 2008 sections 12 and|cautions. |
| |13. Misleading claim concerning | |
| |membership of a trade | |
| |association, “ARLA” . Claim was | |
| |made by displaying the ARLA logo| |
| |on business stationary and on | |
| |company’s web-site. | |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

Please note are unable to provide the names of the companies as there is a
statutory prohibition on disclosure and therefore the information is
exempt under S.44 the FOI Act.

 

Detailed legal reasoning for refusal

 

Section 44: prohibitions on disclosure

 

Section 44(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 exempts
information where its disclosure is prohibited by other legislation.

 

In accordance with section 44, we are not obliged to comply with your
request as we have identified a statutory bar on disclosure under S.237
(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002.

 

Section 237 of the Enterprise Act 2002 prevents the disclosure of
‘specified information’ that relates to the affairs of an individual or
business which a public authority has obtained in connection with the
performance of certain functions

 

(2) Such information must not be disclosed—

(a)during the lifetime of the individual, or

(b)while the undertaking continues in existence,

 

When considering whether the Enterprise Act 2002 constitutes a prohibition
on disclosure I was mindful of the ICO decision notice [1]FS50472209. The
ICO confirms that their understanding of S.237 (2) is that the restriction
on disclosure applies whilst the business or individual still exists.

 

Specified information must not be disclosed during the lifetime of the
individual or while the business continues to exist unless the disclosure
is permitted under sections 239 to 243 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

 

In this decision notice it was also confirmed that whilst gateways to
disclosure under the Enterprise Act 2002 enable the council to disclose
information in certain circumstances it does not impose a duty. Therefore,
the Commissioner’s view is that the council was not under a duty to
consider whether a gateway to disclose applies.

 

We therefore consider that section 44 is engaged. As this is an absolute
exemption we are not obliged to consider the public interest test.

 

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as
a Refusal Notice.

 

I hope this information meets your needs. If you do not understand the
information provided or wish to discuss anything further, please feel free
to contact me and I, or another member of the team will be able to assist
you.

Please note, all material provided by Wandsworth Council in response to
your request for information is for your personal, non-commercial use.
Wandsworth Council reserves all rights in the copyright of the information
provided. Any unauthorised copying or adaptation of the information
without express written confirmation from Wandsworth Council may
constitute an infringement of copyright. Any intention to re-use this
information commercially may require consent. Please forward any requests
for re-use of information to the FOI officer.

If you are dissatisfied with the information provided in relation to your
request you may make representations to the Chief Executive. 
Correspondence should be addressed to: 

 

Room 149, Wandsworth Town Hall, Wandsworth High Street, London, SW18 2PU

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

 

Regards

 

 

Liam Cooper
FOI & DPA Officer
Serving Richmond and Wandsworth Council

020 8871 8800
+ [2][email address]

[3]www.richmond.gov.uk / [4]www.wandsworth.gov.uk

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