Under spend on maintenance over last seven years

Allan Richards made this Freedom of Information request to British Waterways Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Mr Gray

Please provide the following information for each of the 6 years 2003/4 to 2008/9 inclusive together with an estimate for 2009/10:-

1. The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to be £95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service (£68.8) plus major infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal dredging (£4.8)).

2. The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide an estimate for any year that the model was not in operation, indicating that you have done so).

3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into “major works” and “other”.

4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property activities.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Chris Gray,

Dear Mr Richards

Further to my correspondence with you of 13^th January 2010 I am
responding to your request for all documents regarding:

   Please provide the following information for each of the 6 years

     2003/4 to 2008/9 inclusive together with an estimate for
2009/10:-

    

     1. The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by

     reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem
to

     be £95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service

     (£68.8) plus major infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal
dredging

     (£4.8)).

    

     2. The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep
the

     network in the same condition as the previous year (please
provide

     an estimate for any year that the model was not in operation,

     indicating that you have done so).

    

     3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works" and

     "other".

    

     4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property

     activities.

Should you feel that British Waterways has not properly considered your
request for information, or you remain dissatisfied with British Waterways
in this regard, you are entitled to have your complaint considered by our
complaints process. If this is the case, please write to the Head of
Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford WD17 1DA and I will arrange
for the complaint to be considered in accordance with our complaints
procedure. A copy of this can be found at
[1]http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk'.

The Office of the Information Commissioner is the organisation that
ensures compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and deals with
formal complaints. If we have not been able to resolve your request you
are entitled under Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to
apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision. His contact details
are:-

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Or

Enquiry/information line: 01625 545745

Email: [2][email address]

Yours Sincerely,

Chris Gray

Information Officer

References

Visible links
1. http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/
http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/
2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Mr Gray,

Please re-read you email!

I am treating it as a simple acknowledgement of my request rather than a response as you have not provided any of the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Allan Richards

Chris Gray,

Mr Richards,

My apologise,

I will send the correct acknowledgement letter

Regards
Chris Gray

show quoted sections

Chris Gray,

Dear Mr Richards

Thank you for your request for information dated 13^th January 2010. I
understand that you have requested the following information:

Please provide the following information for each of the 6 years 2003/4
to 2008/9 inclusive together with an estimate for 2009/10:-

1. The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by
reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to be
-L-95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service (-L-68.8)
plus major infrastructure works (-L-21.5) plus canal dredging (-L-4.8)).

2. The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the

network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide an
estimate for any year that the model was not in operation, indicating
that you have done so).

3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works"
and "other".

4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property activities.

I am pleased to inform you that once we have confirmed the extent to which
the regulations permit the release of the information which you have
requested a response will be sent within a 20 working day timescale from
the date we received your request.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Gray

Information Officer

Dear Chris Gray,

British Waterways have not yet responded to this foi act request.

A reply is due by 10th February,

Yours sincerely,

Allan Richards

Dear British Waterways,

On 13th January 2010, I requested information under the freedom of information act regarding British Waterways underspend on maintenance over the last seven years. This request was made via whatdotheyknow.com which tells me you should "respond promptly and normally no later than 10 February 2010".

Despite two acknowledgements from you dated the same day and a "chase up" from me dated 8th February the requested information has not been forthcoming.

As such, I would ask that you provide the information requested within the next five working days and conduct an internal review to determine why this information has not been made available.

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

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

(To ensure that this communication is not ignored a copy has been sent, via email, to British Waterways Customer Service Director ([email address]) and Chief Executive ([email address]))

Chris Gray,

Dear Mr Richards,
I am sorry for the delay in response to your information request, I am hoping to be able to send you the information you require shortly.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Gray
Information Officer

show quoted sections

Robin Evans,

Dear Mr. Richards

You will find below our responses to your Freedom of Information Act
request of 8 January.

I have reviewed the reason for our response being 3 days beyond the
deadline required by the Act and have found that it was because the
frequency and complexity of your Freedom of Information requests stretches
our limited resources, particularly at a time of year when our accountants
are preparing business plans and also preparing for financial year end.

I am sorry if this has caused you inconvenience.

Yours sincerely

Robin Evans

Chief Executive

British Waterways

64 Clarendon Road | Watford   |  Herts.  WD17 1DA

T 01923 201286 | F 01923 201455

Please provide the following information for each of the 6 years 2003/4 to
2008/9 inclusive together with an estimate for 2009/10:-

1. The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by  reference
to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to be £95.1m made
up of waterway maintenance and customer service (£68.8) plus major
infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal dredging(£4.8)).

Figures in £m 2008/9 2007/8 Restated 2005/6 2004/5 2003/4
comparative

2006/7
Annual Report
Major works 28.6 21.5 26.2 The Annual report was not
Dredging 2.1 4.8 5.7 analysed this way
Core Waterway 70.9 68.8 62.9
Dowry Assets 2.9 3.3 3.6
104.5 98.4 98.4
Previous FOI
information supplied
Major works (including 30.7 26.3 32.7 35.5 39.0 48.9
dredging)
Core Waterway 73.8 72.1 71.4 71.4 64.3 57.8
(including dowry
assets)
104.5 98.4 104.1 107.1 103.3 106.7

Note:

The difference between the annual report 2006/7 figure and our previously
supplied figure can probably be explained by different categorisation of
major works at that time, although we can no longer verify this.

2. The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the
network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide an
estimate for any year that the model was not in operation,  indicating
that you have done so).

Figures in 2009/10 2008/9 2007/8 2006/7 2005/6 2004/5 2003/4
£m current
estimate
Steady State 124 124 120 116 114 The model was being
developed

The steady state model is a financial tool to demonstrate the level of
expenditure required to keep the network in a `fit for purpose' condition.
We do not use it to predict what expenditure is required to keep the
network in the same condition as prior year.

3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works" and "other".

Figures in 2009/10 2008/9 2007/8 2006/7 2005/6 2004/5 2003/4
£m current
estimate
Statutory Steady State model used to demonstrate 119 130.7 158
arrears of funding required to keep network in `fit
maintenance for purpose' condition

4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property activities.

Extracted from accounts produced under UK Generally Accepted Accounting
Practice - non-operational property profits and losses include property
disposal profits net of tax.

2003/04 £ 3.6m profit

2004/05 £10.4m profit

2005/06 £10.2m profit

Extracted from accounts produced under International Financial Reporting
Standards - non-operational property profits and losses include property
disposal profits net of tax and unrealised revaluation gains net of
deferred tax.  IFRS is now the accepted standard for large organisations
and is acknowledged best practice.  An explanation of the effects of
transition to IFRS is given at the back of the 2007/08 Annual Report.

2006/07 £45.7m profit

2007/08 £38.1m profit

2008/09 £73.6m loss

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

From: Allan (Hotmail) [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 11 February 2010 06:51
To: Simon Salem; Robin Evans
Subject: Under spend on maintenance over last seven years

To: British Waterways
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Under spend
on maintenance over last seven years

Dear British Waterways,

On 13th January 2010, I requested information under the freedom of
information act regarding British Waterways underspend on
maintenance over the last seven years. This request was made via
whatdotheyknow.com which tells me you should "respond promptly and
normally no later than 10 February 2010".

Despite two acknowledgements from you dated the same day and a
"chase up" from me dated 8th February the requested information has
not been forthcoming.

As such, I would ask that you provide the information requested
within the next five working days and conduct an internal review to
determine why this information has not been made available.

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

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

(To ensure that this communication is not ignored a copy has been
sent, via email, to British Waterways Customer Service Director
([[2]email address]) and Chief Executive ([[3]email address]))

References

Visible links
1. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/un...
2. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/about...
3. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/about...

Dear Mr Evans

Request for clarification
=================

Thank you for responding to my request.

Unfortunately the response is confusing and incomplete. As such, I only have half the information required. I document below what I can deduce from your response as it relates to the request. Please can you, within the next five working days, confirm or correct my understanding and provide information (in the same format as below) where I am unable to understand your response or you have failed to provide the information.

In all cases the information requested was for the seven years 2004/5 to 2009/10 inclusive (with an estimate for 2010).

Kindest Regards

Allan Richards

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to be £95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service (£68.8) plus major infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal dredging(£4.8)).

Figures in £m

2009/10 Information not yet provided

2008/9 101.6 made up of 70.9 (core waterway) + major works 28.6(major works) + 2.1 (dredging)

2007/8 95.1 made up of 68.8 (core waterway) + major works 21.5 (major works) + 4.8 (dredging)

2006/7 94.8 made up of 62.9 (core waterway) + major works 26.2 (major works) + 5.7 (dredging)

2006/7 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

2005/6 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

2004/5 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2.The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide an estimate for any year that the model was not in operation, indicating that you have done so).

Figures in £m

2009/10 - 124
2008/9 - 124
2007/8 - 120
2006/7 - 116
2005/6 - 114
2004/5 - Information not yet provided
2003/4 - Information not yet provided

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works" and "other".

Figures in £m

2009/10 Information not yet provided
2008/9 Information not yet provided
2007/8 Information not yet provided
2006/7 Information not yet provided
2005/6 Information not yet provided
2004/5 Information not yet provided
2003/4 Information not yet provided

You have provided figures for three years regarding statutory arrears. However, this is not what was requested. For the avoidance of doubt, I am asking for the figures in the form stated in British Waterways Strategic Options Review where maintenance backlog is divided into “major works” and “other”.

(You may wish to provide an explanation as to how the statutory arrears figures you have provided relate to the information I have requested).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property activities.

2009/10 Information not yet provided
2008/09 £73.6m loss
2007/08 £38.1m profit
2006/07 £45.7m profit
2004/05 £10.4m profit
2005/06 £10.2m profit
2003/04 £ 3.6m profit

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Chris Gray,

Dear Mr Richards,

Request for clarification - 17th February 2010

Thank you for your e-mail dated 17th February 2010 which asked for
clarification of our response to

your earlier request for information dated 8th January 2010.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the "FOIA") covers all information
that is held by or on

behalf of a Public Authority. It does not require an authority to create
new information in order to

satisfy a request, It also does not require an authority to provide
analysis, explanation, reason or

justification of the information.

In responding to your request so far British Waterways has already
exceeded the requirements of

the FOIA and has created information where it did not previously exist in
the form that you

requested. Moreover, the cost of locating, retrieving and extracting all
the information we have

supplied so far has exceeded the appropriate limit provided for under the
Freedom of Information

and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. Where
the cost of

compliance exceeds the appropriate limit (£450) BW is relieved of its
obligation to comply with the

request (s.12(1) Freedom of Information Act 2000).

For further clarity I have addressed each of your further requests in turn
below in blue:

1.The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by

reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to

be £95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service

(£68.8) plus major infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal

dredging(£4.8)).

Figures in £m

2009/10 Information not yet provided.

2008/9 101.6 made up of 70.9 (core waterway) + major works

28.6(major works) + 2.1 (dredging)

2007/8 95.1 made up of 68.8 (core waterway) + major works 21.5

(major works) + 4.8 (dredging)

2006/7 94.8 made up of 62.9 (core waterway) + major works 26.2

(major works) + 5.7 (dredging)

2006/7 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

2005/6 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

2004/5 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

The information requested for 2009/10 does not exist. .

British Waterways has already provided you with the information held in
order to satisfy your

request for the year 2006/7. Analysis and explanations of this information
do not fall within the

scope of the FOIA.

The information requested for the years 2005/6 and 2004/5 does not exist
..

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2.The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the

network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide

an estimate for any year that the model was not in operation,

indicating that you have done so).

Figures in £m

2009/10 - 124

2008/9 - 124

2007/8 - 120

2006/7 - 116

2005/6 - 114

2004/5 - Information not yet provided

2003/4 - Information not yet provided

The steady state model did not exist before 2005/06. Therefore the
information that you have

requested does not exist.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works" and

"other".

Figures in £m

2009/10 Information not yet provided

2008/9 Information not yet provided

2007/8 Information not yet provided

2006/7 Information not yet provided

2005/6 Information not yet provided

2004/5 Information not yet provided

2003/4 Information not yet provided

You have provided figures for three years regarding statutory

arrears. However, this is not what was requested. For the avoidance

of doubt, I am asking for the figures in the form stated in British

Waterways Strategic Options Review where maintenance backlog is

divided into "major works" and "other".

(You may wish to provide an explanation as to how the statutory

arrears figures you have provided relate to the information I have

requested).

We do not hold this information in the format you have requested. We have
already provided you

with all the information that we do hold.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property

activities.

2009/10 Information not yet provided

2008/09 £73.6m loss

2007/08 £38.1m profit

2006/07 £45.7m profit

2004/05 £10.4m profit

2005/06 £10.2m profit

2003/04 £ 3.6m profit

The after tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property activities for
2009/10 does not exist.

If we haven't reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request
for information or you

believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you
should write in the first

instance to Caroline Killeavy Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon
Road, Watford, Herts

WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken.
Your

correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be
undertaken. The review is

usually undertaken by a director and you should receive a response within
15 working days.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to
contact the Information

Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF

www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Gray

Information Officer

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

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

It is unclear from the response if BW are refusing to provide some of the information requested due to cost. The following email is self explanatory. A copy was sent to BW last year -

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
8 October 2009

Case Reference: FS50240621

Dear Mr Richards

Thank you for your email dated 5 October 2009 regarding your complaint against British Waterways.

After reading your email I note that you wish to withdraw your complaint against this public authority. I am writing to acknowledge your email and to confirm that your complaint is being treated as withdrawn. No further action will be taken on your case.

From reading through the information you have provided to us I note that the events of the case raise some good practice issues in relation to the way in which British Waterways handled your request. In particular I am concerned about the quality of the initial refusal notice and the lack of assistance to help you narrow the request when the public authority cited section 12 of the FOI Act (that the cost of responding to your request would exceed the appropriate cost limit). I will be passing these concerns onto the Commissioner’s Good Practice and Enforcement team who monitor good practice issues in relation to how public authorities comply with the requirements of the Act. This is done on a high level basis, and it is unlikely that that team would take action in relation to one specific complaint. However, that team will monitor any future concerns raised on other cases in order to decide whether to take any action.

As I have said above, this case will now be closed down as withdrawn and no further action will be taken.

Thank you for bringing this matter to the Commissioner’s attention.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Hogan

Senior Complaints Officer

Dear Mr Evans

I refer to BW's reply to my request for clarification of your initial response.

As the manager responsible for the internal review, I would have expected the clarification to come from you. I certainly would not expect the reply to invite me to make a request for a another internal review!

I stated -

Unfortunately the response is confusing and incomplete. As such, I only have half the information required. I document below what I can deduce from your response as it relates to the request. Please can you, within the next five working days, confirm or correct my understanding and provide information (in the same format as below) where I am unable to understand your response or you have failed to provide the information.

I would have expected your clarification to have addressed the two issues raised but it does not do so.

Instead, you have attempted to justify your poor initial response and avoid your responsibilities under the foi act by retrospectively suggesting that the information I have requested exceeds the appropriate cost limit and/or that you are unable to provide the information requested.

To address this, I have emailed you with a copy of a communication from an Information Commissioner complaints officer [a copy is also available as an annotation on whatdotheyknow.com] which I believe documents your your shortcomings in this area by reference to a previous foi request.

With regard to the constant repetition of "the information you requested ...... does not exist", I believe that it does for most cases and is very easy for you to provide. For brevity, I will only give details of three examples but I am happy to do so for any others that you continue to assert.

The amount spent on maintenance...... The information requested for 2009/10 does not exist - BW have produced this information for budgeting and planning purposes. You make reference to it in press releases and your financial director makes reference to achievement against it in board documents.

The amount spent on maintenance ...... The information requested for the years 2005/6 and 2004/5 does not exist - This information does exist and, indeed, you have provided all or some of it in your initial response. Unfortunately, it is so poorly formatted that I am having trouble determining which figures go with which years. This is why I have requested that you provide it in an alternative format.

With regard to year end maintenance backlog your reply was somewhat different -

Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works" and "other"...... We do not hold this information in the format you have requested. We have already provided you with all the information that we do hold.

I asked for this information specifically because you do hold information in this format (your British Waterways Strategic Options Review refers to maintenance backlog of £200m made up of major works, £100m and "other" £100m). I also note in Hansard a waterways ministers quoting maintenance backlog figures and I assume that they were provided by British Waterways.

I find your claim to only hold statutory arrears information for the year 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10 and not for previous years stretches my credulity to the limit as does the lack of explanation as to how this information provided may differ to what I have requested.

Below, I repeat my request for clarification. (I have removed the line "2006/7 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing" which was in error).

I will not ask for apologies or explanations. I simply ask that you, as reviewing manager, respond appropriately as you are required to do by law.

Yours Sincerely

Allan Richards

======================================
======================================

Dear Mr Evans

Request for clarification
=================

Thank you for responding to my request.

Unfortunately the response is confusing and incomplete. As such, I
only have half the information required. I document below what I
can deduce from your response as it relates to the request. Please
can you, within the next five working days, confirm or correct my
understanding and provide information (in the same format as below)
where I am unable to understand your response or you have failed to
provide the information.

In all cases the information requested was for the seven years
2004/5 to 2009/10 inclusive (with an estimate for 2010).

Kindest Regards

Allan Richards

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1.The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by
reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to
be £95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service
(£68.8) plus major infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal
dredging(£4.8)).

Figures in £m

2009/10 Information not yet provided

2008/9 101.6 made up of 70.9 (core waterway) + major works
28.6(major works) + 2.1 (dredging)

2007/8 95.1 made up of 68.8 (core waterway) + major works 21.5
(major works) + 4.8 (dredging)

2006/7 94.8 made up of 62.9 (core waterway) + major works 26.2
(major works) + 5.7 (dredging)

2005/6 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

2004/5 Information not yet provided and/or response confusing

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2.The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the
network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide
an estimate for any year that the model was not in operation,
indicating that you have done so).

Figures in £m

2009/10 - 124
2008/9 - 124
2007/8 - 120
2006/7 - 116
2005/6 - 114
2004/5 - Information not yet provided
2003/4 - Information not yet provided

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into "major works" and
"other".

Figures in £m

2009/10 Information not yet provided
2008/9 Information not yet provided
2007/8 Information not yet provided
2006/7 Information not yet provided
2005/6 Information not yet provided
2004/5 Information not yet provided
2003/4 Information not yet provided

You have provided figures for three years regarding statutory
arrears. However, this is not what was requested. For the avoidance
of doubt, I am asking for the figures in the form stated in British
Waterways Strategic Options Review where maintenance backlog is
divided into “major works” and “other”.

(You may wish to provide an explanation as to how the statutory
arrears figures you have provided relate to the information I have
requested).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property
activities.

2009/10 Information not yet provided
2008/09 £73.6m loss
2007/08 £38.1m profit
2006/07 £45.7m profit
2004/05 £10.4m profit
2005/06 £10.2m profit
2003/04 £ 3.6m profit

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear Chris Gray,

A complaint has been made to the information commissioner regarding BW's handling of this request.

Yours sincerely,

Allan Richards

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

Below is a letter from the IC with regard to the complaint

Allan

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mr Allan Richards
XXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXX
XXX XXX

13 August 2010

Case Reference Number: FS50299370

Dear Mr Richards

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act)
Public authority: British Waterways
Information request made 13 January 2010

Further to our previous correspondence regarding your complaint against British Waterways, I am writing to inform you that your case has now been allocated to me to investigate.

In order to reach a decision as to whether the Freedom of Information Act has been correctly applied, I will need to carry out a thorough investigation. This may take me some time as I will need to ensure that I am aware of all the relevant facts and that I carefully consider the application of the law to those facts.

Where possible the Information Commissioner prefers complaints to be resolved by informal means. If this does not prove to be possible, he will usually issue a Decision Notice to you and the public authority once an investigation has been completed. This will inform you of his decision and the reasons for it.

Where the Commissioner decides that a request has not been handled properly he may specify what steps he believes are necessary to remedy the situation. This can include requiring a public authority to release information which has previously been withheld. A copy of the Decision Notice will be placed on our website (with your details omitted). If you disagree with the decision that has been reached you have a legal right of appeal to the Information Tribunal.

Your request

From the information which has been provided to us, I understand that you made a request to British Waterways on 13 January 2010 for the following information:

“Please provide the following for each of the 6 years 2003/4 to 2008/9 inclusive together with an estimate for 2009/10:-

1. The amount spent on maintenance and how it is calculated by reference to your annual accounts (e.g. for 2008/9 it would seem to be £95.1m made up of waterway maintenance and customer service (£68.8) plus major infrastructure works (£21.5) plus canal dredging (£4.8)).
2. The steady state model prediction for spend required to keep the network in the same condition as the previous year (please provide an estimate for any year that the model was not in operation, indicating that you have done so).
3. Year end maintenance backlog divided into ‘major works’ and ‘other’.
4. After tax profit (or loss) on non-operational property activities.”

On 15 February 2010 the public authority responded to you and stated it had enclosed all the information it held pertaining to the request.

On 17 February 2010 you contacted the public authority requesting clarification regarding the response and information which had been provided.

On 24 February 2010 the public authority responded to you and stated the following:

• The Act does not require a public authority to create new information in order to satisfy a request.
• The Act does not require a public authority to provide analysis, explanation, reason or justification to the requested information.
• In providing what information the public authority already had to the complainant, it had exceeded the appropriate costs limit.

The public authority then provided clarification or further information relating to your previous correspondence and initial request. Regarding various parts of the requested information the public authority went on to state that the information was not held:

Part 1 Information 2005/6 and 2004/5 not held
Part 2 Information pre-2005/6 not held
Part 3 Information not held/not held in format requested
Part 4 Information 2009/10 not held

On 26 February 2010 you contacted the public authority dissatisfied with the response and asked for an internal review. You disputed the application of section 12 to the request and the public authority’s claims that certain parts of the requested information were not held. You offered reasons as to why you believed the information would be held by the public authority.

On 12 March 2010 the public authority responded to you with the results of the internal review. The internal review upheld the public authority’s decision that it had provided you with all the requested information to which you were entitled and that providing further information pertaining to the request would exceed the appropriate costs limit.

The scope of the case

You contacted the Commissioner to complain about British Waterway’s refusal to provide further information under section 12 and the claim that part of the information requested was not held by the public authority.

Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the EIR)

I have viewed all the information sent into the case file and my initial assessment is that all but the fourth part of the request is likely to concern environmental information. Therefore the Commissioner would expect the majority of the request to be dealt with under the EIR.

I enclose a link to our website which provides guidance on the EIR:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/envi...

In order to progress the case I have written to the public authority asking it to provide the following:

• details of British Waterways’ response to the request under the EIR or
• British Waterways’ arguments as to why the request should be dealt with in its entirety under the Act.

Once the above matters are clarified I will be able to investigate the costs estimate and the ‘information not held’ claim relating to the four parts of the request under the relevant legislation.

As I have indicated, the process of reaching a decision may take some time but I will update you on the progress of the investigation as appropriate. However, if you have any queries at any time you are welcome to write to me at the above address, email me at casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk (please ensure that you quote the above case reference) or by telephoning me on 01625 545306.

It may not be possible for me to respond to enquiries immediately due to other work commitments but I will endeavour to provide a response as promptly as possible and will ensure that a response is provided within 14 working days of the receipt of any enquiry.

Yours sincerely

Susan Chester
Complaints Officer
Complaints Resolution – Group 2
Information Commissioner’s Office

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

The information commissioners office issued a decision notice on the 13th January 2011 upholding my complaint and requiring British Waterways to provide the information requested within 35 days of the notice.

The ICO has been informed that BW have not complied which may result in BW being held in contempt of court.

Allan Richards

Dear British Waterways

Despite a decision notice upholding a complaint in respect of request, I am still awaiting a response.

Bearing in mind that this request has been outstanding for over a year (and on the assumption that you do intend to respond), may I ask that you provide figures for nine years rather than seven (i.e. 2003/4 to 2009/10 inclusive with an estimate for 2010/11 and 2011/12)

In view of the difficulty experienced with your first response, please ensure that I am provide with all the data requested (even if you believe you have already provided some of it it) ensuring that I am able to understand which figures apply to which year.

Please make your response via whatdotheyknow.com

Yours sincerely,

Allan Richards

Chris Gray,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Richards,

Thank you for your e-mail of 3^rd March.

You indicate that you are still waiting for a response to your request for
information following the decision notice of the ICO in January 2011 in
which it was found that your request was a request for environmental
information and as such should have been dealt with under the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and not the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

I refer you to our response to this request under the Environmental
Information Regulations sent to you on 17^th February 2011 and I have also
attached a copy for your convenience.

Yours Sincerely,

Chris Gray

Information Officer

British Waterways

01942 405732

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