Vacant rental property

The request was partially successful.

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

At a time when the borough council and their property development cadre insist on building more and more on the edge of the town, I would like to know about property currently sitting empty.

Please provide details of all vacant rental property in all A and B classes as of 25th January 2019 or a) the SN1 area and b) Swindon Borough in general.

Please provide numbers of how many in each class and if possible the approximate rental value of these properties.

Yours faithfully,

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the relevant department for them to respond to you directly.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

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Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Dear Customer Services,

A response to this request for information is now overdue.

Please provide a substantive response or confirm when you will respond. Extensions are only acceptable if a Public Interest Test is required before a response can be made.

Yours sincerely,

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the Freedom of Information officer for response.

Kind regards

Julie Whitehead

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

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Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Dear Swindon FOI Officer,

A response to this request for information is now overdue by seven working days.

You have had more than enough time to provide a suitable response, or to tell me why my response is delayed. This is simply not good enough.

Please provide a substantive response or confirm when you will respond. Extensions are ONLY acceptable if a Public Interest Test is required before a response can be made. You have not told me that any exemptions apply, so I expect a response to my request.

Yours sincerely,

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the FOI office for response.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

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Swindon Borough Council

[1]Swindon Borough Council
Dear Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot,

Case reference number: FOI001527

Thank you for your request. The Freedom of Information Act creates two
general rights in relation to information:

 1. The right to be told whether or not the information requested is
held
 2. The right to be given that information within 20 working days

A response to your request for information will be sent to you promptly;
and in any event no later than 27/02/2019. Please allow postal time.

If you have a My Account you can follow the progress of your request by
logging back in to your [2]Account. If you don't have an account and you
would like one, please [3]contact us and we will send you an invite to
My Account, so you can view your case.

Kind regards, 

Freedom of information officer
Swindon Borough Council

References

Visible links
1. https://myaccount.swindon.gov.uk/q
2. http://myaccount.swindon.gov.uk/q/login
3. mailto:[Swindon Borough Council request email]?subject=Invite%20to%20My%20Account

Sharon Druett, Swindon Borough Council

Dear Mr Ponsonby-Talbot

 

Ref: FOI001527 Freedom of Information request - Vacant rental property

 

Thank you for your reminder below dated 8^th March for the following
information that was originally received on 30^th January, 2019.

 

At a time when the borough council and their property development cadre
insist on building more and more on the edge of the town, I would like to
know about property currently sitting empty.

Please provide details of all vacant rental property in all A and B
classes as of 25th January 2019 or a) the SN1 area and b) Swindon Borough
in general.

Please provide numbers of how many in each class and if possible the
approximate rental value of these properties. 

 

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Council has a
duty to respond ‘promptly’ or no later than 20 working days, which in this
case was 27^th February 2019.

We apologise for the delay in responding to your request and for an
inconvenience this has caused.

 

I have been advised that we expect to be able to respond to your request
concerning vacant commercial property marketed by the Council by Monday
11^th March, 2019

Can you please confirm you are only interested in commercial property or
if you also would like information about empty homes?   

 

If you have any queries about this matter please contact me as detailed,
quoting the above reference number.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sharon Druett

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Information & Technology

Swindon Borough Council

 

Tel: 07989 386 988

Web: www.swindon.gov.uk

 

 

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Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Dear Ms Druett,

Thank you for your prompt response to my second reminder.

I can confirm that I am interested in commercial property.

However, I will not argue if you wish to widen the scope if my request to include residential property too .

If this is to be included, please ensure that the different types of property are clearly marked.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Dear Ms Druett,

You continue to miss your own deadlines for response. This is now wildly outside of the time frame set down in statute for response. Kindly provide a substantive response to my FOI request by close of play today.

Yours sincerely,

Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Sharon Druett, Swindon Borough Council

Dear Mr Ponsonby-Talbot,

 

RE: FOI001527 Freedom of Information request - Vacant rental property

 

The Council has examined if it would be possible to supply all the
information that you have requested.

I have checked  and we can certainly provide details of any commercial
property claiming an empty exemption or relief, however we cannot provide
numbers broken down to class a or class b as we don't classify properties
in that manner and we also hold no information on approximate rental
value.

 

I have asked for the report to be run and will send it through to you as
soon as it becomes available.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sharon Druett

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Information & Technology

Swindon Borough Council

 

Tel: 07989 386 988

Web: www.swindon.gov.uk

 

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Sharon Druett, Swindon Borough Council

1 Attachment

 

Dear Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot,

 

Re: FOI001527 Freedom of Information Request

 

Further to my email below, please find the attached report.

Please find details of empty residential properties:

 

SBC properties currently vacant/void (awaiting works before reletting) –
134 properties

Privately owned vacant properties - Empty for over 6 months, up to 2 years
= 346 properties

Empty over 2 years = 151 properties

 

Unfortunately, we are unable to supply a list of rents or postcodes for
residential properties  or  approximate rents for commercial properties.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a review you should contact:

 

Customer Services

Civic Offices

Euclid Street

Swindon

[1][email address]

 

The complaints/review procedure involves a full review by the Information
Governance Manager. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of our conclusion, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision before
contacting the Council. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless
you have exhausted the Council's own complaints procedure.

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at :

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

If you require any further information concerning this matter please
contact me quoting the reference number at the top of the email.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sharon Druett

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Information & Technology

Swindon Borough Council

 

Tel: 07989 386 988

Web: www.swindon.gov.uk

 

 

From: Sharon Druett
Sent: 13 March 2019 17:01
To: 'Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot' <[FOI #548854 email]>
Subject: RE: RE:FOI001527 Freedom of Information request - Vacant rental
property

 

Dear Mr Ponsonby-Talbot,

 

RE: FOI001527 Freedom of Information request - Vacant rental property

 

The Council has examined if it would be possible to supply all the
information that you have requested.

I have checked  and we can certainly provide details of any commercial
property claiming an empty exemption or relief, however we cannot provide
numbers broken down to class a or class b as we don't classify properties
in that manner and we also hold no information on approximate rental
value.

 

I have asked for the report to be run and will send it through to you as
soon as it becomes available.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sharon Druett

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Information & Technology

Swindon Borough Council

 

Tel: 07989 386 988

Web: [2]www.swindon.gov.uk

 

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Magnus Ponsonby-Talbot

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Swindon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Vacant rental property'.

I do not feel that this Request has been dealt with fully in line with the FOIA. The information was incredibly late, despite prompts and reminders, I am also no satisfied with the reason why some of the information was not provided. Surely the approximate value of the vacant rental properties is available by virtue of their council tax banding if nothing else.

I therefore feel this has not been conducted properly, and Section 16 has not been followed through as it might have been.

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

Yours faithfully,

M. Ponsonby-Talbot

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the FOI office for response.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

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Information Governance, Swindon Borough Council

Dear Mr Ponsonby-Talbot,

 

Ref FOI001527 - Freedom of Information Request Review FIR000003

 

Thank you for your email of 19^th March requesting a review of how your
Freedom of Information Request ( FOI001527) was dealt with.

As advised by the Information Commissioner’s code of practice, I have 20
working days to carry out the review, the deadline for which in this case
is 16^th April, 2019.

 

The FOI complaints / review procedure involves a full review by me to
establish why the information was not sent to you within the statutory
20-day period. It also gives me the opportunity to review the information
that you were sent in response to your request, also taking into account
the comments you have made below.

 

Your original request was sent to the Council’s Customer Services email on
30^th January, 2019, and you requested the following information.

 

“At a time when the borough council and their property development cadre
insist on building more and more on the edge of the town, I would like to
know about property currently sitting empty.

Please provide details of all vacant rental property in all A and B
classes as of 25^th January 2019 or a) the SN1 area and b) Swindon Borough
in general. Please provide numbers of how many in each class and if
possible the approximate rental value of these properties. “

 

The deadline for us to respond to this request was 27^th February, 2019.
However, on the 8^th March you sent through a reminder because you had not
received a response to your request.

Due to human error on our part, your initial request had not been logged
onto the Council’s FOI request system by the appropriate service area, so
as a consequence, the reminders that are built into this system were not
activated, which in turn lead to you not receiving a response within the
statutory time period. We have subsequently reviewed our procedures to try
to make sure this does not happen again. 

 

On the 8^th March you received a response from Sharon Druett apologising
for the delay and advising you the Council expected to be able to provide
a response by 11^th March, 2019.

You then sent through a reminder to us on 13^th March, 2019 and received a
reply on the same day, outlining the information that we would be able to
supply.

Finally, you were supplied with our full response on 14^th March, 2019.

 

I have reviewed how the request was dealt with and conclude that the
information sent to you, is the actual information held by the Council. I
have also been presented with supporting evidence that the Council does
not hold the information in the format that you have requested.

The Council does not have a duty to create information in order to respond
to Freedom of Information requests, however it has to make a ‘reasonable
effort’ to convert any information held in response to requests. I have
examined how the response was compiled and in my view a reasonable effort
has been made to extract the information from our records in order to
provide a response to your request.

 

I note you have made direct reference to Section 16, the duty to provide
advice and assistance.

Section 16(1) of the FOIA provides that ‘a public authority should give
advice and assistance to any person making an information request’.
Section 16(2) also clarifies that, providing an authority conforms to the
recommendations as to good practice contained within the Section 45 code
of practice (the “code”) in providing advice and assistance, it will have
complied with Section 16(1).

In my opinion, you were provided with a full explanation on the
information that the Council held on 14^th March, 2019.   

 

In conclusion, the Council apologises for the initial delay in responding
to your request, but I am satisfied we do have the systems and processes
in place to ensure we are able to fulfil our statutory responsibilities.

 

This concludes my review, but if this has not resolved the matter to your
satisfaction, you do have the option of referring the matter to the
Information Commissioner’s Office 

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Email: [email address]

Tel: 01625 545700 (ask for Freedom of Information)

 

If you require any further information concerning this matter, please
contact me at [email address]  quoting the above
reference number in any future communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Stephen Maskell

Information Governance Manager

Swindon Borough Council

www.swindon.gov.uk

 

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