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WISE Enforcement Contract with NELC

Mike Rose made this Freedom of Information request to North East Lincolnshire Council Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

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Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am writing to request information regarding the contractual relationship between North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) and WISE, a private company commissioned to undertake enforcement work for the local authority.

Specifically, I request the following:

A Copy of the Tender: Please provide the full tender document issued by NELC for the enforcement work, which led to the commissioning of WISE.

The Contract Details: A complete copy of the contract between NELC and WISE, including any terms and conditions, scope of work, and duration.

Analysis or Research Justifying Outsourcing: Any analysis, research, or reports that detail the rationale behind the decision to outsource this work to WISE, particularly in the context of the existence of NELC's own officers who are qualified and empowered to carry out similar enforcement work.

Financial Arrangement Concerning Fines: Information on the financial arrangement regarding the enforcement work, specifically the percentage of fines issued by WISE that is allocated to the local authority.

Please note, if any of this information is already publicly accessible, I would be grateful if you could direct me to it.

I understand that under the Act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this email. I would appreciate if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Rose

Freedom Of Information (NELC), North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been allocated the reference number NELC/30189/2324.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department and you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of Information requests is available on our website at:

https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/your-council/...

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or assistance quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

North East Lincolnshire Council

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Freedom Of Information (NELC), North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

 

Thank you for your information request, reference number NELC/30189/2324.
I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council does not hold the
following information:

 

A Copy of the Tender: Please provide the full tender document issued by
NELC for the enforcement work, which led to the commissioning of WISE.

 

The Contract Details: A complete copy of the contract between NELC and
WISE, including any terms and conditions, scope of work, and duration.

 

North East Lincolnshire Council can confirm that having checked the
records and systems, there is no record of a contract or spend with this
company.

 

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to
request an internal review by the Council. If you wish to request an
internal review, please write to us detailing the reasons why. Please be
clear about which elements of the Council’s response or handling of the
request you are unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during
the internal review process.  If following this you are still dissatisfied
you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner.

 

Yours sincerely

 

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

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Dear Freedom Of Information (NELC),

I am writing in response to your reply dated 16/01/2024, concerning my Freedom of Information request regarding the Council’s contractual relationship with WISE (Waste Investigations Support and Enforcement).

I appreciate the Council’s efforts in searching for the requested information. However, I would like to request an internal review of the handling of my FOI request based on new evidence that has come to light.

In your response, you stated that the Council does not hold information regarding a tender or a contract with WISE. However, WISE is publicly acknowledged as a partner working with the Council, as evidenced by the information available on the Council's own website: https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/new-law-enfor....

This public acknowledgment clearly indicates a working relationship between the Council and WISE. As WISE officers are not employees of the local authority, it implies an external, contractual arrangement. Given this context, I respectfully request the Council to re-examine its records and systems concerning any agreements, contracts, or tenders involving WISE.

The purpose of this internal review is to ensure that all possible sources of information within the Council have been thoroughly explored and to confirm the accuracy of the initial response provided.

I understand that under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Council has a duty to assist requesters and to provide information held unless there is a valid exemption. If, after this review, it is found that the Council does indeed hold the requested information, I would appreciate its disclosure in accordance with the Act.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your response to this request for an internal review. Please confirm in writing that you have received this

Yours sincerely,

Mike Rose

Freedom Of Information (NELC), North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam 

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your correspondence and wish to confirm that
an internal review of the handling of your information request
NELC/30189/2324 is to take place.

 

If it will take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will
inform you of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a
response.

 

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:
[1]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/your-council/...

 

If you have any queries or require further assistance, please contact us.

Yours sincerely

 

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

 

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Freedom Of Information (NELC), North East Lincolnshire Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir / Madam 

Further to your request an internal review has taken place into North East
Lincolnshire Council's handling of your information request reference
NELC/30189/2324.

Your request asked for:

 1. A Copy of the Tender: Please provide the full tender document issued
by NELC for the enforcement work, which led to the commissioning of
WISE.
 2. The Contract Details: A complete copy of the contract between NELC and
WISE, including any terms and conditions, scope of work, and duration.
 3. Analysis or Research Justifying Outsourcing: Any analysis, research,
or reports that detail the rationale behind the decision to outsource
this work to WISE, particularly in the context of the existence of
NELC's own officers who are qualified and empowered to carry out
similar enforcement work.
 4. Financial Arrangement Concerning Fines: Information on the financial
arrangement regarding the enforcement work, specifically the
percentage of fines issued by WISE that is allocated to the local
authority.

I have reviewed the response provided to you and the handling of your
request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and find:

• That your request was responded to within the statutory time of 20
working days;
• That your response provided you with your rights of appeal. 

 

However, you were advised that the there was no record of contract or
spend with the above named company. Having reviewed this further with the
service, I can confirm that whilst the information you were provided with
was accurate, further information should have been provided to clarify the
situation fully. Please accept my sincere apologies for this.

 

I can now confirm that there is no direct contract with WISE. North East
Lincolnshire Council are in receipt of services from WISE through a
contract with the City of Doncaster Council. I also attach a copy of a
report from the Cabinet meeting held on 8^th March 2023 where the contract
with the City of Doncaster Council was discussed and subsequently
extended. The Service Level Agreement for this is currently being
finalised.

 

In respect of the Service Level Agreement it has been considered under
section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act which states that:

 

(2) 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).

 

Section 43 (2) is a qualified exemption, and requires consideration of
whether the balance of public interest is to disclose or withhold the
requested information, before the exemption can be applied. The public
good may differ from the private interests of an individual requester and
in this respect the test is undertaken under the principal of being
applicant blind. North East Lincolnshire Council will always begin from
the position that information should be disclosed. All public interest
tests are undertaken by the Information Governance team with input from
any relevant information owners.

 

In assessing the public interest the following factors, were considered in
favour of disclosure:

 

·         The public interest in understanding the activities of North
East Lincolnshire Council, to inform their decision making, allow them to
challenge the decisions and actions of the council and participate in
debate;

·         The public interest in ensuring North East Lincolnshire Council
can be held accountable for its decisions;

.

The following factors were in favour of withholding the information:

 

·         The effect disclosure would have on the commercial interest of
the third parties in a competitive environment;

·         The effect disclosure would have on the ability of North East
Lincolnshire Council to negotiate or compete in a commercial environment.

·         The public interest in ensuring North East Lincolnshire Council
are able to effectively provide services and deliver outcomes for the
community;

·         The public interest in ensuring North East Lincolnshire Council
are providing value for money services.

·         The effect disclosure may have on the ability of North East
Lincolnshire Council to generate income by placing information in the
public domain which may lessen any competitive advantage.

·         The impact that disclosure may have on negotiations on other
contracts and procurements. 

 

In assessing the balance of public interest in relation to section 43 it
is determined that the balance of public interest is to withhold this
information.

 

The City of Doncaster Council hold the contract with WISE, if you wish to
request a copy of the contract we would advise you contact them directly
using the following email address: [1][email address]

I trust that this internal review answers your queries in relation to your
request, and please again accept our apologies that your initial response
did not provide a full response to your request. 

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or
the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review
by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

 

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

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Dear Freedom Of Information (NELC),

I am writing in response to the internal review conducted by North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) regarding my Freedom of Information (FOI) request reference NELC/30189/2324. While I appreciate the council's efforts in conducting this review and providing additional information, I respectfully challenge the application of the exemption under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in withholding the Service Level Agreement details between NELC and WISE.

The revelation that NELC is in receipt of services from WISE through a contract with the City of Doncaster Council necessitates a clear understanding of NELC’s role and responsibilities in this arrangement. It is essential to establish the level of accountability and oversight NELC maintains in this indirect relationship with WISE.

The exemption under Section 43(2) is applied when disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person, including the public authority. However, the public interest in transparency and accountability of public bodies, especially concerning contractual relationships and public spending, is paramount.

a. Public Interest in Disclosure: The public interest in understanding how public funds are being utilized and ensuring that public bodies are held accountable outweighs the perceived prejudice to commercial interests. There is a significant public interest in scrutinizing the council's decision-making process, especially in scenarios where services are outsourced, and public funds are involved.

b. Assessment of Actual Prejudice: The council must demonstrate actual, specific, and substantial prejudice to the commercial interests, which is not clear from the provided response. The generic reasoning does not sufficiently justify the application of this exemption.

Transparency in how public bodies allocate and spend public funds is integral to public trust and governance. Understanding the financial arrangements and the rationale behind outsourcing decisions is crucial for evaluating value for money and ensuring that public interests are being served effectively.

Given the importance of the requested information, I kindly request a more detailed justification for the application of Section 43(2), specifically how the disclosure of this particular Service Level Agreement would cause the alleged prejudice.

If there are specific parts of the Service Level Agreement that are particularly sensitive, I would welcome a discussion about the possibility of receiving a redacted version of the document, where only the genuinely sensitive information is withheld.

In conclusion, while I acknowledge the council’s position, I believe that the public interest in disclosure of the requested information significantly outweighs the council’s concerns regarding commercial interests. Transparency and accountability in public bodies are critical, especially in matters involving public funds and services.

If this issue is not resolved to my satisfaction, I am prepared to escalate the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent review.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Rose

Freedom Of Information (NELC), North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Requester,

 

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the internal review of
your Freedom of Information Request reference: NELC/30189/2324.

 

The information you have requested has been deemed exempt from disclosure
at this time by virtue of section 43 (2) of the Freedom of Information
Act.

 

North East Lincolnshire Council have carried out an internal review of
your request and as such we have confirmed our final position.

If you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request, or
the decision of the internal review you can request an independent review
by contacting the Information Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

 

North East Lincolnshire Council

 

 

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Mike Rose please sign in and let everyone know.