Youth service spending

Lucy Chapman made this Freedom of Information request to Haringey Borough Council

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 refused by Haringey Borough Council.

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

Please can you give me

a, How much money did the youth service have in their budget on 1st April 2012?

b, How much money in total the youth service budget was on the 1st March 2013?

c, If the budget was increased from the 1st April 2012 to 1st March 2013, where did the extra money from, including if this was internal council funding or external sources and how much?

d, The total amount the youth service spent between 1st April 2012 and 31st Dec 2012?

e, The total amount the youth service did not spend between 1st April 2012 and 31st Dec 2012?

f, The total amount the youth service spent between 1st April 2012 and 1st March 2013?

g, The total amount the youth service did not spend between 1st April 2012 and 1st March 2013?

Yours faithfully,

Lucy Chapman

Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Chapman

Freedom of Information Request: Reference: LBH/1658613

Thank you for your request for information submitted under the FOI Act. I am writing to acknowledge and advise you regarding your request.

We have received four requests within a short space of time which are very similar in tone and content. We therefore believe that the four requests have been submitted by either one individual using pseudonyms or a group of individuals acting in liaison.

In total 27 questions have been asked of us, some of which may require considerable time and effort to respond to. Section 13 of the Freedom of Information Act allows a public authority to charge for providing the information where the costs of complying with the request exceed a certain limit, which has been set at £450. When calculating the costs of responding to an FOI request, public authorities may take into account other requests made by the same person about the same matter and also any requests from other people where the requests are clearly connected. We would therefore be looking at amalgamating them and in turn considering issuing a fees notice.

Please note that due to the volume of requests, we will need to consider the costs of complying with any future FOI requests from you on this topic.

I acknowledge your request for information received on 20 March 2013. This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and we will send the response by 19 April 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Baker
Feedback Response Officer
Feedback and Information Governance Team

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Alan Stanton left an annotation ()

Dear Ms Chapman,

As you probably know, on 14 March there was a Haringey Children & Young People's Scrutiny Panel which looked at this issue. I attended as an observer and I assume that the information you request would have been collated and passed to Cllr Joe Goldberg the "cabinet" councillor responsible who gave evidence to the Panel.

So while I accept that it is perfectly proper for Haringey's F.o.I team to operate the financial limit they have explained, they would not necessarily know about the Scrutiny Panel and that it's highly likely that the information you requested has already been gathered. So it should not require any further work.

Can I suggest that you email Cllr Joe Goldberg drawing his attention to your F.o.I. questions and the response; and asking for his assistance. I also suggest you copy in Cllr Martin Newton (chair of the Children & Young People's Scrutiny Panel) and the other councillors on the Panel: Rachel Allison, Zena Brabazon, Joanna Christophides and James Stewart (firstname.surname@haringey.gov.uk)

Alan Stanton, Tottenham Hale ward councillor

Dear Baker Richard,

I am very confused by this response. Can I state a few facts, especially as you are operating on assumptions.

1. I, Lucy Chapman have only submitted 4 requests to this council in 7 months of which this is one.

2. I, do not have any knowledge that you have obtained 27 other requests for the same information on youth service spending. I cannot see any on this website so assume you were sent them by other methods.

3. The only other request I can see on this site for requests on youth service budgets or spending is one from me in October 2012, over 60 days ago.

4. Under the guidance of the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (appropriate limit and fees)regulations 2004, it states under section 2.4.2 the local authority can only apply aggregated costs for requests of the same or similar information within 60 working days.

Unless you have had 27 requests on the spending of the youth service and all 27 requests have come in within the last 60 days, this should not impact on my request.

I hope you look into 2.4.3 of the guidance and took caution before you sent me this response.

I assume the council operate an electronic accounting system and will not be counting how much the spending of this department using beans and an abacus, so this should not exceed any more than 30 mins to extract and send to me.

I will be expecting a response to my FOI by 19th April 2013 without charge.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Lucy Chapman left an annotation ()

Hello Alan.

Thank you for your advice, but this is fairly basic information and should be simply dealt with

Lucy Chapman

Alan Stanton left an annotation ()

Thanks, Lucy.

I don't disagree. But it is legal and quite sensible for local councils to keep a close eye on the costs of answering F.o.I. requests. Especially because e.g. journalists and researchers may send in batches of queries, and the costs quickly mount up.

But I also think there's a larger and more important issue which "trumps" the specific requests. And that's the need for local councils to welcome citizen engagement. In this case from you and other people involved in questioning Haringey's Youth Service cuts.

Crucially, Haringey should "open the books" - making publicly available all the information you and others have requested - budgets, organograms, key policy documents etc etc.

Haringey needs to follow the spirit of the Freedom of Information legislation and not just the letter.

Alan

Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Chapman

Re: Freedom of Information Act / Environmental Information Regulations
Request  ref: LBH/1658613

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 20 March 2013, in
which you asked for the following information:

 

(a)   How much money did the youth service have in their budget on 1^st
April 2012?

£1,572,400 - Core Council Budget

£57,700 – Grants/ other sources of income

 

(b) How much money in total the youth service budget was on the 1^st March
2013?

£2,155,100 - Core Council Budget

£105,800- Grants/ other sources of income

 

(c) If the budget was increased from the 1st April 2012 to 1st March 2013,
where did the extra money from, including if this was internal council
funding or external sources and how much?

 

There was a net increase of £582,700 in Council funding.

 

(d) The total amount the youth service spent between 1st April 2012 and
31st Dec 2012?

 

£1,214,016

 

(e) The total amount the youth service did not spend between 1^st April
2012 and 31st Dec 2012?

 

£402,309

 

(f) The total amount the youth service spent between 1st April 2012 and
1st March 2013?

 

£334,477

 

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt
with your request and wish to make a complaint, please contact the
Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this
within two months of receiving this response.)   

 

Feedback and Information Team

River Park House

225 High Road

N22 8HQ

Telephone: 020 8489 2550

Email: [email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Richard Baker

Feedback Response Officer

 

 

 

P  Please consider the environment before printing.

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Dear Baker Richard,

I have read your response several times and the figures are not adding up. I understand you have said

* The total funds the council had as of 1st March 2013 was £2,260,900 (of which £2,155,100 was core council funding and £105,800 were grants or other sources of income)

* By 31st Dec 2012 this council department had only spent £1,214,016 of the £2,260,900

* This is a underspend by the end of the quarter 3 (31st Dec 2012) of just over £1 million.

* Yet you have stated the amount not spent was £402,309. Where is the other £600,000 approx.?

* You then stated that by 1st March 2013 the council had a £334,477 unspent figure of this budget.

* Did it spend £670,000 in two months? Or is there still £600,000 accounted for.

* If not the total at 1st March 2013 including the £600,000 approx. according to your information the total unspent stands at £934,477

As this response was not clear, I have marked it as still outstanding.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Dear Baker Richard,

Please read the second from last line as

* Did it spend £670,000 in two months? Or is there still £600,000 unaccounted for.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Jason Akinfenwa left an annotation ()

Lucy,

The last question they answered was "f" which was: "The total amount the youth service spent between 1st April 2012 and 1st March 2013?"

They missed out question "g" which was: "The total amount the youth service did not spend between 1st April 2012 and 1st March 2013?"

Although their answer to "f" must've been the answer to "g" as their answer to "d" would be wrong.

What a totally messed up response! Well done for unpicking it.

J

Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Re Freedom of Information Act Environmental Information Regulations Request ref LBH 1658613.txt

    6K Download View as HTML

Dear Ms Chapman

I have contacted asked our Finance Team to check figures supplied in our FOI response and a wait their response.

Kind regards
Richard Baker
Feedback Response Officer

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Dear Baker Richard,

You are aware what you are doing is illegal? You are supplying me with unclear information and now making me wait beyond the legal time limit for clarity.

Where is my response? You are doing yourselves no favours.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Chapman

I do apologise for the delay, I have chased this up with the service.

Kind regards
Richard Baker
Feedback Response Officer

show quoted sections

Dear Baker Richard,

Over 3 weeks have passed. I expect a reply by Friday the latest.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Dear Baker Richard,

Are you going to continue to act illegally by ignoring me?

This is outrageous.

I want this responded to by tomorrow.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Clive Carter left an annotation ()

Lucy, the council is probably not acting illegally. They *are* supposed to conform to Section 16 of the FoI Act which mandates a duty to be helpful (below). In my experience, this is not always observed in every instance.

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

16 Duty to provide advice and assistance.

(1) It shall be the duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it.

(2) Any public authority which, in relation to the provision of advice or assistance in any case, conforms with the code of practice under section 45 is to be taken to comply with the duty imposed by subsection (1) in relation to that case.

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

If Haringey were acting illegally, then you could probably lay a complaint with the police and the council might be able to be prosecuted (I suppose you could try that, but it might be a waste of time).

They may be acting unlawfully, which is different. If you ask for an "internal review" and still don't get satisfaction, you could consider an appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Baker Richard, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Chapman

I have been informed by Children and Young People Services that the information providing in relation to your recent Freedom of Information Request is correct and addresses the specific questions you submitted at the time. However if you remain unhappy with the response you can ask for an Internal Review. Please contact the Feedback and Information Team as below.

Feedback and Information Team
River Park House
225 High Road
N22 8HQ
Telephone: 020 8489 2550
Email: [email address]

Yours sincerely,

Richard Baker
Feedback Response Officer

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Dear Haringey Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Haringey Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Youth service spending'.

The figures do not add up and this FOI is void.

1). It is claiming that it spent less in 11 months (answer f) than it did in 9 months (answer d).

2. It missed question g.

3. The response when I queried did not address any of this.

I feel I have given ample time to clarify and correct, but the response has not acknowledged any of my concerns.

This is a purposeful attempt to delay providing me with the information I require.

Please can you conduct an internal review, within 7 days considering how long you made me wait.

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

Yours faithfully,

Lucy Chapman

Lucy Chapman left an annotation ()

Hi Clive

The information they provided was unclear and inaccurate, providing a response in 20 working days is not the law. Providing a proper response is.

I have pointed out their mistake, which they have refused to acknowledge or address.

I won't be letting this one go.

Lucy

Dear Baker Richard,

Can you please respond informing me that you will be internally reviewing this FOI

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Chapman,

 

Internal Review regarding Freedom of Information request reference
LBH/1658613

 

Thank you for email received on 24 May 2013 and I apologise for the delay
in sending you this acknowledgement.

 

Your request for an Internal Review has been logged with the reference
LBH/1868413. Please quote this reference number on any further
correspondence.

 

We will now review the response you have been sent to the above request
and I aim to let you know the outcome of our investigation by 24 June
2013. If I need longer, I will write to let you know the reason and when
you can expect a full reply.

 

If you have any questions, please let me know.  

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Sue Dyos | Feedback Team Leader | Haringey Council | Feedback &
Information Governance Team | 020 8489 2550

 

 

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Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Chapman,
 
Please see attached response to the Internal Review of your request
reference LBH/1658613
Regards,
 
S Dyos
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Dear Dyos Sue,

This is getting ridiculous.

Can you please look at what you are sending people?

I am going to try and make this as clear as possible.

Start budget: £2,260,900 comprising £2,155,100 Core Council Budget and £105,800 grants / other sources of income

My Question D: The total amount the youth service spent between 1 April 2012 and 31 December 2012?

Your Answer D: Actual expenditure recorded on the Council’s financial system as at 31 December 2012 was £1,214,016.

My Concern: From a £2,260,900 start budget if £1,214,016 is spent then £1,046,884 is not spent.

My Question E: The total amount the youth service did not spend between 1 April and 31 December 2012?

Your Answer E: Based on profiled income and expenditure, the year to date under spend as at
31 December 2012 was £402,309.

My Concern: From a £2,260,900 start budget if £1,214,016 is spent then £1,046,884 is not spent. Therefore, your answer to question E is £644,575 short. THE ACTUAL UNDERSPEND IS £1,046,884

My Question F: The total amount the youth service spent between 1 April 2012 and 1 March 2013?

Your Answer F: Actual expenditure recorded on the Council’s financial system as at 1 March 2013 was £1,641,032.

My Concern: From a £2,260,900 start budget if £1,641,032 is spent then £619,868 is not spent.

My Question G: The total amount the youth service did not spend between 1 April 2012 and 1 March 2013?

Your Answer G: Based on profiled income and expenditure, the year to date under spend as at 1 March 2013 was £334,477.

My Concern: From a £2,260,900 start budget if £1,641,032 is spent then £619,868 is not spent. Therefore your answer to Question G is £285,391 short. THE ACTUAL UNDERSPEND IS £619,868

Based on the figures you have supplied of actual spend, the total underspend as of 1st March was £619,868

However, you now state We have now closed the accounts for the financial year 1 April 2012 to 31 March
2013 and will be reporting an under spend of £37,000.

Where has £582,868 gone?

Yours sincerely,

Lucy Chapman

Dyos Sue, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Ms Chapman,

 

Thank you for your email below.  I note that in all your queries you refer
to the amount of £2,260,900 as being the “start budget”. This is the
figure that you were given in response to your question B, “how much money
in total the Youth Service budget was on 1 March 2013”.

 

Your questions D and E relate to the amount spent and not spent between 1
April 2012 to 31 December 2012. Given that you asked for figures for a
different time period in Q.s D & E than in Q. B, it is not surprising that
they do not tally with the total budget figure for the financial year
provided in response to Q. B. The same point applies to your questions F &
G.

 

If you have not yet received the information that you want, a better
approach might just be to explain to us what information you want, rather
than submitting a series of questions relating to differing time periods.
It would seem that you want to know what the budget was for the time
period 12-13 (as explained, we budget and report on the financial year
April – March), how that money was spent and whether there was any money
unspent.

 

I have sought  additional explanation from the service about the queries
you raise which should help clarify this.

We set a budget for 1 April each year – the base budget – for 12 months 1
April to 31 March.  This is the response to your question A.

 

Budgets are subject to change over the course of the year.  Virements are
made, usually either transfers from one budget to another or to reflect
additional funding sources.  These virements are explained in the response
to your  question C, resulting in a final (revised / latest) budget as per
the response to question B.

 

So, the base budget on 1 April 2012 was £1.63m.

 

The final budget on 31 March 2013 was £2.261m, and is the figure quoted
of, £2,260,900.

 

This budget movement between the start and end of the year represents the
£583k.

 

In common with other Councils we do not monitor budgets on a monthly
basis, but project how much will be spent over the course of a year.  This
should be reflected in the budget profile, but often budget profiles are
the annual budget divided by 12.

 

Regards,

 

Sue Dyos | Feedback Team Leader | Haringey Council | Feedback &
Information Governance Team | 020 8489 2550

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
your system. Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be
free of any virus or other defect which might affect any computer or
system into which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility
of the recipient to ensure they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted for any loss or damage from receipt or use thereof. All
communications sent to or from external third party organisations may be
subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant
legislation.
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