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Freedom of Information Request Answers

Freedom of Information Request Answers 

Below are a list of Freedom of Information Requests which have been made and answered.

To make your own FOI Request, first check this list to see if your query has been answered and then contact foi@swale.gov.uk if still required.

No.

Date

Request

R1  2nd Aug 2010

Request

Dear Sirs,

Freedom of Information Act Request

My request is for information you may hold for anyone who has died intestate with no known next of kin since 1st February 2010 to date, more specifically:

  1. Full Names,
  2. Dates of birth (or age at death), 
  3. Marital status,
  4. Maiden surnames of married females, 
  5. Dates of death, 
  6. Last known addresses, 
  7. Estimated value of estates, 
  8. Date(s) when the information was passed (or information that is about to be passed) to the Treasury Solicitor or Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall

Thank you for your kind assistance,

Mr H. of Sittingbourne

Response

Dear Mr H,

Further to your request for details of deceased persons referred to the Treasury Solicitors since 1st February 2010, I can advise we have not dealt with any deceased person fitting this category in that period.

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT. Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Best wishes

Environmental Protection Team

R2  10th Aug 2010

Request

Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to know the following:

  1. How much was reimbursed for Casual User mileage reimbursement for financial year 09/10.
  2. What was the total number of miles travelled by causal uers in the last financial year 09/10.
  3. How many jounneys were reimbursed for in the last financial year.
  4. What is the pence/mile amount reimbursed to casual users
  5. How much was spent on taxis in the last financial year
  6. Has your District Council had a review by the Energy Saving Trust, or a Green Fleet Review in the last 12 months.

Many thanks

Mrs T.

Response

Dear Mrs T,

In response to your FOI, I have pleasure in attaching the following answers:

  1. Unfortunately our records do not separate between Casual, Regular and Lease Car users and so we are unable to supply the requested breakdown. I can however tell you that a total of £90,261.59 was reimbursed to staff for all mileage (Casual, Regular & Lease) in 09/10.
  2. As above, we do not separate between Casual, Regular and Lease car users and so we are unable to supply the requested breakdown. However, the total number of miles traveled by all users (casual, lease and regular users) in 09/10 is 210,519 miles. 
  3. Unfortunately the systems we use do not require us to hold this information and so we have no record of how many journeys were reimbursed for. 
  4. 40p per mile is reimbursed to casual users for business miles traveled.
  5. Unfortunately our records do not separate out monies spent on just taxis, however I can tell you that a total of £3,167.97 was spent on all public transport (buses, trains and taxis) during 09/10
  6. No, because our Fleet is not big enough we were under the threshold.

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Kind Regards

HR/Payroll Officer

R3  10th Aug 2010

Request

I would like to be provided with the following information concerning the management and cost of the Planning appeal concerning the Barn Yard at Upchurch.

  1. The cost in money for the council to fight this planning appeal. Please provide full details and breakdown of all expenditure in fighting this appeal
  2. How many correspondences from local people who complained about the Barn Yard
  3. How many letters did the Council receive in support of the Barn Yard
  4. Copies of internal notes, memos, emails, minutes of meetings and any other records in any other medium concerning this planning application concerning the Barn Yard both internally and external correspondence in connection with this planning application and appeal
  5. Details and copies of Correspondence (in any media/form) from Local councillors (Swale Councillors) concerning this appeal with council officials and the responses etc
  6. How many other planning applications are going to appeal? Please provide full  details of such planning applications/appeals.
  7. How many planning applications have resulted in an appeal in the past 3 financial years plus the current financial year?
  8. From the list above how many appeals have the council lost
  9. What is the total cost of all appeals in the last 3 financial years?

I am more than willing to accept the response via email. If this information is available on your website please provide links to that information.

Kind regards,

Mr P. of Newington

Response

Dear Mr P,

I refer to your request made under the Freedom of Information Act relating to the above. I would respond as follows:

1. The cost in money for the council to fight this planning appeal. Please provide full details and breakdown of all expenditure in fighting this appeal.

  • The Council does not operate a time monitoring system, and it is not therefore possible to provide a full breakdown of figures relating to officer time spent on this appeal. Available figures relating to the cost of the appeal are as follows:
  • Counsel: £3500
  • Cost of correspondence (notification letters relating to the appeal): £131

2. How many correspondences from local people who complained about the Barn Yard?

  • 14 letters of objection were submitted during the course of the planning application.

3. How many letters did the Council receive in support of the Barn Yard?

  • 6 letters of support were submitted during the course of the planning application.

4. Copies of internal notes, memos, emails, minutes of meetings and any other records in any other medium concerning this planning application concerning the Barn Yard both internally and external correspondence in connection with this planning application and appeal.

  • These documents are publicly available to view on the appeal and application files, and you are welcome to view them at the Council offices during normal office hours. You will need to make an appointment to view the files in order to ensure that they are readily available for you.
  • Should you wish copies to be provided, the cost will be as follows: £172.10
  • The cost of this is broken down as follows:
  • 1549 copies of A4 at 10p per copy;

    66 copies of A3 at 25p per copy.

  • Please note - these costs are for black and white copying only. Colour copying, where required, will cost 25p per page at A4, 50p per page at A3.
  • Unfortunately we cannot provide copies until we have received payment.

5. Details and copies of Correspondence (in any media/form) from Local councillors (Swale Councillors) concerning this appeal with council officials and the responses etc

  • As per my answer to 4 above, these are available to view on the public file. The cost of providing copies of this is included in the above. However - separately, the cost will amount to 90 pence (9 copies at A4.)

6. How many other planning applications are going to appeal? Please provide full  details of such planning applications/appeals.

  • At the time of writing, there are 14 outstanding (i.e. non determined appeals).

7. How many planning applications have resulted in an appeal in the past 3 financial years plus the current financial year?

  • The figures are as follows:
  • 2007/2008 = 58

    2008/2009 = 73

    2009/2010 = 79

    2010/2011 = 16

8. From the list above how many appeals have the council lost

  • The figures are as follows:
  • 2007/2008 = 19

    2008/2009 = 25

    2009/2010 = 23

    2010/2011 = 1

9. What is the total cost of all appeals in the last 3 financial years?

  • As stated above, the Council does not operate a time monitoring system. The following cost figures include, but are not limited to, the cost of room hire, correspondence (i.e. letters of consultation to interested parties), and legal services (i.e. cost of engaging solicitors and barristers for public inquiries).
  • 2007/2008 = £80,626.63

    2008/2009 = £131,712.88

    2009/2010 = £132,110.00

    2010/2011 = £56,424.67

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3HT. Should you remain dissatisfied, you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (Complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours Sincerely

Planning Services

R4  11th Aug 2010

Request

 Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to make an open government request for all the information to which I am entitled under the freedom of information act. In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as possible. If however this request is too wide or too unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that under the act, you are required to advise and assist requesters. If information is withheld I would like to know under which section of the Act the information is withheld.

Could you please send me comprehensive information on the following queries:

  • Redundancy costs for the 2009/2010 financial year (i.e. costs incurred by the council as a result of making people redundant.)
  • The redundancy costs for 1 April 2010 to 30 June 2010.
  • The redundancy costs for 1 April 2010 to 31 July 2010.
  • How many redundancies were made in total over the 2009/2010 financial year?
  • How many of them were voluntary and how many compulsory?
  • How many redundancies were made between 1 April 2010 to 30 June 2010?
  • How many of them were voluntary and how many compulsory?
  • How many redundancies were made between 1 April 2010 and 31 July?
  • How many of them were voluntary and how many compulsory?
  • What was the councils total budget for financial year 2009/2010?
  • What was the councils total budget for financial year 2010/2011?

I understand that under the act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours faithfully,

Ms B. of Medway

Response

Dear Ms B,

Please see below a response to your queries regarding redundancy.

  • Redundancy costs for the 2009/2010 financial year (i.e. costs incurred by the council as a result of making people redundant.) £156,197
  • The redundancy costs for 1 April 2010 to 30 June 2010. £0
  • The redundancy costs for 1 April 2010 to 31 July 2010. £0
  • How many redundancies were made in total over the 2009/2010 financial year? 9
  • How many of them were voluntary and how many compulsory? All compulsory
  • How many redundancies were made between 1 April 2010 to 30 June 2010? 0
  • How many of them were voluntary and how many compulsory? 0
  • How many redundancies were made between 1 April 2010 and 31 July? 0
  • How many of them were voluntary and how many compulsory? 0
  • What was the councils total budget for financial year 2009/2010? £19,352,850
  • What was the councils total budget for financial year 2010/2011? £19,767,060

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

HR Office

R5  11th Aug 2010

Request

Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act (2000).

1. Please could you identify the street/road in your council area that has racked up the highest

a) individual parking fine
and
b) total parking fines (cumulative)

over the space of a year, for the last three years.

2. Please could you identify the speed camera in your council area that has racked up the highest

a) individual fine
and
b) total fines (cumulative)
over the space of a year, for the last three years.

If there is any aspect of this request that you wish to discuss further, please call me on * or email me at *.

If any part of my request is denied, please explain which exemption in the Freedom of Information Act was considered relevant.

Please confirm in by email that you have received this email. In line with the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, I would hope to have a response within 20 working days. I would prefer that this response would be via email to this address.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

To clarify - I would like the figures broken down for each financial year over the past 3 financial years.

Best,

Mr F.

Response

Dear Mr F,

Further to your request for information I am happy to supply the following information;

  • The road in Swale which has recorded the highest number of Penalty Charge Notices with total amount of fines is;
  • 07/08 - Sittingbourne High Street 366

    08/09 - Sittingbourne High Street - 398

    09/10 - Sittingbourne High Street 356

  • Identify the speed camera in Swale which has recorded the highest number of Penalty Charge Notices;
  • N/A No camera enforcement

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Councils Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Eater Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Civil Enforcement Office

R6  12th Aug 2010

Request

To Whom it may concern,

FOI Request - Wide Area Network Services

I am an independent researcher carrying out a study on public sector broadband spending and procurement patterns across the UK. I would be happy to forward you a copy of my findings. Please e-mail me at the address below should you require a copy.

Please could you provide me with the following information regarding your IT network services provision?

  • Who is the incumbent WAN provider?
  • What services do they provide?
  • To how many end sites do they provide broadband connectivity?
  • What is your annual spend on WAN connectivity for the above sites?
  • When did your current contract begin with the incumbent provider?
  • When does the contract end?
  • How will the next contract be procured?

Any help you can provide me in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I understand that, under the act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing or e-mail that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours,

Mr H. of Hove

Response

Dear Mr H,

Thank you for your enquiry. I have added my responses adjacent to your questions below.

Who is the incumbent WAN provider? KENT CONNECTS THROUGH UNISYS
What services do they provide? KENT PUBLIC SECTOR NETWORK
To how many end sites do they provide broadband connectivity? 1
What is your annual spend on WAN connectivity for the above sites? £2k
When did your current contract begin with the incumbent provider? 2006
When does the contract end? N/A
How will the next contract be procured? (OJEU/OGC/Other Framework/Extension of Current)  N/A

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

ICT Services

R7  18th Aug 2010

Request

Dear Sir / Madam,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can you tell me whether your council has undergone a "rebranding" exercise since 1st January, 2007?

If so, please provide the costs and a brief summary of the exercise.

Did the exercise involve the introduction of a phrase or slogan to describe or promote your council area? If so, please provide it.

Did the new phrase or slogan replace a previous one? If so, please also provide this.

If the exercise involved an external consultancy company, please indicate, identify it and state how much the company was paid.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L.

Response

Dear Mr L,

Please find answers to the questions you have raised below via your Freedom of Information request.

Your Question: Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can you tell me whether your council has undergone a "rebranding" exercise since 1st January, 2007?

  • Answer: Yes, we rebranded in late autumn 2009 and the new branding was rolled out as signage, literature, etc required updating or replacing, rather than a blanket application of the new branding.

Your Question: If so, please provide the costs and a brief summary of the exercise.

  • Answer: Council performance is more often being judged by local perceptions, and therefore our reputation relies on our residents, businesses and visitors to the area being able to ˜connect with us and with our services being provided.  Swale Borough Council is one of a number of local authorities that have committed to the Local Government Reputation Campaign which sets out a series of tried and tested core actions that local authorities can undertake to raise the standing of their council in their local communities - one of which is ensuring the council brand is consistently linked to services.
  • Our old style brand was considered outdated, formal and used a graphic of a bird; a Sea Swallow (AKA Common Tern) which was pointing downwards which conveyed negative connotations. The new brand was designed around the values of being approachable and friendly/helpful and so ˜corporate colours were changed to reflect this (using ˜colour theory guidelines as well as accounting for visual accessibility).  Given our objective of being a ˜High Performing Organisation the bird graphic was turned to face upwards to reflect our aspirations.

    Given the current financial climate it was agreed up front with the Executive Team that rebranding would be a low key exercise and that it would be designed and managed in-house.  We did not promote the launch of the new brand, other than a brief mention via existing communication channels, such as our website and our resident magazine.

    There were skills already in the Communications team in terms of creative design, brand management and development that were utilised. Our Communications Officer worked with the Graphics team to develop the brand and accounted for no more than four man hours from concept to final design which was subsequently signed off by the executive team. The design component therefore was absorbed and is in essence a zero cost.

    The logo has been replaced on literature as the literature has been booked in for redesign or reprint. Stocks of stationery etc with the old logo were run down/out before being replaced with the newly designed stationery, at no additional cost. We also replaced the signage outside of our main building but this was as part of a scheduled repair and maintenance program as the old signage was pulling away from the building and deemed a safety risk to visitors. Signage cost was 730.00 GBP but, again, was not a cost specifically related to the rebranding exercise. We are not looking to change the livery of our vehicles at this point in time as it would incur a direct cost, so these will be replaced as vehicles are updated/repaired for example on our (contracted) refuse freighters.

Your Question: Did the exercise involve the introduction of a phrase or slogan to describe or promote your council area? If so, please provide it.

  • Answer: No phrase at this stage.

Your Question: Did the new phrase or slogan replace a previous one? If so, please also provide this.

  • Answer: The rebrand did away with the phrase ˜North Kent Coast, which was originally added to geographically place Swale but as it is a Local Authority serving local people and the immediate geographical area, it was felt that this was no longer required.

Your Question: If the exercise involved an external consultancy company, please indicate, identify it and state how much the company was paid.

  • Answer: No external companies were used.

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

If I can be of any further assistance then please contact me.

Regards,

Communications and Marketing

R8  18th Aug 2010

Request

Sir/Madam,

I wish to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The following questions and information I wish to have sent to me are as follows:

Provide, name, address and telephone number for the following people:

  • Senior Information Risk Owner
  • Governance Manager
  • Information Security Officer/Manager
  • Information Technology Security Officer/Manager
  • Caldecott Guardian

PCI-DSS

  • Does your organisation process electronic payment cards?
  • How much money is processed from electronic payment cards per annum?
  • How many electronic payment card transactions are processed per annum?
  • Are you PCI-DSS compliant?

ISO 27001

  • Are you or have you considered becoming ISO 27001 compliant or certified?

Government Connect

  • Are you connected and operationally utilising the Government Connect network? If not have you considered connecting to Government Connect and why was the decision made not to connect?
  • Do you meet the Government Connect version three requirements?
  • Please supply your latest CLAS consultant annual Government Connect assessment/audit report, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.
  • Do you meet the Government Connect version four requirements?
  • Please supply the latest internal report for the Government Connect version four Audit/Assessment, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.

Criminal Justice Network

  • Are you connected to and operationally utilising the Criminal
  • Justice Network? If not have you considered connecting to the Criminal Justice Network and why was the decision made not to connect?
  • Please supply your latest annual assessment/audit report, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.

NHS N3 Network

  • Are you connected to and operationally utilising the NHS N3 Network? If not have you considered connecting to the NHS N3 network and why was the decision made not to connect?
  • Please supply your latest N3 Connection assessment/audit report, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.
  • Do both schools and the Council share the same physical network responsible for voice and data communications?

Yours faithfully,

Mr S.

Response

Dear Mr S,

Thank you for your enquiry.  I have responded to each question inline below.

Provide, name, address and telephone number for the following people:

  • Senior Information Risk Owner - Mark Radford
  • Governance Manager - Mark Radford
  • Information Security Officer/Manager - Tony Bullock
  • Information Technology Security Officer/Manager - Tony Bullock
  • Caldecott Guardian - N/A

PCI-DSS

  • Does your organisation process electronic payment cards? Yes.
  • How much money is processed from electronic payment cards per annum? £6,483,693.52
  • How many electronic payment card transactions are processed per annum? 55,000
  • Are you PCI-DSS compliant? Not yet, but in the process of becoming compliant.

ISO 27001

  • Are you or have you considered becoming ISO 27001 compliant or certified? Considered, but not yet compliant.

Government Connect

  • Are you connected and operationally utilising the Government Connect network? If not have you considered connecting to Government Connect and why was the decision made not to connect?
  • Do you meet the Government Connect version three requirements?
  • Please supply your latest CLAS consultant annual Government Connect assessment/audit report, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.
  • Do you meet the Government Connect version four requirements?
  • Please supply the latest internal report for the Government Connect version four Audit/Assessment, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.

We are connected and using the GC Network. However we cannot supply the documents you require due to their "Restricted" status.

Criminal Justice Network

  • Are you connected to and operationally utilising the Criminal
  • Justice Network? If not have you considered connecting to the Criminal Justice Network and why was the decision made not to connect?
  • Please supply your latest annual assessment/audit report, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.

Not connected and not being considered.

NHS N3 Network

  • Are you connected to and operationally utilising the NHS N3 Network? If not have you considered connecting to the NHS N3 network and why was the decision made not to connect?
  • Please supply your latest N3 Connection assessment/audit report, blanking out any statements which could contravene a security concern from a third party reading it.

Not connected and not being considered.

Do both schools and the Council share the same physical network responsible for voice and data communications? No.

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

ICT Services

R9  23rd Aug 2010

Request

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to obtain information about the total amount of money spent supporting environmentalist groups in the last two financial years.

To outline my query as clearly as possible, I am requesting:

  1. The total amount paid to charities, advocacy groups and think-tanks aiming to improve the protection of the natural environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit climate change or otherwise address environmental issues in the financial year 2009-10.  This should include, but is not limited to, all of the groups listed in the Appendix to this request.
  2. A breakdown of the amount given in answer to question 1) by recipient organisation.

While some of this information does concern third parties, we will not accept an assertion that disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests of third parties as legitimate grounds for refusing this request, under the exemption at section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act, for a number of reasons:

In Freedom of Information Act Awareness Guidance No. 5 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) clearly states that the exemption is subject to the public interest test. That means that only if the public interest is better served by not revealing the information should it be kept secret, even if disclosure prejudices a commercial interest. The ICO state that, œ[g]enerally speaking, the public interest is served where access to the information would;

  • Further the understanding of, and participation in the debates of issues of the day;
  • Facilitate the accountability and transparency of public authorities for decisions taken by them;
  • Facilitate accountability and transparency in the spending of public money;
  • Allow individuals to understand decisions made by public authorities affecting their lives and, in some cases, assist individuals in challenging those decisions;
  • Bring to light information affecting public safety.

The information requested appears to fit within the first three of these objectives. As such, even if disclosure is felt to prejudice a commercial interest, unless that creates a significant public harm the public interest is still likely to lie in disclosure.

Disclosure of the amount paid to an organisation is, on its own, unlikely to prejudice that companys commercial interests. Such a disclosure does not reveal anything about an ongoing tendering process or provide any other insight into the strategy or capabilities of the company in question. While it may affect the oganisations reputation, that is entirely a matter of embarrassment (and the ICO state clearly that œthere is no exemption for embarrassment).

In Commercial detriment of third parties the ICO makes it clear that use of the exemption needs to be justified on the basis of a harm identified by the individual or organisation whose commercial interest is prejudiced:

œThis guidance explains to public authorities that if they are seeking to rely upon the exemption at section 43 of the FOIA for disclosures that would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests of third parties, then they need to explain how the commercial interests of the third party will be adversely affected. [¦]

If a public authority believes that by responding to a FOIA request it will prejudice the commercial interests of a third party, then it should when necessary (for example to determine whether or not an exemption applies) and wherever possible consult the third party for its view. The public authority must not speculate as to whether there is any commercial detriment and the reasons why without any evidence or input from the third party.

If the third party does not express any concerns regarding prejudice to its commercial interests, then the public authority should not put forward any arguments of its own.

However, we acknowledge that there may occasionally be situations where the public authority cannot realistically obtain input from the third party, for example due to time constraints for responding to requests. In such situations, it will be acceptable for a public authority to put forward evidenced arguments based on its prior knowledge of the third partys concerns.


Should an exemption be applied we will expect an explanation that is based on the expressed concerns of the third party, and will not accept an assertion that there is a significant prejudice of a commercial interest.

My preferred format to receive this information is electronically, but if that is not possible I will gladly accept letters at the address below.

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this request as soon as possible.

Best,

Mr S. of London

Response

Dear Mr S,

I refer to your Freedom of Information Request about the above subject submitted on 23 August 2010.

I am not aware that Swale Borough Council has issued grants as such to any of the organizations listed in the Appendix to your e-mail.  However, the following payments for work and services may be of interest in respect of the Kent Wildlife Trust:

  • Contribution towards development costs of the Queendown Warren Grazing project, Near Sittingbourne - £1,150 “ April 2009;
  • Work on a management strategy document for Perry Wood, Selling, Near Faversham - £2,587.50 “ January 2010; 
  • Contribution towards maintenance of local wildlife sites system - £2,300.00 “ October 2009; and
  • Contribution to Rectory Road Project (nr Sittingbourne), habitat management advice and management plan for Swale open spaces - £2,500.00 “ September 2009.

Furthermore,  you may be interested to hear about grants the Council has issued to local community groups for projects which have an environmental benefit through the Sittingbourne, Faversham and Sheppey Local Engagement Forums during 2009/10.   The Council established 3 Local Engagement Forums to enable residents in Sittingbourne, Sheppey and Faversham to meet their local elected County, Borough and Parish Councillors as well as representatives from other key public service providers in order to discuss issues of local concern.  The Council made grants available to all 47 Swale Borough Councillors enabling them to support local projects in 2009/10 which brought cultural, sporting, recreational, health, environmental, heritage, community safety, crime reduction or educational benefits to the local community.  120 projects were supported and the 8 projects listed below all had environmental benefits.

  • Faversham Fairtrade Town Steering Group “ March 2010 - £350.00 “ To help promote Faversham as a Fairtrade town;
  • Newnham Parish Council “ March 2010 - £627.45 “ environmental improvements at Wineycock recreation ground, Newnham;
  • Newington Parish Council “March 2010 - £600.00 “ Newington High Street Greening Project;
  • Friends of Lovell Road “  March 2010 - £1,250.00 “ Provision of new playground equipment “ Minster, Isle of Sheppey;
  • Millfield Allotment Association “  January 2010 - £250.00 “ Erection of fence around bee hives;
  • Doddington Parish Council “  March 2010 - £200.00 “ Improvements to play area, Doddington;
  • Park Farm Cherry Orchard Group “  March 2010 - £1,200.00 “ Improvements to signage, Lynsted; and
  • Friends of Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park “ March 2010 - £1,300.00 “ Provision of new signage and training.

The Council made grants to the following organizations in support of environmental objectives:

  • Mid Kent Downs Partnership in 2009/10 - £10,000 in the form of Planning Delivery Grant; and
  • Canterbury City Council in 2009/10 - £1,500 as a contribution towards the management of Blean Woods, part of which fall within Swales jurisdiction.

And finally we issued payments to the RSPB as follows as recipients of a charitable donation in lieu of recyclable materials collected by a private individual in the Borough which would of otherwise gone to landfill.

I hope this answers your request satisfactorily, but should you be dissatisfied with the information provided you should send your complaint to the Council's Freedom of Information Officer at Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Policy and Performance Office

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