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MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent?
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TOPIC: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent?

Re: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent? 5 months, 2 weeks ago #7

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Sent: 15 June 2021 18:53
To: Mahon, Gerry < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information(FOI) Review Request - 101002507385 - (ERC) Cabinet Meeting on 15 April 2021 Report by Director of Environment MIXED TENURE SCHEME - Bring In-House

Hi Gerry
Sorry to bother you but, would appreciate if you can provide further help and give some clarification.

You say - 'The service experienced a significant demand for information in relation to a current issue and struggled to meet timescales for response.'

What was the significant demand? What was the subject matter of this 'current issue' ? Who made this 'significant demand for information'? Was it an FOI issue?
(I am not looking for personal names etc but just a general indication of the demand/issue)

As the FOI request was made on 12 April 2021, why this 'struggle' was not mentioned in Tracy Morgan's response on 10 May?

You say - 'Further work will be undertaken by the department before the director finalises his decision.'

When is this further work expected to be started?

When is this work expected to be finalised?

When is the director's final decision expected?

You say - 'The consultation process with the various services indicated was undertaken by way of an on-line meeting. These types of operational meetings are not recorded and no minute was taken.'

How were the various services/attendees informed of meeting(s) -

by email ?

The dates and times?

The subject matter of the meetings?

Was there an Agenda/description of subject matter for meeting(s)?

Which services/attendees attended the meeting(s)?

Was there only one meeting?

Would the attendees have taken notes?

You say - 'The implications of the proposals are currently being assessed as the report makes clear...........'

When will this assessment be completed?

Is this different from the further work being undertaken? - 'Further work will be undertaken by the department before the director finalises his decision.'

At the current time , has work been completed regarding the ' implications' and 'further work to be undertaken'?

If so, is this being withheld?

You say -'The attached e-mail refers. Certain information has been redacted as it constitutes personal information of an individual, the release of which would breach data protection principles in terms of s38(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.'

I am not interested in 'personal information of an individual' but I am having difficulty identifying where this redaction has been applied.

Would appreciate if you can give an indication of where the redaction starts and ends(The email doesn't seem to concern an individual?).

I think in this case that it is important that this clarification is given and again, your help in providing said clarification is appreciated.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Monday, 21 Jun, 2021 At 09:12
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information(FOI) Review Request - 101002507385 - (ERC) Cabinet Meeting on 15 April 2021 Report by Director of Environment MIXED TENURE SCHEME - Bring In-House

Apologies, my system was showing this as already sent but I have been experiencing some problems with my e-mail recently and I assume from your message that you have not received it.

In the context of our duty to provide advice and assistance, I would indicate that a significant volume of correspondence was received from many individuals regarding Crookfur Park and associated matters, much of which was FOI related. I can only assume that Tracy Morgan’s response

I have no concrete dates as to when the work will be finalised or when the director will make his final decision. This will be affected by the ongoing assessment of the implications and other workload commitments within the service.

Meetings are organised via Microsoft TEAMS invites. As I have stated there is no further recorded information held so it seems clear that no notes were retained if taken.

As for the personal data, the information formed a bullet point in the e-mail and related to a particular employee.

Regards
Gerry


------ Original Message ------
To: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Monday, 21 Jun, 2021 At 12:00
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information(FOI) Review Request - 101002507385 - (ERC) Cabinet Meeting on 15 April 2021 Report by Director of Environment MIXED TENURE SCHEME - Bring In-House

Hi Gerry

Thanks for this.

You do seem to have frequent problems with your email system and emails to me.

You appear not to have completed this sentence in your 2nd para - ' I can only assume that Tracy Morgan’s response' ?

Would appreciate if you can provide final clarification.

Is there no information recorded regarding Microsoft Teams - 'Meetings are organised via Microsoft TEAMS invites' ?

Such as -

Invites?

emails/email invites?

Diary/calendar entries?

Agenda/Matters to be discussed?

Attendees at the meeting?

I was looking at the very least for dates and times of these meetings, Attendees and Agenda/Matters/items to be discussed.

I think in this case that it is important that this clarification is given and again, your help in providing said clarification is appreciated.

Thanks

Re: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent? 2 months, 2 weeks ago #8

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------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Monday, 12 Jul, 2021 At 11:00
Subject: foi review

I attach a screen print of a teams meeting invite pertinent to your request. There does not appear to be any agenda attached but you can see the time of the meeting and invitees.



meetimage001.jpg




Regards


Gerry

Re: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent? 2 months, 2 weeks ago #9

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------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Friday, 23 Jul, 2021 At 13:07
Subject: Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Hi

Would appreciate if you can give the current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work described below to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House.

At this particular time I am not looking for Reports/Documents etc but it would be very much appreciated if details of timescales and start/completion dates for each of below can be given.

1. Additional Salary costs

The current timescale and dates for the start and completion of this work -

'· Salary Costs – as indicated last week likely to be additional cost immediately (on basis of mapping across to our existing grades and hours of work) and longer term (if service was withdrawn or scaled back) as a result of current commitment to no compulsory redundancy policy, any headcount reduction would attract enhanced voluntary redundancy terms'

2. Additional Costs

The current timescale and dates for the start and completion of this work -

'· Additional costs – After TUPE ERC would become liable for all other employment costs in line with current occupational enhancements e.g. sick pay'

3. Harmonisation of Terms and Conditions

The current timescale and dates for the start and completion of this work -

'· Harmonisation of Terms and Conditions – can’t be scoped fully until we have access to VERG T&Cs but immediately note that VERG work on basis of 35 hours, would need to harmonise to 37 hours as per ERC, ERC offer additional annual leave based on length of service, posts would need to go through job evaluation if no comparable role exists. Further costs may be identified as a result of this exercise. '

Contact with VERG

Access to VERG T&Cs

Job evaluation

Further Costs

Harmonisation of Terms and Conditions exercise.

4. Timescale & Consultation

The current timescale and dates for the start and completion of this work -

'· Timescale & consultation – once Cabinet approval, requirement to go through usual DCE approval process with memo and consultation following usual Organisational change/restructuring process including job evaluation process. Once that approval given would then need to gather information from VERG, complete an assessment across T&Cs, consult with VERG employees on transfer and negotiate any changes, go through any matching/recruitment and issue appropriate contracts. '

DCE approval process

Organisational change/restructuring process

Contact with VERG

Gathering information from VERG

Complete an assessment across T&Cs

Consult with VERG employees

Negotiation of any changes

Go through any matching/recruitment process

Issue appropriate contracts.

Your help in providing timescales and start/completion dates is very much appreciated.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Friday, 23 Jul, 2021 At 13:20
Subject: Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Hi

Received this auto response from Andrew Cahill which I presume is incorrect(October 2018?).

As I do not know when he will return would appreciate if you can forward my email request below for someone else from the department to action/respond.

Your help is appreciated.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "Cahill, Andrew" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Friday, 23 Jul, 2021 At 13:07
Subject: Automatic reply: Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Thank you for your e-mail. I am currently out of the office, returning on Monday 22nd October 2018. I will deal with your e-mail on my return.

If your enquiry is urgent please phone 0141 577 3036 or Customer Services on 0141 577 3001.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Friday, 23 Jul, 2021 At 15:08
Subject: Confirmation of your Freedom of Information request for Multiple services

We've received your freedom of information request. Your reference number is: 3731-5867-0123-3728.

Your request has been passed to a member of our team. We will respond as soon as possible and no later than 20 working days.

Thank you.

East Renfrewshire Council



Sent: 26 July 2021 11:39
To: *Customer Services < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: FOI Request 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Hi

Would appreciate if you can forward below to the relevant persons as

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it - East Renfrewshire Council

have not supplied a contact name and/or email address for reply.

I had not intended this as an FOI request and had said,


'At this particular time I am not looking for Reports/Documents etc but it would be very much appreciated if details of timescales and start/completion dates for each of below can be given.'

However, now that you have taken it as an FOI Request, in addition to the Timescales/dates, I would expect all Reports/Documents/Recorded information/notes/emails etc to be provided (as per the Legislation), regarding all requested information in paras 1 to 4 of email of 23 July 2021 attached.

The Scottish Information Commissioner has written regarding FOI requests -

'The duty to advise and assist

Under FOI law, authorities have a duty to advise and assist people who want to access their information. The duty to advise and assist makes sure that customer service and customer engagement are central to FOI practice.

Taking a positive and proactive approach to the duty to advise and assist will strengthen relations with service users and help build trust. Offering help, support and guidance to people looking for information will also reduce the likelihood of more FOI requests.

Legal requirement

The FOI Act requires authorities to provide reasonable advice and assistance to people who have made, or are planning to make, a request for information (section 15).

The EIRs contain a similar provision for requests for environmental information (regulation 9).

Both the FOI Act and the EIRs say that authorities which comply with the Scottish Ministers' FOI Code of Practice when providing advice and assistance are complying with the duty under FOI law.'


Your help with this matter is appreciated.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "*Customer Services" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Tuesday, 27 Jul, 2021 At 11:59
Subject: RE: FOI Request 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Good morning

Thank you for your email. I have logged your message with our FOI team.

Should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Kind regards
Customer First



Sent: 23 August 2021 08:43
To: EN Customer Relations < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: RE: FOI Request 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Hi

Would appreciate update to request made 23 July 2021, on when response can be expected.

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
From: "EN EnvFoi" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Monday, 23 Aug, 2021 At 11:49
Subject: RE: FOI Request 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Thank you for your attached email.

I have passed this to the Director for an update and will reply to you as soon as I have any information on the response.

Thanks

Customer Relations Officer
Environment Department

Re: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent? 2 months, 2 weeks ago #10

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Sent: 26 August 2021 13:56
To: Mahon, Gerry < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Request for FOI Review - FOI 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House


Chief Officer (Legal and Procurement)
Council Headquarters
Rouken Glen Road
Giffnock
G46 6UG

REQUEST FOR FOI REVIEW

I wish to request FOI review for the following FOI request(attached to email below) -

FOI Request 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House.

I had not intended my original request for information as a FOI request and had said,

'At this particular time I am not looking for Reports/Documents etc but it would be very much appreciated if details of timescales and start/completion dates for each of below can be given.'

However, ERC treated it as FOI Request, and as a result I indicated that in addition to the Timescales/dates, I would now expect all Reports/Documents/Recorded information/notes/emails etc to be provided (as per the Legislation), regarding all requested information in paras 1 to 4 of email of 23 July 2021 attached.

It is now over 20 working days since the request was made(23 July 2021) and no indication of date when a response can be expected has been received.

Gerry Mahon, The Chief Officer Legal & Procurement, East Renfrewshire Council, has previously stated that FoI is normally a 2 stage process -

'As you will be aware the Council's response to an FOI request does not merely revolve around the initial request but also the review process. It is hoped that any human error in relation to the 1st part of the process is properly remedied at the 2nd stage.'

and The Scottish Information Commissioner has written -

'The duty to advise and assist

Under FOI law, authorities have a duty to advise and assist people who want to access their information. The duty to advise and assist makes sure that customer service and customer engagement are central to FOI practice.

Taking a positive and proactive approach to the duty to advise and assist will strengthen relations with service users and help build trust. Offering help, support and guidance to people looking for information will also reduce the likelihood of more FOI requests.

Legal requirement

The FOI Act requires authorities to provide reasonable advice and assistance to people who have made, or are planning to make, a request for information (section 15).

The EIRs contain a similar provision for requests for environmental information (regulation 9).

Both the FOI Act and the EIRs say that authorities which comply with the Scottish Ministers' FOI Code of Practice when providing advice and assistance are complying with the duty under FOI law.'


I wish to request FOI review.

Although restrictions have been eased, we all still appreciate the consequences the pandemic is having on Council workers and services, and on everyone else who is working hard, and have to deal with loss of earnings, shielding, self-isolating, caring for elderly relatives, not seeing close family members or coping with bereavement after losing family members to Covid -19.

Covid-19 continues to affect everyone and everyone is working hard to overcome the effects of this pandemic.

As can be seen from the emails below, I have shown patience and would have looked at and considered any reasonable timescale/date had it been given.

However, I again feel that the Department are making up their own open ended timescale with no indication of a date when a response can be expected and as the stipulated 20 working days for response have been exceeded again, I now feel I have been left with no option but to seek FOI Review from ERC Chief Officer (Legal and Procurement).

Would appreciate acknowledgement of receipt.

Thanks

Re: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent? 2 weeks, 2 days ago #11

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------ Original Message ------
From: "Mahon, Gerry" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 23 Sep, 2021 At 18:18
Subject: RE: Request for FOI Review - FOI 3731-5867-0123-3728 - Current timescale and dates for the start and completion of the work to bring the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

I refer to the above and to your request for review dated 26 August 2021.

As you are aware, I have responsibility for handling review requests on behalf of the Council.

I write to advise that I have now concluded consideration of this case and to bring my findings to your attention.

Firstly, I would offer sincere apologies on behalf of the service concerned for the fact that your initial request was processed through formal FOI routes and not handled as business as usual. Furthermore, I would like to apologise that your request has not been answered formally until now.

Whilst I understand that the service remains under ongoing pressure to address COVID related matters and is itself affected by staffing issues caused by the effects of the pandemic, I have reiterated their statutory responsibilities in this regard.

In relation to your request for timescales, I can confirm that the Environment Department is aiming for the transfer of the staff in-house to be completed during October 2021 and that this is an ongoing process.

I would however, highlight that this process has many elements outwith the Department’s direct control , many of which you highlighted in your initial correspondence, e.g. engagement and employee consultation.

As you will appreciate, parties involved in this process are impacted by both backlogs and lessened workforces arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.

With this in mind, the October timescale is a target rather than a definitive date and may be subject to change depending on these factors.

Full harmonisation of terms and conditions is thereafter expected to take up to 3 months from that date.

As regards your specific request for documents held in connection with this matter, as this is an ongoing piece of work and has not yet concluded, it is considered that disclosure of the information would likely be prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs and as such information is withheld from disclosure in terms of s30(c ) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The process involves the transfer of employment information from a currently private body into the hands of the local authority and thereafter discussion regarding the effect such a transfer will have on the terms and conditions of the employees involved.

Insofar as those employees will not become officers of the authority until the transfer takes place and the private company are not otherwise subject to the terms of the Act, it is felt that the issue of such information into the public domain in advance of the conclusion of these discussions will substantially inhibit the company’s willingness to release relevant information and accordingly delay conclusion of the process.

It should also be noted that certain prospective transferees may not ultimately transfer and as such not all information transferred at this stage may ultimately be relevant to the finalised transfer.

This exemption is subject to the public interest test.

In favour of disclosure is transparency around the business of the public authority and the use of public funds and the accountability that comes with such transparency.

On the other hand, the already published report clearly identifies the various factors which have prompted consideration of the transfer and the Council’s intentions are already clearly in the public domain.

Release of more detailed information at the present moment in time has the potential to undermine the process which is itself designed to protect the public purse to the greatest possible extent and to maximise efficiency and effectiveness of services to the public whilst minimising cost.

It is therefore my view that a disrupted process (for the reasons outlined above) would actually be detrimental to the public interest and on that basis the balance is considered to lie in retention of the information at this stage.

Once the process is concluded, the dynamic of such consideration may change and impact of disclosure would likely reduce.

I am not of the view that we are however at that stage yet.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this review, you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner. His address is:

The Scottish Information Commissioner
Kilburn Castle
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS

Yours Sincerely

Gerry Mahon
Chief Officer – Legal and Procurement

Re: MIXED TENURE CONTRACT (£500,000.00+) - Taken In-House? - With only 1 report and 1 email? Open and Transparent? 2 weeks, 2 days ago #12

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------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Thursday, 18 Nov, 2021 At 11:26
Subject: Freedom of Information(FOI) Request - Taking the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House

Freedom of Information(FOI) Request

This FOI Request concerns taking the MIXED TENURE SCHEME In-House as recommended and approved at the East Renfrewshire Council(ERC) Cabinet meeting 15 April 2021.

It is now mid November 2021 and after 7 months no further reports/updates have been given to Cabinet and the only recorded information published by ERC has been one email (attached to end of this request.)

On 23/9/2021 the Chief Officer – Legal and Procurement wrote

'.....the Environment Department is aiming for the transfer of the staff in-house to be completed during October 2021....'

and

'Once the process is concluded, the dynamic of such consideration may change and impact of disclosure would likely reduce.....'

The Scottish Information Commissioner has written in an Exemption Briefing regarding Exemption 30(c) and the passage of time.

'Section 30(c) – the effective conduct of public affairs
Para 37
(ii)
the passage of time. Disclosing information about an ongoing matter may well cause harm. However, once a matter is concluded or settled, it is harder to argue thatdisclosure of such information could cause significant harm to the process. In such cases the public authority would be expected to show the effect that disclosure of the information would have on future practice.'

Please provide relevant Documents and relevant emails specifically regarding the following(I am not interested in personal details such names etc) -

1. Details/recorded information regarding the Additional Salary costs

'· Salary Costs – as indicated last week likely to be additional cost immediately (on basis of mapping across to our existing grades and hours of work) and longer term (if service was withdrawn or scaled back) as a result of current commitment to no compulsory redundancy policy, any headcount reduction would attract enhanced voluntary redundancy terms'

2. Details/recorded information regarding these Additional Costs

'· Additional costs – After TUPE ERC would become liable for all other employment costs in line with current occupational enhancements e.g. sick pay'


3. Details/recorded information regarding these Further costs

Harmonisation of Terms and Conditions

– - can’t be scoped fully until we have access to VERG T&Cs but immediately note that VERG work on basis of 35 hours, would need to harmonise to 37 hours as per ERC, ERC offer additional annual leave based on length of service, posts would need to go through job evaluation if no comparable role exists. Further costs may be identified as a result of this exercise. '

4. Details/recorded information regarding VERG

Contacting VERG
Consultation/Gathering information from VERG
Correspondence/information received from VERG

'· Timescale & consultation – once Cabinet approval, requirement to go through usual DCE approval process with memo and consultation following usual Organisational change/restructuring process including job evaluation process. Once that approval given would then need to gather information from VERG, complete an assessment across T&Cs, consult with VERG employees on transfer and negotiate any changes, go through any matching/recruitment and issue appropriate contracts. '

5. Please give The Number of Staff transferred

Your help is appreciated.

Attached Email -

'From: Loudon, Jo
Sent: 29 March 2021 18:20
To: Cahill, Andrew < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Official Sensitive - TUPE

Hi Andy

Following on from last week’s call about the potential TUPE I’ve gathered a bit more background and wanted to make you aware of some of the risks/issues associated and in case of further detail being required at Cabinet.

Salary Costs – as indicated last week likely to be additional cost immediately (on basis of mapping across to our existing grades and hours of work) and longer term (if service was withdrawn or scaled back) as a result of current commitment to no compulsory redundancy policy, any headcount reduction would attract enhanced voluntary redundancy terms

Additional costs – After TUPE ERC would become liable for all other employment costs in line with current occupational enhancements e.g. sick pay

Harmonisation of Terms and Conditions – can’t be scoped fully until we have access to VERG T&Cs but immediately note that VERG work on basis of 35 hours, would need to harmonise to 37 hours as per ERC, ERC offer additional annual leave based on length of service, posts would need to go through job evaluation if no comparable role exists. Further costs may be identified as a result of this exercise.

Timescale & consultation – once Cabinet approval, requirement to go through usual DCE approval process with memo and consultation following usual Organisational change/restructuring process including job evaluation process. Once that approval given would then need to gather information from VERG, complete an assessment across T&Cs, consult with VERG employees on transfer and negotiate any changes, go through any matching/recruitment and issue appropriate contracts.

That’s just a very quick summary of initial thoughts. Happy to discuss further or if you need more information.

Thanks
Jo
Jo Loudon
HR Business Partner (Mon – Wed) – CEO, CCS & Environment
Department of Corporate and Community Services'


Thanks
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