Yesterday -27th June 2019 Dover District Council Governance Committee met and part of the agenda pack at pages 18 and 19 states:
Discussions were started with the contractor (P & R) in August 2018 regarding a repayment (overcharging) relating to new heating installations. Discussions regarding amounts charged in respect of electrical certificates, smoke alarms, CO detectors, TRVs, voids and water hygiene have been raised with the contractor and it is now proposed that the value of these be set-off against outstanding payments and future valuations. The EKH Chief Executive and Director of Property Services have been in contact with the four councils’ client officers since May 2018 regarding the contracts and more recently have been seeking their views on the way forward.
Yet in an FoI response to our public face from Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone & Hythe, the Councils have stated :
Under section 17(4) of the Act, the Council neither confirms nor denies whether it holds the information you have requested.
Yet there in Dover District Council’s Governance Committee pack, pages 18 and 19 is the evidence they hold the requested information, regarding overcharging. It has been in the public domain for at least five working days prior to them denying our public face the requested information.
But this is not the first time information passed to the Folkestone & Hythe District Council FoI team by those responsible has been incorrect. In Part 2: Why does Folkestone & Hythe District Council encourage profiteering from homelessness? our public face was informed that our Council had paid £7,950 incentives to landlords for the period of April 2018 – May 2019.
Anyway why the difference of £17,950. FoI response answer = £7,950. Accounts response answer = £25,900. So how is it the FoI officers never passed on the right information from those responsible for giving it to them? Were they too scared to argue the applicants corner as they ought to? Or is it because they do not care about the veracity of information that gets past on, so do not bother challenging their colleagues? We know not which.
Moving on, all we can say is that evidence exists of overcharging, evidence exists of forged LGSRs (Gas Safety Certificates) and evidence exists that P & R were paid for these forged Gas Safety Certificates. This is public money and we now hope Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe & Thanet Councils will call in Kent Police, as there is much more than a plausible suspicion of fraud. Failure to do so would constitute gross negligence by the Chief Execs.
Finally, it is time the managers who pass the information to the FoI officers pass the correct data to them. It is also time FoI officers argued on behalf of all applicants, as is their job. Until such time as both these happen, data coming out of Folkestone & Hythe FoI team needs to be treated with the utmost caution.
The Shepwayvox Team
The Velvet Voices of Dissent.