Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Tories spinning their way into trouble......again

Tory spinners have once again failed in their latest attempt to tarnish Labour's plans to transfer hundreds of council jobs and over 30 council services back to our market towns. This time they tried to highlight the cost of hoardings around the many construction sites across the county made possible by Labour investment in jobs and the economy in Northumberland. On close inspection, their claim of excessive cost fell down - over 90% of the overall cost was a legal requirement and the just over £8,000 was incurred by the Labour administration listening to the recommendations of an independent peer review led by a senior


Tory Peer who said the council should communicate its ambitious plans to the public more effectively.

Instead of welcoming massive investment across Northumberland in schools, leisure centre's, bridges, roads, our market towns, bus and train stations, historic buildings and much more, the Tories are campaigning on their slogan - 'Say No To Everything'


Come May in 2017, the Tories run the risk of the public who can see hundreds of jobs safeguarded or created and over £1billion invested in Northumberland's future, 'saying no to their negative message of despair'.



For the sake of transparency we're publishing the Freedom of Information response sent to the Conservative party on the reason and cost of the hoardings across Northumberland's construction sites. They didn't publish the document for some reason

Dear Mr Gebhard,

I refer to your Freedom of Information request in relation to the your questions set out below:-
1)      Please provide a breakdown of the costs of the installation of the Council's new advertising hoardings to include:
1. Design Costs
2. Physical costs of implementation
3. Costs of materials
4. Officers' time

Right of Access

Section 1(1) of the Act provides any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled.

(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request (which Section 1(6) of the Act designates as the "duty to confirm or deny"), and

(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him. 


The right is to obtain access to the information itself and not to the document or record which contains it.

The Act creates a general right of access to information held by public authorities subject to various exemptions. 

In response to your questions please find responses below:
Q1    Please provide a breakdown of the costs of the installation of the Council's new advertising hoardings to include:
1. Design Costs
2. Physical costs of implementation
3. Costs of materials
4. Officers' time

A1    The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 section 3 places general duties on employers and the self-employed to conduct their undertakings in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than themselves or their employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety. 
All construction sites therefore require measures to manage access across defined boundaries; and steps to exclude unauthorised people. This is due to the number of people dying or being injured after gaining access to building sites. Site boundaries therefore need to be defined physically where necessary, by suitable fencing in order to prevent persons from gaining access to the site and to protect the general public from the construction activities taking pace within the site.
The costs for the hoardings form part of the overall development cost at each of the four sites where they are situated, with total costs amounting to £52,395 and can be broken down as shown below:-
Design Costs                                      £8,225
Physical costs of Implementation       £5,870
Costs of Materials                               £38,300
Officers Time                                      £0 – (Not recorded at this level of detail)

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request an internal review by writing within 2 months from the date of this response to the Director of Business Strategy at the following:- 

Information Commissioner

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have a right by Section 50 of the Act to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether your request has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act at: 
The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Tel: 01625 545 745
Email: enquiries@ico.gsi.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal. 


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