Knowlegate “Flog it” – some “answers”

Response to Freedom of Information request”

“Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

“Recently an email from a Conservative councillor was released into the public domain regarding the purchase of a “very large table in the members room” as a result of “an auction of council furniture, chattels, etc” to the benefit of members and EDDC staff. The email went on to state “I have been told that I have been successful in my bid so the table along with the 8′ extension is heading back to Exmouth to sit in (address of councillor), Exmouth in its rightful town (some may say)” and then stated arrangements for its removal date in order that it could be used for the Councillor’s Christmas dinner for 22 family members. Subsequently on 21st December 2018, the Leader of the Council made a statement about the disposal of a range of items, including this table. He said the large table “attracted little professional interest with one valuer estimate of just £50”. I would like to know:

1. If one valuer’s estimate was £50, what were the other estimates?
Other valuers viewed but were not interested in estimating for the table due to its low value

2. What are the names of the valuers who gave estimates for the table?
The other agents who attended to provide estimates were;
Potburys
Whittons
Lyme Bay
MST

3. Does EDDC audit not require a range and record of estimates for the disposal of council assets, as well as a record of disposals?
It is not clear what specific information is being requested here. Bids and disposal receipts will be recorded.

4. EDDC, like other councils, should have a written policy and procedure for the disposal of assets such as used equipment, furniture and other plant, What is that policy and procedure?
There is a link below to the ‘Property Matters’ section of the Council Constitution which is on our website, specifically items 15 & 16;

15. Authority (after consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holder) to dispose of property assets which have a market value which does not exceed £30,000.
16. Sale of vehicles, equipment or machinery surplus to the Council’s needs where the consideration does not exceed £30,000.

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2537547/cj…

5. Who was the Councillor that successfully bid for “the very large table in the members room”?
This information is exempt from disclosure under s40 of the Freedom of Information Act as being personal data.

6. How much did the Councillor pay?
The bid was £400

7. Was the ornate clock on the mantel piece (as shown on the cover of the Residents Magazine, December 2018) part of this disposal process?
The clock in question originally belonged to Honiton Rural District Council and has been offered to Honiton Town Council.
If so, what was the valuation given? ? See above
What price was paid? ? See above
Who bought this clock? ? See above

8. How much money was raised from this sale of “items of sentimental interest or practical use”?
The items have not been sold yet so no information is currently held. We anticipate that a figure in the order of £2,000 will be raised which will be ring-fenced in the Civic Fund.

9. What are the “other sales” Councillor Thomas refers to?
The vast majority of items are office furniture (desks, chairs, cabinets). Items will be disposed of in a number of ways. These include via public auction, items given to local groups, town and parish councils in return for donations and income from bulk clearance.

10. How much money was raised from each of these “other sales”?
No information held

11. What is the total now of the Chairman’s Civic Fund?
The Civic Fund is a budget and therefore there is no ‘total’ fund as such. The ring-fenced fund is currently £0 as the items have not been made available for collection / payment.

12. Information about the Chairman’s Civic Fund is not easily accessible on the EDDC website; a word search on the site produces “no result”. Where can details of this fund and its administration be found?
Civic Fund and Civic Expenses are agreed as part of the Council’s annual budget: this is identified in the Councils approved Budget book for 2018/19:
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2413383/re…
The relevant items can be found on page 7 and page 24.

I hope this information is helpful but, if you feel dissatisfied with the way we have responded to your request, please contact our Monitoring Officer, Mr Henry Gordon Lennox, to request an internal review [email address]

You may also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at http://www.ico.org.uk

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/auction_of_council_furniture_cha#incoming-1300789

Has the Grenadier contract been signed or is Councillor Stott confused?

According to Cllr Stott who has now stopped any more comments being made on her post on the Exmouth Community page the Grenadier EDDC agreement has already been signed although she appeared to correct herself as the post went on:

Pauline Stott to Deborah Russell
Yes was signed this week

Deborah Russell to Pauline Stott
This is interesting to know because according to Devon Live an agreement has not yet been signed. Please advise where you have your information from?

Pauline Stott
We were told at the Cabinet meeting that it would be sign (sic) this week

Deborah Russell to Pauline Stott
Great news when do we get to see a copy of it?

Pauline Stott Of what?

Deborah Russell to Cllr Pauline Stott
the agreement.

Pauline Stott
What for do you ask (sic) to see all agreements the Council make

Deborah Russell
So that in an open and transparent democracy everyone is privy to how and why this community asset was gifted.

Pauline Stott You can ask the Council under freedom of information

Deborah Russell Pauline Stott Will do and thank you.

“DEPRIVED TOWNS FUND IS INSIGNIFICANT COMPARED WITH STAGGERING CUTS”

You read here that EDDC Conservatives have decided that the only town they will put forward for this (meagre)fund is Axminster. Well, good luck, Axminster!

But when voting day comes remember your councillors have alteady overspent around £3 million on their new HQ and are funding a new road at the airport for another £3 million AND setting up a £20 million property company to invest OUTSIDE East Devon.

“The Stronger Towns Fund, announced by the government yesterday, is a £1.6 billion fund to be spent between now and 2025 on places that are often referred to as ​‘left behind’.

£1.6 billion as a lump sum is not to be sniffed at, even though in government spending terms it’s relatively small beer. Share small beer out over seven years and it’s reduced to a thimble full; around £267 million total per year if spending starts in the financial year 2019/​20 and is distributed evenly until 2025/​26. Share it out further to all the places in the UK that most need government investment, training and jobs and it’s a droplet in the ocean.

If that were the beginning and end of it, then fine. ​‘Government announces small bit of funding for something that needs a bigger bit of funding’ is not much of a story. However, the government is giving with one hand, and taking much more away with the other.

The Revenue Support Grant is given to local authorities by central government and makes up around a third of councils’ budgets. Between 2018/​19 and 2019/​20, the grant is due to be cut by 37% — that’s £1.3 billion in a single year — on top of savage cuts to it that have already taken place.

From 2013/​14 to 2019/​20, even with locally retained business rates and the main government unrestricted grant, local authorities have seen their net incomes decrease by 48%. The year of Stronger Towns Funding that will presumably occur in 2019/​20 (if allocated equally over six years) compensates this loss by less than 1%. Council incomes will still have been cut by 47%. The whole Stronger Towns pot of money would reduce this loss by no more than 5% if provided in one year — which will not be the case. Of course, some regions will receive more than this and others less, but compared to the staggering cuts to local authorities, the new fund pales in comparison.

Aside from this loss of government money, post-Brexit the UK will be losing money provided by the European Union via its structural funds. Between 2014 and 2020, the UK will have received €17.2 billion for regional and social development, which has flowed significantly to many of the same areas that the Stronger Towns Fund will prioritise.

If the UK were to remain in the EU, between 2021 and 2027, €13 billion of EU structural funds would flow to poorer regions; significantly more than the Stronger Towns Fund. Some further settlement is expected from central government to compensate areas for this loss, but the amount is still unclear.

The Stronger Towns Fund has not gone down well in many of the regions, smaller cities and towns at which it will be targeted. And why should it? One cause of the economic malaise many of these places face is austerity. Reversing its effect will take more than this paltry offer. It will take a transformational approach to government investment, focused both on rebalancing the economy and restoring basic public services that are often the lifeblood of communities.

Many, including opposition politicians, have suggested that the Stronger Towns Fund looks like a bribe to persuade Labour MPs in leave-voting constituencies in particular to support the government’s Withdrawal Agreement. If so, the chances are it will have the opposite effect. …”

https://neweconomics.org/2019/03/deprived-towns-fund-is-insignificant-compared-with-staggering-cuts