Tue. May 28th, 2024

A previous post on Ferret, highlighted where a contributor had asked Independent Hemsworth Town Council, for all the details relating to the “free” storage building erected at the Waterpark and the asbestos that was found contained in it and its subsequent removal. This request was made under the Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I)

The response from Mr Draper – Town Clerk, was to state no asbestos was found whilst it was being erected. The contributor, quite rightly, as it turned out, assumed Mr Draper was hiding behind the phrase “being erected” and this was admitted by the way of a clarification made via the little used corrections page on Hemsworth Town Council’s website.

Mr Draper was deliberately being evasive and was trying to avoid answering a legitimate question which had been sent to him by a member of the Parish.

Mr Draper is a publicly employed Town Clerk, who is supposed to act in the best interests of this community, whose substantial wages are paid by the precept payers of this community.

Ferret finds it astounding, unacceptable and unnecessary that he is behaving in this way.

The contributor then resent the request:

Dear Mr Draper,

Freedom of Information Request asbestos

Freedom of information request

Asbestos or suspected asbestos removal that was found in the farm building, digger store that was eventually erected adjacent to the Lakeside cafe/Bar, at any stage from inspection, dismantling and erection.

Please provide me with:

  • Dates of when the contract for tender was advertised i.e. start and finish dates.
  • A copy of the actual tender document advertised
  • Names of companies who tendered for the removal contract and amounts of money tendered.
  • Name of successful company winning the tender and final actual costs.
  • Where the asbestos was disposed to.
  • Copies of all relevant paper work pertinent to disposal at the approved site
  • Copies of all invoices or paperwork received from the company with respect to this contract to dispose of the asbestos including VAT reg. Number.
  • Copy and details of actual payment made to the company, Bacs, Cheque, cash etc. and date paid.

Also

  • All additional costs after the time that it stated it was “FREE” including cost of defending the enforcement action by WMDC.

The Following information was eventually received contained in a very hard to read attachment as below:

Smart waste Services Ltd

Unit 15 Unity Road

Kirkby in Ashfield

Nottingham

NG17 7LE

Quantity 2300KG  Date 30/10/20

Invoice No. 5159 Date 03/11/2010

VAT number 343 5602 16

Amount including VAT £1600

and an offer to provide a printed version as it was very difficult to read and directed to the website for all other information.

More importantly there was no mention of answers to the remaining questions:

  • Dates of when the contract for tender was advertised i.e. start and finish dates.
  • A copy of the actual tender document advertised
  • Names of companies who tendered for the removal contract and amounts of money tendered.

Also

  • All additional costs after the time that it stated it was “FREE” including cost of defending the enforcement action by WMDC.

A follow up email was sent requesting the omitted answers to the question in the original request.

Dear Mr Draper
Would you please provide answers to the questions you have failed to respond to or are you deliberately withholding this information?
Thanks

The following eventually arrived:

Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

I can confirm there was no tender process (the threshold being £25,000).

This completes your request.

So, once again Mr Draper had avoided release of the relevant information with a feeble use of words as the “quotes” were not “tenders” and failed once again to answer all the questions and tried to close the request for information.

Unfortunately for Mr Draper the request was not considered complete by the other party.

Extract from the email Mr Draper had sent to the Council Finance committee for them to consider the asbestos removal and associated costs:

Hello Finance Committee,

 Re:- Storage unit – Hemsworth Water Park

The procurement of the above has already been approved by the council with Jason Begg as the appointed competent person to oversee the project whereby our grounds maintenance team will deconstruct the unit at its current location and reconstruct it in the compound at the park.

The previous owner assured the council that asbestos was not present.

Jason is in the process of obtaining quotes for the asbestos removal and the cheapest price thus far is £3,400.

A further request for information was sent asking for, amongst other things,

As you have stated in the released email to your councillors, “Jason Begg” handled the obtaining of the quotes, the cheapest being £3400. Could you please supply the relevant documentation used to enable the companies to provide quotes, along with all quotes received and who from.

The reply received from Mr Draper was astounding, to say the least, he only released the original email message from Jason Begg to him, simply confirming that there were quotes obtained by Jason Begg but nothing more about them.

No job specifications, how many quotes, who from? how much etc?

The saga went on and a fresh request for the elusive information and quotes was made.

Dear Mr Draper,

Thank you for your response, are you going to supply the asked for documents to support the quote and the other quotes that Jason Begg received on behalf of Hemsworth Town Council.

Regards

The response from Mr Alan Draper has stunned the contributor and also Ferret, as does the whole of this process to obtain information that should have been readily available.

So much for openness, honesty and transparency at Hemsworth Town Council as promised by Mr Kenyon, anyone would think they have something to hide…

Part 2  The Response from Alan Draper, Town Clerk and Financial Officer for Hemsworth Town Council Continues on tomorrow.



By Ferret

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