Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Knowle relocation project: energy and consultancy figures: "possible errors in the Council’s facts and figures"

The Audit & Governance Cttee and both its internal and external auditors are endeavouring to 
"take a rigorous look at the Council’s calculations".

The auditors in particular have asked for 'any information':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: 'checks and balances': the SWAP ... an appeal to the public to send in "any information about possible errors in the Council’s facts and figures..."

However, it is possible that they will not be satisfied with the Deputy CEO's response to questions about the clarity of information about energy costs and figures presented by consultants.

This series of correspondence shows the attempts by SOS to get to the bottom of these figures:

SOS challenge to Energy and Consultancy figures… 

relocation project leader’s reply.

January 9, 2015 by sidmouthsid Leave a comment

The Chair of SOS has received this e-mail dated 7th Jan 2015:

Mr Thurlow

You have lately written to us on a number of occasions and matters. As well as your queries regarding energy cost calculations you have asked several questions regarding use of consultancy which Kate Symington has passed to me to consider.

My responses are as follows:

Energy cost projections

The projected future increase in energy costs is a conservative reflection of the past decade of actual energy cost increases. Were we to project future energy costs at the exact same rate as the past 10 years experience then the cost saving argument for relocation would be even more compelling. The Council’s relocation will allow it to reduce its energy bills and its energy consumption significantly.


You are also interested in our use of Heynes Planning to provide planning advice. Their work is ongoing and, when it is completed, the contract will remain confidential not least because knowledge of the content could be unfairly advantageous to competitors in any future bidding the company may wish to undertake. We will review the continued confidentiality at a future date.

The threshold for single tender action is £5,000. With regard to total monies paid to Heynes Planning, the company is providing unrelated services elsewhere in the district for EDDC having been commissioned as part of a competitive tendering process for a sum greater than the threshold.

Lastly, ‘prompt’ in the context that Kate has used it means done in a timely manner rather than late. I hope that clears up your concern.


Richard Cohen
Deputy Chief Executive
East Devon District Council
EX10 8HL

SOS challenge to Energy and Consultancy figures…relocation project leader’s reply. | Save Our Sidmouth

“You have not answered my question”, Relocation Project Head told.

January 10, 2015 by sidmouthsid Leave a comment

Our previous post gave EDDC Deputy Chief Executive, Richard Cohen’s reply to questions from SOS Chair, Richard Thurlow. Mr Thurlow was not satisfied. His e-mail back to Mr Cohen the same day (07/01/2015) is copied below:

Dear Mr Cohen,

Thank you for your prompt reply.., although you continue to fudge your answer.

You have not answered my question about whether the increases that you have used are “official” AeCOM figures that are used by that consultancy e.g. nationwide.

You have not answered my questions about the basis for the energy costs increases that you have used. (see my FOI).

This is a critical issue, and one to which that the public needs to have a definitive answer. As I am sure you are aware, your “cost neutral” obligations for the relocation cannot be met on the official DECC projections.

Please also let me know what competitive tender Heynes Planning won that is justifying their additional fees.

I should be grateful if you will provide a definitive answer.


Richard Thurlow

“You have not answered my question”, Relocation Project Head told. | Save Our Sidmouth

Energy Costs for relocation…..disclosure of information still refused.

January 13, 2015 by sidmouthsid Leave a comment

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request was made just before Christmas on behalf of Save Our Sidmouth.

EDDC has today given a partial response, but avoids answering THE fundamental question: on what basis does the relocation team predict energy savings of £5.55m over 20 years? (referred to below as ‘item e’).

SOS Chair, Richard Thurlow, refutes EDDC’s statement that “This information is commercially confidential due to its inclusion of figures relating to land and property valuation. It is exempt information under s43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act”.

He has swiftly replied, as follows:

‘Thank you for your reply. I note that you are refusing to release information on item e above.

I fail to see how this information is commercially sensitive. You have already given the breakdown of the costs of the existing Knowle building and a new building, as part of the DL Office Accommodation, “Knowle Energy Use and maintenance cost analysis Report of June 2013″. The headings in that document under which you have assessed the current costs are;

Planned Maintenance,
Reactive Maintenance
Electricity consumption
Gas consumption
Water consumption
Buildings insurance
Employee costs
Grounds maintenance
Property service costs
Recharge for Council Services
Other costs
Other Running Costs

Mr Cohen, in his email to me of the 8th December 2014, said “Also, please be aware that in addition to electricity and gas costs there are other elements including Business Rates, Maintenance (planned, reactive, grounds), insurances and other running costs that have also been taken into consideration”

What on earth is the point of refusing to state how these costs have been increased over a 20 year period? None of this information is commercially confidential, and should not be so described. Please let me have this information now’

For details of this and other FOI requests made by Richard Thurlow, see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/r_thurlow

Energy Costs for relocation…..disclosure of information still refused. | Save Our Sidmouth

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