Use of public money for donations

Status: Refused.

  • Dear Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner,

    I would like you to provide me with the regulations on how the Crime Commissioner can use public money for donations and what donations have been made with public money with/without authority.

    I refer to the following publication where Clive Grunshaw donated a Police Motorcycle to a charity. This is identified here in this article. 
    https://nwbb-lancs.org/blog/post.php?s=2013-11-25-police-donate-a-bike

    While this may be a worthwhile charity, my request is, who decides which charity is in receipt of donations and, with this being public money, what authority does the commissioner have to make such donations to charities that the public may or may not support?

    So, my request is 
    1. Who provides authority for such donations out of public funds. 
    2. Please provide a list of all donations via your office since 2010

    If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in Section 12, please provide advice and assistance, under your Section 16 obligations, as to how I can refine my request to be included in the scope of the Act. In any case, if you can identify ways that my request could be refined please provide further advice and assistance to indicate this.

    I look forward to your response within 20 working days, as stipulated by the Act.

    Yours faithfully,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    Please could you possibly clarify the last message.

    I sent my request for information on the 22nd August. You have responded saying I made a request on 2st August? You have also stated that 20 days from this date is the 19th August which is 3 days PRIOR to my request.

    Please can you clarity the response date.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Mr Ponting
    REQUEST FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

    Further to my email of 3rd September 2018, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I can now respond to your request below:

    I can confirm that the Police and Crime Commissioner does not hold any regulations or information on how he can use public money for donations. Nor does he, or the Office, hold any information relating to donations that have been made with public money with/without authority.

    The reason being is that the Police and Crime Commissioner has not used public money for donations.

    I appreciate that the press release infers that the motorbike was donated to the Blood Bike Charity. However, this was not the case.

    Through the Commissioner’s Scheme of Governance approved on the 22 November 2012, the Chief Constable is permitted to dispose of assets other than land, up to the values set out in Financial Regulations.

    It is my understanding that Lancashire Constabulary agreed to sell redundant bikes to the Blood Bike Charity as it is an organisation which they are closely aligned to and fits well with the Constabulary’s purpose.

    The bikes were not donated but were sold on a basis which reflected Value for Money on an assessment of what they might attract at auction. This decision was taken by the Constabulary’s Director of Resources under delegated authority from the Chief Constable.

    In your e-mail you also ask two further questions in the course of business.

    1. Who provides authority for such donations out of public funds.

    No one has provided authority for such donations out of public funds.

    2. Please provide a list of all donations via your office since 2010

    There have been no donations via the OPCC. For clarity, this response covers the period November 2012 to present. Prior to November 2012, the responsibility rested with the Lancashire Police Authority.

    If you have any queries regarding the information provided, please contact me in the first instance for assistance.

    If you are dissatisfied with the response and wish to appeal, please write to the address below setting out your reasons within 21 days of receipt of this letter and your request will be dealt with through our internal review procedure:-

    Steve Freeman
    Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire
    PO Box 653
    Preston
    PR2 2WB

    If you are still not satisfied with the decision after review, you may complain to:-

    The Information Commissioner
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    Wilmslow
    Cheshire SK9 5AF

    Yours sincerely,

    Jane Pearson
    Project Support Officer
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    In response to your letter, you state

    I appreciate that the press release infers that the motorbike was donated to the Blood Bike Charity. However, this was not the case.

    I would argue that the article does more that ‘infer’, it categorically states tat this motorcycle, of significant value, was donated by the Crime Commissioner to the charity.

    The title states 
    Police donate a bike

    the article states 
    Commissioner donates Blood Bike to charity” 
    and 
    Clive Grunshaw has donated the bike to the North West Blood Bikes Lancs and Lakes (NWBB L&L)

    This clearly states that Clive Grunshaw donated an asset of significant value to a charity.

    It is also quotes that Clive Grunshaw said “I am delighted to have been able to make this donation to NWBB L&L.” 
    and 
    I hope by donating this bike NWBB L&L will be able to make even more life-saving deliveries to Lancashire’s hospitals.

    There is no inference but a clear statement this motorcycle was ‘donated’.

    This was further clarified by the charity Chairman, Paul Brooks (JP and ex police officer) 
    The donation by Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner of a retiring police bike will help us enormously in our quest to save hospitals money.

    Please can I ask why other charities are not considered in this ‘scheme’? 
    This motorcycle could have EASILY been sold privately or at auction for a significant sum of money and could have been donated to other worthwhile causes. While you refer to it as an asset, it is a asset of significant value and you can see how it could be deemed as an abuse of process.

    The Motorcycle was a police vehicle, purchased with public funds, (taxes, etc) and remains the property of the public.

    I am asking for disclosure, (in the interest of transparency) for the financial records and tracking for the alleged transaction.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

Deadline 19th September 2018

  • Dear Mr Ponting,

    REQUEST FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

    Thank you for your email of 19th September 2018, requesting an internal review of your FOI response.

    I have forwarded your request on to the relevant person who will respond by 17th October 2018.

    If in the meantime, you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jane Pearson
    Project Support Officer
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    For clarification, could you ask the North West Blood Bikes for their comments as they make a CLEAR reference that the bike was donated to them by Clive Grunshaw. This is both misleading and false (assuming the facts you present are true).  heir comments do therefore allege the bike was fraudulently donated by the Crime Commissioner and raises questions as to why they would post such an erroneous comment?

    https://nwbb-lancs.org/blog/post.php?s=2013-11-25-police-donate-a-bike

    You stated:
    Through the Commissioner’s Scheme of Governance approved on the 22 November 2012, the Chief Constable is permitted to dispose of assets other than land, up to the values set out in Financial Regulations.

    • What value of asset can the chief Constable ‘dispose of’?
    • Who values the ‘asset’ prior to the Chief Constable ‘disposing of it’.
    • What was the official valuation of PN07 ECJ at the time of donation.

    Please provide formal documentation to the above valuations of public assets.

    Why would such valuable asset be ‘given away’ they can easily have been sold and returned to the police funds?

    What was the official process for donating such a valuable asset and why to this particular charity?  Bearing in mind, the NWBB charity chairman is an ex Lancashire police motorcyclist and a JP. (Magistrate)

    As an example, the same R 1200 RT motorcycle is currently worth (at today’s prices) as much as £6,000. I am keen to identify the valuation at the time the bike (police asset) was ‘donated’ the the charity whose chairman happens to be an ex Lancashire police motorcyclist.

    With regards to the other bikes mentioned (for transparency), please can you provide the same information relating to valuation at the time of ‘sale’, who valued the bikes, and why they were ‘sold’ at a loss when they could have been sold for a higher value, possibly supporting multiple charities.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    In addition to my last reply, please provide all related dates to the donations and sales as well as the bill of sale and other formal documentation where items were sold or donated.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    My further questions are for clarification of information you vaguely provided and are not a new FOI request. I am still trying to ascertain the facts that you appear to be avoiding which is clear from your first response denying the donation that required pressure from me before you divulged it.

    Please can you provide the information requested asap.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Mr Ponting,

    I refer to your Freedom of Information Request of the 17th October 2018. 

    It is not within the remit of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ask the North West Blood Bikes for their comments.

    Through the Commissioner’s Scheme of Governance approved on the 22 November 2012, the Chief Constable is permitted to dispose of assets other than land, up to the values set out in Financial Regulations.

    What value of asset can the chief Constable ‘dispose of’?

    As there is no specific value set out in the Financial Regulations it is a matter for the Chief Constable/delegated officers to determine the value of the asset at the point of disposal.

    Who values the ‘asset’ prior to the Chief Constable ‘disposing of it’.

    The only information the OPCC holds is in relation to the valuation of the asset ‘PN07 ECJ’ and have previously advised you that the authorisation was given by the Head of Business Services.

    We do not hold any other information as to who value the assets.

    What was the official valuation of PN07 ECJ at the time of donation.

    Motorcycle registration PN07 ECJ, was valued at £1500 by the Head of Business Support at Lancashire Constabulary.

    Please provide formal documentation to the above valuations of public assets.

    I can confirm that the OPCC does not hold any formal documents in this regard save as the email attached.

    Why would such valuable asset be ‘given away’ they can easily have been sold and returned to the police funds.

    The rationale for the donation of PN07 ECJ was provided to you on the 19th September 2018.  We have nothing further to add.

    What was the official process for donating such a valuable asset and why to this particular charity? Bearing in mind, the NWBB charity chairman is an ex Lancashire police motorcyclist and a JP.

    I can confirm that the OPCC does not hold this information.

    As an example, an R 1200 RT motorcycle is currently worth (at today’s prices) as much as £6,000.

    I note your observation

    I am keen to identify the valuation at the time the bike (police asset) was ‘donated’ to the charity whose chairman happens to be an ex Lancashire police motorcyclist.

    This information has been provided above.

    With regards to the other bikes mentioned (for transparency), please can you provide the same
    information relating to Valuation at the time of ‘sale’,

    This is a repeated request which has been answered by Mr Freeman in his letter to you dated the 17 October, 2018.

    Who valued the bikes,

    We do not hold this information

    and why they were ‘sold’ at a loss when they could have been sold for a higher value, possibly supporting multiple charities.

    This is a question in the course of business but I can confirm that the OPCC does not hold this information.

    If you are dissatisfied with the response and wish to appeal, please write to the address below setting out your reasons within 21 days of receipt of this letter and your request will be dealt with through our internal review procedure:-

    Steve Freeman
    Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire
    PO Box 653
    Preston
    PR2 2WB

    If you are still not satisfied with the decision after review, you may complain to:-

    The Information Commissioner
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    Wilmslow
    Cheshire SK9 5AF

    The OPCC has provided you with all the information it holds in relation to this matter and whilst
    accepting your statutory rights (above) we do not propose to enter into any further
    correspondence with you and consider this matter closed.

    Yours faithfully,

    Ian Dickinson
    Governance & Policing Lead
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire

  • Dear Mr Ponting,

    I write in response to your e-mail of the 17th October 2018 (14:36) and can confirm that the link
    you provided relates to the current version of the Financial Regulations.

    Further, in your e-mail you also enquire as to:

    1. The section pertaining to the Chief Constable being able to dispose of assets.

    In response, I would advise you that at the time the decision was made to donate the motorbike, the specific authority for the Chief Constable, through his officers, to dispose of property is set out at section 8.27 in the ‘Interim Scheme of Governance for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire & the Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary’. This document was approved on the 22nd November 2012 (Decision 2012/01) and can be found via the following link

    https://www.lancashire-pcc.gov.uk/decisions-november-2012-to-march-2013/

    2. To what value.

    As there is no specific disposal value set out in the Financial Regulations, I would advise you that it is therefore, a matter for the Chief Constable to determine the most appropriate method of disposal and the value.

    Yours faithfully,
    Ian Dickinson
    Governance & Policing Lead
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire

  • Dear Mr Ponting,
    I write further to your Freedom of Information request of the 17th October 2018 (14:10)

    In your e-mail you asked:-

    ‘Please provide all related dates to the donations and sales as well as the bill of sale and other
    formal documentation where items were sold or donated

    As you have already been advised in response to your internal review request, motorcycle registration PN07 ECY, was sold to Blood Bikes in September 2014, motorcycle registration PN09 GKP was sold in November 2015 and motorcycle registration PN07 ECJ was donated in November 2013.

    The decisions to make these sales and donation were taken under delegated powers by officers at Lancashire Constabulary.

    I can confirm that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner does not hold the information relating to the specific dates the motorcycles were sold/donated or the bill of sale/other formal documentation.

    If you are dissatisfied with the response and wish to appeal, please write to the address below setting out your reasons within 21 days of receipt of this letter and your request will be dealt with through our internal review procedure:-

    Steve Freeman
    Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire
    PO Box 653
    Preston
    PR2 2WB

    If you are still not satisfied with the decision after review, you may complain to:-

    The Information Commissioner
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    Wilmslow
    Cheshire SK9 5AF

    Yours faithfully,

    Ian Dickinson
    Governance & Policing Lead
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire

  • Dear Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner,

    Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

    I am writing to request an internal review of Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner’s handling of my FOI request ‘Use of public money for donations’.

    I am also asking that the OPCC automatically offer this ROI and the information within the the necessary body to investigation alleged fraud.

    You said:
    It is not within the remit of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ask the North West Blood Bikes for their comments.

    It most certainly is! You have clearly alleged that they have misinterpreted your comments. If what you say is true, the OPCC should be chasing this up. The NWBB charity posted an article QUOTING you and you are denying it. It is in the interest of HONESTY and INTEGRITY that this be investigated!

    I have also requested the exact ‘value’ the chief constable can dispose of. You have not answered this and in fact avoided the question. I asked and your original response was…

    Through the Commissioner’s Scheme of Governance approved on the 22 November 2012, the Chief Constable is permitted to dispose of assets other than land, up to the values set out in Financial Regulations.

    I asked you to clarify this value that you indicate was set out in the financial regulations, you now say

    As there is no specific value set out in the Financial Regulations it is a matter for the Chief Constable/delegated officers to determine the value of the asset at the point of disposal.

    You had clearly alleged that there was a value listed in the financial regulations and this was NOT TRUE. You have tried to manipulate this fact.

    Finally, you said 
    Motorcycle registration PN07 ECJ, was valued at £1500 by the Head of Business Support at Lancashire Constabulary.

    At today market price, a 2007 BMW R1200 RT is valued at up to £4,000. This is in 2018. The donation was a number of years ago, back in around 2013. Even by today’s valuation, this was WAY WAY undervalued, and I allege this was fraudulent!

    Doing a rough calculation, that is, working on the basis of a BMW 1200RT of today’s value 5 years newer the PN07 ECJ (i.e. a 2012 BMW), this would estimate the bike to be over £7,000. As you can see, a motorcycle with a market value was ‘valued’ by Lancashire police at over £5,000 less so it could be ‘disposed of’.

    It is pretty clear the OPCC has tried to avoid the question about a public asset, valued at approx £6,000 was DE-VALUED by Lancashire police and then given away to a charity run by ex-lancashire police. I remind you the charity chairman MR PB is an ex-Lancashire police officer AND an Magistrate.

    A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: 

    https://foi-request.com/use-of-public-money-for-donations/

    Yours faithfully,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Clive Grunshaw,

    My allegation is of a criminal nature and I understand by law the PCC must record and refer to the IOPC under your own guidance.

    You said that you donated the bike in the interview so you have lied to the public. Please explain.

    If it was the police that donated it, then you deliberately mislead the public claiming you donated it, why?

    It is concerning that you will not confront the charity to see why they have fabricated your comments (which is what you have inferred).

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Clive Grunshaw,

    As you are the PCC and have an overview of all financial transactions, I am asking for a copy of the bill of sale, correctly dated for the £1,500 payment from the North West Blood Bikes. This should reflect in the financial records of both Lancashire constabulary AND North west Blood Bikes.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Mr Ponting 

    The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will continue to respond to legitimate Freedom of Information requests through this website .  However, in your correspondence you appear to be raising a number of conduct issues, to which, it would be inappropriate for the OPCC to respond to in a public forum. Therefore, should you wish to raise any conduct issues I should be grateful if you could contact me directly at the Commissioner’s Office. 

    Kind regards 
    Ian Dickinson 
    Governance and Policing Lead

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    Under FOI rules, there are a number of unanswered questions.

    As you are the PCC and have an overview of all financial transactions, I am asking for a copy of the bill of sale, correctly dated for the £1,500 payment from the North West Blood Bikes. This should reflect in the financial records of both Lancashire constabulary AND North west Blood Bikes.

    In response the the misconduct allegations, I would see it as a matter of public interest that it be answered in public, that being said, I will contact you by private email.

    Paul

  • Dear Mr Ponting,
    REQUEST FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

    Thank you for your emails of 28th November 2018 and 2nd December 2018, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I can now respond to your request below:

    As you are the PCC and have an overview of all financial transactions, I am asking for a copy of the bill of sale, correctly dated for the £1,500 payment from the North West Blood Bikes. This should reflect in the financial records of both Lancashire constabulary AND North west Blood Bikes.

    I confirm that under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Section 14(2) states: that where a public authority has previously complied with a request for information which was made by any person, it is not obliged to comply with a subsequent identical or substantially similar request from that person, unless a reasonable interval has elapsed between compliance with the previous request and the making of the current request. Therefore we intend to rely on this exemption for your FOI request.

    For clarity, you have previously (19th September 2018) sought the financial records for the transactions, which has been responded to.

    If you have any queries regarding the information provided, please contact me in the first instance for assistance.

    If you are dissatisfied with the response and wish to appeal, please write to the address below setting out your reasons within 21 days of receipt of this letter and your request will be dealt with through our internal review procedure:-

    Ian Dickinson
    Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire
    PO Box 653
    Preston
    PR2 2WB

    If you are still not satisfied with the decision after review, you may complain to:-

    The Information Commissioner
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    Wilmslow
    Cheshire SK9 5AF

    Yours sincerely,

    Jane Pearson
    Project Support Officer
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire

  • Dear Ian Dickinson,

    This is a utter disgrace of a response.

    You can clearly see that I have identified an alleged fraudulent deal/transaction between Lancashire Police and the North West Blood bikes. You are involved in that, as the PCC you have an overview of this transaction yet you are trying to avoid providing what would be a public record of financial transactions relating to this alleged fraud.

    Why, as the PCC are you hiding behind exemptions when in the interest of honesty and transparency you would be expected to comply without hesitation.

    Why would you INTEND to rely on an exemption why all I ask is for a truthful response with evidence.

    My question remains ” As you are the PCC and have an overview of all financial transactions, I am asking for a copy of the bill of sale, correctly dated for the £1,500 payment from the North West Blood Bikes. This should reflect in the financial records of both Lancashire constabulary AND North west Blood Bikes.”

    I will refer this to the ICO should you refuse to respond.

    Also, as per your earlier message, you asked me to contact you by email to avoid answering in public. I did contact you by email but you have not replied.

    Yours sincerely,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner,

    Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

    I am writing to request an internal review of Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner’s handling of my FOI request ‘Use of public money for donations’.

    I put this same FOI to Lancashire police and they have responded implicating the PCC. I therefore expect a review and full investigation into fraudulent transactions.

    A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

    https://foi-request.com/use-of-public-money-for-donations

    Yours faithfully,

    Paul Ponting

  • Dear Mr Ponting,
    I write in relation to your e-mail of the 30 January 2019, seeking an internal review in relation to your Freedom of Information Request ‘Use of public money for donations’ and a review and full investigation into fraudulent transactions.

    In relation to your request for an internal review, as you are aware, the Act only covers recorded information we hold. When compiling a response to a request for information, there is no obligation on the OPCC to find out information from elsewhere (in this case from the Lancashire Constabulary or the North West Blood Bikes) if we don’t already have the relevant information in recorded form.

    Whilst you appear unhappy with our previous responses, you have not indicated in your e-mail of the 30 January 2019 which of the recorded information we have not provided to you but rather you have made statements, asked further questions or made requests for comment.

    The Freedom of Information process does not allow for general correspondence, background details or the rights and wrongs of a situation, but rather the right to ask for documents or data that the OPCC holds.

    I have reviewed all your Freedom of Information Requests ‘Use of Public Money for donations’ submitted via the ‘whatdotheyknow’ website and can confirm that the OPCC has provided you with all the recorded information it holds within the scope of your numerous requests.

    This concludes your internal review. If you are dissatisfied with this internal review you have the
    right to complain to:

    The Information Commissioner
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    Wilmslow
    Cheshire
    SK9 5AF

    In relation to your request for a review and full investigation into fraudulent transactions, I should advise you that this has been responded to under separate cover. For your convenience, I should refer you to my colleague’s e-mail of the 31 January 2019 (16:42) and his decision letter sent to you on the 7 February 2019 (10:10).

    I do not propose to enter in any further correspondence on this matter unless directed to do so by the Information Commissioner.

    Yours sincerely,
    Steve Freeman
    Chief Finance Officer
    Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire