RCT Anti Karma Litter Enforcement Strategy
Posted by Lewis on the 9th March 2018
Dear Rhondda Cynon Taff Council,
I am required by this website, to ensure efficient responses, to issue a focused request, but preceding the request is a preamble which puts the requests in context.
I note from various media reports that there is now considerable public opinion that some Councils are operating business schemes involving threats and punishments for so called littering offences which are not only disproportionately unfair but also deeply upsetting to the good karma which should exist within society.
Obviously serious accusations of bullying or corruption within any Council may be dispelled if the relevent Councils go to great lengths to display accountability and explanation for their actions, but I note from the public information website,whatdotheyknow.com, that requests to Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) Council from someone named M.Davies are, to considerable extents, being blocked as vexatious or too time consuming when, in reality,the Council should be making a massive attempt to undo the negative Public Relations image created by their apparent exploitation of `soft `targets by threatening Court Convictions for what, despite the determined attempts to exagerate the `crime`, are relatively trivial òffences`, and using Council websites to display images of `offenders`who are refusing to comply with the ènforcing `officers`with the intention of the public identifying their fellow citizens.
The public do not understand that, during the premiership of TONY BLAIR ( 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007) the Environment Protection Act 1990 was modified by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 to extend the powers of Councils, and give them the ability to adjust the level of fines and the ability to allow discount for early payment, but RCT disgracefully not only chose to set the default fine for simple òffences`at £75, which for many normal people ( that is not politicians,Civil Servants, or Peers claiming £300 a day in attendance allowances) is a shockingly disproportionate amount compared to their weekly benefits or earnings, but also do not allow discount for early payment.
Co-incidently, the increase in the legal ability to gain revenue by fines for simple offences (2005) was subsequent to the massive National expense incurred by the U.K participating in dubiously justified invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, and again, co-incidently,the enforcement activity within RCT is supplied by 3GS which is a private firm heavily involved in providing èmployment`for ex soldiers in civilian life.
The cynical but fact based analysis of why RCT may be exploiting their population may be mistaken, but it is simply an attempt. in the absence of transparency, to understand why the Council are so merciless,`using `Laws`designed to intimidate the affluent people of England using the private firm of 3GS.
I note from Wikipedia that RCT has a genuine and significant history of toxic waste(PCB) pollution by Monsanto which unfortunately cannot entirely be removed, so although in someways I sympathise with the objectives of the Council I do not agree with their proportionality, and believe the public have the right to be advised of background detail via Freedom of Information.
M.Davies posted an interesting request in February 2016 that realised that RCT Environmental Enforcement is contracted to the private firm 3GS, the contract start date was October 2014 with no expiry date, the contract allows the private firm to keep 55% of each Fixed Penalty Notice, the private firm has no financial incentive to issue FPN`s,and RCT Council still has to pay the Security Company for FPN's issued to people who give false information
FOI Q1.Please disclose an actual full copy of the Contract commencing October 2014, made with the private firm 3GS,with minimal redaction except for personal telephone numbers or personal addresses, so that the details of the contract may be reviewed.Please confirm if most Council contracts are for a fixed term and, if this is the case, please advise why the 3GS Contract has no apparent termination date, which is contrary to normal business practices and may be contrary to the best interests of the taxpayers of RCT.If not identified in the Contract disclosure, please confirm if there are any penalty charges implicated if the Council should seek to cancel the Contract with 3GS.Please confirm if 3GS actually receive 55% of each FPN, and how the percentage was agreed upon by the Council.
FOI Q2.If not identified in the response to Q1, please disclose the names of the signatories of the Contract on behalf of RCT Council and 3GS, the details of who drew up the contract on behalf of the Council, and the name of the Council Leader responsible for arranging the contract.
FOI Q3.Please advise if, and when,the arrangement of the Contract was discussed in any Council meeting prior to its granting in 2014, please advise if the Contract was advertised to competitive tender prior to its granting and, if so,please confirm how it was advertised and how many private firms, other than 3GS, submitted tenders.
FOI Q4.Please confirm if 3GS actively approached the Council with their plans, how the approach was made (if any), or confirm if the Council approached 3GS seeking their tender.
FOI Q5.Please advise, since the Contract was commenced in 2014 how many FPN`s, on a yearly or monthly basis, have been referred by 3GS to the Council for reimbursement, with a breakdown of the òffence`category if possible, and the corresponding amount of money paid to them.Please confirm the corresponding amounts for the FPN`s that the Council has gained for the same period.
FOI Q6.Please confirm the individual penalty charge amount for the FPN`s during the time since 2014, the dates of when the charges changed( if any), and confirm if any early payment discount was ever applicable and, if the discount was removed, please confirm when and why it happened, also confirming who was responsible for the change.
FOIQ7.Please clarify the payment process for FPN`s.Are the FPN`s issued by 3GS on behalf of the Council, or issued by the Council?Are any monetary payments taken by the 3GS or by the Council?Does the Council have responsibility for making payments to 3GS, does 3GS have use of any Council facilities for their business activities( please identify, if any) or issue any communications on Council headed material.
End of these FOI requests.
I assure you, this request is not vexatious or trivial, there has been a recent undercover television programme which revealed, in England, that a private enforcement firm was faking FPN`s then threatening people with Court action, which is basically bullying and corruption, also providing a lucrative`bonus`type incentive for their staff, and I was interested to know the policies and standards for a comparative Welsh Authority.
The public have a right to know if they are being dealt with in a fair an open manner, or if dodgy behind the scenes deals are being made, so this is a perfect opportunity to provide clarity.
Thank you in anticipation of your complete reply.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council response on the link https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/rct_anti_karma_litter_enforcemen#incoming-1044749