Current Status of request for full disclosure of the incinerator contract:
The contract documents that have been obtained to date can be found on the FOI Documents
The main contract document is termed the "Project Agreement" and it has, in turn, a large number of "Schedules".
GlosVAIN has been trying to obtain the full incinerator contract for a number of years. In 2013, GCC released parts of the contract with many redactions (blacking out) of key information. In 2015, further attempts were initiated to obtain the full contract. GCC refused to provide the full details and so requestors complained to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). It is hoped that the key financial details will ultimately be disclosed because the ICO has previously ruled that they should be in the case of other incinerator contracts in England. However, it is a slow process. A final outcome is expected by mid September 2015.
- GlosVAIN contends that the full contract, including termination costs, is needed to allow proper scrutiny of the soundness or otherwise of the case for continuing with the incinerator. Lack of transparency is directly affecting the democratic processes in the Council, with potentially enormous financial ramifications.
- A“38 Degrees” petition demanding contract disclosure has obtained 4,700 signatures, showing the genuine weight of public interest and concern about non-disclosure of this information.
- The reasons allowable for withholding the information under the heading of "commercial confidentiality" would have to be that there is either a trade secret that disclosure would reveal, or, that the commercial interests of GCC or UBB would be prejudiced. These would have to outweigh the public interest for releasing the information in order for the information to be withheld.
- At the Council’s Extraordinary Meeting that took place on 18th February, many councilors voting on whether or not to terminate the incinerator contract, complained about the lack of access to the relevant financial information. The contract termination costs remain undisclosed. A wide variety of figures were cited by GCC’s leaders, ranging from £60m to £150m, but none of these have been substantiated.
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. https://ico.org.uk/
Timeline of incinerator contract FOI request
5 Nov 2015
|GCC appeals ICO decision to HM Courts & Tribunal Service. (Documents relating to the Appeal can be found under "Tribunal Documents" on the FOI Documents page).|
8 Oct 2015
|ICO issues its Decision Notice, ordering GCC to fully release all withheld information in the incinerator contract and business case. Read GlosVAIN Press Release here|
| 13 Aug 2015||GCC Releases the (redacted) "Service Delivery Plans" (seemingly contract Schedule 3). These documents contain a lot of interesting set-up and operational information.|
15 July 2015
|GCC releases Annex 4 to the business case. This annex contains the assessment of the incinerator in terms of whether it is "value for money", of course concluding that it is. The document is heavily redacted so that no financial values are visible, however the general assessment approach is discernable. |
|10 July 2015
GCC release further contract information. They provide a response and explanation relating to their release. Information, particularly key financial information, remains redacted in this release.
The Project Agreement and Schedules are provided again, together with previously withheld Schedule 4 (payment mechanism).
| 28 June 2015||Glosvain Press Release about further FOI delays.|
|16 June 2015
||GCC request further time to respond. New deadline agreed between ICO and GCC of 15 July (additional 4 weeks). GCC cite unavailability of residual waste project lead as reason for delay.
|15 June 2015
||the deadline that had been given to GCC by ICO to respond to enquiries relating to complaint
|15 May 2015
||Case allocated to ICO case officer
|6 May 2015
||Complaint made to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
|14 April 2015
||GCC communicate the outcome of their internal review, which is that they believe they are right to continue to withhold the financial information for commercial confidentiality reasons.
|15 March 2015
||Request for an internal review sent to GCC due to unsatisfactory response|
|13 March 2015
||GCC provide response and re-release ··contract and ··schedules. However, still heavily redacted and not a single piece of additional financial information disclosed, with GCC again citing commercial confidentiality as the reason. |
|5 March 2015
||detailed case for disclosure submitted to GCC by Haresfield resident whilst awaiting their response. The disclosure of key contract financial details by other authorities in relation to incinerators, as mandated on appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office was cited. More detail in 11 Mar GlosVAIN press release here.
|19 Feb 2015
||GCC respond after taking full 20 days allowable. Refusal of request given, together with statement that more time needed to conduct a public interest test.
|25 Jan 2015
||Original request sent by resident to obtain incinerator contract details.
| March 2013|| Initial partial release of contract with redactions: Response, Project Agreement, Schedules.|
Sign online using the link above to get the contract fully disclosed.
Stop the secrecy. Demand transparency!
The key financial details in the Javelin Park incinerator contract remain secret and are preventing a) due scrutiny of the unbelievably high contract termination costs claimed by the County Conservatives b) an objective assessment of the value for money of the incinerator, particularly in the face of claims that alternatives would save hundreds of millions of pounds more c) proper democratic decision making at the County Council, as council members are not privy to these key details.