Daily Archives: January 18, 2011

Metropolitan Police refuse to say how much is spent on “equality and diversity”

Dear Sirs,

I have been trying to discover the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it is and under what heading it would appear in the budget of the Met Police.

The only reference I have been able to find is a 2006 Mail article – see below.

 Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Daily Mail

Outrage as police spend £450m on ‘equality and diversity’

Last updated at 12:29 27 October 2006

Paper author Sir David Calvert-Smith, QC

Scotland Yard has spent almost £450 million on promoting ‘equality and diversity’ in the past three years. In the past year alone £187 million – six per cent of the Met budget – went on ‘equalities-related expenditure’.

This included recruitment, training and research within minority communities, as well as crime fighting and prevention.

It covered not just race issues, but those of gender, faith, disability, age and sexuality. Since 2003, more than £21million has been spent on interpreters’ fees…..

The statistics were obtained by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats. Graham Tope, a Lib-Dem policing spokesman and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: “The rise in the number of reported racist incidents against police officers is concerning.

Read more at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-412948/Outrage-police-spend-450m-equality-diversity.html#ixzz14o254LHk

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17 December 2010

Dear Mr. Henderson

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010120000102

I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/11/2010.  I note you seek access to the following information:

“I have been trying to discover the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it is and under what heading it would appear in the budget of the Met Police.”

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to your request within the cost threshold.  

In order to ascertain whether or not the information you have requested could be retrieved within the cost threshold, searches were conducted at the Directorate of Resources – Financial Services, and the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate.

You have asked what the Metropolitan Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10 were.

The MPS undertakes a range of work that could be considered in support of diversity and equality issues.  For example this could include responding to and investigating a range of hate crimes across London, community engagement with London’s minority communities including encouraging them to join the police, training, work to support the progression of staff from under represented groups and so on.  The total expenditure on these functions will include the salaries of officers and staff doing the work and other budgets.  It should be noted that this type of work will be carried out by all borough operational command units (OCU) as well as central MPS OCU’s, and so providing an overall spend on equality and diversity issues is difficult. This is also in addition to the work conducted within the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate, which has equality and diversity issues at its focus.

Obtaining the information that you have requested would exceed the limit set under the Act as these costs cannot be extracted easily from MPS financial systems.  This is because the MPS finance system operates using General Ledger codes (GL) to allocate expenditure within a cost centre (a different cost centre code is allocated to each department within the MPS for financial purposes).  The information that you have requested doesn’t relate to one specific budget line and there are no specific GL codes relating to ‘diversity and equality’.  In order to assist, Financial Services have looked at the GL codes which could be of relevance.  There are two specific codes which could be looked at, which relate to ‘Corporate Positive Action’ and ‘Race and Diversity Learning’ , but these only cover a minor aspect of what would need to be included in a search to answer your question, and these are in fact budgeted for within HR, and not even DCFD.  This goes to show that in order to answer your request fully, we would require far more GL codes to be assessed.

As budget lines do not cover ‘diversity’ in this broad sense, but in fact go into more detail (such as travel expenses, catering, training etc), it would mean that to determine this information would take an individual well beyond the 18 hour threshold.  It would be extremely time intensive to conduct searches against each possibly relevant GL code for each departmental cost centre.  In addition, it would be impossible to ascertain whether or not the GL code for travel expenses, for example, related to equality and diversity without manual searching of relevant claims.

In order to demonstrate the difficulty in extracting this information, I believe it helpful to explain that a previous request which asked for how much DCFD alone spent on hotels and catering for seminars in the 2008/9 financial year, which is an extremely small aspect of diversity and equality spend and not even MPS wide, was also refused on cost grounds.  This is despite it being a much more specific request, because “the information was stored within several hundred dockets which would need to be located and searched through individually.”

We therefore estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00.   This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours [at a rate of £25 per hour] in determining whether the MPS holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter therefore acts as a Refusal Notice.

Section 16

Under Section 16 (duty to assist) we are required to provide you with advice and assistance on how to submit a narrower, new, request whereby the information is likely to be able to be located, retrieved and extracted within the 18 hour cost limit.

As the GL finance codes which would need to be searched are very specific and do not follow broad themes such as ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’, I believe the most helpful thing to offer you is the budget for DCFD.  This is the most accurate figure which it would be likely to provide within the cost limit.

The MPS coordinates diversity and equality issues through a central team in the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate (DCFD). During 2009/10 this Directorate transferred from Territorial Policing (TP) to the Deputy Commissioner’s Portfolio (DCP). The 2009/12 Business Plan included the costs of DCFD within the overall TP numbers. The 2010/13 Business Plan included the costs of DCFD within the overall DCP numbers

The budget transferred for DCFD to DCP was £3.420m in 2009/10. This was after committing to savings of £0.412m for the current financial year. Therefore the 2009/10 overall DCFD budget was £3.832m. This budget includes the salaries of officers and staff undertaking roles within DCFD as well as the costs of projects undertaken by them.

A link to show you the work they do can be found here:

http://www.met.police.uk/dcf/diversity_s.htm

If you wish to discuss how to submit a further new request which will fall within the cost threshold, please contact me using the details below.

Legal Annex

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:

(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact.

Section 12(1) of the Act provides:

(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write or contact Sunita Maraj on telephone number 02071612750  quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Sunita Maraj

FOIA Information Manager

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint

Public Access Office

PO Box 57192

London

SW6 1SF

PublicAccessOffice@met.police.uk

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner please visit their website at http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.  Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone:  01625 545 700

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London – on the streets and in your community, working with you to make our city safer.

Consider our environment – please do not print this email unless absolutely necessary.

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FOI Complaint

Public Access Office

PO Box 57192

London

SW6 1SF

PublicAccessOffice@met.police.uk

18 January 2011

Dear Sirs,

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010120000102

I appeal against the refusal  to provide a figure for the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10.

A figure was produced  for the  London Assembly Liberal Democrats in 1986 – see Daily Mail article. If it could be produced then, why not for me now?   If you refuse the appeal please explain why it could be done then but not now.

Generally, I am sceptical of about the  £450 limit being exceeded because  the Metropolitan Police like all other public  bodies has a legal obligation to monitor diversity and equality practice within their organisation. This would require the  keeping of records which could be easily collated.  At the least there must be some individual figures beyond those already released.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

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