Publication scheme

Blackburn with Darwen Council is committed to openness and transparency. This publication scheme reinforces that commitment by increasing the public’s awareness of the work undertaken within the Council and by its partners.

Promoting transparency in the way decisions are reached and providing clear information about the Council’s policies and processes aims to foster a spirit of trust with the public and other organisations and to encourage greater interest and participation in the democratic process.

Where information is not published through this scheme we promise to deal with individual requests for information on a timely basis and to provide advice and assistance if required.

What is freedom of information?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) came into force in two stages:

  • in 2003 when the Council first adopted its Publication Scheme
  • in 2005 when the general right of access to recorded information held by public authorities came into effect.

This right of access applies to recorded information held by public authorities and also provides for access to environmental information falling within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). Any person making a written request for information must be informed whether the public authority holds that information and be supplied with the information. This right is limited only by the procedural conditions and exemptions set out in the above legislation.

What is a publication scheme?

A publication scheme provides the public with a guide to the classes of information that the Council publishes or intends to publish routinely.

This Scheme applies to all the information the Council publishes whether this is available in printed or electronic form and incorporates the information made publicly available on the Council’s website as well as information in for example, public registers which may only be available by way of inspection.

Since 2009 the Council has adopted the Information Commissioner’s model publication scheme. By adopting the model scheme the Council is committing to:

  • proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, the information falling within the classifications outlined in its’ Guide to Information, including environmental information;
  • signpost the information held by the Council falling within the classifications below
  • produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public;
  • review and update on a regular basis the information the Council makes available under this scheme;
  • produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is proactively made available;
  • publicise this scheme;
  • publish any dataset that has been requested, and any updated versions the Council holds, unless we are satisfied that it is not appropriate to do so; to publish the dataset, where reasonably practicable, in an electronic form that is capable of re-use; and, if any information in the dataset is a relevant copyright work and the Council is the only owner, to make the information available for re-use under a specified licence
  • ensure applicants are informed whether a specified licence for the re-use for copyrighted material owned by the Council involves a charge and where requested, how the charge has been calculated

What are classes of information?

In line with the Information Commissioner’s model, our publication scheme contains classes of information:-

  • Who we are and what we do
  • What we spend and how we spend it
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing
  • How we make decisions
  • Our policies and procedures
  • Lists and registers
  • Services provided by the Council

The above classes of information will not generally include:

  • Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from disclosure.
  • Information in draft form.
  • Information that is no longer readily available as it is contained in files that have been placed in archive storage, or is difficult to access for similar reasons.

Some information may only be available in hard copy and some information will only be available for inspection. Where this is the case, this will be made clear on the Council’s website.

Charges which may be made for information published under this scheme

The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum.

Material which is published and accessed on the website can be downloaded free of charge unless the information is subject to a charging regime specified by legislation.

Charges may be made for actual disbursements such as:-

  • Photocopying/printing
  • Postage and packaging
  • The cost directly incurred as a result of viewing information

Charges may also be made for information provided under this scheme where they are legally authorised, they are in all the circumstances, including the general principles of the right of access to information held by public authorities, justified and are in accordance with a published schedule or schedules of fees which is readily available to the public.

Charges may also be made for making datasets (or parts of datasets) that are relevant copyright works available for re-use. These charges will be in accordance with either regulations made under section 11B of the Freedom of Information Act or, other enactments.

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information.

How do I request additional information not covered by this scheme?

The Council includes as much information in the publication scheme as it can.

If you cannot find what you are looking for you can make a request for the information that is not published under this scheme. Your request should be made in writing and will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Who do I contact?

For information concerning the Scheme or if you wish to make a written request for other information please contact the Information Governance Team

The information described in this scheme can be found below

Making a complaint, suggestion or compliment

If you experience any difficulty obtaining the information listed in the Council’s Guide or, are not satisfied with the Council’s response to a request for information you may make a complaint to the address below:-

Data Protection Officer
Town Hall
Blackburn
BB1 7DY

accesstoinformation@blackburn.gov.uk

If after going through the Council’s formal complaint and appeals system you are still not satisfied then you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner whose address is:-

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

The Council aims to make its publication scheme as user friendly as possible and welcomes your feedback. If you have any suggestions or compliments, we need to know so that we can improve our service to you.

Please complete the on line feedback forms as you are browsing specific web pages or alternatively contact the Information Governance Team.

Advice and assistance

If you need help to make a request for information you may contact the Information Governance Team.

Re-use of published information

Unless covered by the terms of a specified licence, the Council’s express permission must be obtained before information published under this Scheme may be re-used. Requests for permission should be addressed to the Data Protection Officer via accesstoinformation@blackburn.gov.uk.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's Publication Scheme

1. Who we are and what we do

Council constitution

The Council’s Constitution.

Council democratic structure

Information about the functioning and process of meetings (Council Meetings, Executive and other Committees). Information about decision-making and scrutiny.

Council directorate structure

Information about the various directorate areas within the Council, plus contact details for the Chief Executive and Corporate Directors.

Location and opening times of council properties

Information about locations, opening times and contact details of all the Council’s centres/buildings, which are there to enable the public to access Council services.

Currently elected councillors’ information and contact details

Currently elected councillors including party, membership of committees, address, telephone number and email contact.

Contact details for all customer-facing departments

Telephone numbers for customer contacts or one-stop shops.

Most recent election results

Election results indicating the political composition of the Council.

2. What we spend and how we spend it

Budgets

The Council prepares an annual budget which shows the expected revenue expenditure on services, and the income with which to fund that expenditure.

Capital expenditure

Capital expenditure is money spent by the Council on things such as roads, buildings and equipment. The Council and its residents receive the benefit from capital expenditure over a longer period than the current financial year.

Comprehensive income and expenditure Statement

This statement shows the cost in the year, in accordance with accounting regulations, of running Council services.

Contracts currently being tendered

Contracts currently available for public tender are located within our Transparency datashare

Contracts register

The contracts register keeps companies informed of potential contracting and sub-contracting opportunities. It also provides information about the Council’s service providers. This register is located within our Transparency datashare

Internal financial regulations

Financial regulations under the Council’s Standing Orders, as contained in the Council’s Constitution.

Medium term financial strategy

The Medium Term Financial Strategy is approved each March at the same time as the annual budget is set. Its purpose is to set the financial framework for the Council for the medium term, considering the Council's strategic objectives and major projects, and it is an integral part of the Council's Corporate Plan.

Pay policy including Chief Executive and directors' pay scales

This Pay Policy Statement sets out the Council's approach to pay policy in accordance with the requirements of Section 38 of the Localism Act 2011. The purpose of the statement is to provide transparency with regard to the Council's approach to setting the pay of its employees (excluding teaching staff working in local authority schools)

Statement of accounts

The statement of accounts has been produced to make them easier to understand. Although the figures are based on the statutory accounts, they have been modified to provide more meaningful information.

Section 251/52

At the beginning of each financial year Local authorities (LAs) are required under section 251 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, to publish a budget statement for that year. Section 251 replaces Section 52 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

Spending publication

Blackburn with Darwen Council publishes details of all payments to suppliers in response to the government's request that local authorities publish details of payments over £500 to external suppliers. This spend publication is located within our Transparency datashare

Treasury management strategy

The Council sets a Treasury Management Strategy before the start of each year. This sets out the Council's planned approach to managing the risks associated with investment and borrowing, including limits to investments with different counterparties.

Fees and Charges Booklet

Financial Regulations require that Directors shall review the charges made for services under their control as part of the budget preparation process. This is undertaken in conjunction with the portfolio Executive Members and the financial implications form part of the budget proposals.

3. What our priorities are and how are we doing

Annual reports

Annual reports submitted to the Annual Council and Finance Council.

Community Cohesion/ Social Integration Strategy

This strategy aims to provide an outline of the Local Strategic Partnership’s approach to community cohesion, integration and equality within Blackburn with Darwen.

Corporate plan

The corporate plan agreed by elected members on Thursday, August 30, 2012 sets out, for residents, staff and partners, the Council’s top priorities for the next three years. It describes how the Council will continue to improve services and prepare for the difficult financial challenge ahead.

Crime and community safety

Includes crime statistics, crime trends, recorded & detected crime and road safety.

Educational attainment

The school achievement and performance tables provide a range of data.

Equality Strategy

An important part of quantifying our equality commitment is to monitor the workforce profile and service users experience as included in the Equality Strategy. Monitoring and analysing the workforce profile is crucial as it enables the Council to compare its workforce to its local demographics, identifying gaps or areas which need positive action which can then influence the Council’s Recruitment Strategy.

Health and well being

Includes resident’s health, low birth weights, teenage expectancy, mortality and physical activity.

4. How we make decisions

Agendas, reports, background papers and minutes of council committees

You will find information available here on The Executive Board, Council and Committee meetings, including agenda and minutes of those meetings

Membership of council committees and outside bodies

Public consultations

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council consults and engages with residents about a variety of issues using different methods. We do this because residents have a democratic right to have their say and because the views and opinions of residents can help us develop better services.

Recent council decisions

Committee decisions.

Timetable of council meetings

Committee dates for the current year.

5. Our policies and procedures

Data protection policy and Records management policy

This Data Protection Policy replaces the Councils previous Data Protection Policy, version 1.00. The Records Management Policy gives guidance for the retention and destruction of records, both in electronic form and on paper.

Equality and diversity

The Council has statutory duty to publish equality impact assessments which are needed to evidence the measures the authority is putting into place to meet the requirements stated in the Equality Act.

Policies for children, young people and families

Short breaks statement, family & friends, private fostering statement of purpose and continuum of needs & response.

Safeguarding adults policies, procedures and forms

Safeguarding adults procedures, SA1 safeguarding adults alter form, BwD Adults Safeguarding Policy and BwD Local Safeguarding Adults Business Plan

Planning

Blackburn with Darwen core strategy

The strategy was adopted in 2011 and is the borough's overarching planning document. It sets out priorities for future planning and development of the borough and is used when determining planning applications.

Blackburn with Darwen saved local plan

Some Blackburn with Darwen Saved Local Plan policies have been retained following the adoption of the Core Strategy and will be used when determining planning applications until they are superseded by the borough's emerging Local Plan.

Housing space standards policy

The Council has now adopted a Housing Space Standards policy for new dwellings and Housings in Multiple Occupation.

Statement of community involvement (SCI)

Planning policy documents are subject to public consultation and the Council has produced a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) which guides how consultations are carried out.

Supplementary planning documents (SPDs) and supplementary planning guidance notes (SPGs)

The Council has produced a number of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) and Supplementary Planning Guidance notes (SPGs) which provide further information and guidance on planning policies and proposals.

6. Lists and registers

Club premises certificate register

View the register of all Club Premises certificates Issued

Cooling towers

Premises where cooling towers and evaporative condensers are situated must register with the local authority. A full list of premises who are registered within the Blackburn with Darwen area are available, along with registration forms for owners of new / previous premises.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) register

This register covers those properties that are three or more storeys and made up of bedsits or with a mixture of self-contained flats. It covers properties across the borough and shows licensee's contact names and specific information on each property.

Other registers

Registers including food premises, contaminated land register, pet shops, scrap metal dealers, taxi drivers and fireworks.

Premises for civil marriages & civil partnership register

Approved premises for civil marriages and civil partnership registration.

Register of councillors’ financial and other interests

Register of Members’ Interests in accordance with the Local Government Act 2000 [Section 81].

7. Services provided by the Council

Adult protection

Vulnerable adults can be physically, sexually, emotionally or financially abused. Abuse can also take the form of neglect, discrimination or self-neglect. You can report any concerns in confidence.

Allotments

Details of the nine Council run sites in Blackburn and one private site.

Benefits: housing benefit and council tax benefit

Housing benefits and Council Tax benefit are means tested benefits payable to people who are responsible for paying rent and /or Council Tax based on the: amount of money you receive, amount of savings and investments that you have and the circumstances of the people who live with you.

Bins, recycling, rubbish and waste

When bins are collected, help with bins, different colour bins, extra bins, bins when you move house and recycling.

Child protection; safeguarding children

The Council provides advice on child protection enquiries and investigates where there is reason to be concerned that a child is at risk. It also provides advice to members of the public communities and other agencies on any issues related to children who are vulnerable and provides advice and guidance is provided guidance on the Common Assessment Framework.

Election information

For example election results, forthcoming elections and voting procedures.

Entertainment & arts

What’s On: events and attraction is Blackburn with Darwen, King Georges Hall, Darwen Library Theatre, Blakey’s Café Bar, Museum & Art Gallery and Libraries.

Media releases

Press statements and releases.

Parking and Parking permits

Where to park in Blackburn and Darwen town centres and parking permits.

Parks, countryside and open spaces

There is a wide variety of parks, open spaces and countryside in Blackburn with Darwen.

Planning permission applications

Before making a planning application we recommend that you firstly seek advice. We encourage you to make and pay for your planning application on line to help speed up the process.

Schools

List of High Schools, Nursery Schools, Primary Schools and Special Schools. Additional information on school admissions, appeals, crossing patrols, governors, holidays and library service.

Sports and fitness

For example Beez card information, Health & Wellbeing, Sports & Leisure facilities and Swimming.

Taxi driver licenses

The Licensing service regulates the taxi industry; we ensure public safety is not undermined by using robust application procedures and regular compliance checks.

Visitors centres

Details of the visitor centre located in Blackburn Market