Refreshment costs (FOI)
Refreshment costs (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 22 February 2017.
How much was spent on refreshments for States employees in the last 12 months?
What steps were taken to ensure that the refreshments provided were good value for money?
Following clarification from the applicant it was agreed that the following would be provided:
- The total of payments, by department where available, to suppliers under the working lunches framework agreement contract and any other relevant corporate contracts for food and drink.
- The total of payments, by department where available, to any other suppliers which have been used to provide refreshments at briefings to States Members, the media, etc.
It was clarified that it would not be possible to break this information down between States staff and others within the maximum time permitted under the Freedom of Information legislation.
The three totals below give expenditure on corporate contracts in 2016 where orders were made through the Supply Jersey purchasing tool. Not all departments used Supply Jersey during 2016.
- 2016 Milk Delivery contract: £49,731
- 2016 Working lunches’ contract: £34,381
- 2016 Fairtrade Contract Tea and Coffee: £13,031
The departmental figures for these contracts have been included within the totals by department in the table below.
In addition to the corporate contract information departments have provided information on additional refreshment costs. In some cases (see notes following the table) departments have been unable to separate, within the time available, refreshment costs into those relating to staff and others (see further detail at the end of this answer). Therefore the totals given should not be taken as a representation of the cost of refreshments for States staff only. They include a number of other elements.
The following table shows the breakdown of all payments, including those under the above contracts, by department.
|Chief Minister’s Department
|Community and Constitutional Affairs
|Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture
|Health and Social Services
|Treasury and Resources
|States Assembly and its Services
|Other non-Ministerial Departments
- some departments’ refreshment costs include water cooler rental which may be available to visitors and customers to a department as well as staff
- for the majority of departments it has not been possible to identify costs attributable solely to States employees. Costs may also include refreshments taken by staff, visitors or customers to the Department
- as the request asked for States employee expenses, the Education Department has excluded breakfast clubs, canteens and parent evenings from its data in order that pupil / student expenses are not included. It remains difficult to separate staff and student expenses and therefore some student costs may still be included. This is particularly true with regards to milk
- CCA have excluded Prison catering, canteen resales, cost recovery training events and other non-staff operational supplies from its figures
- the Health and Social Services Department uses its own internal catering service for any staff refreshments required. It is not possible within the time permitted under the legislation to separate costs relating to refreshments provided to staff, as opposed to patients and other consumers. The Health and Social Services costs exclude wards and Children’s homes
- the totals for refreshments at the Judicial Greffe and the Viscount’s Department (within “Other Non-Ministerial departments”) include expenses for non-staff including judges, magistrates, tribunal panel members, jury members and occasionally other parties and public attending hearings. To make a more accurate estimate of staff refreshment costs in each department would require reviewing every single invoice over the period to assign none, all or some of the invoice total to staff costs: such a review would not be possible with the FOI time cost limit
- for the Non Ministerial Departments some expenditure included in the figures will be incurred by Crown Officers as well as States Employees
- for the Probation and Aftercare Service (within “Other Non-Ministerial departments”) expenditure includes that for service users undertaking programme work over lunchtime or in the evenings and Community Service work parties weekdays and weekends
- for the Chief Minister’s Department figures relate to meeting rooms within Cyril Le Marquand House which are used predominately for Ministerial meetings (which include States Members) and also external visitor meetings
- Social Security expenditure includes costs such as water cooler rental and costs for non-States employees. It is not possible to split the costs out for States employees only
Where the department purchases refreshments from corporate suppliers, contract prices have been negotiated by the central Procurement team. When using non-corporate suppliers, the appropriate procurement process is followed, including financial directions. In addition all accounting officers of departments have a duty to achieve value for money from public expenditure.
Justification for refusal
Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 - A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
(2) Despite paragraph (1), a scheduled public authority may still supply the information requested on payment to it of a fee determined by the authority in the manner prescribed by Regulations for the purposes of this Article.
(3) Regulations may provide that, in such circumstances as the Regulations prescribe, if two or more requests for information are made to a scheduled public authority –
(a) by one person; or
(b) by different persons who appear to the scheduled public authority to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.
Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
For some departments the work to obtain the detailed breakdown requested of information on refreshment costs could only be achieved by examining individual invoices and would require more than the 12.5 hours of work laid down by the legislation.