Friday 27 April 2018

Answers still needed on Brent Council's £40million payments to Winckworth Sherwood

Andrew Linnie, Brent Green Party's spokesperson on Housing and Regeneration, and council candidate for Alperton ward, spotted mysterious payments to Winckworth Sherwood LLP, a 'full-service' law firm based at London Bridge.The payments amounted to £40 million.

Andrew issued a Freedom of Information request to find out details of the payments.

Brent Council only partially answered:
The data I have been able to find for Winckworth for conveyancing;
From 2016 to 2018 we are looking at approximately 127 conveyancing transactions at a cost of
approximately £98k (127 transactions).However, 80 of these were for i4B Limited, at a cost of £62k  approx. and for the Council's Housing Revenue Account £36k approx.
Andrew responded by repeating the questions that had not been answered. The answer from Brent Council is now three weeks overdue.
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to address the the vast majority of the request. Please see below the original requested information:

"1. Total payments made to Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors in each of the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017."
This question has not been answered.

"2. In each year, please provide a breakdown of what the funds were paid in relation to. For instance, 'in 20XX, £X was paid across that period for conceyancing, while £Y was paid for managing education payroll services', etc."
The response only covers one small section of this question, and conveyancing is only a small example of the sorts of breakdowns that might be given for funds.

"3. In the case of funds paid in the process of being distributed to third parties, for example payroll services, please provide figures both for the amount paid to Winckworth Sherwood and the amount eventually received by the third party. For instance, if salaries were being paid to staff via Winckworth Sherwood, 'in 20XX £X was paid for education payroll services, £Y being the total amount received by the employees concerned', or if the fees paid were in relation to the purchase of a property, 'in 20XX £X was paid for the purchase of Y property, including the price agreed for the property of £A and stamp duty of £B'."

While the response kindly details figures for conveyancing being paid for other entities, it accounts for only a very small proportion of the funds shown as being transferred to Winckworth Sherwood over the last few years. In the quarterly accounts for Dec 2016-Nov 2017 alone there is in the region of £40m shown as being sent to Winckworth Sherwood. 
While I  couldn't expect a detailed breakdown of each individual transaction, a summary of what those amounts were for would be much appreciated.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FYI Winckworth Sherwood represent Quintain on all their Wembley Park properties... the plot thickens