Freedom of Information Requests

Freedom of Information requests have been made to Fylde Council to the clarify the background to the proposed Fylde Council PSPO for Dog Controls and to determine whether there is any evidence to justify them. Full details of the requests and Council responses are below. Also observations on the responses.

Those of us who have raised FOI requests would like to express our thanks to Fylde Council's Legal Officer Gary Pangburn for his fair and professional way of responding to these enquiries.

PSPO Working Group

The minutes of the meetings of the working group on PSPOs have not been published on the Fylde Council website and had to be obtained via Freedom of Information Requests. Full details including meeting minutes and observations are now on our FBC Working Group page HERE.

Clarification of Consultation by Fylde Council

FOI 4367: Extent of consultation up to 25 November 2016

Purpose: To clarify whether Fylde Council made any attempt to consult with dog agencies, professional dog walkers or members of the public prior to the meeting on 15 November.

The response shows that Fylde Council had made no effort to consult anyone apart from its own employees and parish councils prior to 15th November and certainly nobody representing dog professionals, dog welfare organisations or dog owners.


Date raised: 15 November 2016

Date of response: 17 November 2016

Text of FOI Request:
Dear sir/madam

I attended the public meeting, on the 15th of November with regards to the proposed consultation of a PUBLIC SPACE PROTECTION ORDERS FOR DOG CONTROL by the cross party council, and the Operational Management Committee as like myself and most members of the public we were a bit confused to which professional dog agencies, professional dog walkers and local residents that were canvassed, in this process so under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 please could you supply this information
Text of response:
Thank you for your request for information and please see the following response from the Council’s Waste Manager:

A working group of elected members recently considered the introduction of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) for dog control and other potential sources of anti-social behaviour, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. In order to assist them in considering their recommendations initial feedback was sought from Parish/Town Councils and other Council departments including the Parks and Coast and Countryside Department. A number of recommendations were then presented to the Operational Management Committee, including the consideration of introducing PSPOs related to dog control. On Tuesday 15 November 2016, the Operational Management Committee approved the recommendations, including the instruction to officers to complete a 6 week public consultation and report the findings back. It is through this mechanism that all interested parties will be consulted and be able to express their views. The result of the consultation will then be presented back to Operational Management Committee.

I hope this information is of assistance to you.

FOI 153745: Data from public consultation survey

Purpose: To obtain the raw data from the SurveyMonkey survey to ensure that any results published by the Council are supported by the data.

The data has been supplied as requested and has been used to produce an independent analysis of the results which can be found on our Consultation page HERE.


Date raised: 31 January 2017

Date of response: 21 February 2017

Text of FOI Request:
  1. Please provide a copy of all data from the Survey Monkey survey on PSPOs recently completed (excluding of course any personal information such as email addresses).
  2. Please advise how many electronic responses and how many paper-based responses to the survey were received to the survey.
  3. Please advise whether any responses to the survey were not accepted as valid responses, and if so the number of these and the reason(s) why they were not accepted.
  4. Please provide copies of any email or paper based responses related to the survey that were received from organisations such as the RSPCA, Dogs Trust etc. and advise how these are being considered by the Council in making decisions about PSPOs.
Text of response:

Per the questions above:

  1. Please see attachments.
  2. 1996 in total, 1989 electronic, 7 paper based copies, however, all were input onto the electronic system
  3. 0
  4. Attached. All consultation feedback is being considered including these responses.

The attachments provided can be downloaded from our Links page or directly from the links below. The content is discussed in detail on our Consultation page HERE. The 'Raw Data' contains a summary of the responses to the questions with a fixed choice option - Support, Oppose etc. The survey also included a free text general 'comments' box and what people put in there has been provided in a separate file which has been processed by the Council to remove any confidential information such as names and email addresses.

FOI #158257: Consultation with Police, Lancashire County Council, Kennel Club and Natural England

Purpose: To obtain and review consultation input from Police, Lancashire County Council, Kennel Club and Natural England.

Date raised: 6 April 2017

Date of response: Awaited

  1. I was advised in a letter from Allan Oldfield that during the PSPO consultation process the police were consulted. Please provide a copy of all communications on this topic between Fylde Council and the Police.
  2. Fylde Council stated that Lancashire County Council were invited to participate in the PSPO consultation process. Please provide a copy of all communications on this topic between Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council.
  3. Fylde Council is understood to have held a meeting within the last week with representatives of the Kennel Club concerning the PSPOs. Please provide a copy of the agenda, meeting minutes, presentations and any other documentation for this meeting.
  4. Fylde Council has held a meeting within the last week with representatives of Natural England concerning the PSPOs. Please provide a copy of the agenda, meeting minutes, presentations and any other documentation for this meeting.
Text of response:
Response awaited.

Complaints and Statistics

FOI #4379: Dog fouling statistics

Purpose: To obtain the number of complaints, warnings and prosecutions there have been for dog fouling in The Fylde by year for the last 10 years.

Far from showing an increasing problem with dog fouling, the statistics of complaints made to Fylde Council shows a downward trend. The number of FPNs issued is trivial and also shows a downward trend. Graphical analysis of these statistics can be found on our Objections page Here.

Date raised: 20 November 2016

Date of response: 30 November 2016

I would like to know, for the past 10 years:
  1. How many incidents of dog fouling in Fylde Borough have been reported to the council, broken down by year.
  2. How many warnings have been issued to dog owners in relation to dog fouling, broken down by year .
  3. How many prosecutions there have been in the past 10 years, also broken down by year.
It may be that the council has data for another span of time other than 10 years; this is fine as I am looking to understand the rate of complaints, warnings and prosecutions over time, and whether they are rising or falling over time.

If the council also has data on dog fouling provided by the police, dog warden or other authority or body, I would appreciate those also.
Text of response:
I have now heard from the Council’s Waste Operations manager, who has provided the following information:

Year Dog Fouling Complaints FPNs Issued
2015/16 250 3
2014/15 329 7
2013/14 245 7
2012/13 627 15
2011/12 382 14
2010/11 251 8
2009/10 159 10
2008/09 160 4
2007/08 151 13
2006/07 13 3

FOI #151246: Dog complaint statistics for sites for which PSPOs are proposed

Purpose: To clarify how many complaints about failing to pick up dog faeces and agressive or dangerous dogs have been received from members of the public for each of the sites affected by the proposed PSPO over the last five years, how many prosecutions resulted and how many of them come from 'multiple complainants'. Controls for any site should be justified by objective evidence and so far none has been produced - just anecdotal or hearsay evidence. Fylde Council should be able to justify each control it is proposing.

The refusal to fully respond to this FOI request speaks volumes in demonstrating that those in Fylde Council drawing up the proposed dog control orders failed to gather data about the sites for which specific dog controls are proposed. Furthermore, with no response on the question about people making multiple complaints, it is perfectly possible that the complaints that were registered were made by a very small number of people. In the last five years, Fylde Council hasn't prosecuted even a single person for failing to pick up dog faeces, and only two for having a dangerous or aggressive dog - of these one was at Hope Street and the other on the highway. Data trends for all classifications used by Fylde Council are either stable or downwards.

Dog problem? What dog problem?

Date raised: 19 November 2016

Date of response: 20 December 2016 (final response)

  1. For each site for which dog controls are proposed in Appendix A to the Public Space Protection Orders for Dog Controls referred for decision to the Operational Management Committee and dated 15 November 2016, how many complaints have been received by Fylde Council from members of the public about people not clearing up faeces deposited by their dog for each of the past five years.
  2. Based on the answers to question 1, how many individual complainants were there for each of these years; and in each year how many of the complainants made multiple complaints.
  3. For each of the last five years, how many people have been prosecuted by Fylde Council for failing to clear up faeces deposited by their dog and how many of these instances relate to this happening at sites affected by the proposed PSPO.
  4. For each site for which dog controls are proposed in Appendix A to the Public Space Protection Orders for Dog Controls referred for decision to the Operational Management Committee and dated 15 November 2016, how many complaints have been received by Fylde Council from members of the public about dangerous or aggressive dogs.
  5. For each of the last five years, how many people have been prosecuted by Fylde Council for having a dangerous or aggressive dog and how many of these instances relate to sites happening at sites affected by the proposed PSPO.
  6. What objective data (as opposed to anectodal evidence) does the Council have regarding there being a localised problem with dog faeces, or incidents involving aggressive or dangerous dogs, at the sites affected by the proposed PSPO compared with other areas in the jurisdiction of Fylde Council.
Text of response:
I have now heard from the Council's Head of Health and Environment who is dealing with the proposed Public Spaces Protection Order. As you are no doubt aware, the proposals have generated significant public interest and to date we have received 1269 consultation responses. We are presently endeavouring to deal with the consultation responses with a view to preparing a full and complete report of the consultation findings to be submitted to a future meeting of the committee. You will appreciate that this will take time. We are only a small local authority with limited staff resources and time is also being taken up across the Council in dealing with a variety of requests for information that have subsequently been made.

The Council is committed to being open and transparent in all its dealings with the public and in disclosing information it holds. However, I hope you will appreciate that we also obliged to consider the resources we allocate to actually delivering the services and carrying out our functions. With this in mind, I am afraid we have a difficulty in dealing with the requests that you have made due to the resources that would have to be allocated to locating, extracting and disclosing the information to you.

I understand that we have received 1833 complaints about dog fouling in the last 5 years (2011/12 – 2015/16). We have run a sample exercise on the information requested in Q1 of your request (151246) and have reasonably estimated that it would take in excess of 15 hours alone to access all the individual records required and extract the information for question 1. Multiply this by the other questions you have asked and you’ll appreciate the extent of the work that would be required to fulfil your requests. Whilst you have submitted your requests under the Freedom of Information Acts 2000, it is considered that the requests should be dealt with under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 as they relate to measures likely to affect the environment. With this in mind I am afraid we have no alternative but to refuse to disclose the information requested in questions 1 and 2 of both your requests as well as question 4 of your request number 151246. In doing this, the Council relies on the exception contained in Regulation 12(4)(b) in that the request for information is manifestly unreasonable on the grounds of costs and/or diversion of resources. The Council's decision is subject to a public interest test in which the public interest in the reasons for refusal must be balance against the public interest in the disclosure of the information. Whilst the Council is minded of the importance of the issues at hand (and the general public interest in transparency and accountability), it also considers that the wider public interest in the proposed dog restrictions is best served through the consultation process that is already underway. With this in mind and in light of the likely cost of providing the information and subsequent diversion of resources away from the consultation process and other services/functions, it is considered that the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

The Council is also aware of its duty under Regulations to provide advice assistance to you. I understand that our systems would allow us to extract the following information:
  • The number of fouling complaints per year per ward
  • The number of fixed penalty noticed issued per year
  • The number of aggressive dog reports by ward per year
Please confirm whether or not you wish us to provide you with that information?

As to the remaining questions in request number 151246, I am able to confirm as follows:

3. None

5. Two; one in respect of Hope Street, St Annes and the other on the highway

6. The report to Operational Management Committee regarding the Public Space Control Orders refers to dog control and does not make a specific connection between fouling and the proposed restrictions
Text of reply to Fylde Council
Thank you for your interim response to this FOI request.

I am well aware of the interest in the PSPOs and the amount of work this is generating for Fylde Council but they must surely have foreseen this when proposing these orders - or should have done. Fortunately, as you are using SurveyMonkey, you will be able to use its built-in features to analyse results so the amount of effort required should be pretty minimal - apart from inputting paper-based forms. In case whoever is analysing results hasn't found it, there is more information about data analysis on the SurveyMonkey webpage HERE.

Responses to questions 1, 2 and 4

It is worrying to hear that you are unable to provide statistics specific to the various sites for which Fylde Council is proposing dog control orders as I would have expected these would have been one of the first things requested by whover was drawing up the proposals if they were doing this on an objective basis. Unless you think I have misunderstood your response, the logical conclusion is that Fylde Council has no objective data or statistics to justify dog control orders for these specific sites and there is only general data that could refer to incidents anywhere in the wards including in the streets, other Council sites or on private property.

However I am a Council Tax payer and understand your statement that the cost to produce the information I have requested would be quite high and therefore accept your offer to provide statistics based on wards instead as a reasonable compromise.

Responses to Questions 3 and 5

Thank you for these responses

Response to Question 6

Thank you for the response but to finalise this FOI, could you confirm that Fylde Council has no other objective data to add (other than data about complaints covered in previous questions) related to agressive or dangerous dogs as you only referred to dog faeces incidents.
Text of follow up response from Fylde Council:
Further in this matter, please see the attached document detailing:
  • The number of fouling complaints per year per ward
  • The number of fixed penalty noticed issued per year
  • The number of aggressive dog reports by ward per year
Also included are the number of dogs off leads/exclusion zone per year per ward and the number of stray/roaming and lost dogs per year/per ward.

I have also been asked to mention that a summary of the current restrictions can be found at http://www.fylde.gov.uk/faqs/where-walk-dog/, and a number of the proposals include areas that already have restrictions, in order to allow more effective enforcement.

With regards to Q6, I believe we have disclosed all the information we hold.

The information from Fylde Council has been converted into spreadsheet form to assist analysis and is available can be accessed HERE. A graph of the trends, which are either downwards or stable, can be found on our Objections Page.

FOI #151247: Complaints about dog walkers and numbers of dogs walked

Purpose: To establish what evidence there is of the public making complaints about dog walkers and how many dogs they are walking at any one time.

The Council response shows no evidence of complaints about dog walkers or the number of them being walked indicating a "manufactured" problem.

Date raised: 21 November 2016

Date of response:14 December 2016

For each site for which dog controls are proposed in Appendix A to the Public Space Protection Orders for Dog Controls referred for decision to the Operational Management Committee and dated 15 November 2016, how many complaints have been received by Fylde Council from members of the public regarding dog walkers and the number of dogs they are walking at any one time.
Text of response:
I have now heard from the relevant officer of the Council and I can confirm that (as there are no restrictions at present) there is no formal record of the receipt of any such complaints.

FOI #152050 and FOI #152482: Complaints about dogs destroying or damaging children's leisure facilities

Purpose: To establish what evidence there is to substantiate claims made by Fylde Council that damage has been caused by dogs to children's play equipment. The second FOI has been raised for clarification given statements made by Sarah Wilson in writing and a TV interview.

There are a tiny number of incidents of damage attributed to dogs, the number of these is decreasing. Fylde Council has failed to provide any objective evidence that the damage attributed to dogs was indeeed caused by dogs rather than wild animals or other causes. Damage by dogs is clearly not an issue and has been grossly exaggerated by Council officials.

FOI #152050

Date raised: 12 December 2016

Date of response:19 December 2016

Could you please let me know the number of instances where dogs have been responsible for the destruction or direct damage of leisure facilities in children's play areas within the Fylde in the past 12 months.
Text of response:
I can confirm that our Parks’ Department has just the one recorded instance of damage by dogs in the last 12 months.
FOI #152482

Date raised: 28 December 2016

Date of response:Final response 16 January 2017

With reference to damage allegedly caused by dogs to children's play areas, Sarah Wilson has stated the following in correspondence to Carolyn Thompson which Carolyn has shared with me:

"Damage to play areas has been identified in a number of locations including Staining Rise Staining, Bridges Playing Field Play Area (Warton), Ashton Gardens, Fairhaven Lake Play area, South Park Play area and Waddington Road Play area."

In response to FOI request #152050, Fylde Council responded to this question:

"Could you please let me know the number of instances where dogs have been responsible for the destruction or direct damage of leisure facilities in children's play areas within the Fylde in the past 12 months."

The response was:

"I can confirm that our Parks Department has just the one recorded instance of damage by dogs in the last 12 months."

Can you therefore provide the following additional information to nail down the facts about destruction or damage by dogs to children's play areas - which quite honestly most people find very difficult to believe....

1. What is the exact text of each of the complaints received alleging destruction or damage done to children's play equipment over the last five years.
2. In each case, where did these alleged incidents take place, what destruction or damage was done, how is it alleged that dog(s) caused the damage, how was it investigated and what evidence is there that the destruction or damage was actually done by a dog rather than by a human or resulting from wear and tear.

(Clearly I am not interested in anything that would identify the complainant - just the details of the complaint and follow-up)
Text of response:

Fylde Council has supplied spreadsheet data containing information about the incidence of damaged to Fylde Children's Play Areas. This information has been analysed and graphed. You can download the data and analysis from our Links page HERE.

It should be noted that damage that is attributed to dogs is in each case of a minor nature and that Fylde Council has provided no proof that the damage was actually caused by dogs as opposed to foxes, rabbits or other wild animals.

Play Area Damage
Chart showing the incidence of damage to children's play areas in the Fylde based on Council data.

FOI #151250: Complaints made by Councillors, members of their families or business associates

Purpose: To establish whether Councillors, members of their families or business associates have raised complaints about dogs.

The Council has refused this FOI request on the grounds of cost and impracticality. This response is not satisfactory as it leaves open the question about the extent to which Councillors are both making complaints about dogs and adjudicating on proposals for PSPOs on dog controls. We are asked to accept that Councillors making complaints about dogs is infrequent.

Date raised: 20 November 2016

Date of response: 22 December 2016

  1. For each site for which dog controls are proposed in Appendix A to the Public Space Protection Orders for Dog Controls referred for decision to the Operational Management Committee and dated 15 November 2016, how many complaints have been received by Fylde Council from Fylde Council members, members of their families or business associates about people not clearing up faeces deposited by their dog for each of the past five years.
  2. For each site for which dog controls are proposed in Appendix A to the Public Space Protection Orders for Dog Controls referred for decision to the Operational Management Committee and dated 15 November 2016, how many complaints have been received by Fylde Council from Fylde Council members, members of their families or business associates about dangerous or aggressive dogs for each of the past five years.
This FOI request is made to check conformity with the seven Nolan principles which apply to the conduct of people in public life including members of Fylde Council.
Text of response:
You'll see from my email of 15 December, that the refusal to disclose refers to information in both of the requests numbered 151246 and 151250.
Text of reply to Fylde Council
I take it from your email of 21 December that Fylde Council's response to these questions is that it would take too much effort to extract this information and it is not in the public interest. If this information is not available, can Fylde Council provide the numbers of complaints as in questions 1 and 2 made by Councillors, their families or business associates irrespective of the area?

It would be very worrying indeed if Fylde Council is not prepared to disclose whether Councillors, who are making decisions on the proposed dog orders, have themselves registered complaints about dogs as, if they have, it puts their objectivity in question. Can you please correct me if I have misunderstood your response and let me know whether you can provide the simpler information I have noted above?
Text of response
I am afraid we have no alternative but to refuse to disclose the information requested in questions 1 and 2 of both your requests as well as question 4 of your request number 151246. I am sorry if I didn’t make it clear that I was referring to FOI 151250 as well as 151246.

Unfortunately, I understand that there is no easy way of extracting the information relating to councillors, other than going through each individual complaint. Even then I understand that it may not be apparent whether or not the complaint was made by a councillor in their own right or on behalf of their constituents. Also, unless it was apparent from the recorded information, we would not necessarily know if it related to their families of business associates. However (if it helps), I have been told that (from personal recollection) councillor reporting is very infrequent and generally done so in their capacity as councillor.

FOI #4467: Complaints made about dogs preventing picnics at Lytham Green and prosecutions for littering at Fairhaven Lake

Purpose: To establish whether there is any objective evidence of dogs preventing people from picnicing.

The Council has no record of complaints regarding people being unable to picnic at Lytham Green due to dogs being off-lead. This didn't stop Councillor Cheryl Little from making a specific point about this in her interview with BBC TV after our first Friendly Protest Walk on 11 December 2016 which you can view again HERE. If the Council wants to encourage picnics, which seems like a good idea, they could be spending money on a number of picnic tables and creating a fenced off area instead of wasting money on excessive dog control orders.

No prosecutions have been made regarding littering by picnickers at Fairhaven Lake, and there is nothing whatsoever regarding littering, or any other kind of anti-social behaviour in the PSPO proposals clearly indicating that Fylde Council is obsessed with implementing controls related to dogs.

Date raised: N/K

Date of response: 4 January 2017

  1. Please advise how many people have contacted the Council during the last five years, statint that they wish to picnic on Lytham Green but feel unable to do so as dogs are allowed off lead. Please supply each annual number separately
  2. Please advise the total area of Lytham Green.
  3. Please advise the cost of picnic benches.
  4. Please advise how many prosecutions have been made for the mess which is left by picnickers around Fairhaven Lake.
Text of response:
  1. We have no record of any such contacts.
  2. Approximately 15 hectares.
  3. £353
  4. 0 (Zero)

FOI #158247: Clarification of how Fylde Council has reported a breach of personal information to the Information Commissioner's Office

Purpose: To establish whether a full and complete account has been provided.

Date raised: 6 April 2017

Date of response: Awaited

Please provide copies of all communications between Fylde Council and the Information Commissioner’s Office related to the recent data security breach of personal information held on the SurveyMonkey website related to the survey on PSPOs and also the Information Commissioners reference number for this incident if it is not included in the communications.
Text of response:
Response awaited.

Costs and Budgets

FOI #441: Costs related to proposed dog control order

Purpose: To get further information about costs related to the proposed PSPOs for dog control and expected revenue from fines.

The Council response states that the cost of equipment and initial implementation will come from 'an unfunded budget increase from capital reserves'. No information is known about future current costs of implementing the PSPO, how it would be funded or what revenue might be generated from fines. It appears that the financial implications have not been thought through properly.

Date raised: 4 December 2016

Date of response:7 December 2016

PSPO – Dog Order

The proposal is the council will spend £12,000 on signage and body cameras for the dog wardens.

Q.1. Is this a one off capital sum?

Q.2. From which budget is this coming from, ie which budget has been reduced to create this available sum?

Q.3. Will there be on-going costs in future financial years?

The proposal is for dog wardens to issue on the spot fines.

Q.4. How much is estimated the fines will raise in revenue?
Text of response:
Thank you for your request for information and I can confirm as follows in response to your questions:

Q.1. Yes.

Q.2. An unfunded budget increase will be requested, from capital reserves.

Q.3. Unknown, no information is held.

Q.4. Unknown, no information is held.

FOI 4394: Cost and effectiveness of dog fouling leaflet campaign

Purpose: To clarify how much has been spent on a anti-fouling leaflet campaign, who has distributed leaflets, the results of the campaign and whether similar campaigns have taken place for other anti-social behaviour.

The response provides the cost of printing but no information is available about the cost of distribution. Nevertheless it is claimed that distribution has not impacted the high priority work of dog wardens. The Council appears to have made efforts to campaign about littering and leaving bins on the highway (both of which have implications for Council staff) but there is no mention of leaflets targeting other anti-social behaviours. Perhaps the most alarming conclusion from this response is that Fylde Council continues to spend money on anti-fouling leaflets without any idea of whether they are effective.


Date raised: 24 November 2016

Date of response: 14 December 2016 December 2016

Text of FOI Request:
  1. How many of the "Wanted - information on irresponsible dog owners who don't pick up" leaflets have been printed by or for the Council and how much did it cost to design and print them.
  2. How many have been distributed to date for each year since they were printed.
  3. Were the leaftlets distributed by Council employees - if so how much time did they spend doing this, when was this done and in what areas were the leaflets distributed.
  4. Were the leaflets distributed by dog wardens and if so what impact has this had on their ability to perform their core roles.
  5. Have the Council ever designed, printed and distributed similar leaflets related to other anti-social behaviours, - for example drinking in the streets, leaving litter in public areas, clearing up after horses etc. or has the Council's activity been restricted to dogs.
  6. How many complaints about dog owners not picking up faeces have been received from citizens living in the areas to which these leaflets have been distributed for each year they have been distributed.
Text of response:
  1. 25,000 leaflets have been printed since 2014, The total cost including designs is £1,452 + VAT
  2. Unfortunately, we don’t record how many we’re distributed in each specific year but the numbered ordered per year are:
    • 2014: 10,000
    • 2015: 5,000
    • 2016: 10,000
  3. Leaflets have been distributed by Council employees as well as being provided to charity/similar events and Parish Councils for distributions. Unfortunately, I do not have the data on when and how much time was spent completing these task. Similarly I do not have full and accurate records on where all the leaflets have been distributed/provided for use but can confirm they have been distributed/provided for use in:

    St Annes, Ansdell, Lytham, Staining, Freckleton, Warton, Wesham, Kirkham
  4. As above, some of the leaflets have been distributed by the dog wardens. This activity is part of their role, but strays, aggressive dog and reactive fouling patrols are prioritised above this requested activity/pro-active approach to encouraging reporting and more effective targeting of patrols based upon feedback.
  5. We can confirm that education and enforcement campaign through posters/litter bin stickers have been completed for littering, and letters have been hand delivered and/or posted for bins being left on the highway between collections.
  6. We are unable to confirm if the complaints received are as a direct response to leaflets drops as this information is not gathered upon the point of reports received by the Council. The number of complaints received regarding fouling are:-

    • 2015/16: 250
    • 2014/15: 329
    • 2013/14: 245

FOI 153748: Council expenditure on items related to PSPOs

Purpose: To clarify whether the Council has authorised expenditure on anything related to the PSPOs before they have been approved.

The response states clearly that there has been no such expenditure.


Date raised: 31 January 2017

Date of response: 21 February 2017

Text of FOI Request:
  1. Please provide details of any Council expenditure on items ordered or purchase with respect to implementation of PSPOs related to dog control including in advance of a Council decision to proceed with introducing them including a description of the items and costs for example, but not limited to, signs, stationery, design of publicity materials etc.
  2. For any items so ordered or purchased, which Council employees approved the expenditure and which Councillors were made aware of the decision to do this
Text of response:
  1. £0 – no items have been ordered with respect to the implementation of PSPOs related to dog control in advance of a Council decision to proceed.

FOI 4674: Council expenditure on PSPOs in terms of hours and money

Purpose: To identify the overall cost of the PSPO exercise to date

The response states clearly that Fylde Council is unable to provide costs related to the PSPOs. This work was flagged as providing good value for money in the original proposals. No further comment is necessary.


Date raised: 29 March 2017

Date of response: 4 April 2017

Text of FOI Request:
I would like to ask how many man hours have been spent on this whole issue and the total cost incurred.

For ultra clarity the time and cost relating to:
  • Drawing up T.O.Rs for the report
  • Research for the report
  • Drafting the report
  • Consultations/meetings etc.
  • Responding to enquiries/concerns
  • Dealing with the data breach
  • Dealing with FOI requests
In short the whole cost in man hours and £s.
Text of response:
Ian (Curtis) passed this through to me to deal with me to 'compile' the information you requested in your email of 30 March. Unfortunately, whilst I want to be as helpful to you as possible, I am afraid I have to tell you that we do not hold this information. Apart from an estimated general allocation of our time to various service areas of the Council, we do not record the time/cost spent on dealing with each matter/file that would enable us to calculate the overall costs to date.

You may be aware that the right to information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, is a right to request information that has been recorded by a public authority (please see the Information Commissioner’s website for further information in this regard - https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/official-information/). Without wishing to state the obvious, we are therefore only obliged to disclose information that is recorded in all forms including letters, reports, emails, file notes etc. If information is not already recorded by us, the Act does not require is to create information to satisfy a request.

I have referred your request to the various officers of the Council who have dealt with the PSPOs and in all cases I am afraid they have confirmed they do not have a log of the time spent. Ian has only recently dealt with data breach and, whilst he hasn’t logged his time, is prepared to estimate that it took him about 12 hours. However, it is not so easy for the other officers who may have spent considerable time on the PSPOs over the last 12 months. I am sure you will appreciate that, without the benefit of a written record, it would be near impossible to estimate the amount of time and cost spent with any degree of accuracy.

For your information, I have dealt with 30 FOI requests and whilst some have been pretty straightforward and been dealt with relatively quickly, others have been quite involved and taken some significant work over a 4 week period. Most of the work on the PSPOs has been carried out in the Head of Health and Environment’s service area and I am told that it would virtually impossible to estimate a figure. With this in mind, I’m sure that you can appreciate the significant time and cost that would now be involved in trying to work out the cost, which I think would be self-defeating.

I realise you will be disappointed with the outcome of your request and I am sorry that we have not been able to disclose information on this occasion.

Legal Clarifications

FOI #151833: Definition of a MUGA

Purpose: To clarify the definition of a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and request information about what evidence there is about fouling when dogs are off-lead as opposed to on-lead.

The response indicates that Fylde Council is proposing to issue an order about something for which there is no legal definition. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in court if anyone is issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. Fylde Council has not considered the legal implications of what it is proposing.

Date raised: 5 December 2016

Date of response: 15 December 2016

In relation to the Council's proposal for Public Space Protection Orders to enforce dog control in Fylde, I would like to ask the council:
  1. What definition of a MUGA - a multi-use games area - the council is using when it refers to MUGAs in Appendix A of the proposal
  2. Whether, under the council's definition of a MUGA, the sports or games area is or will be always fenced in.
  3. What evidence the council has that dogs off leads are causing the dog fouling problem in Fylde as opposed to dogs on leads.
  4. What evidence exists that enforcing a dogs-on-leads rule in the areas specified in the Council's proposal for PSPOs will reduce the level of fouling?.
  5. For each of the last five years, how many people have been prosecuted by Fylde Council for having a dangerous or aggressive dog and how many of these instances relate to sites happening at sites affected by the proposed PSPO.
Text of response:
I understand that we don’t have a written definition of a MUGA. However, our officers' professional opinion is that one would typically be "a steel anti-vandal outdoor fenced area with built in goal post units for various types of sports games, such as football, basketball or tennis. The outer fencing makes it easier to keep the ball in play. MUGAs are often installed within parks, open spaces and schools. We would advise that the above definition is based upon professional opinion - not a documented legal definition - and that dogs would be commonly excluded from any area which is designated for informal or formal play and sporting activities".

With regards to questions C and D (Note: this refers to items 3 and 4 as above), the report on PSPOs do not specify a direct link between the dog fouling and dogs on leads, the report refers to dog control.’

The following request for clarification was then sent:

Unfortunately, I don't think the answer is adequate to fulfil the FoI, because it is not clear. If the Council is planning to issue penalties based on the definition of a MUGA then the definition has to be clear and unchanging, not based on an opinion.

"dogs would be commonly excluded from any area which is designated for informal or formal play and sporting activities’."

This is potentially a minefield, legally, and it is why I have raised the FoI. It may help in fulfilling the FoI if the council officer you speak to could please answer based on these examples:

There is an open space at Lansdowne Road in Ansdell. It has a children's play area which is fenced off, that is fine; nobody would expect dogs to be allowed in there. However, there is a football pitch marked on the remaining open space, on the grassed area. There are no goalposts. Would this count as a MUGA for the council's purposes of enforcing the new PSPOs?

There is an open space at Ramsgate Road in St Annes. It has some swings which are not fenced off, and it also has two football goalposts in the middle of a space approx 400m square, although no pitch markings. Would this count as a MUGA for the council's purposes of enforcing the new PSPOs?

What factors make these a MUGA or not a MUGA?

Do you see the problem? Without a proper definition, dog walkers cannot be sure and neither can the council.

Could I suggest that the council creates a working definition intended to guide its PSPOs so that all parties may be clear on this?

And the response to the follow up is below:

I take your point about the definition of a MUGA in an Order and I will pass on your comments to those dealing with the proposals. In terms of the FOI request though, we are only obliged to disclose recorded information. In this case we do not hold a written definition of MUGA that the Council is relying on in relation to the proposed Orders. We are not obliged to create information to satisfy an FOI request and therefore I believe we have satisfied our statutory requirements, however unsatisfactory you may consider our response to be.

Thank you for your support.

Ann DeRizzio, Samantha Ramsay, Brian Watson, Katy Grierson

Email positive suggestions to: pspo@benjidog.co.uk