Chief Executive, Internal Audit and External Audit advice on removal of Core Strategy

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Northumberland County Council,

Following the publication of FOI ref: 3230 giving detailed advice from professional officers and Government Office to the Conservative Leadership and Senior Management team of Northumberland County Council on the withdrawal from inspection by Government of the core strategy and local plan document for Northumberland, What advice was given to full Council on 5th July 2017:

a) By the interim Chief Executive?

b) By the Internal Auditor?

c) By the Governments external auditor to Northumberland County Council?

Prior to 5th July 2017 full Council meeting, what information on the above subject was passed by the Senior Management team led by the interim chief executive to:

a) The Chair of the Audit Committee?

b) The Internal Auditor?

c) The Governments External Auditor to Northumberland County Council?

Prior to 5th July 2017 full Council meeting, what information on the above subject was passed by the Conservative Leadership Group to:

a) The Chair of the Audit Committee?

b) The Internal Auditor?

c) The Governments External Auditor to Northumberland County Council?

d) Labour Councillors?

e) Liberal Democrat Councillors?

f) Bedlington Independent Councillors?

g) Councillor Dale?

h)Councillor Kennedy?

i) Councillor Bridgett?

Yours faithfully,

Ian Hudspeth

Northumberland County Council

1 Atodiad

Our Ref: 3505  

Dear Enquirer,

INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for your request for information which will be dealt with under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental
Information Regulations 2004.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we
will let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

If you have any queries about this matter please contact us. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Kind regards

Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF

Tel: 0345 600 6400
Email: [Northumberland County Council request email]
Web: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk

Northumberland County Council

1 Atodiad

Our Ref: 3505  

Dear Enquirer,

Request for Information - 

I refer to your request for information in which you asked:
Following the publication of FOI ref: 3230 giving detailed advice from
professional officers and Government Office to the Conservative Leadership
and Senior Management team of Northumberland County Council on the
withdrawal from inspection by Government of the core strategy and local
plan document for Northumberland, What advice was given to full Council on
5th July 2017:

a) By the interim Chief Executive?

b) By the Internal Auditor?

c) By the Governments external auditor to Northumberland County Council?

Prior to 5th July 2017 full Council meeting, what information on the above
subject was passed by the Senior Management team led by the interim chief
executive to:

a) The Chair of the Audit Committee?

b) The Internal Auditor?

c) The Governments External Auditor to Northumberland County Council?

Prior to 5th July 2017 full Council meeting, what information on the above
subject was passed by the Conservative Leadership Group to:

a) The Chair of the Audit Committee?

b) The Internal Auditor?

c) The Governments External Auditor to Northumberland County Council?

d) Labour Councillors?

e) Liberal Democrat Councillors?

f) Bedlington Independent Councillors?

g) Councillor Dale?

h)Councillor Kennedy?

i) Councillor Bridgett?

The Council have considered your request for information under the terms
of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. In our view the request
falls within the scope of the broad definition of environmental
information contained within Regulation 2(1) of the Regulations. 

Right of Access 

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 provide that a public
authority that holds environmental information shall make it available on
request. The Regulations create a general right of access to environmental
information held by public authorities subject to various exceptions. A
public authority may refuse to disclose environmental information if an
exception to disclosure applies and the public authority decides that in
all the circumstances the public interest in maintaining the exception
outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

The Council has carefully considered whether the information requested can
be disclosed under the Regulations. We have concluded that some of the
requested information is exempt from disclosure under Regulation 12(4)(b).
The full text of the Regulations is contained in the appendix to this
letter. 

The Link to committee papers referred to
is: [1]http://committee.northumberland.gov.uk/M...
The remainder of the information you have requested would require every
named person in your request being contacted and asked to search for
documentation. This totals 70 people. Based on an approximate search time
of 30 minutes, this would total 21 hours of work / £525 based on £25 per
hour per person as stated in the EIR regulations. We therefore predict
this request would cost £525 and exceed the acceptable amount of £450 for
public authorities as per the regulations. If you were to refine your
request we may be able to assist.
Exceptions 

Regulation 12(4)(b) provides: 

(b) the request for information is manifestly unreasonable; 
Advice and Assistance 

The Council recognises its statutory duty to provide advice and assistance
under Regulation 9 of the Regulations. Subject to the provision of the
Regulations, the Council is seeking to be transparent and open it is
response. 

Notice of Refusal 

With the exception of the information disclosed herewith, please treat
this letter as a Notice of Refusal as regards the information covered by
the exceptions in Regulation 12(4)(b). 

Representations and Reconsideration 

If you consider that the Council has failed to comply with a requirement
of the Regulations in relation to your request, you have a right to make
representations under Regulation 11. Representations must be made in
writing to the Council no later than 40 working days after the date on
which you believe that the Council failed to comply with a requirement of
the Regulations. 

Any representation should be addressed to: 

Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF 

Email: [2][Northumberland County Council request email] 

Enforcement and Appeal Provisions 

Should you remain dissatisfied following the above process, you have a
right under the Regulations to apply to the Information Commissioner for a
decision as to whether your request has been dealt with in accordance with
the requirements of the Regulations. The Information Commissioners address
is: 

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

Telephone no. 01625 545745
Fax no. 01625 524510 
Email: [3][email address]

Yours faithfully,

FOI People Services
Northumberland County Council

Appendix 

Exceptions to the duty to disclose environmental information 

12. - (1) Subject to paragraphs (2), (3) and (9), a public authority may
refuse to disclose environmental information requested if - 

(a) an exception to disclosure applies under paragraphs (4) or (5); and 

(b) in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in
maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

(2) A public authority shall apply a presumption in favour of disclosure. 

(3) To the extent that the information requested includes personal data of
which the applicant is not the data subject, the personal data shall not
be disclosed otherwise than in accordance with regulation 13. 

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to
disclose information to the extent that - 

(a) it does not hold that information when an applicant's request is
received; 

(b) the request for information is manifestly unreasonable; 

(c) the request for information is formulated in too general a manner and
the public authority has complied with regulation 9; 

(d) the request relates to material which is still in the course of
completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data; or 

(e) the request involves the disclosure of internal communications. 

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to
disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely
affect - 

(a) international relations, defence, national security or public safety; 

(b) the course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a fair trial
or the ability of a public authority to conduct an inquiry of a criminal
or disciplinary nature; 

(c) intellectual property rights; 

(d) the confidentiality of the proceedings of that or any other public
authority where such confidentiality is provided by law; 

(e) the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such
confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic
interest; 

(f) the interests of the person who provided the information where that
person - 

(i) was not under, and could not have been put under, any legal obligation
to supply it to that or any other public authority; 

(ii) did not supply it in circumstances such that that or any other public
authority is entitled apart from these Regulations to disclose it; and 

(iii) has not consented to its disclosure; or 

(g) the protection of the environment to which the information relates. 

(6) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a public authority may respond to a
request by neither confirming nor denying whether such information exists
and is held by the public authority, whether or not it holds such
information, if that confirmation or denial would involve the disclosure
of information which would adversely affect any of the interests referred
to in paragraph (5)(a) and would not be in the public interest under
paragraph (1)(b). 

(7) For the purposes of a response under paragraph (6), whether
information exists and is held by the public authority is itself the
disclosure of information. 

(8) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(e), internal communications includes
communications between government departments 

(9) To the extent that the environmental information to be disclosed
relates to information on emissions, a public authority shall not be
entitled to refuse to disclose that information under an exception
referred to in paragraphs (5)(d) to (g). 

(10) For the purposes of paragraphs (5)(b), (d) and (f), references to a
public authority shall include references to a Scottish public authority. 

(11) Nothing in these Regulations shall authorise a refusal to make
available any environmental information contained in or otherwise held
with other information which is withheld by virtue of these Regulations
unless it is not reasonably capable of being separated from the other
information for the purpose of making available that information.

References

Visible links
1. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
2. mailto:[Northumberland County Council request email]
3. mailto:[email address]