Communications regarding MPIM

D Mudge made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Sutton Borough Council

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Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Sutton Borough Council.

Dear Sutton Borough Council,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

1. I would like, by email and a readily-readable format, the communications with the organisers of MIPIM (communications both to and from) regarding the 2017 attendance of any or all of the following people:
Mr Niall Bolger
Ms Mary Morrisey
Ms Amanda Cherrington
Such communications, if any, are likely to have taken place between 2015 and 2017 inclusive so the search for the information can be restricted to that period of time if necessary – but please say what time period has been searched. The information should include any communications relating to fees, pricing, cost, payment and/or sponsorship of attending the event.
2. Please provide all emails sent to/from the Council and Sutton Decentralised Energy Network Ltd concerning the funding/sponsorship for Mr Niall Bolger, Ms Mary Morrisey and Ms Amanda Cherrington’s attendance at the MIPIM event in Cannes in 2017.  Relevant emails are likely to have been sent between 2015 and 2017 inclusive so the search can be limited to this period.

If the Council considers obtaining the information in 1 and 2 above would be considered exempt under FOI Regulations because it would be too time-consuming to produce, please limit the search for such information to the individual email accounts most likely to contain the requested information (such as the email accounts/addresses of the individuals themselves, any support staff who may have acted for them with regard to attendance at the MIPIM event, and relevant budget holders). Please say what email accounts/addresses have been searched, or, if that is considered personal information, please state the individual’s role at that time of the email accounts/addresses.

If the Council still considers that the request, even with the above limited searches, would be so time-consuming to be exempt under the regulations, I request an online meeting so that the Council can provide assistance and advice, in accordance with regulation 16(1), to help me rephrase my request in a way that would be acceptable.

Please send the information to me by email with PDF format attachments.

Yours faithfully,

D Mudge

LBS FOI, Sutton Borough Council

Dear D Mudge
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST - REF NO -
FOIS1511 (please quote in correspondence)
I acknowledge your request for information received on 6th January
2022 relating to communication regarding MIPIM
Your request is being considered and, if it is held, you will receive the
information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as
defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information
not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large
print, etc. then please let us know.
For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the
case, including your rights of appeal.
If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.
Please be advised that in line with London Borough of Sutton's commitment
to transparency, in due course an anonymous copy of your request and our
response may be published on our website.
Yours sincerely

FOI Team

London Borough of Sutton
Civic Offices
St. Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA

[1]www.sutton.gov.uk

Follow us on [2]LinkedIn | [3]Twitter | [4]Facebook

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LBS FOI, Sutton Borough Council

Dear D Mudge

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST - REF NO - FOIS1511

 

I refer to your two requests for information received on 6th January 2022
concerning communications with MIPIM.

 

Your request is as follows:

1. I would like, by email and a readily-readable format, the
communications with the organisers of MIPIM (communications both to and
from) regarding the 2017 attendance of any or all of the following people:

  Mr Niall Bolger

  Ms Mary Morrisey

  Ms Amanda Cherrington

Such communications, if any, are likely to have taken place between 2015
and 2017 inclusive so the search for the information can be restricted to
that period of time if necessary – but please say what time period has
been searched.  The information should include any communications relating
to fees, pricing, cost, payment and/or sponsorship of attending the event.

 2. Please provide all emails sent to/from the Council and Sutton
Decentralised Energy Network Ltd concerning the funding/sponsorship for Mr
Niall Bolger, Ms Mary Morrisey and Ms Amanda Cherrington’s attendance at
the MIPIM event in Cannes in 2017.  Relevant emails are likely to have
been sent between 2015 and 2017 inclusive so the search can be limited to
this period.

If the Council still considers that the request, even with the above
limited searches, would be so time-consuming to be exempt under the
regulations, I request an online meeting so that the Council can provide
assistance and advice, in accordance with regulation 16(1), to help me
rephrase my request in a way that would be acceptable.

We have given careful consideration to your request but unfortunately we
are unable to provide the detail you have requested. This is because we
have estimated that to comply would far exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ as
set out in Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Section 12
makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information
where the cost of dealing with them would exceed the appropriate limit
which, for local government, is set at £450. This represents the estimated
cost of one person spending 18 hours at £25 per hour in locating and
retrieving the information and then reviewing, identifying and retracting
the information that falls within the scope of the request. 

 

We would like to explain how we have reached this decision. 

Following advice from IT colleagues, in order to respond to your request,
we are required to restore archived accounts for officers who have left
the Council. Once restored, we would have to carry out a search using the
search term ‘MIPIM’ . This is a broad search term and will bring up all
correspondence , not only the correspondence in scope of the request. This
would then take an officer a significant amount of time to read and review
that correspondence discarding the information that is not in scope.  

Regarding your second question, searching correspondence between all email
accounts at SDEN and the Council during a two year period using the search
terms ‘funding’, ‘sponsorship’ and ‘MIPIM’ would involve many hours of
work. Without searching specific email accounts this request is likely to
take a significant amount of time and combined with question 1, taking the
request over the 18 hour limit. 

 

We have also taken into account your reduced request in which you ask for
“please limit the search for such information to the individual email
accounts most likely to contain the requested information (such as the
email accounts/addresses of the individuals themselves, any support staff
who may have acted for them with regard to attendance at the MIPIM event,
and relevant budget holders).  Please say what email accounts/addresses
have been searched, or, if that is considered personal information, please
state the individual’s role at that time of the email accounts/addresses.”

It is not possible for the Council to know which account is “most likely”
to hold the information without carrying out the searches described
above. 

 

Local Authorities do however have a duty to provide advice and assistance
to a requester under Section 16 of FOIA where reasonable. We would suggest
that you narrow the scope of the request by providing a more specific
search term and timescales or requesting a specific document.

 

Should we receive a revised FOI request from you, please be aware that
this will be dealt with as a new request and therefore subject to the 20
working day timescale as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act. 

 

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled you
have the right to ask for an internal review.  Please notify us in writing
as soon as possible with the grounds upon which you feel the appeal is
justified to : [1][email address] 

We aim to respond to you within 20 working days of receiving your request.
If it is going to take longer we will let you know.

 

Should you still be dissatisfied with the outcome you have the right to
refer to the Information Commissioner: Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF [2]www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Team

London Borough of Sutton
Civic Offices
St. Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA

[3]www.sutton.gov.uk

Follow us on [4]LinkedIn | [5]Twitter | [6]Facebook

Disclaimers apply, for full details see : 
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Dear LBS FOI,

Your response indicates that you consider it would take far in excess of 18 hours to provide the information I requested. Please provide me with a breakdown of the time you require to carry out each of the steps necessary to comply with my request. I need this information to better understand why my request would be too time consuming and so that I can reduce the scope of my request or reformulate in a way that you would be able to respond to. It would be helpful if your response could include:

1. How many officer email accounts you estimate it would be necessary to restore to satisfy my request and how long that would take (in person-hours).

2. Whether the time required to restore accounts increases in proportion to the number of accounts that need to be restored or whether it takes a similar length of time to restore several accounts as it takes to restore one account.

3. The Council's estimate of how long it takes to carry out a single search such as for 'MIPIM' and 'Bolger' (in order to find information that would include Mr Bolger's attendance at 'MIPIM').

4. The Council's estimate of how long it takes, on average, to redact one email.

I trust that the Council will agree that it has a duty to supply this information under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act. Thank you for your assistance and I look forward to your response.

D Mudge

Dear LBS FOI,

Please let me know when I can expect a substantive response to my request for assistance under section 16 of the FOI act sent on 8 February 2022.

Yours sincerely,

D Mudge

LBS FOI, Sutton Borough Council

Dear D Mudge

I am writing with regard to your request for an Internal Review of the
response to your recent FOI (Ref No: FOIK1511). I would like to sincerely
apologise for the delayed response. Your request for further advice and
assistance under Section 16 of the FOIA was received on the 8th February
and has been considered under the Internal Review process.

Your further correspondence stated the following:

1. How many officer email accounts you estimate it would be necessary to
restore to satisfy my request and how long that would take (in
person-hours).

Restoring archived email accounts is always a lengthy process and the
exact time is dependent on the volume of data within each account. We are
unable to calculate a specific figure without exporting the data. Group
executive support accounts were not in place in 2015 therefore information
could be within numerous officers accounts. If the officers have left the
organisation, these would all need to be restored prior to being searched
adding to the time taken. Responding to your request will involve
searching a minimum of 7 accounts. To use Mr Bolger’s account as an
example, to restore, export the specific data, then review and redact the
data would take approx 3 full days of officer time. 

2. Whether the time required to restore accounts increases in proportion
to the number of accounts that need to be restored or whether it takes a
similar length of time to restore several accounts as it takes to restore
one account.

Each account must be restored individually. Larger accounts take longer. 

3. The Council's estimate of how long it takes to carry out a single
search such as for 'MIPIM' and 'Bolger' (in order to find information that
would include Mr Bolger's attendance at 'MIPIM').

I have estimated this in question 1. 

4. The Council's estimate of how long it takes, on average, to redact one
email.

We are unable to provide an estimate for this as emails vary in length.

In its current format, your request exceeds the cost limit under the
Freedom of Information Act. Restoring numerous archived accounts and then
applying a two year search on those accounts is a lengthy process and will
exceed the limit. We would advise that your request asks for specific
recorded information held in another format.

My Conclusion

 

I have carefully considered the response provided and am of the opinion
that the Council has now provided reasonable advice and assistance under
section 16 of the FOIA. 

 

I would however like to apologise once again for the delay in responding.

 

This concludes the Internal Review but if you remain dissatisfied, you can
contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for advice. The
contact details are as follows:-

 

Information Commissioner Office 

Wycliffe House 

Water Lane 

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF 

 

Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113
[1]https://ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely,

Rhian Allen 

Data Protection Officer 

serving Kingston and Sutton Council

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