Conflict of interest

James Buchanan made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

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Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

This request follows on from previous. Please ensure transparency in answering and context should be avoided as this appears to be an attempt to avoid clear answers.

In October 2017 Steve Rotherham announced funds for the Festival Gardens site which was under Liverpool City Council ownership. Within a few weeks Joe Anderson announced that Liverpool City Council would utilise a Joint Venture to deliver the scheme with Midia Group a partner. There was a clear interest between the Steve Rotherham announcement of funding and the role of Midia.

James Gill was a member of the Midia leadership team, a former advisor to Joe Anderson and a co-director with Joe Anderson on a regeneration fund in Liverpool. Mark Bousfield is understood to have been working for that fund before working for Steve Rotherham and had a clear prior relationship with Mr Gill.

Please provide:

Mr Gills application to be the Member of the Investment Panel referenced in previous FOIs

Was The Festival Gardens site considered at the Investment Panel referenced?

Was Mr Gill present?

Who else was present?

Was Mr Gill permitted to speak?

Please provide all papers and minutes from that meeting.

Please provide all emails between Mr Gill and Mr Bousfield as already requested.

Please provide all emails received by or sent by Mr Bousfield which includes the words Festival Gardens.

Please provide any emails to/from Liverpool City Council including the words Festival Gardens.

Yours faithfully,

James Buchanan

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Buchanan

RSN22335

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and we will aim to provide a response within twenty working days.

Please note that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Information Commissioner’s Office has acknowledged that resources may be diverted away from functions such as responding to information requests to ensure that other services can still be delivered. This may mean that a response is provided outside of the stautory timeframe. Your patience is appreciated at this extraordinary time.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

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FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

4 Atodiad

Dear Mr Buchanan

 

RSN22335

 

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information
Act. Please find the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s response
below.

 

Mr Gills application to be the Member of the Investment Panel referenced
in previous FOIs

 

Thorough searches have been carried out by officers, but this information
appears to no longer be held by the Combined Authority.

 

Was The Festival Gardens site considered at the Investment Panel
referenced?

 

Yes

 

Was Mr Gill present?

Who else was present?

Was Mr Gill permitted to speak?

Please provide all papers and minutes from that meeting.

 

Please see attached minutes and agenda pack from the 20^th February 2020
meeting of the LCRCA SIF External Panel.

 

The Combined Authority views the contents of the minutes and agenda pack
as potentially prejudicial to the commercial interests, either belonging
to us or a third party, and must give consideration to Section 43 of the
Act. Section 43 is a qualified, prejudice-based exemption, and is
therefore subject to a public interest test. The Information
Commissioner’s Office has issued guidance on Section 43, which can be
viewed on their website at [1]this link.

 

The public interest argument for disclosure is that it allows a greater
degree of scrutiny over how public money is spent in the delivery of the
Combined Authority’s work, while contributing to transparency over how
decisions have been reached. It is important that public authorities allow
their decisions to be scrutinised by the public to ensure that funds are
managed appropriately.

 

The public interest factors to withhold the information relate to the
prejudicial impact that the disclosure would have on the commercial
interests of any person (including the public authority itself). It would
not, for example, be in the public interest to disclose information about
a particular commercial body if that information was not common knowledge
and would be likely to be used by competitors in a particular market to
gain a competitive advantage. Disclosure under the Act is viewed as to the
world at large, not simply to the individual requester, and consideration
must therefore be given to how it may be used by any party.

 

In this particular case, some of the attached information is not currently
in the public domain and/or is related to commercial projects that are in
varying degrees of development. Disclosure of these details to the world
at large would be likely to jeopardise ongoing negotiations between
various third parties, thereby causing prejudice to the work being carried
out.

 

In this instance, it is the Combined Authority’s opinion that the balance
of factors against disclosure of the information outweighs those in favour
of release for some elements of the attached, and is therefore relying on
Section 43(2) to partly withhold the requested information. Those aspects
that have been deemed exempt have been redacted from the attached
documents.

 

Please provide all emails between Mr Gill and Mr Bousfield as already
requested.

 

As you have noted, this is a repeat of a request already made by yourself.
The Combined Authority provided you with a response on 19^th June 2021
stating that the request was refused due to the cost and burden of
responding. You were invited to reduce the scope of your request, but to
date have not done so. This question is therefore refused in accordance
with Section 14(2) of the Act as it is repeated.

 

Please provide all emails received by or sent by Mr Bousfield which
includes the words Festival Gardens.

 

Searches have been carried out, and have found a total of 1,125 emails
to/from Mr Bousfield containing the words ‘Festival Gardens’. For the
reasons set out in our previous responses to you, considering the
suitability for disclosure of each individual email would place too great
of a burden on the Combined Authority. This request is therefore refused
in accordance with Section 14(1) of the Act.

 

Should you wish to reduce the scope of this request by suggesting a
specific timeframe or sender/recipient, we would be happy to reconsider
your request in line with the legislation.

 

Please provide any emails to/from Liverpool City Council including the
words Festival Gardens.

 

Searches have been carried out, and have found a total of 7,353 emails
to/from Liverpool City Council officers containing the words ‘Festival
Gardens’. For the reasons set out in our previous responses to you,
considering the suitability for disclosure of each individual email would
place too great of a burden on the Combined Authority. This request is
therefore refused in accordance with Section 14(1) of the Act.

 

Should you wish to reduce the scope of this request by suggesting a
specific timeframe or sender/recipient, we would be happy to reconsider
your request in line with the legislation.

 

I trust that the information supplied is of interest to you.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review, which should be addressed to:

Jill Coule

Chief Legal Officer / Monitoring Officer

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

[2][email address]

 

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also
have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address
is

The Information Commissioner’s Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire SK9 5AF

[3]www.ico.org.uk

 

Andy Henderson

 

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976,
Liverpool, L69 3HN

Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [4][Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

 

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The information supplied continues to be protected by copyright. You are
free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and
non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can
also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication would
require the permission of the copyright holder.

 

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