Email Volumes

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

FOI Request

Part A - Number of emails per calendar month as far as records permit what were
1 - received from any @halton.gov.uk address
2 - received from [email address]
3 - received from [email address]
4 - received from [email address]
5 - received from anyone on behalf of anyone named in 2, 3 or 4
6 - sent to or copied (or blind copy) to [email address]
7 - sent to or copied (or blind copy) to [email address]
8 - sent to or copied (or blind copy) to [email address]
9 - sent to or copied (or blind copy) to anyone on behalf of anyone named in 6, 7 or 8
10 - received by metro mayor account

Part B - Subject line of all emails counted in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Yours faithfully,

Joel North

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr North

RSN21102

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

Dear Mr North

Further to your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act, I would be grateful if you could clarify whether Q10 is concerned with absolutely all emails received by the Metro Mayor email account or, given the focus of your request, only those received by the Metro Mayor from Halton Council?

Kind regards,

Andrew Henderson
Senior Information Management Officer | 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP
Office: 0151 330 1679 | [mobile number] | Email: [email address]

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Dear FOI CA,

All please with no limits

Yours sincerely,

Joel North

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr North

RSN21102

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act.

By way of background, the Combined Authority was established on 1st April 2014, so the timeframe included in your request is roughly six and a half years.

On 22nd September we contacted you to clarify whether Q10 was to include all emails received by the Metro Mayor just from Halton Council, or if you were asking for details of every email received. You replied the same day, stating ‘All please with no limits’. The Metro Mayor took up the position following the May 2017 election.

As defined by Section 12 of the Act, the cost limit for responding to a request under the Act for a local government body is set at £450, which is calculated at a rate of £25 per hour (totalling the equivalent of 18 hours’ work). When considering the cost of responding, the Combined Authority is able to take into account the time spent

a) determining whether the information is held;
b) locating the information;
c) retrieving the original record, and
d) extracting the requested data from the original record.

Should the cost exceed this appropriate limit, the authority has no obligation to fulfil the request.

We are unable to run a report to identify any emails sent on behalf of someone else. We therefore are unable to provide a response to Q5 and Q9 without undertaking a manual exercise, which would involve examining hundreds of thousands of emails. Without a refining of your request to reduce the timeframe of your request and/or to include specific keywords, the potential number of emails is so broad that we are unable to provide an informed estimate of how long this would take, but sufficed to say that responding to just these two questions would grossly exceed the 18 hours permitted under the Act.

There are a number of aspects of responding to a request which cannot be considered under Section 12 of the Act, such as time spent assessing whether the information is exempt, the balancing of the public interest test and the time spent redacting data to make it suitable for disclosure. These functions can, however, be considered as part of the overall burden of responding to the request under Section 14 of the Act.

The Information Commission has published guidance Section 14, which can be found at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

The guidance states on page 7 that a request can be refused when ‘the effort required to meet the request will be so grossly oppressive in terms of the strain on time and resources, that the authority cannot reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how legitimate the subject matter or valid the intentions of the requester.’

The number of emails captured by Q1-5, Q6-8 and Q10 of your request amounts to c.320,000.

While you have requested only the subject lines of the emails rather than the contents of the emails themselves, that is still c.320,000 lines of text that must be manually assessed to decide whether they contain any personal, confidential or commercially sensitive data. While it may only take a matter of seconds per email, due to the number of records involved this would hundreds of hours of work.

Your request is therefore refused in accordance with both Section 12 and Section 14(1) of the Act.

In line with our Section 16 duty to provide you with relevant advice and assistance, we would recommend substantially narrowing the scope of your enquiry in any or all of the following ways:

•Reducing the number of questions asked
•Asking for a smaller timeframe
•Refining your request to a particular subject which may be identifiable through a keyword

We would be happy to consider a more narrowly-defined request in line with the Act.

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
[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
www.ico.org.uk

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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