Further Information Request

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,

In response to a recent FOI you revealed that Mark Bousfield, a Senior Director of the Combined Authority, had 43 meetings with, and over 90 email correspondence, with James (Jim) Gill.

Mr Gill was listed as a member of the senior leadership team of Granite Turner (previously called MIDIA Group). MIDIA was reported to have been selected as a joint venture partner for the taking forward of the Festivals Garden site which Steve Rotherham accounted funding support to. It is understood that MIDIA/Granite Turner were removed from being involved at a subsequent point in time. Their original selection was understood to be by Liverpool City Council and that selection process may be subject to wider review.

Gill's name was removed from the Granite Turner website at the point that questions started to be asked about these relationships.

Please provide the minutes of each of the 43 meetings between Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill.

Please provide of copy of each email between between Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill.

Did the Combined Authority alert Mr Gill of the FOI submission.

Your FOI response indicates that Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill speak twice a month on the phone. Sources say that they speak 'practically daily'. It is reasonable to expect the Authority to be able to provide accurate information on the number of phone conversations had by a senior member of staff with property developers; it would be reasonable to expect these are recorded in some way to ensure that propriety in the way funding is given is maintained. Please reconsider your response to the previous FOI in this regard.

How much money was allocated to the Festival Gardens project?

Did Mr Bousfield play any role in that decision making process?

Yours faithfully,

James Buchanan

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Buchanan

RSN22075

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

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Buchanan

 

RSN22075

 

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

 

Please provide the minutes of each of the 43 meetings between Mr Bousfield
and Mr Gill.

 

Upon reviewing our previous response, officers realised that there had in
fact been 29 meetings between Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill, rather than the 43
stated. This miscalculation was as a result of including meetings that
were scheduled but either did not or had not yet taken place. Our
apologies for the mistake. These meetings were all related to the SIF
Panel or the Liverpool City Region Economy Recovery Panel.

 

As explained in our response to your enquiry regarding the SIF Panel
(RSN22075), the matters and papers considered at these meetings are both
numerous and highly sensitive. For the reasons explained in our response
to RSN22075, the exercise of reviewing the information, consulting with
relevant parties and preparing the documents for disclosure would place a
disproportionate effort on the Combined Authority. The Act allows a public
body to aggregate the cost of responding to separate FOI requests received
from the same requester within a 60 working day period, so the fact that
this information has been asked for in separate requests in not relevant.

 

As stated in RSN22075, this aspect of your request is refused in
accordance with Section 12 and Section 14(1) of the Act. Should you wish
to reduce the scope of your enquiry to a particular project, theme or
timeframe, we would be happy to reconsider your request in line with the
legislation.

 

Please provide of copy of each email between Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill.

 

In our initial response we stated that there were in excess of 90 email
conversations between Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill. Upon review, we can now
confirm that there have been 103 separate email threads, with the
overwhelming majority related to the work of the SIF Panel and the
circulation of papers ahead of meetings.

 

As above and with RSN22075, the work required to respond to this enquiry
would place a disproportionate effort on the Combined Authority. We would,
again, be happy to consider a revised request in line with the
legislation.

 

Did the Combined Authority alert Mr Gill of the FOI submission.

 

No.

 

Your FOI response indicates that Mr Bousfield and Mr Gill speak twice a
month on the phone. Sources say that they speak 'practically daily'. It is
reasonable to expect the Authority to be able to provide accurate
information on the number of phone conversations had by a senior member of
staff with property developers; it would be reasonable to expect these are
recorded in some way to ensure that propriety in the way funding is given
is maintained. Please reconsider your response to the previous FOI in this
regard.

 

The Combined Authority has checked our records again, and have no further
information to provide in response to this question.

 

As explained in our response to your enquiry RSN22075, decisions on the
allocation of SIF funds are made by the Combined Authority meetings. The
work of the SIF Panel is advisory only.

 

How much money was allocated to the Festival Gardens project?

 

As stated in the published minutes of the 20^th March 2020 Liverpool City
Region Combined Authority meeting (available at [1]this link), the
Festival Gardens project was awarded £26.9m from the Strategic Investment
Fund.

 

Did Mr Bousfield play any role in that decision making process?

 

As the Director of Commercial Development and Investment, Mr Bousfield was
the lead Director on this matter, which means that his role is to offer
advice to the members of the Combined Authority. Any funding decision is a
decision of the Combined Authority, not Mr Bousfield.

 

I trust that this information if 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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