Morse review final draft shared with HMRC team before factual errors were corrected

Stephen Campbell made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Her Majesty's Treasury

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Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Her Majesty's Treasury.

Dear Her Majesty's Treasury,

I would like to ask HMT to share the Amyas Morse Loan Charge Review draft that was shared with a small number of HMRC staff under "strictly controlled conditions" and was (apparently) marked-up by hand before being returned to Loan Charge Review Secretariat for factual errors to be corrected.

I originally made an FOI under the following request :

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

In the response to this, HMRC confirmed that they received a printed draft of the Morse Review which was marked-up by hand and returned to the Loan Charge Review Secretariat. I am asking that the supplied draft be shared so that the "factual errors" corrected by the small HMRC team can be ascertained.

Please publish the review draft document in full and in the state it was in before being printed and handed over to the small HMRC team who manually checked it. Unfortunately, HMRC didn't keep a record of the marked-up version they handed back to LCR Secretariat but an electronic version of the draft is obviously available from the computer systems supplied to the HMC staff who were seconded to the independent LCR team.

The paragraph on page 2 of the FOIA response I received from HMRC makes clear that LCR Secretariat has the relevant document version:

"A small number of government officials in HMRC and HM Treasury were provided early sight
of the Independent Loan Charge Review under strict and controlled conditions. This was to
correct any factual errors ahead of publication and was provided in hard copy. All copies
were returned to Sir Amyas Morse and the Review team and HMRC did not retain any
copies.
"
I am asking for the electronic version of the document draft that produced this hard copy to be produced in full.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Campbell

FOI Requests, Her Majesty's Treasury

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eCase@hmtreasury.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Requests, Her Majesty's Treasury

Our ref: FOI2020/46039

Dear Mr Campbell,

Thank you for your request for information which we are considering under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This is to confirm receipt of your request and to let you know that it is
receiving attention. If you have any enquiries regarding your request do
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Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit | Correspondence and Information Rights | HM
Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ [1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

Correspondence and Information Rights | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road,
London, SW1A 2HQ [2]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

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2. http://www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

FOI Requests, Her Majesty's Treasury

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Campbell

 

Please find attached a letter in response to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Unit | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A
2HQ   [1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

 

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Dear Her Majesty's Treasury,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Her Majesty's Treasury's handling of my FOI request 'Morse review final draft shared with HMRC team before factual errors were corrected'.

The basis for the refusal is stated as follows:

“All evidence received by the Review will be destroyed at its conclusion and
those that provided evidence were informed of this at the time.”

That paragraph was clearly inserted to cover the evidence received by the review from external parties and presumably designed to protect the "expert witnesses" which is understandable. However, amendments made to the final draft of the review documents by HMT and HMRC staff not seconded to the LCR team were designed to correct facts (not provide evidence). Amendments made to this document draft by these HMT or HMRC staff cannot therefore properly be categorised as "evidence" in the same way that the wording used as the basis for the refusal intended.

Further, there have been many FOI responses that have released documents related to the Loan Charge Review that contain similar examples of drafting changes made by HMRC or HMT staff. An example of such a request is provided here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i.... This response includes details of amendments made to the published scope document for the Loan Charge Review, including amendments made by HMRC staff. On the basis that these were made by HMRC and/or HMT staff, and were designed to correct facts in the review scope, surely this would have been categorised as "evidence" and destroyed and the FOIs refused on the same basis?

Given the huge and life-changing impacts of the Loan Charge Review recommendations on 50,000 families, publishing information on what cannot be categorised as "evidence" is clearly in the public interest and must be released. People have taken their lives and more lives will be lost to the legislation enacted on the basis of the review findings and recommendations.

I am satisfied that, on the balance of probability, HMT holds an electronic draft of the report (as an EMail attachment or stored on a file system or data backup service) that was allegedly marked-up by hand. This should be released to enable the public to assess for themselves whether there was yet further interference in the wording of the review findings.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Campbell

FOI Requests, Her Majesty's Treasury

Dear Mr Campbell

Thank you for your email regarding your request for an internal review.

I can confirm that your review request was received on 19 January and is
receiving attention under our reference IR2021/01794.

There is no statutory deadline for responding to internal review requests.

However, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidelines and the
2018 FOI Code of Practice, we aim to complete  internal reviews within 20
working days.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit | Correspondence and Information Rights | HM
Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ  
[1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI Requests, Her Majesty's Treasury

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Campbell

Please find attached a letter in response to your Internal Review request.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A
2HQ   [1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the
use of the individual(s) to whom they are addressed. If you are not the
intended recipient and have received this email in error, please notify
the sender and delete the email. This footnote also confirms that our
email communications may be monitored to ensure the secure and effective
operation of our systems and for other lawful purposes, and that this
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Dear FOI Requests,

This case is now with ICO and they have accepted it for further investigation.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Campbell