Query related to FOI number 3808

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,

In the City Council's response to FOI number 3808 titled "Any letters/e-mails of support to the motorcycle parking charge?", I was advised of the following on 29th July 2009 by Mr Deas:-

"WCC is unable to provide details on the number of letters of support that have been received in relation to the motorcycle-parking scheme. This is because all emails, letters, received, concerning the scheme, have not been categorised as objections, in support of, or other. As a result, the data you have requested is not held by the City Council".

As a reminder, FOI number 3808 asked for the number of emails/letters of support received by the Council, if any, to the motorcycle parking tax as at 31st March 2009 and during the month of April 2009.

Here is a link to the FOI request where you will be able to find all the correspondence about it, including the City Council's statement above. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/an...

I have just come across the Westminster Labour news website, which state the following, on 25th March 2009, 5 days before 31st March 2009, being the date as at which I asked for the information:-

"Three thousand people have written to Westminster City Council to object to the Council’s £150 a year/£1.50 a day motorbike parking tax. And not one single person has written to the Council to support the new parking tax".

Here is the link to this statement: http://www.labourmatters.com/westminster...

Question:

Can you please explain how Mr Deas advised on 29th July 2009 that "WCC is unable to provide details on the number of letters of support that have been received in relation to the motorcycle-parking scheme" and "the data you (I) have requested is not held by the City Council", when Westminster Labour Councillors advised exactly the opposite on 25th March 2009?

Surely, the information requested is available somewhere in the City Council, otherwise Westminster Labour Councillors would not have been able to advise that not a single person had written to the Council to support the new parking tax.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Thomas

Gadawodd David Boothroyd anodiad ()

I think the press release took its lead from the report to the Built Environment P+S committee on 31 March (http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/newcsu/Po...), paragraph 5.3, which stated "Up until the closing date of Wednesday 18th February 2009, 2930 objections to the scheme were received from members of the public and businesses." The report went on to analyse these and other objections in great detail.

The report made no mention of the council receiving any supporting representations whatsoever. That might have been helpful information for the committee members and in the light of what we know about Westminster's approach on this generally, it might reasonably be expected that any support would be given the highest publicity. If the report didn't mention any support, it could only be because they wasn't any to report.

I don't know if this sheds any light on why the council should respond to the FOI saying it hadn't checked the responses for supporters, given that officers had done detailed analysis of the reasons given for objecting.

FOI, Westminster City Council

Dear Mr Thomas

Thank you for your recent request to the Council. You asked for the following information regarding comments made about the motorcycle parking scheme:

Why Westminster City Council have advised on 29th July 2009 that "WCC is unable to provide details on the number of letters of support that have been received in relation to the motorcycle-parking scheme" and "the data you (I) have requested is not held by the City Council", when Westminster Labour Councillors advised exactly the opposite on 25th March 2009?

Response

Following discussions with the relevant department, I can now advise you of the following:

The response given by Mr Deas on the 29th July was in response to the question "how many letters and e-mails of support, if any, Westminster City Council received with regards to the recently introduced motorcycle parking charge as at 31st March 2009 and during the month of April 2009". This request was interpreted as referring to ALL correspondence received by the council during this period relating to the Motorcycle Parking Charge. As Mr Deas advised in his response, the Council does not categorise correspondence in this way. Therefore we do not hold this information for the purposes of Section 1(4) of the Freedom of Information Act. A description of when information is held by a public authority is available from the Information Commissioner's website: http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

At the same time as receiving general correspondence relating to the scheme, the Council also ran a consultation regarding whether or not to make the Motorcycle charge scheme permanent. Individuals were asked to lodge any objections to this proposal. These formal objections were then recorded and presented to the Scrutiny Committee and it is to these figures that the press release you provided refers to.

I trust that this information fulfils your requirements and explains the apparent discrepancy between figures.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Preston
Knowledge and Information Management Team
Information Services
Westminster City Council
101 Orchardson Street
London
NW8 8EA
Tel: 020 7641 3332
Fax: 020 7641 2872
Email: [Westminster City Council request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Westminster City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Query related to FOI number 3808'.

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

Your latest response is unacceptable and does not answer the question set. The question I asked in this FOI is why Westminster Labour Councillors advised at the time that not a single person had written to the Council to support the new parking tax, when you advised in your response to FOI number 3808 that you were unable to advise the number of letters of support to the same motorcycle parking tax that the Council received.

Now you are saying that the Council does not categorise information in this way and that you do not hold the information required to answer my question.

Well, I still would like to be officially explained why Labour Councillors advised that not a single person had written in to support the motorcycle parking tax, when I am told that the Council they work for does not hold this information.

Either the Labour Councillors involved lied to the public, or your response above contains false information. For the Labour Councillors to have advised that not a single person had written to the Council to support the motorcycle parking tax, they must have obtained this information from somewhere. If it's not from the Council, then where from? Please explain.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Thomas

Gadawodd Blue anodiad ()

Councillor Rupert D Cruz specifically asked Kevin Goad three times on March the 31st 2009 how many letters the Council had received in support of the bike parking tax.

The answer from Kevin Goad was none.

So perhaps the FOI team or the parking department could ask where he got his figure from.

This answer is also available on the Councils own video of the meeting.

Preston, Catherine, Westminster City Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Thomas

Please find attached the Council's response to your recent
correspondence.

Yours sincerely
Catherine Preston
Knowledge and Information Management Team
Information Services
Westminster City Council
101 Orchardson Street
London
NW8 8EA
Tel: 020 7641 3332
Fax: 020 7641 2872
Email: [Westminster City Council request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Nathen Brooke anodiad ()

I see now the FOI team are using the word vexatious in more than one of their replies.

May I remind the Council that it quite vexatious to introduce an illegal tax on PTW parking in the first place.

It is quite vexatious to learn how much the tendering and award of contracts have been covered up and are not open to public scrutiny.

It is quite vexatious to learn that your ward councillors do not hold surgeries to meet with residents or even wish to reply to them (Cllr Chalkley).

It is quite vexatious to issue PCN's to PTW's when no reminders to renew a permit have been sent.

It is quite vexatious to see a Council officer (Mr Fiztall) actively encourage opposition to a legal protest and deliberately giving misleading statements to the BBC, and using our money to do so.

It is quite vexatious for councillors to be rude, sexiest and ignorant towards the public (Cllr Burbridge).

It is quite vexatious to brand a legal campaign group opposing to your policy as rogues and bully boys.

So when you are asked for the number of letters which approve of your illegal parking tax you have the bare faced cheek to say you may consider this vexatious. Keving Goad seem to know the answer to this question on the 31st March 2009, could it be you do not want to admit that you cannot produce not one single letter of support for this illegal tax, yes that's it you have not one letter of support?

Just remember who pays your wages, we do, and your threats certainly put you in the frame as a co conspirator in this whole dirty cover-up.

Gadawodd Mr Thomas anodiad ()

Can anyone post the link to the 31st March 2009 scrutiny committee video please, preferably from Westminster Council's website, if it is there. I will then send a note back to the council before I put this FOI to bed. Thanks.

Dear Ms Preston,

Thank you very much for your time in answering this FOI request.

I note that you have used the word "vexatious" in your latest response. While you may find the nature of this FOI request vexatious, and I respect your point of view, may I advise you that I, in turn, find your response vexatious. I have recently been reminded of the 31st March 2009 scrutiny committee video, in which Councillor Rupert D Cruz asked how many residents, who responded to a survey about the motorcyle parking tax, responded favourably to the scheme. According to the video, the answer was NONE, and the parking officers present at the meeting (namely Kevin Goad and Kieran Fitsall) didn't deny it.

Here is the extract where Councillor Rupert D Cruz asked the question. If you point the cursor to 7.30 and watch from there, you will see for yourself what was said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8mspBGtL...

Although my original question referred to the total number of letters and emails received by the Council in favour of the motorcycle parking tax, whether from residents or not, it appears that the contents of the above video provide a partial response to the question.

I therefore consider, contrary to what you have advised in your latest response, that I had not exhausted the council's review procedure and that something could indeed be added by revisiting this FOI request, which is precisely what I have just done. In your response, you have failed to refer to the 31st March 2009 scrutiny committee meeting video (which I believe was posted on the City Council's website for a few weeks after that date), in which part of the answer to the FOI is available. This is indeed, in my opinion, vexatious.

Like you have advised, I do not wish to enter into any further correspondence with you or the Council with regards to this FOI request, however, I am sure that the members of the public who read this correspondence will draw their own conclusions about the way this FOI request has been handled by the City Council.

Many thanks again for your time and response.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Thomas