Sarah Clarke Hardwicke Chambers Barrister - Maidstone Borough Council

Mae'r ymateb i'r cais hwn yn hwyr iawn. Yn ôl y gyfraith, ym mhob amgylchiad, dylai Maidstone Borough Council fod wedi ymateb erbyn hyn. (manylion). Gallwch gwyno drwy yn gofyn am adolygiad mewnol.

Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

Under the FOIA provide all dates that Sarah Clarke barrister at Hardwicke Chambers acted on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council at court hearings.

Maidstone Borough Council have previously stated that you have previously instructed counsel but only on 11 February 2021, was this Sarah Clarke?

Was Sarah Clarke instructed by your external solicitors on 11 February 2021 and was she instructed through their company or their partnership firm.

Did Sarah Clarke act for Maidstone Borough Council at any pre-hearings dates, prior to 11 February 2021 and was she instructed by your external solicitors through their company or their partnership firm and if so on which dates was she instructed by Maidstone Borough Council through your external solicitors to act on your behalf.

If Maidstone Borough Council have never instructed Sarah Clarke barrister to act on your behalf on any pre-hearing dates via your external solicitors, prior to 11 February 2021, then confirm how it is possible for her to act on Maidstone Borough Council's behalf at pre-hearings.

Did Maidstone Borough Council instruct your external solicitors for any pre-hearing dates prior to 11 February 2021, listed below and did you instruct them through their company or their partnership firm, please state which for each of the following dates.

12 February 2019

22 March 2019

4 June 2019

17 October 2019

23 December 2019

Please provide the date of the invoices for the above dates include the 11 February 2021 paid to your external solicitors and if this has been paid through either their company or partnership firm.

Separately list Sarah Clarke barrister's fees for each of the dates she acted on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council, list each invoice date separately and state whether her fees were paid directly by Maidstone Borough Council or whether they were paid for each date by your external solicitors through their company or partnership firm, please state which.

Please list any other dates Maidstone Borough Council have instructed Sarah Clarke to act on your behalf and whether this is through your external solicitors partnership firm or their company.

Yours faithfully,

Deb Williams

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Deb Williams

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

Ref: FOI/4134

Thank you for your request for information. We will endeavour to provide our response within statutory timescales. However, please be aware that the Council is currently facing increased pressures due to COVID-19. The Information Commissioner has released guidance to help us through this difficult time which can be found here. It allows for a more measured approach in handling FOI requests, should it be needed.

After considering your request, we may decide to refuse to supply the information under a number of exemptions that exist in legislation. For details of these exemptions, please visit the Information Commissioner’s website: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

FOI Team
Policy and Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ
w www.maidstone.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Deb Williams anodiad ()

Maidstone Borough Council should respond by 13 April 2021 and have already confirmed via another FOIA request that they have never instructed this Hardwicke Barrister SARAH CLARKE.

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Date: 13/04/2021

Ref: FOI/4134

 

 

Dear Deb Williams

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

I am writing to confirm that the Council has now completed its search for
the information you requested.

 

A copy of the information is enclosed.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review of our decision, please respond to
this email and I will pass it on to Mid Kent Legal Services to conduct a
review. Please ensure you outline your reasons for requesting a review.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

FOI Team

Policy and Information

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House King Street, Maidstone, Kent

ME15 6JQ

w [1]www.maidstone.gov.uk

 

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Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Why is Maidstone Borough Council giving out misleading information.

On the one hand claiming that you have never instructed Sarah Clarke a barrister from Hardwicke Chambers either directly or indirectly through your external solicitors either through their partnership or their company.

Yet now state that you do not hold the information concerning Maidstone Borough Council instructing Sarah Clarke as a barrister, do you not believe that the public are entitled to know, who and what they have been paying for?

This is deemed to be deceitful if in fact Maidstone Borough Council knows that she was instructed to act on your behalf on various dates.

Is this deceit due to Maidstone Borough Council not wanting to declare precisely which legal entity she was instructed through , either your external solicitors partnership and/ or company?

And hope to keep concealed what part your partnership agency Mid-Kent Services who instructs external solicitors to act on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council plays?

Yours sincerely,

Deb Williams

Gadawodd Deb Williams anodiad ()

First of many MKIP joint tender exercises undertaken; MKIP forward tender plan developed.

Openness and transparency of procurement process - We will demonstrate a commitment to achieving propriety through properly documented plans, assessments and open processes involving all stakeholders. This is particularly important in an environment of growing accountability and responsibility and in our position as a receiver of PUBLIC FUNDS we have a special responsibility to operate honestly and fairly,....

https://maidstone.gov.uk/__data/assets/p...

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 22/04/21
Ref: FOI/4134

Dear Deb Williams

Thank you for your request for an internal review. I have passed this on to Mid Kent Legal Services to review your request and the response. You will receive a response within 20 working days.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. https://ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely,

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Deb Williams

I am responding to your email dated 21 April to provide clarification regarding the Council's response to FOI/4134.

Because the Council has never instructed the barrister, that is the reason why the Council does not hold the information you requested.

If you are not satisfied with this clarification, you may request an internal review.

Yours sincerely

FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear Deb Williams

I apologise the interview review of FOI/4134 has been delayed, as it was mis-assigned.
I have spoken to the legal team who is undertaking the review and they have informed me they will have a response ready for you by 28th May.

I am sorry if this has caused you any inconvenience.

Kind regards

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gary Rowland,

Dear Deb Williams

 

Review of FOI #4134 – Hardwicke Chambers Barrister

 

I have considered your request for review, dated 21 April 2021.

 

Your request for review stated:

 

Why is Maidstone Borough Council giving out misleading information.

 

On the one hand claiming that you have never instructed Sarah Clarke a
barrister from Hardwicke Chambers either directly or indirectly through
your external solicitors either through their partnership or their
company. Yet now state that you do not hold the information concerning
Maidstone Borough Council instructing Sarah Clarke as a barrister, do you
not believe that the public are entitled to know, who and what they have
been paying for?

 

This is deemed to be deceitful if in fact Maidstone Borough Council knows
that she was instructed to act on your behalf on various dates. Is this
deceit due to Maidstone Borough Council not wanting to declare precisely
which legal entity she was instructed through , either your external
solicitors partnership and/ or company? And hope to keep concealed what
part your partnership agency Mid-Kent Services who instructs external
solicitors to act on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council plays?

 

Your initial request asked for the following information:

 

Under the FOIA provide all dates that Sarah Clarke barrister at Hardwicke
Chambers acted on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council at court hearings.

 

Maidstone Borough Council have previously stated that you have previously
instructed counsel but only on 11February 2021, was this Sarah Clarke? Was
Sarah Clarke instructed by your external solicitors on 11 February 2021
and was she instructed through their company or their partnership firm.

 

Did Sarah Clarke act for Maidstone Borough Council at any pre-hearings
dates, prior to 11 February 2021 and was she instructed by your external
solicitors through their company or their partnership firm and if so on
which dates was she instructed by Maidstone Borough Council through your
external solicitors to act on your behalf.

 

If Maidstone Borough Council have never instructed Sarah Clarke barrister
to act on your behalf on any pre-hearing dates via your external
solicitors, prior to 11 February 2021, then confirm how it is possible for
her to act on Maidstone Borough Council's behalf at pre-hearings.

 

Did Maidstone Borough Council instruct your external solicitors for any
pre-hearing dates prior to 11 February2021, listed below and did you
instruct them through their company or their partnership firm, please
state which for each of the following dates.12 February 201922 March 20194
June 201917 October 201923 December 2019 Please provide the date of the
invoices for the above dates include the 11 February 2021 paid to your
external solicitors and if this has been paid through either their company
or partnership firm.

 

Separately list Sarah Clarke barrister's fees for each of the dates she
acted on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council, list each invoice date
separately and state whether her fees were paid directly by Maidstone
Borough Council or whether they were paid for each date by your external
solicitors through their company or partnership firm, please state which.

 

Please list any other dates Maidstone Borough Council have instructed
Sarah Clarke to act on your behalf and whether this is through your
external solicitors partnership firm or their company.

 

The Council issued the following response:

 

Under the FOIA provide all dates that Sarah Clarke barrister at Hardwicke
Chambers acted on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council at court hearings. 

 

This information is not held by the Council. 

 

Maidstone Borough Council have previously stated that you have previously
instructed counsel but only on 11 February 2021, was this Sarah Clarke? 

 

This information is not held by the Council. 

 

Was Sarah Clarke instructed by your external solicitors on 11 February
2021 and was she instructed through their company or their partnership
firm. 

 

This information is not held by the Council. 

 

Did Sarah Clarke act for Maidstone Borough Council at any pre-hearings
dates, prior to 11 February 2021 and was she instructed by your external
solicitors through their company or their partnership firm and if so on
which dates was she instructed by Maidstone Borough Council through your
external solicitors to act on your behalf. 

 

This information is not held by the Council.

 

If Maidstone Borough Council have never instructed Sarah Clarke barrister
to act on your behalf on any pre-hearing dates via your external
solicitors, prior to 11 February 2021, then confirm how it is possible for
her to act on Maidstone Borough Council's behalf at pre-hearings.  

 

This information is not held by the Council. 

 

Did Maidstone Borough Council instruct your external solicitors for any
pre-hearing dates prior to 11 February 2021, listed below and did you
instruct them through their company or their partnership firm, please
state which for each of the following dates. 

12 February 2019 

22 March 2019

4 June 2019 

17 October 2019  

23 December 2019 

 

This information is not held by the Council. 

 

Please provide the date of the invoices for the above dates include the 11
February 2021 paid to your external solicitors and if this has been paid
through either their company or partnership firm.  

 

This information is not held by the Council. 

 

Separately list Sarah Clarke barrister's fees for each of the dates she
acted on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council, list each invoice date
separately and state whether her fees were paid directly by Maidstone
Borough Council or whether they were paid for each date by your external
solicitors through their company or partnership firm, please state which. 

 

This information is not held by the Council.  Please list any other dates
Maidstone Borough Council have instructed Sarah Clarke to act on your
behalf and whether this is through your external solicitors partnership
firm or their company. 

 

This information is not held by the Council.

 

Response

 

Having reviewed your request for review, I uphold the Council’s response.

 

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information
held by public authorities. The Act covers any recorded information that
is held by a public authority. Recorded information includes printed
documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or
video recordings.

 

In your request for review you state “on the one hand claiming that you
have never instructed Sarah Clarke a barrister from Hardwicke Chambers
either directly or indirectly through your external solicitors either
through their partnership or their company. Yet now state that you do not
hold the information”. I can confirm that whilst these responses differ,
in this instance they essentially have the same meaning. The Council holds
no recorded information in relation to the instruction of Sarah Clarke, as
the Council has never instructed her directly. The Council instructs an
external firm of solicitors who then decide whether a barrister should be
appointed and if so, who will represent the Council.

 

The second part of your request is seeking opinion rather than recorded
information and as such, I am unable to respond.  

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your review, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Gary Rowland

Senior Lawyer (GCILEx) - Corporate Governance

Mid Kent Legal Services | Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough
Councils

Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10
3HT

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Town Hall, Civic Way, Tunbridge Wells,
TN1 1RS

Tel: (01622) 602276   Email: [1][email address]

[2]www.swale.gov.uk     
[3]www.maidstone.gov.uk       [4]www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk

 

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References

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4. http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/

Dear Gary Rowland,

Concealment of who has been instructed to act on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council cannot be classed as transparency. Just because you state Maidstone Borough Council have not instructed SARAH CLARKE directly through your partnership agents Mid Kent Services but via their Agents does not mean you can conceal when she was indirectly instructed through your various agents.

She either did or did not attend on Maidstone Borough Council behalf on the dates quoted including 11 February 2021 and would have recieved payment , so did she attend and what was she paid.

Yours sincerely,

Deb Williams

Gadawodd Deb Williams anodiad ()

Why would MBC want to conceal who they have instructed and paid to act on their behalf in court?

Why would they swop and change their answers which definitely do not essentially mean the same thing at all, who have been instructed through Mid Kent Services partnership Agents to instruct further outside Agents to instruct more Agents etc are they trying to side step liability ?

Who is paying all these AGENTS