Third party clients of LDL

Katie M. made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Liverpool City Council.

Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please provide a list of all third party clients of LDL. You will hold the information since all such agreements have to be approved by LCC.
I would expect the list to include details of the "four other councils, two central government departments, over 10 third sector bodies and quasi non-governmental organisations, a police service and 300 schools" that the CEO of LDL told the Guardian about, in an article published in 2009 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/government-com...).
To avoid unnecessary prevarication and delay, I would point out that while the details of the agreements may well be confidential, their existence, and the names of clients, are not. Indeed LDL itself boasts about a number of these clients in its Annual Reports. I would also point out that it does not matter whether or not you "own" this information - since you hold it, you are required to disclose it.

Cordially,

Katie M.

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Atodiad

Please find attached acknowledgement letter
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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Dear Kevin Symm,

Thank you for your prompt response.
May I also thank you for addressing me with my real name, Catherine Byrne. As you are clearly aware, Katie M is a name I use to log in and comment on this site.

Dear Mr Symm,

This response is now overdue

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Atodiad

Please find attached response
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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Dear Mr Symm,

Thank you for your response, which I reproduce below:

"Freedom of Information Request 174610

Thank you for your recent request received 21 November 2011. Your request was actioned under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in which you requested the following information:

· Please provide a list of all third party clients of LDL

Response:

I can confirm that the City Council holds information some but not all of the information you have requested.

Liverpool City Council can confirm that Liverpool Direct Limited has provided work for the following organisations:

Archbishop Blanche LMS
B&D Croft Building & Ci
Edward Ratcliffe Ltd
Enterprise South Liverpool
Liverpool PCT
Liverpool Mutual Homes
Secondary Education Centre
The Academy of St Francis
The Belvedere Academy
Tuneside Ltd
Walton Childrens Centre
White Building Services

However we cannot confirm or deny whether there are additional organsations as all third party clients of Liverpool Direct Limited are commissioned via British Telecom and not by Liverpool City Council. As a result the City Council holds no further information.

The City Council is only aware of third party details where staff seconded from the City Council to Liverpool Direct Limited are directly involved.

I trust this information satisfies your enquiry."

It is very disappointing to receive such a short list, when LDL itself has boasted of having around 350 external clients. You have listed 12.
I am also puzzled at the statement that LCC is only aware of the details of third party clients when LCC-seconded staff are involved. Quite apart from the fact that LCC has to approve all third party work, surely the CEO of LDL is seconded from LCC - is he not aware of what the company is doing?
I would also ask you to clarify what the word "commissioned" means in this context.
Contracts are not usually "commissioned" - they are awarded, concluded, signed, etc. So I do not understand what "contracts are commissioned via BT" actually means.
Does it mean that the contracts are between the third party and BT, or one of its subsidiaries?
And does this mean that LDL is a subcontractor of BT? If this is the case, does LCC not have information on these subcontracts, given that the Council has previously asserted that 300 of the jobs created at LDL for LCC-seconded staff are due to the third party work the company undertakes?
So I would ask you to review the information provided, taking these considerations into account. I appreciate that you may feel that some of the issues raised above constitute further requests for information - if that is the case, I would be most grateful for any suggestions you may have about how to proceed.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I am unable to conduct an internal review of our response as you have
asked for clarification and submitted further questions.

I will have your enquiry logged and responded to under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Atodiad

Please find attached acknowledgement letter
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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Dear Mr Symm,

This response is overdue. Could you please let me know why it has been delayed and when I might receive a response?

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office until the 6 February 2012

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Data Protection Act
1998 please forward it to: [email address]

Please note, the request will only be considered received when it is sent
to the information requests email address

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Mr Symm,

On 23 December you logged my request for clarification of the response to my original request as a new request for information, with your reference no. 179125.
On 6 February I reminded you that I had received no response - and received an automatic out-of-the-office response on the same date.
This request is now several weeks overdue - could you please inform me when I will receive a response?

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I am still chasing the information you requested but have not been
provided with it as yet.

I have can assure you I am doing everything I can to get our response to
you as quickly as possible.

Please accept my apologies for this delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Mr Symm,

Thanks for the prompt response - and the explanation.

Catherine Byrne

Dear Mr Symm,

This response is now very very overdue.
It is hard to understand why it is difficult to obtain information that has been published, in part, in the Guardian, on the BT website, in LDL's own annual reports and in a number of specialist publications.
I will be making a complaint to the Information Commissioner if I do not receive a full list of LDL's 300 plus clients by Friday, together with an explanation of precisely why the first response to this question produced such a very short list.
Yours sincerely,

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Data Protection Act
1998 please forward it to: [email address]

Please note, the request will only be considered received when it is sent
to the information requests email address

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Liverpool City Council,

I sent the request below to Kevin Symm this morning, and received an out of office message in response.
Would you please confirm receipt of this message by an actual person.

Dear Mr. Symm,

This response is now very very overdue.
It is hard to understand why it is difficult to obtain information that has been published, in part, in the Guardian, on the BT website, in LDL's own annual reports and in a number of specialist publications.
I will be making a complaint to the Information Commissioner if I do not receive a full list of LDL's 300 plus clients by Friday, together with an explanation of precisely why the first response to
this question produced such a very short list.
Yours sincerely,

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Dear Mr Symm,

I note that you are now back at work (responses to other FOI requests on the whatdotheyknow site).
You told me on 15 February that you were chasing up this information, and since then I have heard nothing further (despite weekly reminders, which received no response from anyone).
Would you please be so kind as to update me on the status of this request.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I have been away from the office for the last 2 weeks so have been
unable to chase the information you require during this time

I have asked for the relevant service area to provide the information
you require as quickly as possible.

Please accept my apologies for this delay and my assurances that I am
doing all I can to gather a response.

Once I have received any information I will ensure it is with you as
soon as possible.

If, in the meantime, I can be of assistance regarding this or any other
matter please do not hesitate in contacting me

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Mr Symm,

Thank you for your prompt and courteous response.
While I appreciate the explanation, this has gone on far too long, and I have today submitted a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office until the 12 March

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Data Protection Act
1998 please forward it to: [email address]

Please note, the request will only be considered received when it is sent
to the information requests email address

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Atodiad

Please find attached response
Please accept my apologies for delay in providing the attached information
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Dear Mr Symm,

Thank you for this response.
While I appreciate your efforts, this information does not satisfy my request, because it does not properly address the issues I had sought clarification on. And there is no review of the inaccurate information I received in the response to my initial question, which clearly indicated that I wanted a list of all 3rd party clients, not just a handful of minor ones.

Please clarify the following statements:

1) "However, whilst the CEO of LDL is a secondee from the City Council, contractually his responsibilities end with LDL and, as such, they are under no obligation to provide the City Council with any information regarding work undertaken via contracts established by BT"
I do not understand what "they" refers to (as in ....they are under no obligation). The CEO? The company? Whatever Mr McElhinney's obligations may be - to LDL, to LCC and to BT, the company does have obligations to provide proper accounting information to LCC. Stated clearly in the JVA.
This statement means that the council has no way of knowing how much work is actually done for itself, and how much for third parties, by its own secondees, whose salaries it pays. Is this really the case? It should not be.

2) "Finally the City Council can confirm that LDL is not a subcontractor of BT. ..... BT obtains work which is then directed to LDL to be carried by way of a contract between LDL and the customer."
I would appreciate an explanation of what "directed" means, in this context.
If BT obtains the work, then the customer is a customer of BT, and if the work is then subsequently carried out by LDL, then LDL is a subcontractor of BT. If BT sets up, arranges, procures or otherwise facilitates things, then the contracts are between LDL and the customer. BT in this case may well receive commission.
But in either case LDL will earn income. No company would or could do work for nothing, and no board of directors could ever agree to such a thing. Especially the directors of this company, who have to obtain the specific approval of LCC before accepting any 3rd party work whatsoever.
But previous information requests have stated that LDL has no contracts with anyone. Indeed, according to the published annual accounts of the company, drawn up according to the proper accounting standards, LDL does not have any income from anyone other than the Council.
This does not make sense. Please explain.

3)"LDL was established under a joint venture agreement to carry out work included under the terms of this agreement."
This statement conflates the JVA that created LDL and the service agreements in existence between LCC and LDL.
The JVA sets out the ownership, governance and control of the limited company set up as a joint venture between BT and LCC. And the company purpose, which is to provide services etc. to the council and to third parties, with the proviso that all third party work is subject to the specific approval of the council (joint control).
LDL then provides services to LCC under the service level agreement(s). Two different things.
This misconception/conflation is presumably the reason why LDL does not include any of the income it earns from 3rd parties in its annual accounts.

I apologise for all this detail, but I hope that by doing so I can preempt any further inaccurate responses and get the information I an actually seeking.
May I remind you of the timescales involved - the review I requested in December is now 12 weeks overdue, as is the further request. So both the review and the clarification should be provided without further delay.
I should inform you that I submitted a complaint about the timing and content of Council's response to this request to the Information Commissioner last week. I will be forwarding any further correspondence in due course.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

 

Thank you for your email of 23 March 2012, your comments have been noted.

 

I am unable to assist you any further with this matter as the main content
of your email relates to comments or opinions that you have raised. I
would advise that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides
requesters with a right of access to information held by the City Council
in electronic, digital or hard copy format. It does not require the
Council to respond to comments or opinions raised by a requester.

 

However, you have requested clarification on a couple of points and I will
address them as follows:

 

In point 1 you have asked for clarification of 'they'. I can confirm this
term is used in relation to the CEX of Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL).

 

In point 2 you have requested an explanation of the term 'directed'. In
this context the term means given or passed to.

 

You have also made reference in point 2 to the published annual accounts
of LDL. Liverpool City Council does not draw up LDL's accounts and as such
any enquiries regarding these should be directed to LDL.

 

I would further advise that I have revisited your original request, dated
24 October 2011, ref 170895 to establish if it was dealt with in
accordance with FOIA. I have checked our response to you and where we hold
the information you have requested it has been provided to you. At no
point have we applied exemptions for the non-disclosure of information you
have requested. It would appear that where you have not been given
information it is due to the fact that Liverpool City Council does not
hold it.

 

Finally, you mention an outstanding internal review which has not been
responded to by the City Council. After interrogating our case management
system I have been unable to locate this request. Could you provide either
the case reference number generated by the Council or the email address
generated from the whatdotheyknow.com website from which you submitted the
request and I will check our system further.

 

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

 

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Dear Mr Symm,

The internal review I referred to is a review of the accuracy of the initial response, given the large number of clients LDL alleges it has.
The list of clients provided did not include several large clients whose relationships with LDL are public knowledge: Northumbria Police, the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre, Reigage and Banstead Borough Council, and the Security Industry Authority.
The services provided to these clients by LDL are mentioned on their websites, and in some cases on LDL's website.
The excuse given for the short list is that you only know about clients when LCC-seconded staff are involved. LCC seconded staff are involved in the delivery of services to all these clients, so I would ask you to please review the response.
Finally, I would point out that the identity of LDL's clients can hardly be considered commercially sensitive or confidential if both parties are boasting about the relationships in the press and on their websites.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Dear Mr Symm,

I provided details of my request for an internal review of your response to this question in an email dated 12 April. To date no-one has even acknowledged this, much less replied.
Whether or not you provided a formal acknowledgement, this request is not seriously overdue. Please provide an update.

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office until the 22nd May

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Data Protection Act
1998 please forward it to: [email address]

Please note, the request will only be considered received when it is sent
to the information requests email address

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I have checked all emails I am in possession of which I have received from you and cannot find any record of the email you are referring to.

However, if you could re-send the email in question I will deal with it as quickly as I can.

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 225 3132 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Mr Symm,

All the correspondence on this request is available on the whatdotheyknow website - http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/th...

However, to expedite things, I reproduce the relevant email below. The email of yours to which mine is a response is reproduced below that.

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

EMAILS PUBLISHED ON WHATDOTHEYKNOW:

From: Katie M.

12 April 2012
Dear Mr Symm,

The internal review I referred to is a review of the accuracy of the initial response, given the large number of clients LDL alleges it has.
The list of clients provided did not include several large clients whose relationships with LDL are public knowledge: Northumbria Police, the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre, Reigage and Banstead Borough Council, and the Security Industry Authority.
The services provided to these clients by LDL are mentioned on their websites, and in some cases on LDL's website.
The excuse given for the short list is that you only know about clients when LCC-seconded staff are involved. LCC seconded staff are involved in the delivery of services to all these clients, so I
would ask you to please review the response.
Finally, I would point out that the identity of LDL's clients can hardly be considered commercially sensitive or confidential if both parties are boasting about the relationships in the press and on
their websites.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

From: Symm, Kevin
Liverpool City Council

12 April 2012

Dear Ms Byrne

Thank you for your email of 23 March 2012, your comments have been noted.

I am unable to assist you any further with this matter as the main content of your email relates to comments or opinions that you have raised. I would advise that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides
requesters with a right of access to information held by the City Council in electronic, digital or hard copy format. It does not require the Council to respond to comments or opinions raised by a requester.

However, you have requested clarification on a couple of points and I will address them as follows:

In point 1 you have asked for clarification of 'they'. I can confirm this term is used in relation to the CEX of Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL).

In point 2 you have requested an explanation of the term 'directed'. In this context the term means given or passed to.

You have also made reference in point 2 to the published annual accounts of LDL. Liverpool City Council does not draw up LDL's accounts and as such
any enquiries regarding these should be directed to LDL.

I would further advise that I have revisited your original request, dated 24 October 2011, ref 170895 to establish if it was dealt with in accordance with FOIA. I have checked our response to you and where we hold the information you have requested it has been provided to you. At no point have we applied exemptions for the non-disclosure of information you
have requested. It would appear that where you have not been given information it is due to the fact that Liverpool City Council does not hold it.

Finally, you mention an outstanding internal review which has not been responded to by the City Council. After interrogating our case management system I have been unable to locate this request. Could you provide either the case reference number generated by the Council or the email address generated from the whatdotheyknow.com website from which you submitted the
request and I will check our system further.

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132

Dear Mr Symm,

Just to be clear, I am asking you to reconsider the statement "It would appear that where you have not been given information it is due to the fact that Liverpool City Council does not hold it." Because this is not actually true.
It certainly held it 3 years ago: I would draw your attention, in particular, to an "eGovernment Awards Submission" by Liverpool City Council submitted in June 2009 which mentions by name a great many third parties for which LDL had worked, up to that date. Most of them are missing from the list you supplied me with.
This document is available on the epractice.eu website - a website created by the European Commission - at http://www.epractice.eu/files/LCC%20Euro....

Cordially

Catherine Byrne

Gadawodd Jenny Griffin anodiad ()

For everybody's benefit, this is a copy of Mr Symm's response to Ms Byrne :

"Response:

The City Council can confirm that it holds information relevant under the terms of your request which is as follows:

The City Council can confirm that the CEO of Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL) will be fully aware of any work being carried out by LDL. However, whilst the CEO of LDL is a secondee from the City Council, contractually his responsibilities end with LDL and, as such, they are under no obligation to provide the City Council with any information regarding work undertaken via contracts established by BT.

However, during the course of gathering information for this response additional research has been carried out which has confirmed that the value of 3rd party income from LDL to LCC from 21 July 2001 to 31 December 2011 is circa £1.27m.

With regards to the use of the term "commissioned", the City Council acknowledges that the use of this term in this context may have been unclear. Upon review we can confirm that there is no relationship between the use of the term "commissioned" and its bearing upon the contracts. The terms “established” or “set up” would have been more appropriate and the City Council apologises for this confusion.

Finally the City Council can confirm that LDL is not a subcontractor of BT. LDL was established under a joint venture agreement to carry out work included under the terms of this agreement. BT obtains work which is then directed to LDL to be carried by way of a contract between LDL and the customer. There is no involvement from Liverpool City Council regarding the establishment of any contract set up by BT

I trust this information satisfies your enquiry"

What tosh. I'm particularly incensed by this statement, which refers to an officer of Liverpool City Council : "However, whilst the CEO of LDL is a secondee from the City Council, contractually his responsibilities end with LDL and, as such, they are under no obligation to provide the City Council with any information regarding work undertaken via contracts established by BT".

So is David McElhinney a council officer or an agent of BT? Is he somehow exempted from the usual expectations of probity, independence and accountability?

I note, also, the following staement : " . . the value of 3rd party income from LDL to LCC from 21 July 2001 to 31 December 2011 is circa £1.27m". This appears to say that the value to the council is £1.27m, rather than that the value to LDL is £1.27m. Indeed, this money doesn't appear in LDL's accounts at all. I know the answer before I ask the question - the contracts are all direct with BT, cutting LDL out of the loop. All LDL does is provide taxpayer-funded staff to provide services which are billed directly by BT. There's a word for this.

Gadawodd Katie M. anodiad ()

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for reproducing this, there were several extraordinary assertions that I didn't pursue at the time I read them - but concentrated on other perplexing statements.
There is a clear statement that LDL is not a subcontractor of BT, and that, after BT has procured work, LDL then carries it out under a contract with the third party customer.
None of this is true. According to what is probably LDL's biggest client, the Security Industry Authority (response to FOI requests), they do not have a contract with LDL, they have a contract with BT. But the point is that LDL definitely do this work - and whether as subcontractor of BT (which they clearly are), or by virtue of direct contracts with the third parties, they are surely paid, because according to the SIA's own accounts, it pays something in the region of 15 million per year for these services. But LDL do not report any income from anyone other than LCC in their published accounts - and have never done so in the entire 10 years+ of their existence.
So they're fiddling their accounts and/or telling lies.

Gadawodd Jenny Griffin anodiad ()

Mayor Anderson - are you reading this?

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Atodiad

Please find attached internal review response
Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I
L2 2DH
T: 0151 225 3132 I E: [1][email address]
Online: [2]www.liverpool.gov.uk 

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Gadawodd Katie M. anodiad ()

The text of the internal review is reproduced below.
I clearly cannot submit any more questions about the 3rd party clients of LDL, but I don't really need to: the purpose of these questions was not just to get a list of 3rd party clients, but to find out if Liverpool City Council receives the information it is entitled to under the Joint Venture Agreement establishing Liverpool Direct.
It is one thing to refuse to provide information because it is commercially sensitive (and whether or not this is the case is something the ICO will look at), but it is another thing entirely to admit that you do not have information that you should have. And to repeatedly confirm this.
This is no longer just about Freedom of Information - but breach of contract. Sustained, deliberate and determined.

Freedom of Information request 179125 APPEAL

I am writing to you about your request for a review of a Freedom of Information 2000 (FOIA) response dated 22 March 2012 and your original information request made on 23 December 2012.

Your request has been assigned to me to investigate and review and the result of my review is contained in this letter.

I have investigated the Council’s response made to you on 22 March 2012.

The information you requested was as follows:

· I am also puzzled at the statement that LCC is only aware of the details of third party clients when LCC-seconded staff are involved. Quite apart from the fact that LCC has to approve all third party work, surely the CEO of LDL is seconded from LCC - is he not aware of what the company is doing?

· I would also ask you to clarify what the word "commissioned" means in this context. Contracts are not usually "commissioned" - they are awarded, concluded, signed, etc. So I do not understand what "contracts are commissioned via BT" actually means. Does it mean that the contracts are between the third party and BT, or one of its subsidiaries?

· And does this mean that LDL is a subcontractor of BT? If this is the case, does LCC not have information on these subcontracts, given that the Council has previously asserted that 300 of the jobs created at LDL for LCC-seconded staff are due to the third party work the company undertakes?

We provided the following response, dated 22 March 2012:

The City Council can confirm that the CEO of Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL) will be fully aware of any work being carried out by LDL. However, whilst the CEO of LDL is a secondee from the City Council, contractually his responsibilities end with LDL and, as such, they are under no obligation to provide the City Council with any information regarding work undertaken via contracts established by BT.

However, during the course of gathering information for this response additional research has been carried out which has confirmed that the value of 3rd party income from LDL to LCC from 21 July 2001 to 31 December 2011 is circa £1.27m.

With regards to the use of the term "commissioned", the City Council acknowledges that the use of this term in this context may have been unclear. Upon review we can confirm that there is no relationship between the use of the term "commissioned" and its bearing upon the contracts. The terms “established” or “set up” would have been more appropriate and the City Council apologises for this confusion.

Finally the City Council can confirm that LDL is not a subcontractor of BT. LDL was established under a joint venture agreement to carry out work included under the terms of this agreement. BT obtains work which is then directed to LDL to be carried by way of a contract between LDL and the customer. There is no involvement from Liverpool City Council regarding the establishment of any contract set up by BT

For the purposes of clarity I will be conducting our internal review based on the following point which was received in my office via email on the 22 May 2012:

1. The list of clients provided did not include several large clients whose relationships with LDL are public knowledge: Northumbria Police, the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre, Reigage and Banstead Borough Council, and the Security Industry Authority. The services provided to these clients by LDL are mentioned on their websites, and in some cases on LDL's website.

The excuse given for the short list is that you only know about clients when LCC-seconded staff are involved. LCC seconded staff are involved in the delivery of services to all these clients, so I would ask you to please review the response.

In order to provide a response to your original request I have revisited our original response and liaised with colleagues. I can now confirm the following:

I confirm that the Council will hold some information as a result of the Joint Venture between the Council and BT i.e. LDL, however as some information is the property and in the ownership of LDL the Council cannot consider that information as it can only consider information that it holds as previously confirmed, and that information was provided to you in our response of 22 March 2012.

As you are aware LDL are not considered a public body as they are not owned outright by the City Council and consequently do not have to comply with requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Furthermore if LDL choose to publish their information which is in their ownership that is their right, it does not mean by default the Council also holds the same information.

With regard to your reference to LCC seconded staff being involved in the delivery of services to these clients I do not see what bearing that has on this request for an internal review, to clarify under the FOIA the Council can only consider information that is held in an electronic, digitised or paper format, as outlined in our response to you of 22 March 2012.

In addition to the correspondence previously included you also contacted the City Council on the 28 May with the following email:

· Just to be clear, I am asking you to reconsider the statement "It would appear that where you have not been given information it is due to the fact that Liverpool City Council does not hold it." Because this is not actually true.

It certainly held it 3 years ago: I would draw your attention, in particular, to an "eGovernment Awards Submission" by Liverpool City Council submitted in June 2009 which mentions by name a great many third parties for which LDL had worked, up to that date. Most of them are missing from the list you supplied me with. This document is available on the epractice.eu website - a website created by the European Commission - at http://www.epractice.eu/files/LCC%20Euro....

I would advise when a request for information is received under FOIA the council will direct that request to the most appropriate service area for response which in this instance was the client department for LDL and Finance and consequently provided the response that was issued on 22 March 2012. I have now liaised with officers who may have been involved with the submission you refer to and have established the following. The submission was prepared by officers within LDL and they shared this with an officer from the Council who led on egovernment. As the award ceremony took place over 3 years ago and the award bid was unsuccessful there was no requirement to maintain a copy of the submission. Therefore at the time of your request we provided the information that we held.

This concludes our internal review of our response to you dated 22 March.

However, we would advise that the City Council may consider any further requests submitted in relation to the third party clients of LDL as vexatious.

When considering if a request is vexatious we would consider the guidelines outlined by the Information Commissioners Office as follows:

· Can the request fairly be seen as obsessive
· Is the request harassing the authority or causing distress to staff
· Would complying with the request impose a significant burden in terms of expense or distraction
· Is the request designed to cause annoyance or disruption
· Does the request lack any serious purpose or value

The Council would argue that your requests can now be construed as obsessive, harassing and causing distress and harassment to the Council and its officers. You have previously been advised on several occasions that the City Council has provided all of the information it holds pertinent to the terms of your request, although you may consider the Council should hold other information we can only provide you with the information we hold as outlined under FOIA.

You have challenged this decision through direct correspondence with City Council officers, requests for internal reviews and via the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The City Council reiterates that at no point have exemptions been applied to any responses regarding non-disclosure of information requested and, where held, all relevant information has been provided.

The City Council has received 3 requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to the third party clients of LDL, 2 of which have progressed to internal review stage. It is in accordance with this that the City Council feels it is appropriate to treat further requests received relating to this area as vexatious.

In accordance with the above the City Council upholds its decision to provide the responses it did under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and any subsequent correspondence which has addressed this matter.

As I have now reviewed your original response, you have exhausted the Council’s appeals process for the purposes of this request. Accordingly, should you remain dissatisfied, please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, via the following:

Website is www.ico.gov.uk and the postal address and telephone numbers are:-

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Fax number 01625 524 510
Telephone 01625 545745

Gadawodd Katie M. anodiad ()

Having digested the response, and not now being able to ask any more questions about this third party business, I have now decided to make a formal complaint to the District Auditor about this particular statement in the review:
"Finally the City Council can confirm that LDL is not a subcontractor of BT. LDL was established under a joint venture agreement to carry out work included under the terms of this agreement. BT obtains work which is then directed to LDL to be carried by way of a contract between LDL and the customer."

This bears absolutely no relation to the truth, and it really would be interesting to know where or who this statement came from - the Information Officer will not have made it up.
In addition to the BT statement in a brochure from last summer boasting about the 170 LDL employees working for the SIA, which I mentioned in another annotation (to Jenny Griffin's question on this), the work done by LDL, and the basis on which it is carried out, is mentioned in at least two official government publications.

The first is the National Audit Office, which investigated the SIA and its systems in 2008, and published a report entitled "Regulating the Security Industry Authority". It is available on its website
http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0708/...
This is a quote from page 15/16, after it has described the problems with the system provided by BT through several subcontractors:
"The new system was to be delivered by a single sub-contractor, to reduce the actual cost of licensing by up to 50 per cent, and to speed up the process which had been highlighted by the industry as a key priority.
To manage the change, in September 2006, the Authority agreed the provision of an updated system which was to be designed and operated by BT/Liverpool Direct Limited at a cost of £3.9 million. The new contract is in effect a contract extension although providing for a new system and delivery sub-contractor. Initially the Authority planned for an eight month development between October 2006 and June 2007."

As part of their investigation, NAO staff visited LDL and talked to several members of staff - their job titles are specifically mentioned in the report (secondees of LCC in all likelihood).

And the second is Hansard, reporting a statement Home Office Minister Alan Campbell made about this in Parliament, on 6 November 2008
(www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm081106/wmstext/8)which included this:
"The SIA has a commercial delivery partner, LDL—a subsidiary of British Telecom (BT). LDL are responsible, through BT, for ensuring security clearance of their staff. The Home Office’s Departmental Security Unit is satisfied that LDL recruitment and clearance procedures are robust."

There are all sorts of other things about LDL that could be included in a complaint to the District Auditor, but this is such clear and authoritative evidence of appalling governance that the DA will have to take some action.
I really hope other people reading this will also complain - more the merrier. The accounts of LCC are about to be open for inspection (12 July), so the timing is right.

Gadawodd Jenny Griffin anodiad ()

A complaint to the District Auditor would make sense, as would a request for HMRC to investigate. The Serious Fraud Office would be another avenue worth exploring.

This statement is interesting :

"Finally the City Council can confirm that LDL is not a subcontractor of BT. LDL was established under a joint venture agreement to carry out work included under the terms of this agreement. BT obtains work which is then directed to LDL to be carried by way of a contract between LDL and the customer. There is no involvement from Liverpool City Council regarding the establishment of any contract set up by BT"

There is nothing wrong with BT drumming up business for the joint venture. There is nothing wrong with staff, premises, equipment etc belonging to LCC being used to support such activities - as long as their costs are recovered, and a proportion of profits made available to LCC through its part ownership of the joint venture. This is where something appears to have gone wrong.

What seems to be happening is that Council staff, premises etc are used to deliver services for a private company (BT) which sells their expertise on the open market, pocketing all of the revenue. I sincerely hope that this is not the case, but that is what it looks like.

Good luck with your request to the District Auditor. I would be happy to support you in this. It's about time the facts of this matter were opened up for public discussion - this is public money.

Gadawodd Katie M. anodiad ()

Yes, I entirely agree (about BT and drumming up business etc.). This is precisely what the JV was intended to do, and LDL is clearly good at what it does - both for LCC and also in terms of growing its business, creating jobs, etc. etc. The problem is the money - where it goes, how LDL's operations are funded, etc. etc.
The attitude of LCC appears to be that the only part of Liverpool Direct Limited the company, i.e. the legal entity, that they are entitled to know anything about is the bit that provides services to LCC - the service contract that they choose to call a "partnership", which means they don't monitor it properly because you allegedly (council docs) don't need to if it's a partnership (a cuddly word that is used to imply that proper procurement practice and contract management is a waste of money because the two sides are "partners", so you can save money by just rubber stamping everything the "partner" proposes). They clearly believe that all the other things that LDL does are nothing to do with the Council. Everything else falls out of this weird concept .. only including the "partnership" money in the accounts that LDL files with Companies House, LCC not getting information about LDL's business, etc.etc. It's as if there are two companies - LDL the BT subsidiary and LDL the company that manages the Liverpool contract. But there aren't.
Everyone at LCC, and the senior management of LDL, appear to genuinely believe that what they are doing is OK. Why on earth do they think this? This is what we need to get to the bottom of.
But whatever the reason, this is definitely not what was set up, as the JVA makes clear. And the JVA is the document that trumps all the others, all subsequent decisions, etc. etc. And it has not been modified (the only modification to the governing docs of LDL is the increase in LCC's shareholding to 40%, which the Board agreed in December and the company notified to Companies House a few weeks ago). Its just been totally ignored.
This needs to stop, immediately. And hopefully the District Auditor will be able to make this happen.