Trust445

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

Dear Canal & River Trust,

I refer to the minutes of your board meeting on 21 November 2019 -

19/082 TODDBROOK AND RESERVOIR UPDATE [TRUST445] The Board discussed report Trust445 which provided an update to the Board on the situation at, and plans for, Toddbrook Reservoir, and a status report on the two Inquiries. It also informed the Board about the wider impact on the Trust’s management of its estate of large raised reservoirs.

Please provide a copy of TRUST445 which was not included in the minutes and associated documents just released.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Richards,

Thank you for contacting the Canal & River Trust with your enquiry. We are currently looking into your enquiry and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Kind Regards
Hannah Mobberley

Hannah Mobberley
Information Officer
Legal & Governance Services
T: 07342023642

Canal & River Trust
Canal and River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ

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Information Request, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Richards,

Further to your request of 5 March 2020 and our subsequent acknowledgement of 6 March 2020, I am writing to confirm that we have dealt with your request for the TRUST445 report under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

While the Trust holds the information you have requested, I can confirm that we are withholding this in accordance with Regulation 12(4)(e) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which relates to internal communications. This is because the TRUST445 report was merely an internal update for the board of Trustees.

I have carried out the public interest test in respect of the application of this exception. Factors in favour of disclosure include that there is a general presumption in favour of disclosure and in authorities being open and transparent in their actions.

Factors against disclosure include that there is likely to be a negative effect on internal deliberation and decision-making processes if this information is released; the Trust needs a safe space to develop ideas, debate live issues, and reach decisions away from external interference and distraction. The release of the information is also likely to inhibit free and frank discussions in the future, and the loss of frankness and candour would damage the quality of advice given by our employees and lead to poorer decision making. I have therefore concluded that the public interest falls in favour of withholding the information you have requested.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of this email and should be sent by email to [email address] or by post to Information Officer, Legal & Governance Services, Canal & River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ. You are also able to contact the Information Commissioner by telephoning 0303 123 1113, although please note they would usually expect you to have gone through our internal review procedure before contacting them.

Kind Regards

Hannah Mobberley
Information Officer
Legal & Governance Services

Canal & River Trust
Canal and River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ

canalrivertrust.org.uk
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Dear Canal & River Trust,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Canal & River Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Trust445'.
My request was:-
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dear Canal & River Trust,

I refer to the minutes of your board meeting on 21 November 2019 -

19/082 TODDBROOK AND RESERVOIR UPDATE [TRUST445] The Board discussed report Trust445 which provided an update to the Board on the situation at, and plans for, Toddbrook Reservoir, and a status report on the two Inquiries. It also informed the Board about the wider impact on the Trust’s management of its estate of large raised reservoirs.

Please provide a copy of TRUST445 which was not included in the minutes and associated documents just released.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This board report is an 'update report' not a 'decision report'. I would suggest it is not 'live' but historical being four months old.

In particular -
- the two reports mentioned have been published.
- the situation at Toddbrook has changed
- the trust has already published the impact in monetary terms

I have little doubt that further Toddbrook update reports have been provided to the board (probably in January and March of this year).

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

Due to the Toddbrook incident, CRT will be spending an extra £4.8m this company year. It also plans to spend
£30m over the next three years.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Richards,

INTERNAL REVIEW – UNDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REGULATIONS 2004

Thank you for your email. I have been appointed as the reviewing officer for your internal review request of 25th March 2020.

I have reviewed both your original information request and the response provided by Ms Mobberley. It is clear that the document requested was an internal update report for the Board of Trustees and has not been sent externally. It therefore constitutes an internal communication and the exception in Regulation 12(4)(e) applies, subject to the public interest test.

In relation to the public interest test, I note your point regarding this being an update report and not a decision report. While this is correct, in the ICO guidance on the use of this exception it is clear that the exception in Regulation 12(4)(e) is drafted broadly and covers all internal communications, not just those actually relating to internal thinking or decision making.

Likewise, I note that you suggest this is not a live report as it is some four months old and further updates may have been provided to the Board. Irrespective of this, you will no doubt be aware that the situation at Toddbrook Reservoir is still ongoing and this is likely to be the case for some time. As such, the Trust is continually referring back to various information and reports while debate and decision making is ongoing concerning Toddbrook and reservoirs of a similar construction.

I therefore find Ms Mobberley’s response to be correct in withholding the Your request for Trust445 report mentioned in the board meeting in November 2019 was withheld under the internal communications exception (Regulation 12(4)(e).

Regulation 12(4) (e) – relating to internal communication

The Trust has withheld information on the basis the TRUST445 report was merely an internal update for the board of Trustees.

Conclusion:

Having considered the information being withheld in the light of your request for an internal review, I have concluded that this information should continue to be withheld.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request for an internal review, then you are able to contact the Information Commissioner by telephoning 0303 123 1113.

There is more information on the Information Commissioner’s Website https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/offi... on how to complain and what the Information Commissioner can do.

Yours Sincerely
Indy

Indy Virdee
Information Governance Manager
Legal & Governance Services
T: 07775 587674

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Gadawodd Allan Richards anodiad ()

Email from ICO following a complaint made in June -

9 December 2020

Dear Mr Richards,

Our reference: XXXXXXXXX
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)
Public authority: Canal & River Trust (the Trust)

I write further to the above matter and my previous email.

By way of a further update, I have received the information I requested from the Trust in this case. However it has now also updated it's position in relation to your request. We have therefore asked it to write to you directly and notify you of this.

If after receiving the Trust's updated position you wish to proceed with your complaint then you may also provide a submission (regarding its new position) which will be taken into consideration.

Regards,

Abdul Chowdhury
Lead Case Officer
Information Commissioner's Office

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Richards,

 

I am writing to let you know of our updated position regarding your
request under the Freedom of Information act and subsequent complaint to
the ICO (Trust reference EIR 16-20, ICO reference IC-40223-W9M5).

 

Following external legal advice, I can confirm we are now also relying on
regulation 12(4)(b) – manifestly unreasonable and regulation 12(5)(a) –
adverse affect on defence / public safety in addition to regulation
12(4)(e) – internal communications to refuse your request of 05/03/2020.

 

Kind Regards,

Hannah

 

Hannah Mobberley

Information Officer

Legal & Governance Services

 

Canal & River Trust

Canal and River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ

 

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Information Request, Canal & River Trust

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Richards,

 

Following my email of 15/12/2020 please see below further information
regarding why we have applied the new exceptions to your request and
subsequent complaint to the ICO (Trust reference EIR 16-20, ICO reference
IC-40223-W9M5).

As mentioned previously following external legal advice, we are now also
relying on regulation 12(4)(b) – manifestly unreasonable and regulation
12(5)(a) – adverse affect on defence / public safety in addition to
regulation 12(4)(e) – internal communications to refuse your request of
05/03/2020.

 

12(4)(b) – manifestly unreasonable

 

The Trust is now also relying on regulation 12(4)(b) of the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004. The Trust is entitled to refuse disclosure
on the ground that it believes your request is manifestly unreasonable on
the ground that it is vexatious.

There are a range of circumstances and considerations that might lead to a
request being vexatious. The ICO has highlighted a number of indicators
that apply to this.

 

These include:

o burden on the authority in terms of strain on time and resources no
matter how legitimate the subject matter;
o frequent or overlapping requests about the same issue or sending new
requests before earlier requests have been addressed;
o unreasonable persistence;
o insistent or demanding language;
o deliberate intention to cause annoyance

The Trust believe the above factors are applicable in this case.

 

The Trust has calculated that you have made 118 requests since 2012. In
addition, your internal review requests amounted to 34% of the requests
for internal review received by the Trust from 2016 to 2020 and in 2020
alone your requests accounted for 12% of the total EIR requests and 5% of
the total FOI requests.

Having looked at the number of requests for information that you have
submitted this year and in previous years the Trust considers that
compliance has placed significant burden on the Trust. The Trust
acknowledges that dealing with this (standing alone) would not constitute
a significant burden. However, those are not the only considerations. As
states in Information Commissioner v Devon County Council & Dransfield
[2012] UKUT 440 (AAC), “it is important to look at all the circumstances
when assessing whether or not a request is vexatious”. The Upper Tribunal
held that the correct test is whether the request is vexatious “in the
light of the previous course of dealings between” the public authority and
the requester.

 

The Trust has carried out the public interest test in relation to the
application of this exception.

 

The Trust recognises that there is significant interest in obtaining
information that may contribute to the public debate relating to reservoir
dam safety both specifically in relation to Toddbrook Reservoir and in
connection with the UK’s reservoir network more generally. We also
acknowledge disclosure would facilitate openness and transparency of the
Trust.

 

Factors in favour of non-disclosure are that compliance with your requests
have strained the resources of the Trust and undermined the ability of the
Trust to respond to other queries. This request is one of a line of
frequent requests which contributes to the disproportionate aggregated
burden your requests have placed on the Trust’s resources. Furthermore,
handling the requests routinely exposes the Trust to unjustified distress,
disruption and irritation, above and beyond what could reasonably be
expected of a public authority. On this occasion the Trust believes that
the public interest in protecting the Trust and its resources far
outweighs the public interest in the information being disclosed.

 

12(5)(a) – adverse affect on defence / public safety

 

The Trust 445 report is also being withheld on the ground that certain
material contained within the report would, if disclosed, adversely affect
international relations, defence, national security or public safety.

I have carried out the public interest test in relation to the application
of this exception.

 

Factors in favour of disclosure are that providing the information can
facilitate the accountability and transparency of the Trust.

 

Factors in favour of non-disclosure are that “[t]here is an obvious and
weighty public interest in safeguarding national security”. Taking our
lead from the National Protocol for Handling, Transmission and Storage of
Reservoir Information and Flood Maps (see attached), we consider that the
Relevant Material would expose vulnerabilities in both Toddbrook reservoir
and other reservoirs with similar design features and construction.
Disclosing the Relevant Material would increase the risk of a successful
attack on UK reservoirs by malicious actors and therefore run directly
contrary to the public interest in safeguarding national security.

The Public Interest Guidance provides examples of the kind of factors that
will be relevant when assessing the weight of the arguments in favour of
maintaining an exception.

 

Three of the factors identified appear to us to be particularly relevant
to maintaining the exception under Regulation 12(5)(a):

(a) Likelihood of the adverse effect: Information which exposes
vulnerabilities in the UK’s reservoir infrastructure would be in the
public domain and so national security, in the sense of threat and risk,
would be inevitably adversely affected.

(b) Severity: reservoirs hold back huge quantities of water in many cases,
with the potential to cause serious flooding and risk to homes, property
and people if released uncontrolled. A successful attack on a reservoir
would therefore be likely to lead to widespread injury, loss of life and
damage to property. Any information that would increase the likelihood of
such an attack, or of such an attack being executed successfully, would
therefore have a severe adverse effect on national security and public
safety.

(c) Age of the information: The Relevant Material is from November 2019.
The works described are, in many cases, on-going and certain of the design
issues identified are still present at some of the Trust’s reservoirs. The
information therefore remains topical and sensitive and its disclosure
would still constitute a severe adverse effect for national security and
public safety.

 

In view of the above the Trust believes the public interest in
safeguarding national security and public safety clearly outweighs the
public interest arguments in favour of disclosure in this instance.

 

Kind Regards,

Hannah

 

Hannah Mobberley

Information Officer

Legal & Governance Services

 

Canal & River Trust

Canal and River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ

 

From: Information Request
Sent: 15 December 2020 17:10
To: [FOI #652678 email]
Subject: IC-40223-W9M5

 

Dear Mr Richards,

 

I am writing to let you know of our updated position regarding your
request under the Freedom of Information act and subsequent complaint to
the ICO (Trust reference EIR 16-20, ICO reference IC-40223-W9M5).

 

Following external legal advice, I can confirm we are now also relying on
regulation 12(4)(b) – manifestly unreasonable and regulation 12(5)(a) –
adverse affect on defence / public safety in addition to regulation
12(4)(e) – internal communications to refuse your request of 05/03/2020.

 

Kind Regards,

Hannah

 

Hannah Mobberley

Information Officer

Legal & Governance Services

 

Canal & River Trust

Canal and River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ

 

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Dear Canal & River Trust,

You say -

" .... Taking our lead from the National Protocol for Handling, Transmission and Storage of
Reservoir Information and Flood Maps (see attached)."

However, neither of the two attachments contain the National Protocol for Handling, Transmission and Storage of Reservoir Information and Flood Maps.

When you send me the document, can you please refer me to the appropriate section(s).

Yours sincerely,

Allan Richards

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Richards,

Thank you for your email.

Please see attached the National Protocol for Handling, Transmission and Storage of Reservoir Information and Flood Maps.

Please refer to the following sections:
-Disclosure of information
-Disclosure of information not held in a public register
-Annex 1: Reservoir information & data checklist

Kind Regards,
Hannah

Hannah Mobberley
Information Officer
Legal & Governance Services

Canal & River Trust
Canal and River Trust, Aqua House, 20 Lionel Street, Birmingham, B3 1AQ

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