This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'emails received from constituents - Neven Shah'.



  
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
S.Bartle  
(By email) 
 
 
 
 
 
Our Ref: MGLA151018-5230     
 
5 November 2018 
 
 
 
 
 
Dear S. Bartle 
Thank you for your further correspondence which the Greater London Authority (GLA) received 
on 14 October 2018.  
You have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the GLA has responded to your request for 
information (ref MGLA100918-2445). I am now responding to you under the GLA’s internal 
review procedure. 
Background 
On 10 September 2018, you submitted the following request for information ref 
(MGLA100918-2445); 
I'd like to know 1) how many emails (the total) Nevin Shah, Assembly Member for Brent 
and Harrow receives from *constituents* (as opposed to organisations and lobbyists) per 
month (within the past year is fine) and 2) how much casework Nevin Shah has 
submitted to the Greater London Authority (within the past year), with details of what 
the issues were about and 3) how many times Nevin Shah has spoken at the London 
Assembly (within the past year). 

 
The GLA responded on 19 September 2018 and informed you that it did not hold the 
information you requested in relation to parts 1 and 2 of your request for the purpose of the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We also directed you to GLA protocol1 on Members’ record 
keeping illustrating why the information was not in scope of the FOIA. 
 
In relation to part 3 of your request we informed you that the information you were seeking was 
reasonably accessible by other means.  
 
Your complaint 
 
With regards to case reference MGLA100918-2445, you have submitted the following 
complaint:  
                                                 
1 https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/dd1482_records_management_policy_appendix.pdf 
 

With regard to questions 1 and 2 - It was stated that "The Greater London Authority 
does not hold this information for the purposes of the FOI Act".  

However, I would like to refer you to guidance from the Information Commissioner Office 
on information held in private email accounts which states categorically that "FOIA 
applies to official information held in private email accounts (and other media formats) 
when held on behalf of the public authority."  

This is particularly relevant given the email address that I am referring to, is an official 
London.gov one (i.e. xxxxx.xxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx) and not even a request for information 
from personal email accounts. Link: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-
organisations/documents/1147/official_information_held_in_private_email_accounts.p
df  

I therefore believe that under the Freedom of Information Act you are obliged to release:  
[Repeat of Part 1 and 2 of your request] 
[Again, particularly as I am not asking for any information of constituents that might 
come under GDPR and am requesting statistical numbers with topics/subjects as a 
heading.  

- Both of these relate to the business of the council and there are precedents of case 
work statistics being released at other local authorities within the UK.  

Internal review 
I have conducted this internal review as someone who was not involved in the handling of the 
original request.  
I note that you have not requested a review of the GLA’s application of section 21 of the FOIA 
to refuse part 3 of your therefore I will focus this internal review on the basis that you believe 
the information held in relation to parts 1 and 2 of the Act is accessible to you under the FOIA 
regime.   
As part of your complaint, you referred the GLA to guidance from the Information Commissioner 
Office on information held in private email accounts; However, we did not refer to private 
messages in our response, we informed you that; 
Assembly Members’ information concerning constituency business is considered 
Members’ own information 

We also referred you to the GLA protocol on Members’ recordkeeping - appendix D of the 
Authority’s records management policy to expand upon this point. The relevant part of 
appendix 4 is as follows; 
All Assembly Members’ records concerning constituency business are their own 
responsibility, as they are records associated with the Member’s role as an elected 
representative rather than as a member of the Authority. These records will not be 
subject to a request under the Freedom of Information legislation, as they will be 

 
 
 

considered the Member’s own records (i.e. they are hosted by the GLA on behalf of the 
Member and not ‘held’ for the purposes of FoIA). They will however remain subject to 
data protection legislation. 

Therefore, I believe there may be a misunderstanding inherent in your complaint. We did not 
refuse your request on the grounds that the requested information is held on private email 
accounts. It is in fact the case that constituency-related information is not covered by the FOIA 
at all. There is, therefore, no public right of access to elected members’ constituency 
information, including statistics which may be generated from such communications.  
This topic is also covered in ICO guidance2 (Information held by a public authority for the 
purposes of the Freedom of the Information Act);
 
(31) Local authorities are public authorities for the purposes of FOIA, but individual 
elected members are not. 
Therefore, information held by councillors for their own 
purposes will not be covered by FOIA
, but information they hold on behalf of, or as 
part of, the local authority will be covered (section 3(2)(b)). 

The distinction between what information is, and is not, covered by the Act in relation to 
London Assembly Members under the ICO guidance is covered in more detail in our own GLA 
protocol on Members’ recordkeeping - appendix D, which states:  
Records or information held by an Assembly Member that have been collected by virtue 
of membership of the Authority, using the resources of the Authority and relating directly 
to its functions and powers, such as committee reports, are the property of the Authority, 
will be regulated in accordance with the Data Protection Act and subject to requests 
under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Similarly, information held by an Assembly Member that has been collected by virtue of 
a position on a Functional Body, to which the Member has been appointed as an 
Assembly Member, and which relates to the functions and powers of the Functional Body 
can be sought from the Authority or the Functional Body under the Freedom of 
Information Act. A failure to produce it on request may give rise to a criminal offence 

Outcome 
In summary, I do not uphold your complaint that the GLA holds information which was in-scope 
of your request because it appears in private email accounts. Put simply, we are unable to 
provide you with the requested information because it is not in scope of the FOIA itself.  
In reviewing your complaint, I do consider that it would have been helpful to provide you with 
further information to clarify what information is / isn’t in scope of the Act by also referring you 
to the relevant ICO guidance in addition to copying the relevant parts of our own records 
management policies into our original response.  
I hope this review has helped to address your concerns.  
If you remain dissatisfied you may take your complaint to the Information Commissioner at the 
following address: 
Information Commissioner’s Office 
                                                 
2 https://ico.org.uk/media/1148/information_held_by_a_public_authority_for_purposes_of_foia.pdf 
 
 
 

Wycliffe House 
Water Lane 
Wilmslow 
SK9 5AF 
 
http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints  
 
However, if you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I will 
be happy to help where I can.   
Yours sincerely  
 
 
Paul Robinson 
Information Governance Officer