Alleged assault by Council Leader against staff member

Matthew Laverack made this Freedom of Information request to City of York Council

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

City of York Council did not have the information requested.

Dear City of York Council,

There is widespread talk in this city of a blazing row between the Council Leader Mr James Alexander and the Council monitoring officer Mr Andy Docherty.

It is alleged that a meeting between the two men deteriorated into an angry exchange with the Council Leader calling the monitoring officer "useless" and that after a further deterioration in the meeting the Council Leader "took a swing" at the monitoring officer.

Behaviour of this kind is not what one expects in Local Government and is of very great public interest. If true, it is a breach of Codes of Conduct.

You are asked to confirm or deny this verbal report currently in wide circulation around the city.

If it is correct please provide details of when and where this exchange took place and under what circumstances.

If it is correct please provide details of any formal or informal complaint currently being considered; and also any Code of Conduct disciplinary action currently being considered.

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Laverack

foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

Thank you for your enquiry. We will ensure it is passed to the relevant service(s) and you will receive a response within 20 working days. We will contact you if we have any queries, need clarification or to let you know if we need more time to answer your enquiry in full.

However, if you are contacting us to ask for a review of a previous FOI response from us, we will pass your request to Veritau/Information Governance who will contact you about this.

Please note this is an automatically generated receipt to let you know we have received your email.

Regards
Customer Feedback Team

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Long, Erin, City of York Council

Dear Mr Laverack,
 
In response to your email on the 24^th August 2014 regarding the Council
Leader and Monitoring Officer, I would like to advise that this is not a
request for recorded information and therefore is not subject to the
Freedom of Information Act.
 
If you would like information about making a request under the Freedom of
Information Act, guidance from the information commissioner can be found
through the following link:
[1]http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public/officia...
 
However, I can confirm outside of the Act that there have been no incident
such as that described in your email and I can on behalf of the council
verify that the verbal report you say is circulating is false.
 
Should you wish to make a request for recorded information in future, this
will be considered under the Act.
 
Regards,
 
Erin Francis Long | Information Compliance Officer
t: 01904 554145 | e: [2][email address]
 
City of York Council  | Complaints Team, Customer & Business Support
Services
  West Offices, Station Rise, YO1 6GA
[3]www.york.gov.uk | [4]facebook.com/cityofyork | [5]@CityofYork
 
 
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Dear Long, Erin,

Your response is erroneous.
It is a request for recorded information.

It is a request for any records you have in respect of:

1. A complaint of alleged assault (verbal and physical)
2. Any complaint regarding breaches of Codes of Conduct.
3. Any disciplinary procedures being considered.

If the Council are claiming categorically that no altercation of any kind took place between the Council Leader Mr James Alexander and the Monitoring Officer Mr Andrew Docherty then your response under this FOI should be to that effect. That is, you confirm in writing that you have no such records relating to this alleged incident.

It is important to have this made clear so that the FOI response can be judged against any evidence that may come to light; such as witness testimony or audio/visual recordings relating to this alleged incident.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Laverack

Paul Saunderson left an annotation ()

Typical York Council response to an FOI request - evasion.

Jack Hamilton left an annotation ()

I too have heard this story. Not directly from a direct witness but from somebody I trust who did speak to a direct witness.

City of York Council need to take the utmost caution in replying to this FOI. I understand the witness is preparing to make a public statement and should that happen the outcome could include both civil and criminal charges.

Give recent events in Rotherham, CYC must be on guard to ensure it shines a light on abusive behaviour at all levels. Officers may feel they gave to protect their leaders but as we can now see, when the lid blows those same officers find themselves directly in the firing line.

Dear Long, Erin,

By law York Council should have responded to my FOI request by 22 September.

I request a proper response without further delay.

I remind you that breaches of codes of conduct and disciplinary proceedings are matters of recorded information.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Laverack

Long, Erin, City of York Council

I have now left City of York Council. Please forward your email to [City of York Council request email]<mailto:[City of York Council request email]> or telephone 01904 554145 so that your enquiry can be dealt with by a member of the Complaints and Feedback the team during office hours.

Outside office hours:

If you have an urgent social care concern please call 0845 0349417.

For details of other emergency numbers including urgent housing repairs please call 01904 551550.

Thanks

Erin Long
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Michael Hammill left an annotation ()

so, Erin Long leaves the Council and that's the end of the FoI. Mr Laverack you should report this to the Information Commissioner and remember you only have a few months to do this.

Dear City of York Council,

I understand Erin Long has left the council.

I therefore require someone else to deal with this FOI.

The Law states I should have received a response by now.

The previous response from Erin Long was erroneous. These are matters of recorded information. Breaches of Codes of Conduct, complaints and Discipinary proceedings are very much a matter of public record.

If the Council wishes to claim that no such altercation occurred and that because if this no records have been made then that is the FOI response I require.

This needs to be made unequivocal so that if/when evidence comes to light to confirm that the incident did take place appropriate action can then proceed; not only in relation to the incident itself but also to the response to this FOI.

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Laverack

foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

Thank you for your enquiry. We will ensure it is passed to the relevant service(s) and you will receive a response within 20 working days. We will contact you if we have any queries, need clarification or to let you know if we need more time to answer your enquiry in full.

However, if you are contacting us to ask for a review of a previous FOI response from us, we will pass your request to Veritau/Information Governance who will contact you about this.

Please note this is an automatically generated receipt to let you know we have received your email.

Regards
Customer Feedback Team

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foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

Dear Mr Laverack

According to our records your enquiry under the Freedom of Information Act has
been responded to. If you are not satisfied with the response you can request a
review. If you would like this to be done please let me know.

City of York Council | Complaints Team, Customer & Business Support Services
West Offices, Station Rise, YO1 6GA
www.york.gov.uk | facebook.com/cityofyork | @CityofYork

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Dear [email address],

You are wrong.
My FOI has NOT been responded to.

I have wrongly been told it does not refer to recorded information and is therefore not covered by FOI legislation. This is not the case.

It most certainly does refer to recorded information.

If York Council are saying categorically they have no records relating to such an (alleged) incident then that is the response I require.

There must be no equivocation about this matter.

It is a case of recorded information.

Either you hold records or you do not.

Please give a definitive answer.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Laverack

foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

Thank you for your enquiry. We will ensure it is passed to the relevant service(s) and you will receive a response within 20 working days. We will contact you if we have any queries, need clarification or to let you know if we need more time to answer your enquiry in full.

However, if you are contacting us to ask for a review of a previous FOI response from us, we will pass your request to Veritau/Information Governance who will contact you about this.

Please note this is an automatically generated receipt to let you know we have received your email.

Regards
Customer Feedback Team

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

A number of annotations have been removed from this request following correspondence sent to the WhatDoTheyKnow team on behalf of the Chief Executive of City of York Council.

The message claimed defamatory comments about a specific member of council staff had been made.

At WhatDoTheyKnow the core of our operation is publishing FOI requests and responses and we don't want to spend a lot of time moderating annotations.

The removed annotations were in contravention of our moderation policy in any case

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/requ...

--

Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

information.governance@veritau.co.uk,

Dear Mr Laverack
 
I write with reference to your recent correspondence regarding your
request CCF3336.
 
I have now had the opportunity to review the request and response in light
of emails of 28 August and 23 September and have presented my findings
below:
 

* The Council clearly stated that there was no such incident. I do not
consider it to be unreasonable for you to have understood that there
therefore would be no recorded information in relation to your
request.

 

* For the avoidance of doubt the Council’s intended response was that
there is no recorded information held on this matter.

 

* I consider that your original request was subject to the Freedom of
Information 2000. However I would comment that it was written in terms
so as to make it difficult for the Council to answer under the Act.
There was no indication of type of meeting, date of event or any other
information to allow the Council to locate recorded information on the
matter.

 
If you remain dissatisfied, you can seek an independent review from the
Information Commissioner. Requests for a review by the Information
Commissioner should be made in writing directly to:
 
The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700
Fax: 01625 545 510
 
Yours sincerely
 
Miriam Townsend
 
 
 
Miriam Townsend
Information Governance Officer
Veritau Limited | Veritau North Yorkshire Limited
Assurance Services for the Public Sector
Telephone: 01609 536985
E-mail: [1][email address]
 
For further information about the company please visit our website:
[2]www.veritau.co.uk
 
 
 
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