Dear Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please disclose the following information by way of the Freedom of Information Act:

Payments made to any of these companies in the periods ended 31.12.20; 31.12.19; 31.12.18.

1. Oldham Times

2. Its parent company, Newsquest Media Group Ltd

3. The ultimate holding company, Gannett Co., Inc.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: Neil_Wilby


Information Manager, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I acknowledge with thanks your request for information; this request has been considered as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

As such, your request may take up to 20 working days to be processed and has been passed on to an appropriate officer.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has recognised the unprecedented challenges all are facing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and that people may experience delays when making requests for information during the pandemic.
Please be aware that your response may not be complete in whole or in part. This is due to government wide measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Oldham Council is currently handling a large volume of business-critical work aimed towards the protection and safeguarding of residents during the COVID-19 outbreak, and as such the business area may not be able to respond to your request within the expected timeframe or provide full information for the completion of your request.
If you have any comments or questions in the meantime, please direct them to [email address]

Please be advised that if an exemption applies to the information that you have requested, the statutory period may be exceeded in accordance with the provisions of that Act.

Should you have any queries, please contact:  [Oldham Council request email]

Yours faithfully,

Information Management Team
Oldham Council
Level 14
Civic Centre
West Street
Oldham   OL1 1UL

[email address]

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Dear Information Manager,

Thank you for recording the application as a FOIA request.

May I please clarify the request to this extent?

Disclosure of payments to be broken down into two types:

A. Payments for advertising

B. Other payments.
Thank you,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby


Information Manager, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your email.

I have passed over your clarification to the officer who is dealing with your request.
Kind regards,

Information Management Team
Oldham Council
Level 14
Civic Centre

[Oldham Council request email]

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John Hoskins, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Afternoon Mr Wilby,


Please find below the information requested on your recent FOI.


Oldham Times                                   £0


Newsquest Media Ltd                    1/1/18 – 31/12/18           


                                                                1/1/19 –
31/12/19            £5,530.18


                                                                1/1/20 –
31/12/20            £5,283.40



Gannett Co. Inc                                 £0


All of the identified spend is for advertising in some form. In the 20/21
financial year, the overwhelming majority of this advertising spend was
related to Coronavirus; for example to raise awareness of public health
messages and to encourage people to follow the hands, face, space


The amount of money spent with local media companies has significantly
reduced in recent years, in line with the overall reduction of Council

The majority of the money spent with these companies is on public notices
– such as planning applications and highways notices - which councils have
a legal obligation to publish.

Oldham Council used to publish these notices with the Oldham Chronicle,
prior to the daily print edition ceasing in 2017. We now publish these
notices with the Manchester Evening News, which is owned by Reach.


I trust that this information will prove satisfactory. However 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 receipt of the response to your original
letter and should be addressed to:


Paul Entwistle

Director of Legal Services

Legal & Democratic Services

Oldham MBC

Civic Centre, West St, Oldham OL1 1UG

Tel:  0161 770 4822

E-mail:  [1][email address]


If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Details are as follows:-

Office of the Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane


Cheshire   SK9 5AF





Tel: 01625 545700              Fax: 01625 524510







John Hoskins

Finance Manager – Corporate Control

Oldham Council

Level 14

Civic Centre



T: 0161 770 1323

E: [3][email address]


*Please note: For satellite navigation purposes the postcode is OL1 1NL


Visiting the Civic Centre by Metrolink? The nearest stop is Oldham King
Street (2-3 minutes walk)



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1. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]

Dear John,

I am most grateful for the prompt and helpful response.

Please thank all officers concerned in the preparation and finalisation of the disclosure.

It may assist your Council to know that the purpose of this request is to put into proper perspective what appear to be groundless allegations that there is an improper relationship, grounded in 'excessive financial support', between the Leader and/or Members and/or paid officers - and the Oldham Times.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby