Allegedly vexatious - what is the current situation?

Sheila Oliver (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Devon County Council

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

The request was partially successful.

Sheila Oliver (Account suspended)

Dear Devon County Council,

Please provide me with copies of all internal emails ref the decsion to review ALL FOI request from Alan M Dransfield since May 2010.

1. Who took this decision?

2. Why this decision was taken?

3. Does this mean Alan M Dransfield is still classed as vexatious?

4. Do you intend to now remove the lifetime email on him?

Yours faithfully,


Mark Salter left an annotation ()

As I understand it from reading the ICO guidance :-

it is not possible to consider a person vexatious...

...for another instance of just such an approach, I have asked for exact details leading to the 'Department for Communities and Local Government' to 'mark' a person called 'Derek Tickles' as vexatious, something which has no basis I can see in the ICO guidance - this department is getting a little carried away, trying to block other people sharing the surname or indeed asking 'similar sounding requests too.

My request to them is :-


Freedom of Information Office - Mailbox, Devon County Council

Dear Ms Oliver,

Information Request: 02068

I received your request on 3rd January 2012 for information which may be
held by Devon County Council regarding correspondencerelating to the
decsion to review Mr Dransfield's information requests.

You are entitled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to be informed
whether or not the information you have requested is held by Devon County
Council and if so to be given access to that information within 20 working
days (subject to any exemptions).

You should expect to receive a response to your request by 31st January

Yours sincerely
Freedon of Information Team
Devon County Council
Information Governance
Strategic Intelligence
Services for Communities
Room L10
County Hall
Topsham Road
Tel: 01392 38 4678
Disclaimer: [1]
Applicable to private messages: "Devon County Council accepts no legal
responsibility for the contents of this message. The views expressed do
not reflect those of Devon County Council"

Please be aware that emails may have to be disclosed under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 or the Data Protection Act 1998.

Please note that Devon County Council now publishes all Freedom of
Information and Environmental Information Regulations request responses on
its publication scheme. Details of previous responses are available at
[2] The council requests
that members of the public make use of its disclosure log search facility
before making a Freedom of Information or Environmental Information
Regulations request, as it is possible that the information sought, may
have been disclosed in response to a prior request.

show quoted sections

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

My FOI /FTT tribunal was adjourned until further notice,hence, it must be assumed the DCC will take no action until my appeal is closed. Why they are not responding to Sheila Oliver's request is beyond me.
Three months ago the DCC advised me they were reviewing ALL myFOI request since Apr 09,(I wonder why) but as yet, no further response.
The case continues and I am still awaiting an Upper Tribunal date in which the ICO/DCC are appealing an earlier FTT decision in my favour that my FOI request for the Exeter Rugby Bridge was NOT vexatious.

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

Hi, is it possible that you are confusing their use of the term 'vexatious'?
I believe that in official usage this word is simply a get out of jail free card to be used when someone asks a question or requests information that could cause the establishment embarrassment. When the card is played it triggers all other authorities to turn a blind eye to all normal rules and regulations, simply closing ranks to stonewall the victim.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Hello Mr Taylor
You have hit the nail squarely on the head Sir. I fully appreciate that PA's should have secuirty againt genuine VEXATIOUS REQUESTS because let's face it, there some loons about with the sole intent to cause trouble and strife for Local Authorities.
My requests do NOT sit in this category and the FTT have overturned an earlier ICO/DCC vexatious decision and they are now appealing that to the Upper Tribunal.
Only last week another FTT adjourned a RETRIAL on a similar case where the ICO and the DCC claim I am vexatious.
The VEXATIOUS CARD is being played by some PA as a get out of Jail Card FREE.
It is the LOCAL AUTHORITY whom are being VEXATIUOS in my case and no doubt many others,eg Shiel Oliverfor one by the Stockport Borough Council

M Yelland left an annotation ()

Not only is the vexatious argument used as a get out of jail card, "It is not in the public interest", is also used, especially by auditors when they have to make adverse comments about a local authority, and don't want too, or they need to apply to the High Court and make a declaration that items of account are contrary to law and don't.

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

I assumed that(Account suspended) was part of the user name. So the website, as a charity, are ruling that a person is vexatious!
This is setting a very dodgy precedent. What right of appeal is there against this ruling, to what higher authority? This strikes at the fundamental integrity of the website as if they can empower themselves to make such a decision it presents the possibility they could be offered an incentive to adopt such a course of action.
It appears this website is not available to all, therefore it can only represent an archive of FOI requests which they themselves approve.

Richard Jones (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Mr Taylor, You have missed the point ENTIRELY. Oliver was not suspended from this site for being vexatious, she was suspended for using the site for purposes OTHER than making Foi requests. I.e. her numerous complaints about the council/ individual staff etc some of which clearly included personal information which she had no cause or right to include. Had she only submitted FoI requests I have no doubt the website bods would have left her alone. The only people who have RIGHTLY declared her vexatious are the council which, if you look through the history of repeated requests she sent Stockport on the same subject matter, was the right decision.

Mr Yelland, take a look at the requests her and Dransfield have been hounding the council for and you will realise that they have not used a “get out of jail card” they have rightly applied the law which states that if someone keeps sending in repeated requests, the can be declared vexatous.

Mr Taylor left an annotation ()

It most certainly is abused as a get out of jail free card. An authority will commonly claim to have issued a full response even though they have failed to address the original point (vexatious claims are not only used in relation to FOI request as they are a common tool utilised by authorities in their various aspects of contact with their 'customers') the customer, as they have not yet received the explanation they are entitled to from these supposedly accountable bodies, then asks for a full response once again, and the authority then claims it is repeated requests. The ICO will invariably take the authority's side and the First Tier Tribunal is heavily stacked against you if you cannot afford legal representation. You find yourself left in the unenviable position of having no alternative other than to ask the ICO's solicitor for advice on the process, even though he is quite obviosly bias in favour of winning the case for the ICO as he is the oposition so is the least appropriate person to ask. It is all very nicely stiched up without taking sides. So what appeal process exists within MySociety for this inappropriate intervention? If any.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Mr Jones, you dont work for the SBC by anychance do you Sir?.
You clearly state in your comments that the SBC have declared Mrs Oliver as vexatious and there lies the problems Mr Jones. It is the REQUEST which MUST be vexatious NOT the requester. You also state a request will be termed as vexatious if it is REPEATED, again, you are wrong Sir, because it can only be vexatious if repeated AFTER the PA has provided the requester with the sought after data.That is NOT the case with Mrs Oliver.
You are also wrong to assume the SBC have termed me as VEXATIOUS, that is factually incorrect.

We need more people like Sheila Oliver, not more like you Sir.
Have a nice day

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Mr Jones
I note with a wry smile you have not mentioned anything about the SBC SYSTEM not seen to be working and you are entitled to your opinion Sir. BTW, do you have any children attending the Vale View school,if so, you should worry about them, not Mrs Oliver or myself.
Last year, I had two landmark victories over the ICO,one at First Tier Tribunal Level and one at Upper Tribunal level. Hardly looney, is it?.
There's no need to be impolite either?!

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I wonder why the Devon County Council have ignored Mrs Olivers FOI request??

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Mr Jones you surprise me. You have been quite outspoken on such issues to date. What's your thoughts on the DCC security,transparency and accoutability.
Personally, I CANT see them as working can you?
As you appear to be the resident expert on such matters can you tell me if the DCC have a legal obligation to acknowledge EVERY FOI response within 20 days and then to eiether refuse it or release the sought after data.??
It matters not, if a previous FOI request has been found VEXATIOUS OR NOT,DOESN'T IT MR JONES??.

I. W. Wall left an annotation ()

Maybe an official document will be of help in finally settling on what vexatious means. Find it here:

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I W Wall, I thank you for the link to vexatious definition and I am fully aware of the contents and I am also adamant that I have NOT met the 5/6 criteria tests laid down by the ICO. Also the local authority are on record that, "WE NO NOT CONSIDER MR DRANSFIELD's FOI REQUEST WAS DESIGNED TO CAUSE DISRUPTION OR ANNOYANCE.".
Therefore, if the DCC do not consider my request was to cause trouble or annoyance, HOW THE HELL can it be vexatious.
Furthermore, the FTT overturned the ICO/DCC vexatious decision which is curently awaiting the Upper Tribunal hearing date.
On the contrary, I am not being vexatious, it is the DCC whom are being vexatious AND MANIFESTLY UNREASONABLE.
What lengths they are going to in an attemp to cover upserious crimes??!!

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Interesting to note the Exeter City Council (ECC)have now confirmed to me in writing that they consider me as a VEXATIOUS COMPLAINANT which I maintain is HOGWASH because the ECC are treating my FOI requests in compliance with the FOI Act 2000??!!

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Just a wee update for all FOI Fans.
The Upper Tribunal has called for a Consolidated Test Case hearing (TBC) which involves two other FOI cases which originally failed at FTT phase and went on to seek Upper Tribunal Appeal.
My case is slightly different, as I won my FTT Appeal and it is NOW the ICO & Joined Party (DCC) whom are appealing to the UT.
Quite frankly, I think the ICO are throwing the kitchen sink behind their appeal because they know if they lose this TEST CASE APPEAL that the WHIMISICAL VEXATIOUS TRUMP CARDS will be binned forever.
Perusal of this WONDERFUL website will show that PA's nationwide play the Vexatious trump card when they want to HIDE something.
My particular Test Case GIA/3037/2011 started its Case Life back in early 2009. Quite frankly, I believe the Court Authorities are JUST begining to realise that the FOI Act 2000 carries no legal binding definiion of the word Vexatious,hence, they need to rectify this matter.
Let's face it,if Bill Clinton can question the Definition of "IF" what the hell would he make of VEXATIOUS.
The ICO are coming under FIRE for the current BLACKLISTING DEBACLE which was first thought to be isolated to the Construction Industry but it NOW transpires the Blacklisting,which,is STILL Ongoing involves YOU,ME AND EVERY JOE BLOGGS ON THE PLANET. Talk about Big Brother or WHAT.
Maybe I should give Bill Clinton a call to represent me at the forthcoming Test Case.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Sorry guys,I forgot to mention that the RETRIAL on my other LIVE FOI caseEA-0152.2010 which currently is under a STAY order pending the Test Case because of "EVIDNETIAL GAPS" BY Miss Amber Steer frost the DCC manager??!!.
The headmaster at one of the PFI schools has recently confirmed in a letter to ALL the Parents that the drinking water is NOW SAFE to use.
He having a Girafe surely.BTW
The Headmaster and his Wife at another one of the schools recently resigned owing to their joint £250k per annum which is currently under audit.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

This is the text version of the Headmasters Letter at St Peters SchoolExeter claiming the Drinking water is NOW safe to use. Not bad, nearly 7 years after £50 million PFI school was commissioned the school.
Whether or not children,staff and other end users have been HARMED ,I know not but this story sounds more akin to a 3rd world Country.
No wonder DCC refuse to release technical data at these 6 PFI schools and no wonder Bennyboy Bradshaw MP for Exeter has washed his hands on me,is there ??.
Is that so, the only thing without foundation is these 6 PFI schools in Exeter as they used the Contaminated Cement from Lafarge ??!!
You don't think I am being TOO vexatious do you guys??

11 June 2012

Dear Parents

Bottled Water – removal

As you know, we have had bottled water on the premises because of our concerns about
the quality of the drinking water on site. The Governing Body and Local Authority have
been very active in insisting that drastic remedial action is taken by Carillion to ensure
that the water is safe and that ongoing checks are in place.

The Local Authority has confirmed this week that their experts consider that the action
taken, and the ongoing checks, by Carillion are now sufficient for them to be satisfied
that the measures introduced to control the water hygiene management are suitable and
sufficient. The Local Authority is recommending, therefore, that bottled water can now
be removed.

Astonishingly, this issue has taken over five years to resolve, but it does now mean that
our students will be able to access drinking water from the drinking fountains and any
taps marked ‘drinking water’ around the school. Also, many students currently bring
their own bottle of water from home, and may well wish to continue to do this.

The bottled water will be removed with effect from 21June, so we are ensuring that
students can locate suitable drinking water sources around the school in time for the
removal of the bottled water.

I am most grateful for the diligence (and resilience) of members of our Governing Body
in ensuring that proper measures are taken before the removal of the bottled water.

Yours sincerely

Mark Perry


Freedom of Information Office - Mailbox, Devon County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Oliver,

Information Request: 02068

I write further to your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 received on 3^rd January 2012.  I apologise for the
long delay in responding to this request.

In reply to your enquiry please find Devon County Council's response

I hope this information is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely

Vicky Moffat
Information Governance Officer

Devon County Council
Customer Relations and Information Governance Team
Room 120
County Hall
Topsham Road
Tel: 01392 38 4678

Please note that Devon County Council now publishes most Freedom of
Information and Environmental Information Regulations request responses on
its publication scheme. Details of previous responses are available at
[1] The council requests
that members of the public make use of its disclosure log search facility
before making a Freedom of Information or Environmental Information
Regulations request, as it is possible that the information sought, may
have been disclosed in response to a prior request.

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If for any reason you are not satisfied with how your request has been
handled, please write to Devon County Council’s Freedom of Information
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[2] If your complaint is not
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alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Less than 3 weeks away from the Test Case Consolidated Hearing in London and STILL the DCC or ICO have NOT produced the 11 GHOST FOI documents.
In my view, it is the ICO who is VEXATIOUS, not me.
Mr Jones, have you lost your tongue as you were V outspoken on this issue a few months ago.
The truth will come out my friend and then you can apologise to Sheila Oliver and me for your rants.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Upper Tribunal Test Case took place in London 14th Nov, decision expected to take up to a month.
Most unusual case because the ICO were the appellants in this case.
Watch this space

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Upper Tribunal gave the ICO&DCC a green light based on 13 GHOST DOCUMENTS, obviously they were not produced but this UT decision will now give a green light to ROGUE PA to issue vexatious decisions on a whim.

Dave Orr left an annotation ()

Hi Alan,

I have been a persistent campaigner in Somerset to try and find out the true costs and savings from the controversial Joint Venture Southwest One (75% IBM owned).

Also the Met Office appointing an IBM employees from their major IT supercomputer supplier IBM whilst procuring supercomputers to their board as Chief Information Officer.

Getting specific & Southwest One-related information from my local Police service & authority required persistent questioning over 18 months, repeated FOIs and a few ICO appeals and one Information Tribunal. Not to mention a couple of annual accounts inspections.

I follow Devon CC FOIs on this excellent facility and am now very concerned that you seem to FOI across a very wide base of subjects, without a clear campaign or apparent purpose (with an end point or clear objective)?

My main concern is that if the FOIA is seen as being abused or hugely costly, then could the Government amend or annul the Act or start charging for all FOI requests?

Can I ask you to look at the bigger picture where FOIs are a key tool for campiagners and try and focus your use of FOIs please; perhaps limit the sheer number of them to specific topics?

A courteous reply appreciated.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Message for Richard Jones

May I suggest you read the Operation Maintenance Manual (OMM) available at this brilliant website for the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Bridge and you will see the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Bridge has NOT(repeat not) been provisioned with any Lightning Protection Systems or Lightning risk assessment,hence the GIA/3037/2011 ref Dransfield V ICO&DCC is at best, UNSAFE and at worst a TOOL to further circumvent the FOIA.
May I suggest you read the OMM and then you might stop attacking People like Shiela Oliver and my goodself.
In the event the OMM for the Rugby Ground had confirmed the FULL compliance to Lightning Protection, then the DCC/ICO and the UT would have been 110% correct to refuse our FOIA requests under section 14(1) vexatious requests.
It is people Like you and Tooltime Timmy Turner who are sprouting HOGWASH ref vexatious requests.
Read the OMM and then deliver you public apology to Sheila Oliver and myself via this wonderful website.

alan m dransfield (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The latest ICO vexatious guidelines should be sending alarm bells ringing Nationwide.
The new 37 page Guidelines relies MOSTLY on my case related to GIA/3037/2011.
Any self-respecting FOIA Campaigner should be up in arms and writing to their MP calling for a Public Inquiry into this latest ICO Guidance Document.
It is in my view ,at best HOGWASH and at worst a TOOL for the ICO and Rogue PA to circumvent the FOIA 2000 with further whimsical Vexatious decisions.

I say this with the greatest of confidence because a recent document published by the Devon County Council proves without a shadow of doubt that the Exeter Chefs Rugby Bridge has been DEVOID of Lightning Protection or Lighting Risk Assessment since 2006.
This is CRUCIAL EVIDENCE of perjury,lies and deception being at the heart of GIA/3037/2011.