Dear West Mercia Police,

On the 9th October 2018 it was released that you and the West Mercia PCC have informed Warwickshire Police & PCC that the strategic alliance was ending and gave appropriate notice thereof. Please can you provide the following;

1) A copy of any final report from your office to the PCC of West Mercia around the decision to withdraw from the alliance, report to include analysis of risks vs. benefits etc.

2) A copy of any internal communication between the office of the Chief Constable and the West Mercia PCC surrounding the separation decision being made in the week leading to the 9th October 2018

3) A copy of any internal communication between your Chief Constables office, the PCC for Warwickshire & West Mercia Police and the Chief Constables of Warwickshire Police surrounding the separation in the week leading to the 9th October 2018 and the immediate day after.

4) A financial estimate of the cost to separate the alliance, ie the cost to West Mercia Police for changes to systems, additional staff as a result of leaving the alliance.

5) A financial prediction of the proposed savings that withdrawal from the alliance will give to West Mercia police for the next four years, ie what do you believe that you will save.

Yours faithfully,

Mr A T Jones

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

 
Dear Mr Jones
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 10401
 
I write in connection with your request for West Mercia Police information
which was dated and received on 9th October 2018.
 
Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).  You will receive a response within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to
the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third
party.  In some circumstances West Mercia Police may be unable to achieve
this deadline.  If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised
time-scale at the earliest opportunity.
 
There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information you request.  If this is the case you will be informed and
the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment
from you. If you chose not to make payment then your request will remain
unanswered.
 
Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.
 
Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or telephone the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Sue Cale
Information Compliance Administrator
Information Compliance Unit
Warwickshire Police & West Mercia Police
P O Box 55
Hindlip  WR3 8SP
 
DD 01905 331545 (Ext. 2545)
[email address]
 
 
 
 

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

7 Attachments

 
Dear Mr Jones
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 10410
I write in connection with your request for information which was received
on 9^th October 2018. Please find below the response to your request:
On the 9th October 2018 it was released that you and the West Mercia PCC
have informed Warwickshire Police & PCC that the strategic alliance was
ending and gave appropriate notice thereof. Please can you provide the
following;
 
1) A copy of any final report from your office to the PCC of West Mercia
around the decision to withdraw from the alliance, report to include
analysis of risks vs. benefits etc.
REPLY: No specific recorded information held.
There is no final report that has been provided to the PCC around the
decision to withdraw from the alliance. Please see below further
explanation at question 4
2) A copy of any internal communication between the office of the Chief
Constable and the West Mercia PCC surrounding the separation decision
being made in the week leading to the 9th October 2018
3) A copy of any internal communication between your Chief Constables
office, the PCC for Warwickshire & West Mercia Police and the Chief
Constables of Warwickshire Police surrounding the separation in the week
leading to the 9th October 2018 and the immediate day after.
REPLY: Please see the attached information that is available for this part
of the request. Information that is not available has been redacted as I
am not obliged to supply all the information you have requested.
 
Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires West Mercia
Police, when refusing to provide such information (because the information
is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which:   (a) states
that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that
would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
 
The exemptions applicable to the information are:
 
Section 40 (2) Personal information
Section 42 (1) Legal Professional Privilege
Section 43 (2) Commercial Interests
 
Section 40
 
Any information that relates to an individual, or from which an individual
could be identified, constitutes personal data and to release information
that constitutes personal data into the public domain (that is not already
publically known/available) contravenes the Data Protection Act 2018.
Parts of the information contained within the documents pertain to
personal data relating to a third party/parties and therefore it is exempt
from disclosure, the exemption that applies to this type of information is
Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
 
In order to be able to claim sections 42 and 43 the public interest in
maintaining the exemptions must outweigh the public interest in
disclosure. A summary of the public interest test follows:
 
        Section 42
        Factors Favouring Disclosure:
         There is a public interest in public authorities being
accountable for the quality of their decision-making. Ensuring that
decisions have been made on the basis of good quality legal advice is part
of that accountability. Transparency in the decision-making process and
access to the information upon which decisions have been made can enhance
accountability.
 
Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure:
The legal adviser needs to be able to present the full picture to his or
her departmental clients, which includes not only arguments in support of
his or her final conclusions but also the arguments that may be made
against them. It is in the nature of legal advice that it often sets out
the possible arguments both for and against a particular view, weighing up
their relative merits. This means that legal advice obtained by a
department will often set out the perceived weaknesses of the department's
position.
 
Disclosure of legal advice has a high potential to prejudice the force’s
ability to defend its legal interests - both directly, by unfairly
exposing its legal position to challenge, and indirectly by diminishing
the reliance it can place on the advice having been fully considered and
presented without fear or favour. Neither of these is in the public
interest. The former could result in serious consequential loss or at
least in a waste of resources in defending unnecessary challenges. The
latter may result in poorer decision-making because decisions themselves
may not be taken on a fully informed basis.
 
 
Section 43
Factors Favouring Disclosure:
Disclosing all the information held would show to the public that the
Force is making decisions about spending public money wisely and
effectively.
 
Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure:
Provision of all information held regarding commercial possibilities that
may lead to tender would adversely affect the interests of the force
products and services.  Future contractors/partners would have a weakened
position in a competitive environment if market sensitive information were
released or information of potential usefulness to competitors were to be
likewise released.
 
Balancing Test
whilst the force is accountable for its actions in relation to decisions
undertaken, it is essential that the release of information does not
breach the client – legal professional relationship, a principal enshrined
in history that must be respected. It is likely that legal advice given in
one context will be helpful or relevant to subsequent issues. This means
not only considering the circumstances in which future legal interests
could be prejudiced but also bearing in mind that the public interest in
protecting the confidential relationship between lawyer and client is a
long term public interest which could be damaged by individual
disclosures.
 
The right of the public to know, needs to be weighed against the damage
caused to suppliers/partners and West Mercia's business reputation or
confidence in which it is held by those suppliers/partners. The
information if placed into the public domain would give the advantage to
competitors in any future tendering exercise's. It is in the public
interest to ensure that suppliers/partners are able to compete fairly for
public sector contracts.
 
On balance at this time the public interest test does not favour
disclosure of all the requested information.
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this acts as a
Refusal Notice for the redacted parts of your request.
 
 
4) A financial estimate of the cost to separate the alliance, ie the cost
to West Mercia Police for changes to systems, additional staff as a result
of leaving the alliance.
REPLY: No specific recorded information held.
There is currently no total estimated cost for ending the two force
alliance. There has been some work done to ascertain what should be
included for day to day running costs, revenue budget and one-off costs
such as capital investment. But work is still ongoing in relation to other
business areas that will take significant research for example separating
out the ICT infrastructure. 
 
It is anticipated that two separate project teams, one for each force, is
to review modelling and costing options for each force post October 2019
and this will provide the PCCs and Chief Constables choices to negotiate
on and decide between.  The chosen option will dictate the budget and
costs to be incurred.
 
5) A financial prediction of the proposed savings that withdrawal from the
alliance will give to West Mercia police for the next four years, ie what
do you believe that you will save.
REPLY: No specific recorded information held
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is as
accurate as possible.
Please accept our apologies for the delay in response. The deadline for
disclosure was extended by 20 working days as the force was considering
qualified exemptions, however the response was late outside of this
extension.
Your attention is drawn to the below which details your right of
complaint.
Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or telephone the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.
Yours sincerely
Mrs R Williams
 
Information Compliance Unit
Warwickshire Police & West Mercia Police
PO Box 55
Hindlip
Worcester
WR3 8SP
01905 331545 / 331565
 
 
West Mercia Police in complying with their statutory duty under sections 1
and 11 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed
information will not breach the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
However, the rights of the copyright owner of the enclosed information
will continue to be protected by law. Applications for the copyright
owner’s written permission to reproduce any part of the attached
information should be addressed to The Force Solicitor, West Mercia Police
Headquarters, PO Box 55, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SP.
COMPLAINT RIGHTS
Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?
You have the right to require West Mercia Police (WMP) to review their
decision.
Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the person that dealt with your request.
Ask to have the decision looked at again -
The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
contact the person named at the end of your decision letter.
That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.
Complaint
If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
WMP made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information, you can lodge a complaint with WMP to have the
decision reviewed. WMP must be notified of your intention to complain
within 20 working days of the date of its response to your Freedom of
Information request. Complaints should be made in writing and addressed
to:
West Mercia Police Headquarters
Information Compliance Unit
Hindlip Hall
Hindlip
PO Box 55
Worcester
WR3 8SP
or
Email:  [West Mercia Police request email]
In all possible circumstances, WMP will aim to respond to your complaint
within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner
After lodging a complaint with WMP if you are still dissatisfied with the
decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for a
decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.
For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at [1]https://ico.org.uk/ Alternatively, phone
or write to:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 if you prefer to use a
national rate number
Fax:    01625 524 510
 
 
 
 

References

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