Appointment of Temporary and Substantive Chief Constables

The request was partially successful.

Dear Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA),

By way of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, 2011, the chief constable must consult the Police and Crime Commissioner (the Deputy Mayor in the case of GMCA) before appointing a person as an assistant chief constable of the force.

That is taken to mean both temporary and substantive appointments.

Accordingly please disclose all data held in respect of such appointments and the statutory duty to consult. The relevant period being 1st April, 2017 and the date upon which this information request is acknowledged by GMCA.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative Journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Ward, Nicola, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wilby,

Please find attached our response to your request for information.

Kind regards,

Nicola Ward
Governance and Scrutiny
Churchgate House
Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6EU

Follow us on social media @GreaterMCR

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Dear Greater Manchester Combined Authority,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Greater Manchester Combined Authority's handling of my FOI request 'Appointment of Temporary and Substantive Chief Constables'.

The grounds for complaint are:

1. This is a response so deceitful, calculatingly so, in my respectful submission, that section 77 of the Act may well be engaged. For convenience, I attach a copy of the relevant section of the Act. As the Deputy Mayor should be aware, not knowing the law is not a defence in criminal proceedings.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/200...

2. Subject to your response to this internal review request, all my rights in respect of requesting the Information Commissioner to instigate a criminal prosecution against the Deputy Mayor are reserved. Similarly, any, and all, rights to join with another party, or parties, in laying an information concerning misconduct in public office are reserved.

3. For the avoidance of doubt, the disclosure requested is all data connected to the appointment of Assistant Chief Constables in Greater Manchester Police (GMP). If you are in doubt as to what this requested data comprises, and the internal paper and electronic searches necessary to reveal it, then I counsel the Deputy Mayor, most strongly, to take appropriate and independent legal advice before appointing a suitably qualified information rights practitioner to undertake the internal review.

4. Further, and in any event, there is no provision in the Police and Social Responsibility Reform Act, 2011 for secret meetings, absent of written record, to take place between a chief constable and an elected policing body concerning the appointment of his assistants. The proposition, advanced in the finalisation of this request, is, accordingly, deeply concerning. Again, the Deputy Mayor is most strongly urged to seek appropriate, independent legal advice before attempting to maintain this position following internal review.

5. Whilst the requested disclosure is to the wider world - as it should be in such matters of substantial public interest - the working hypothesis, at the present time, is that the Deputy Mayor is prepared to break the law in order to vex and harass a journalist, known to hold GMP to account, following his vocation. This, understandably has caused considerable alarm and distress. Elected policing bodies are not expected to behave in this way. You are, accordingly, counselled most strongly not to repeat such actions as this may well be interpreted as a course of conduct as defined at section 1 of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Dear Greater Manchester Combined Authority,

The internal review is now overdue for finalisation.

Unless it is received by Friday 9th November, 2018 the matter will be referred to the Information Commissioner's Office without any further reference to GMCA.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Enquiries, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Dear Mr Wilby,

Thank you for your follow on email in relation to your internal review of
FOI 291.

We are currently undertaking our review and will respond to you as soon as
possible.

Kind regards,

Nicola Ward
Governance and Scrutiny
Churchgate House
Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6EU

Follow us on social media @GreaterMCR

 

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Dear Greater Manchester Combined Authority,

I refer to your communication of even date.

So that the Information Commissioner is better informed in dealing with the complaint against the Deputy Mayor, who is conducting the internal review and what is his/her explanation for the delay, and absence of personal apology?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: @neilwilby.com

Dear GMCA,

It is noted, with some concern, that my communication dated 9th November, 2018 has been completely ignored.

Reproduced below is the text of the complaint that has been submitted to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO):

"Dear [Commissioner]

I am an investigative journalist and, as such, an experienced information rights practitioner.

On 11th September, 2018 I made an information request to Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), via the What Do They Know website.

The request and subsequent internal review together with all other correspondence can be viewed at this weblink:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

GMCA have not provided a response to the internal review request made on 5th October, 2018. They contacted me on 8th November to say they were in process of finalising the review. I have heard nothing since.

It is a matter of very significant public interest and has already attracted wide media attention.

GMCA's response to the request was troubling, to say the least. Disclosure arising from another request made to Greater Manchester Police clearly indicates that the request finalisation was false. That may well account for the delay.

Should you require any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me."

The ICO will no doubt be in touch with the Deputy Mayor shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Dear Greater Manchester Combined Authority,

It is of serious concern that an elected policing body has such low ethical and professional standards:

1. My two previous emails dated 8th and 29th November have been ignored (respect and courtesy).

2. The internal review request remains unfinalised and is now four weeks overdue (neglect of duty).

[extraneous material removed].

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Enquiries, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Wilby,

Please find attached response.

Kind regards

Information Officer

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Enquiries, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Dear Mr Wilby,

Please accept my sincerest apologies in the delay of getting my internal
review response to you. I also apologise for not sending you an update
holding response in relation to the delay in responding to you and any
frustration this may have caused you.

I would like to assure you that the GMCA take their obligations around the
Freedom Of information Act 2000 very seriously and we are reviewing our
processes to ensure we are delivering the best possible service.

I am aware my response was sent to you was sent this morning and this now
concludes your internal review.

I have advised in my response that if you remain unsatisfied with the
handling of your request that you can contact the Information
Commissioners Office and how to do that.

Yours sincerely

Phillipa

-------------------------------------------
Phillipa Nazari
Assistant Director Information Governance &
Data Protection Officer

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Dear Greater Manchester Combined Authority,

Thank you for the partial disclosure received yesterday, which appears to concern only ACC Maboob Hussain.

Collateral requests made to two other public authorities suggest that your searches are incomplete and data may be missing, or withheld.

There has, also, to my certain knowledge, been three other GMP ACC appointments in the relevant period: Annette Anderson, Rob Potts and Russ Jackson. You have disclosed no held data in respect of any of these.

This is, obviously, troubling. Particularly, in the light of all that has gone before.

These matters will be raised with the Information Commissioner's Office later today. They will, no doubt, be in touch with your office in due course.

Yours sincerely

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

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