April 2013 Force Executive Board

Richard Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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 refused by Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Dear Cambridgeshire Constabulary,

Could you please release the agenda, reports, presentations made, and attendance list, relating to the Force Executive Board meeting held on the 2nd of April 2013.

I stress that I am seeking all papers, not just the agenda and
minutes.

Regards,

--

Richard Taylor
Cambridge
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Dear Richard

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0253/2013
We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information (FOI) request which
was received by Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 16/04/2013

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  You will receive a response within the statutory
timescale of twenty working days as defined by the Act. In some
circumstances, we may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this is the
case, you will be informed and given a revised time-scale at the earliest
opportunity.

If we require any further clarification regarding this request, you will
be notified.

We would advise you that the nature of certain requests may involve
payment of a fee.  If this is the case, you will be notified.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
telephone on 01480 456 111 asking for the Information Access Office or
email [Cambridgeshire Constabulary request email]

Regards

Julie Purse
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear Richard

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0253/2013

In reply to your request for information under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, dated 16th April 2013 and received in the constabulary as
follows:

Could you please release the agenda, reports, presentations made, and
attendance list, relating to the Force Executive Board meeting held on the
2nd of April 2013.
I stress that I am seeking all papers, not just the agenda and minutes.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (The Act) requires us to handle all
requests in a manner that is blind to the identity of the requestor. Any
information released in response to a request is regarded as being
published, and therefore in the public domain without caveat.

Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged
to supply the information you have requested due to exemptions provided by
the Act.

Section 14(1) of the FOI Act does not oblige a public authority to comply
with a request if the request is considered to be vexatious.

In applying this exemption, I would bring the requestor's attention to the
following requests submitted by himself since November 2012:

0255/2013 In this request you asked for the "Glasgow" Presentation which
is shown in the Minutes of the March FEB meeting. This presentation is
being prepared for full release to you and demonstrates that you are aware
of the process by which FEB papers are made available.

0159/2013 This requested the same information for the March FEB meeting.

0091/2013 This requested the same information for the February FEB meeting

0060/2013 This requested the same information for the January FEB meeting

0035/2013 This requested similar information for the CCJB meeting; you
were provided a complete response.

0669/2012 This asked for the details of the December 2012 FEB meeting.

0600/2012 This asked for minutes and Agendas for all FEB meetings since
February 2012 (to November 2012).

In respect of all of the FEB meetings above, the constabulary has, as a
direct result of your emails, amended it's publication scheme in order
that the Agendas and Minutes are published on a monthly basis and this has
been communicated to you in response to FOI requests and on Appeal to our
Internal Review. In addition, we have revised the way in which papers from
these meetings are made available to the public and in respect of the
"Open" or "Part 1" papers, this does not require a formal FOI request; in
the case of "Closed" or "Part 2" papers an FOI request for the specific
paper(s) is required due to the potentially very sensitive subject matter
and the size or scope of the document required. This has also been
communicated very clearly to you on a number of occasions and your
understanding of this principle is reflected in the wording of your
request 0255/2013 for a specifically mentioned paper. You have been
provided with a full copy of this paper in full accordance with our
Publication Scheme and demonstrates that you are both aware of our
processes and are willing to abide by them.

In respect of all the requested papers, none have yet been refused and you
are aware that the amount of redaction work required to produce the fully
redacted papers for just one meeting is very sizeable and will divert
significant resources to comply. I have communicated this to you and
advised that there will be disbursement fees payable; these communications
are indicated on the website through which these requests have been
submitted. You have chosen not to respond to these requests and I must
assume from this that you do not require these papers at this time.

It is my consideration therefore, that you have not demonstrated that your
request has significant purpose or value at this time.

In our discussion on 23 January you advised that you believed that our
Publication Scheme did not lend itself to Openness and Transparancy and I
commited to putting your views forward to the relevant Business Managers
to achieve this. I also advised you of the scale of the redaction exercise
required and reminded you of the considerable amount of work which had
been undertaken by my colleagues in the (then) Police Authority in respect
of your request for papers - Risk Register - which singly took more than
60 hours. Your views were put forward and an initial change has been made
to the way in which these meeting papers are made available to the public
on request. This allows the constabulary to ensure that resources continue
to be used as efficiently as possible. The relevant Business Manager and
this office are continuing to work together in revising the whole of the
Publication Scheme to allow the greatest possible openness and
accessibility. As the constabulary is rapidly evolving at the same time,
as you know, this is a considerable challenge.

The monthly request for every document from every FEB meeting would be a
very significant drain on public resources and reflects on our ability to
respond to other applicants appropriately and thus is detrimentally
affecting our commitment to being transparent. You have yourself commented
in respect of omissions from our Disclosure Log.

Thus it is my belief that your requests individually and collectively will
impose a significant burden on our resources which is unacceptable.

I bring to your attention the following relevant Decision Notices:

Tribunal Decision - EA/2011/0222 IPCC v ICO

‘At the original Decision Notice stage of this case the ICO did
acknowledge that the 2 requests being appealed would impose significant
burden on the IPCC in terms of financial resources and human resources and
that the nature of the second request, following six similar requests for
very detailed information as to particular cases, suggested the
probability of further future requests if these were satisfied.’

The following extracts from the Tribunal Decision would also be relevant.

‘A request may be so grossly oppressive in terms of the resources and time
demanded as to be vexatious, regardless of the intentions or bona fides of
the requester. If so, it is not prevented from being vexatious just
because the authority could have relied instead on S12.’

‘Equally, a request which by no means overwhelms the resources of the
authority but which is clearly motivated merely by a desire to cause a
nuisance may be judged vexatious without more.’

‘A similarly modest request, viewed against a long history of similar
requests showing no obvious serious purpose in the requester may satisfy
S14, even where, seen in isolation, it would fall far short of doing so.’

‘The same applies where the clear inference to be drawn from the
requester’s conduct is that he intends a future campaign of pointless
requests just to keep the authority occupied.’

Upper Tribunal Decision – UTT GIA/1871/2011 Wise v ICO

‘Inherent in the policy behind Section 14(1) is the idea of
proportionality. There must be an appropriate relationship between such
matters as the information sought, the purpose of the request, and the
time and other resources that would be needed to provide it.’

Tribunal Decision – EA/2012/0047 Salford City Council v ICO

In this request the appellant argued that the bulk and complexity of the
material meant a very considerable amount of officer time would be needed
to examine material, consider whether any of those exemptions arose and if
appropriate redact that material. They estimated (using a similar method
to cost estimations) that it would take 31 days and therefore this
rendered the request vexatious.

The Tribunal was satisfied that a disproportionately high cost would be
incurred for any minimal public benefit flowing from the disclosure of the
information requested.

This email should be considered as a formal refusal notice to your
request.

If you are unhappy with this response, please see the attachment below,
which sets out your rights to appeal.
(See attached file: Complaint Rights May-11.pdf)

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact the Information Access Office via email, or on telephone number
01480 456 111 extension 2036.

Regards

David

David Price
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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To visit Cambridgeshire Constabulary's website please follow this link:

http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/index.asp

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The reasoning for declaring my request vexatious is in part based on a claim the force now has a policy of pro-actively publishing much of the material I am seeking.

However they are are not in practice following that policy, at the time of writing there are no meeting papers beyond agendas and minutes published at:

http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/about/foi/...

And, although it is the 12th of May 2013 as yet no agenda even has been published for the 2nd of April 2013 meeting, never mind any papers or minutes.

Dear Cambridgeshire Constabulary,

I am writing to request an internal review of Cambridgeshire Constabulary's handling of my FOI request 'April 2013 Force Executive Board' to which the force has allocated reference 0253/2013.

I would like the review to consider the increased public interest in the Force Executive Board meetings following the demise of the Police Authority as of November 2012. Whereas previously much of the information, and in many cases whole papers, would be pro-actively published via the Police Authority this no longer occurs. There is a public interest in timely information on proposed changes to policing policy and practice, strategic priorities and leadership of the force, as well as performance and monitoring information being available to the public. There is also a public interest in being able to monitor how the Police and Crime Commissioner is having an impact on the force. The Commissioner has attended, presented papers to, and apparently placed items on the agenda of, board meetings.

The force from time to time does appear to publish agendas and minutes for the Force Executive Board meetings so it appears to accept there is a public benefit in making information on board's operation available.

To further illustrate the public interest in matters discussed at the Force Executive Board, the following recent Cambridge News articles have been based on material discussed at Force Executive Board meetings:

Cambridgeshire police may divert 101 non-emergency calls to staff at home – 11 March 2013
Bike theft in Cambridge is out of control, police boss says – 6 March 2013
Police chief’s praise for idea to arrest ‘change fatigue’ – 1 February 2013

Taken together I believe this shows there is a clear, serious purpose, for requesting the release of Force Executive Board papers.

I note the force website suggests the force has adopted an ACPO model publication scheme, no mention is made of the amendments referred to in the decision notice relating to my request. I would like the review to consider if the force's publication scheme has in fact been changed as claimed, and if so, request the publication of the current scheme.

I would like the review to consider the element of the response which suggests those requesting certain ("Open" or "Part 1") papers can do so via a request other than a formal FOI request. This makes no sense. Why was the element of my request applying to such papers dealt with any differently than an informal request would be? Any written request for recorded information can be valid according to Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act, the act contains no reference to formal and informal requests.

The refusal notice cites the fact I have not responded to requests for a postal address and statements that there will be disbursement fees payable in relation to previous requests. My view is I have made clear my preference as to means of communication, which ought be taken into account according to S11 of the Freedom of Information Act. Dispersements such as photocopying, printing or posting ought not apply when providing an electronic response.

I note, and would like the review to consider, the ICO's guidence on dealing with requests which a body is considering deeming vexatious states:

"Remember that you can also avoid unwanted requests by voluntarily publishing any frequently requested information"

I think it would be very sensible if the force pro-actively published the meeting agendas and "open" papers for the Force Executive Board as they become available, this would be expected to reduce the number of requests for information made to the force and improve the specificity of those which are made.

I note that even agendas for Force Executive Board meetings are not being published in a timely manner. An internal review response, relating to a request for Force Executive Board papers provided to me on the 14th of February 2013 stated: "Having considered all the available information and as chair of the panel I am looking into how these papers can be made more readily available to the public in future. Work is underway to provide you with all the papers requested." This was a very positive statement, but nothing in practice appears to have happened as a result.

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

Regards,

--

Richard Taylor
Cambridge
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

I have written an article on the decision to deem this request vexatious:

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/cambs-police-fe...

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Dear Richard

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0253/2013

We acknowledge receipt of your request for an Internal Review of our
response to you dated 1 May 2013

Your appeal will now be considered when the Appeal Panel convenes on 12th
June 2013 and you will be notified of the outcome of this appeal in
writing.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
telephone on 01480 456111 asking for the Information Access Office or
email [Cambridgeshire Constabulary request email]

Regards

David Price

Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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To visit Cambridgeshire Constabulary's website please follow this link:

http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/index.asp

show quoted sections

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The agenda and minutes have now been published at:

http://www.cambs.police.uk/about/foi/cla...
http://www.cambs.police.uk/about/foi/cla...

A report notes the police are currently underspending vs their budget, the gap being £7.97m or 7%.

The minutes state £19K from "partners" is to be spent on the confidential drink drive hotline. Despite the force admitting it is no more confidential than calling 999:

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

The minutes also note:
"Officers and staff were now permitted to use electronic cigarettes o n police premises although not in front facing areas e.g. enquiry office"

Niki Howard,

1 Attachment

Please find attached the letter following the Panel on 12^th June

 

Niki Howard

Assistant Chief Officer

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To visit Cambridgeshire Constabulary's website please follow this link:

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show quoted sections

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The internal review has concluded the decision to deem the request vexatious was correct.

The response states the points I made have been considered, however no response to any of the points I made has been provided.

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