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Army Cadet Force - King George VI Memorial Course - Promotion to Sergeant Major Instructor or Acting Captain - Further information(2) - Ref: FOI09051/79406/10/05 and Ref: FOI11110/79652

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Dear Ministry of Defence,

Please treat this request for information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In response to a Freedom of Information Request under your Reference: FOI09051/79406/10/05 relating to the introduction of the King George VI Memorial Course it was stated that...

" The consulting body for training development in the Army Cadet Force is the Training
Development Team (TDT) and the Training Working Group (TWG). Following reviews by
the Army Inspector (2010) and the Defence Auditor (2011), the Army Cadet Executive Group (ACEG) tasked the TDT to review key appointment training for Company and County level staff. Analysis was then conducted on the training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors. This included consultation with the TWG and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs).
Concurrently, the need for a leadership and management course at the Lieutenant to Acting Captain point was identified, as part of a long term review of CFAV training, which started in 2011. This need has been addressed through the introduction of the Initial Officer Training Course, and the training of Acting Captains & Sergeant Major Instructors will be covered by the introduction of the KGVI Leadership Course. "

Please now provide me with the following:

1) The full report of the Army Inspector (2010) in which it was noted that it was necessary to review key appointment training for Company and County level staff.
2) The full report of the Defence Auditor (2011) in which it was noted that it was necessary to review key appointment training for Company and County level staff.
3) Minutes of meetings of the Army Cadet Executive Group (ACEG) during which the ACEG tasked the Training and Development Team (TDT) to review key appointment training for Company and County level staff
4) Correspondence between the ACEG and the TDT panel members in which the ACEG tasked the TDT to review key appointment training for Company and County level staff
5) Full details of the processes undertaken to analyse the training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors.
6) The findings and reports of the analysis of the training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors.
7) Minutes of the meetings during which the Training Working Group were consulted about the training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors.
8) Minutes of the meetings during which Cadet Force Adult Volunteers were consulted about the training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors.
9) Questionnaires and feedback forms completed by CFAVs pertaining to the training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors.
10) Confirmation as to how the need for a leadership and management course at the Lieutenant to Acting Captain and Staff Sergeant to Sergeant Major point was identified. Please include minutes of meetings, reports of findings, questionnaires and correspondence relating to the same.
11) An explanation as to how the analysis lead to the identification that Acting Captains and Sergeant Majors have such identical training needs that they ought to attend the same course. In addressing this point please give particular consideration to the fact that Acting Captains typically hold Training Officer and Staff Officer roles whereas Sergeant Majors typically hold Unit Sergeant Major and Subject Matter Expert roles.
12) Confirmation as to how many CFAVs themselves were consulted about the need for training requirements for Acting Captains and Sergeant Major Instructors. Please tabulate this data by the CFAV's rank, age, length of service and appointment held at the relevant time.

Furthermore in your Reference: FOI09051/79406/10/05 it was stated that...

The new KGVI Course is designed for those seeking promotion to Acting Captain and Sergeant Major Instructors. The Area Commanders’ Course is designed for those seeking promotion to Acting Major. The new course will build on the skills and experience gained in the existing Initial Officer Training (IOT), and as such the content of each course is specifically tailored.

Please now provide me with the following:

13) What specific differences there are between the Area Commanders Course and the KCVI Course. Please note that I require the precises differences in course content rather than simple confirmation that the courses are aimed at CFAVs aspiring to hold different ranks.
14) Confirmation as to how the new course will build upon the skills and experience gained during the existing IOT considering candidates embarking upon the proposed new KGVI will have commissioned at least 4 years prior to the implementation of the IOT.

I look forward to receiving a timely and concise response in accordance with the spirit of The Act.

Yours faithfully,

TR Matthews

Army Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

1 Attachment

Dear Sir, Madam,

 

Please find a response to your recent FOI attached.

 

Kind regards

Army Secretariat

 

Dear sirs,

I note that the MoD is seeking to rely on the exemptions under s22, future publication and s38, health and safety.

To successfully rely on an exception under s22 The information that the public authority intends to be published must be the specific information the applicant has requested.

While I appreciate that full details of the course and will be released in due course please note that I have requested information as to how the need for the course was identified. I do not accept that the reports, minutes and questionnaires will be punished in due course. Please disclose this now.

To successfully rely on an exception under s38 there must be a risk to the health of or injury to an individual or pose a risk to the safety of the general population. I do not accept that disclosing information as to how the military came to the conclusion that Army Cadet Instructors needed to attend an additional course would pose a risk to any person.

I consider that the reliance upon both sections is a flagrant attempt to delay or avoid publication altogether.

Please respond immediately and disclose the information requested.

I must request a formal internal review on the grounds that the MoD is seeking to misuse the FoIA.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Army Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

Dear Sir, Madam,

 

Thank you for your further email.

 

As I stated in my letter of 10 January, I need to undertake a Public
Interest Test to assess whether it is in the public interest to either
disclose or withhold the information. You will receive a response to this
effect, as stated in my previous response, no later than 7 February.

 

Please note that an internal review can only be conducted when a response
has been provided, should you wish for such action to be taken at that
time.

 

Kind regards

Army Secretariat

 

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Dear sir,

I note the contents of your previous replies.

You state that I cannot request an internal review as I have not received a response.

I should point out that I did receive a response on 10th Janurary. Although this reply was notification that a delay will be incurred in carrying out a public interest test, it was a response nonetheless.

I am entitled to request an internal review about the handling of my request at any stage of my application. This right is not limited to the conclusion of your enquiries.

I respectfully put you on notice that if this information is withheld I will seek an internal review which may result in a referral to the Information Commissioner.

Again I will stress that it beggars belief that disosure as to how the MoD reached to conclusion that CFAVs must attend another week long course would endanger the safety of another; or that the MoD intended to release the specific information I requested.

I also note that on 18th Janurary 2018 CTC Frimley Park released a statement on their Facebook profile stating that they will not answer questions about the proposed course until the end of a pilot course. This illustrates a worrying trend of how ill thought out the implementation of the course is.

Is it the case that the MoD is attempting to delay the response to my FoI request because the MoD does not hold the information requested, simply because the MoD has not carried out as a thorough consultative process as it claims?

I look forward to receiving an outcome of your public interest assessment by 7th Feburary.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Sir, Madam

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request - please note that the
size of the documents requires them to be sent in separate emails and this
is part 1 of 4.

 

Kind regards

 

Army Secretariat

 

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Sir, Madam

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request - please note that the
size of the documents requires them to be sent in separate emails and this
is part 2 of 4.

 

Kind regards

 

Army Secretariat

 

 

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Sir, Madam

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request - please note that the
size of the documents requires them to be sent in separate emails and this
is part 3 of 4.

 

Kind regards

 

Army Secretariat

 

Army Sec-Group (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Sir, Madam

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request - please note that the
size of the documents requires them to be sent in separate emails and this
is part 4 of 4.

 

Kind regards

 

Army Secretariat

 

Dear Ministry of Defence,

I note your responses. Thank you for providing me with the Army Inspector Report (2010) and the Defence Auditor Report (2011). It is noteworthy that the Army Inspector Report (2010) and the Defence Auditor Report (2011) do not make specific reference to the need for training at the Captain and SMI level.

I am disappointed to note that you were unable to provide me with responses to points 3), 4) and, 6) to 12) of my request dated 7th December.

I am concerned that the MoD does not hold this information considering that it was claimed that the need for the KGVI course has been identified. I would have expected to find the need for the course in those requested documents.

In a response (your reference FOI09051/79406/10/05) it was stated that "This included consultation with the TWG and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs)". This is why I requested evidence that CFAVs had been consulted which I would have expected to find in the documents I requested at points 8) to 12) of my request.

In your response it was stated that you do not hold the information. Does this mean that CFAVs have not been consulted at all?

If it is the case that CFAVs have been consulted what evidence is there of the same? There must be evidence that CFAVs were consulted because in your Ref: FOI09051/79406/10/05 it was stated that CFAVS were consulted. In order to have ascertained this fact the MoD must surely have located evidence that CFAVs had been consulted. Please now provide me with the information I requested.

At point 10) of my request I asked for "Confirmation as to how the need for a leadership and management course at the Lieutenant to Acting Captain and Staff Sergeant to Sergeant Major point was identified. Please include minutes of meetings, reports of findings, questionnaires and correspondence relating to the same."

Simply put, someone at the MoD must know how this need was identified. This has not been outlined in the Army Inspector Report (2010) and the Defence Auditor Report (2011). Please confirm how this need has been identified as I have not been provided with any evidence of the same.

I am particularly concerned by the lack of attention to detail with which this FoI request has been handled. My concerns are summarised as follows:

1) I have been given information in this response which appears contradictory to your Ref: FOI09051/79406/10/05 - namely; that CFAVs have been consulted but no evidence has been provided. I would have expected that minutes of meetings or completed questionnaires would evidence this. If questionnaires or minutes have been destroyed I would expect that a report or other correspondence had been compiled analysing CFAVs' views on the matter or at least some notes had been taken. This report or associated correspondence must still exist. Such reports and notes fall within the scope of my original request and should be supplied.

2) At point 10) of my request I asked for confirmation as to how the need for a course was identified. I was informed that the MoD does not hold that information. Clearly someone somewhere has decided that those at the Lieutenant to Acting Captain and Staff Sergeant to Sergeant Major level need training. The derisory response I revived to point 5) - simply referring me to JSP 288 - does not adequately answer my question. Please provide an explanation as to how that training need was identified. This information falls within the scope of my original request and should be supplied.

3) In a response to this request dated 10th January 2018 I was informed that the MoD considered that my request fell within the Section 22 (Information intended for future publication) and Section 38 (Health and Safety) qualified exemptions. While a public interest assessment was undertaken and the information was released I am still very concerned that the MoD attempted to misuse these statutory exemptions to delay or prevent publication of the information.

I respectfully request that an internal review be undertaken to address these concerns with a view to releasing all the information I initially requested.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Matthews,

We acknowledge receipt of your email of 12 February 2018, received by the Information Rights Compliance Team on 20 February 2018, and can confirm that an internal review will be conducted of your request for information (reference above).

The Department's target for completing internal reviews is 20 working days and we therefore aim to complete the review and respond to you by 21 March 2018. While we are working hard to achieve this, in the interests of providing you with a more realistic indication of when you should expect a response, we should advise that the majority are currently taking between 20 and 40 working days to complete.

The review will involve a full, independent reconsideration of the handling of the case as well as the final decision.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

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Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

I am due an outcome to my internal review request.

Please can this be dispatched to me today to avoid the necessity to refer this matter to the Information Commissioner.

Yours faithfully,

TR Matthews

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Matthews,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately, we regret that we are not in a position to complete the internal review at the moment as not all of the information is available to us. Please be assured that we are working hard to complete the review as soon as we possibly can.

We will aim to provide you with an update, or the substantive internal review, by 20 April 2018. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Regards,
MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

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Dear sirs

I was informed that I would recieve a response by 20th April. 11 days have now passed. Please provide me with an update by 1700hrs on 2nd May 2018 otherwise I must consider referring this matter to the Information Commissioner .

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

A response to this enquiry was due by 20th April. 3 weeks have since passed. Please action this request now and provide me with an update immediately

Yours faithfully,

TR Matthews

Sirs

I am extremely concerned by the lack of an update to my request for a review.

I am most disappointed, as a tax payer and concerned citizen, that I have not received a reply or even an update. I find this rather unpalatable; as will the Information Commissioner should I elect to refer it to that body.

It has not escaped my attention that this request is six months of age.

I look forward to a response on Monday 21st May 2018.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Matthews,

Please accept our apologies for the lack of contact with regards to progress on your internal review. The Ministry of Defence is still not in a position to provide you with a substantive internal review to your request as our investigation is still ongoing. We aim to contact you with the substantive internal review response, by 8 June 2018.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

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Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

I was due a response on 8th June. A further 3 weeks have passed.

Please respond on 21st June with an update. Within this response please provide me with the explanation for the delay

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Matthews,

We are sorry to still be unable to provide you with a completed internal review, this is due to resource factors beyond our control. Unfortunately, your request for an internal review has coincided with an unprecedented demand for independent internal review investigations by this team, although we can confirm that the investigation of your case is actively underway.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not specify an actual timescale for reviews. However, if you remain dissatisfied with MOD’s handling of your request, you have an absolute right at any time to escalate your complaint to the Information Commissioner under the provisions of Section 50 of the Act. Further details of the role and powers of the Commissioner can be found on her website at: www.ico.org.uk. Her address is: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, WILMSLOW, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

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Dear sir / maam

It has now been 3 weeks since I last received a response. While I appreciate that your department is handling a large number of reviews I cannot accept such a protracted delay.

The original request was submitted over 8 months ago. It has been almost 6 months since I referred this for an internal review.

I do note that in your most recent response dated 26th June 2018 you confirmed that the "investigation ... is actively underway" . If you are not able to provide me with the information I requested and the completed review please specify exactly what work has been undertaken within this investigation.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

Please action my above request and provide an update or the required disclosure.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

Please action my above request and provide an update or the required disclosure.

This request is long over due.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

This is a further prompt for the internal review and information I requested.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

It has been another month since your last update. Please provide the result of the internal review and the information referred to my request.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr Matthews,

We have been advised that the substantive response should be with you within the next 10 working days. Therefore, if you have not received it by 10 Aug, please contact us again.

If you remain dissatisfied with MOD’s handling of your request, you have an absolute right at any time to escalate your complaint to the Information Commissioner under the provisions of Section 50 of the Act. Further details of the role and powers of the Commissioner can be found on her website at: www.ico.org.uk. Her address is: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, WILMSLOW, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Thank you for your patience.
MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

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Dear CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

I was told to expect a response by 10th August 2018. It didn't materialise.

Please provide me with a response. As I was told to expect a response within 10 days, at that point it must have been nearing completion.

This request has been outstanding for 9 months.

Yours sincerely,

TR Matthews

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Matthews,

 

Please find attached a response to your request for internal review.

 

I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are TR Matthews please sign in and let everyone know.

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