Audit Commission Minutes and Agenda's

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Audit Commission

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 successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Is it the intention of the Audit Commission ('AC') to conform with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and publish all minutes and agendas of its meetings (Board and Commission). The Information Commissioner on 31 July 2008 published guidance on this issue, and this information appears to have been excluded from the Publication Scheme on the AC Website.

If it is not the intention of the AC to publish its minutes and agendas on the AC Website within the next 20 days - please forward copies of all minutes and agendas since the FOI came into force (30 November 2000) and identify clearly if the minutes and agenda are edited or unedited.

Additionally, if it should not be the intention of the AC to comply with the FoI Act please forward copies of all documents identifying its reasons.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Julie Hope,

Dear Mr Harwicke Carruthers

Thank you for your request for information received on 6 August 2008.

The Audit Commission is committed to the principles of the Freedom of
Information Act (FoIA) and will wherever possible provide all the
information requested unless constrained by another statute or by an
exemption within the FoIA. Please note that some information you have
requested may not be provided to you; this will only be information that
can be withheld by law. In most cases the reasons will be explained to you
along with your copy of any information that can be released to you.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as defined by the FoIA. That
date is 3 September 2008.

I may need to contact you if the request needs to be clarified; this is to
ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

As you have contacted us by email, I will send the full response to you at
this email address. If you would prefer me to send it to another address,
or by hard copy, please do contact me.

Yours sincerely

Julie Hope
Head of the Chief Executive's Office
Audit Commission

1st Floor

Millbank Tower

Millbank

London

SW1P 4HQ

Tel: 0844 798 2104

Fax: 0845 052 2608

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Julie Hope,

Many thanks for your reply. I doubt that there is any requirement under FoI that the Commission's agendas and minutes should not be published and made available. The ICO has again identified that this is good practice under FoI.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Julie Hope,

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

I emailed you on 7 August 2008, to acknowledge your request for
information under the Freedom of Information Act. In that acknowledgement,
I said that I may need to contact you if the request needed to be
clarified.

I carefully considered your request; however, in its present form, it will
have be refused under section 12 of the Act. This is because I have
concluded that the cost of complying with your request will exceed the
*appropriate limit* of £450 (18 hours @ £25 per hour) which is laid down
by the Act and associated Regulations (SI 3244 2004 Freedom of Information
and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004).

There have been 75 Board meetings since 30 November 2000. I estimate that
to assess the information you have requested would total at least 93 hours
of work costing £2325.

You do have the opportunity to limit or refine the request so that the
cost falls within the £450 limit. I believe that your request can be
narrowed down to fall within the appropriate limit by restricting it to a
request for the Board minutes for the last 18 months.

If you would like to pursue your request please write to me with the
reduced requirements. Should you decide to proceed by narrowing the
request down there will be a further assessment of whether the information
requested can be provided under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Julie Hope

Julie Hope
Head of the Chief Executive's Office
Audit Commission

1st Floor

Millbank Tower

Millbank

London

SW1P 4HQ

Tel: 0844 798 2104

Fax: 0845 052 2608

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Julie Hope,

Many thanks for your reply. This I find rather surprising considering that the Audit Commission identifies that it supports the Freedom of Information Act, and the ICO has identified that minutes and agendas as a matter of good practice should be published.

Consequently, as you identify that the cost is about £30.86 for each set of agenda's and minutes - please publish the last 14 (including the current set) = £432.04 - or as you identify the last eighteen months.

I should also appreciate any written identification from the Audit Commission identifying that it should disregard the FoI act in relation to its minutes and agenda's, and reject the Information Commissioners guidance on the issue.

The Commission in its publications states: 'The Commission is required to lead by example across all aspects of governance' does the Audit Commission believe that it is good practice to flout the Freedom of Information Act ? The costs should not and would not be necessary if there had been complaince.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Julie Hope,

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

Could you confirm receipt of my email, please, and let me know, if
possible, when you are likely to be able to reply? The timetable for the
FOI request is still the same, so the longer we wait to hear from you, the
shorter the time we have to be able to help you.

Julie Hope
Head of the Chief Executive's Office
Audit Commission

1st Floor

Millbank Tower

Millbank

London

SW1P 4HQ

Tel: 0844 798 2104

Fax: 0845 052 2608

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sirs,

I have already responded to the email request posted by Julie HOPE for the Audit Commission. The request for clarification was on 11 August 2008 - when Julie HOPE identified that the Audit Commission would not release all the information using its exemption under s12 of the FoI Act. The clarification requested was provided on 11 August 2008 taking account of the Audit Commission's reliance on s12, and a modified request was made.

This does not negate the Information Commissioners Officer's [ICO] guidance that minutes of meetings and agendas should be routinely published. Guidance that the ICO has reconfirmed. The request for information was made to the Audit Commission - not Julie Hope who in a telco on 12 August 2008 identified that she was responsible for this activity.

The Commission in its publications states: 'The Commission is required to lead by example across all aspects of governance' does the Audit Commission believe that it is good practice to flout the Freedom of Information Act ? The costs should not and would not be necessary if there had been complaince and as such the Audit Commission's reliance on s12 of the FoI appears to be nonsensical.

The issues in relation to this FoI are very straightforward and merely relate to publication of the Commission's agenda's and minutes. There should have been no need to make the request as the minutes and agendas should already be published on the Audit Commission Web Site (and this activity incorporated into workflow). There has obviously been a 'glitch' and this should be relatively easy to put right. There appear to be quite a large number of organisations that provide regulatory services that have failed to take account of the ICO's guidance. However, this does not negate the fact that the Audit Commission should have taken a lead on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

Julie Hope,

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

Following my email of earlier today, and our subsequent telephone
conversation, I have now read your response to my email of 11 August. I
will consider your revised request and, in accordance with the timescales
laid down by the Act, a response will be sent to you by 3 September 2008.

To avoid any further confusion or delays, please send any further emails
in relation to this FOI request direct to me at
[1][email address]. As I explained to you on the
telephone, if you wish to post my responses or on your website afterwards
that is entirely up to you.

Julie Hope
Head of the Chief Executive's Office
Audit Commission

1st Floor

Millbank Tower

Millbank

London

SW1P 4HQ

Tel: 0844 798 2104

Fax: 0845 052 2608

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Gary Shipsey,

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

Freedom of Information request - Audit Commission Minutes and Agendas -
RFI 877

Minutes covering the last 18 months (December 2006 to June 2008) have been
located. After an initial review of the information, I write to inform
you that two exemptions are being considered:

* Section 33 Audit functions
* Section 36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

The Commission is assessing the nature of any prejudice that might result
from disclosure of information; determining the likelihood of the
prejudice occurring and considering the public interest test - balancing
the public interest in withholding the information against the public
interest in making it available.

I regret to inform you that the Commission is still working on reaching a
decision as to whether the exemptions apply and, if so, to what extent.

In accordance with Section 17(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, the
Commission now estimates that it will respond to your request on or before
17 September 2008.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Shipsey
Compliance Manager
BIS - Information Management

Tel: 0844 798 6286
Email: [email address]

For Freedom of Information (FOI) requests please email
[1][Audit Commission request email]

Please think before you print this email

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Shaun Kavanagh,

21 Attachments

<<EFI 877 response letter V0_1.pdf>> <<RFI 877 Explanation note.pdf>>
<<2007-05-10 10 May 2007 Board Agenda vFINAL.pdf>> <<2007-05-10
Minutes of 10 May 2007 Board Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>> <<2007-07-26 26 July
2007 Board agenda vFINAL.pdf>> <<2007-07-26 Minutes of 26 July 2007 Board
Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>> <<2007-09-14 14 September 2007 Board
agenda vFINAL.pdf>> <<2007-09-14 Minutes of 14 September 2007 Board
Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>> <<2007-11-08 08 November 2007 Board agenda
vFINAL.pdf>> <<2007-11-08 Minutes of 08 November 2007 Board Meeting FINAL
FoIA.pdf>> <<2007-12-13 13 December 2007 Board agenda vFINAL.pdf>>
<<2007-12-13 Minutes of 13 December 2007 Board Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>>
<<2008-01-24 24 January 2008 Board agenda vFINAL.pdf>> <<2008-01-24
Minutes of 24 January 2008 Board Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>> <<2008-03-13 13
March 2008 Board agenda vFINAL.pdf>> <<2008-03-13 Minutes of 13 March 2008
Board Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>> <<2008-04-24 24 April 2008 Board
agenda vFINAL.pdf>> <<2008-04-24 Minutes of 24 April 2008 Board Meeting
FINAL FoIA.pdf>> <<2008-06-05 05 June 2008 Board agenda vFINAL.pdf>>
<<2008-06-05 Minutes of 05 June 2008 Board Meeting FINAL FoIA.pdf>>
<<Information Complaints Procedure V2-0.pdf>>

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

See attachments.

Attachments consist of:

* Response Letter
* Explanation note
* The agenda and minutes for:

May 2007
July 2007
September 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
March 2008
April 2008
June 2008

* Information Complaints Procedure

Kind Regards

Shaun Kavanagh
Information Compliance Advisor
+44 (0)844 798 7961
[email address]

The Audit Commission
Nicholson House
Lime Kiln Close
Stoke Gifford
Bristol
BS34 8SU

Any Freedom of Information requests please send these directly to
[1][Audit Commission request email]

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K Hodgkinson left an annotation ()

The thing to request from the Audit Commission is the guidance it sends to participants on how to interpret the output arising from its computer processing of personal data deriving from council tax data sets, to which it insists that councils 'attach' meaningless 'codes' at variance with correct administrative procedures and the full electoral register.

This guidance probably explains why so many audit teams post false information about council tax discounts on this site: they are repeating the utter tosh they read on the NFI's secure log in.

The reports have numbers including 801 and so on.

The guidance on how to interpret them all is prima facie evidence of serious incompetence.

Ask for it, now and then demand from your own council an explanation of why

1 Local councillors were not told that it was legally inaccurate
2 The incorrect 'codes' have been 'attached' to personal data
3 They have been paying, yes paying, the NFI to do this

The document you want to see as much of as possible is called 'Audit Guide. Single Person Discount. National Rollout. Guidelines.' or something similar.

Send it to Bob Neill at the Dept of Communities, your MP and the local press. Send it to the ICO with a complaint.

K Hodgkinson left an annotation ()

And ask for the minutes of the sub committee that worked with Hillingdon, which still gets council tax discount law wrong now, and whose advice the steering committee seems to have followed when targetting people as 'hits' suitable for investigation.

Prima facie evidence of sheer incompetence.

And important to get into the public domain.