Board Minutes - July 2011

Allan Richards made this Freedom of Information request to British Waterways Board

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 partially successful.

Dear British Waterways Board,

I refer to the board meeting held on 21/7/2011.

Can you please provide via whatdotheyknow.com a copy of all
reports, sub committee minutes and other documents entioned in the minutes of this meeting.

Can you also provide a copy of the minutes and agenda, unless these have already been published on your website.

May I ask that you give full reasons (quoting the relevant section of the FoI Act) for any redacted information.

Bearing in mind your breeches of the freedom of information act in respect of a similar requests, may I remind you of your legal duties in respect of this request.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Dear British Waterways Board,

You have neither acknowledged or responded to this request.

Please do so.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Information Request,

Dear Mr Richards,

Thank you for your e-mail and I apologise for the delay acknowledging receipt.

We will review the information that we hold relating to your request and a response will be sent as soon as possible but in any case within 20 working days of the receipt of your request on the 10th August 2011.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Find out more about the exciting new waterways charity for England and Wales here http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/charity
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear British Waterways,

Despite acknowledging this request and assuring that you will 'respond as soon as possible but in any case within 20 working days' you have, once again, failed to provide any of the information requested.

You are breaking the law by not responding.

Please provide the information requested and carry out a review to determine why you constantly delay providing information under the FOIA which you should proactively publish within two to three weeks of a board meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Allan Richards

Dear British Waterways Board,

On the 9th September, I wrote -

......Despite acknowledging this request and assuring that you will 'respond as soon as possible but in any case within 20 working days' you have, once again, failed to provide any of the information requested.

You are breaking the law by not responding.

Please provide the information requested and carry out a review to determine why you constantly delay providing information under the FOIA which you should proactively publish within two to three weeks
of a board meeting......

One week later, you have neither provided the requested information nor acknowledged my request for review.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Dear British Waterways Board,

I am still awaiting this information and your confirmation that you intend to carry out an internal review.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

A complaint regarding this request has been made to the Information Commissioners Office for

Failure to comply with the statutory response timeframe of 20 working days imposed by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Failure to confirm an internal review to determine the reason for failure.

Information Request,

9 Attachments

Dear Mr Richards,

I am writing further to your request and following your complai9nt to the information commissioner's office.

Firstly, I would like to apologise sincerely for the length of time it has taken to respond to this request, I hope that it has not caused you too much inconvenience.

I now attach the Board papers for the July Board meeting together with the minutes of the June Audit Committee meeting.

The June minutes of the Remuneration Committee are exempt from disclosure as their contents comprise material the disclosure of which would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, Section 36 (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) 2 (b)(i)(ii).

Kindest regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
In April 2012 the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear British Waterways,

I request an internal review to your response to my request.

I have two concerns -

You have issued a refusal notice in respect of 'June minutes of the Remuneration Committee' on the basis that they are exempt from disclosure as their contents comprise material the disclosure of which would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, Section 36 (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) 2 (b)(i)(ii).

However, you have already published the document on your website which would indicate that this is not the case.

My request specifically states -

May I ask that you give full reasons (quoting the relevant section of the FoI Act) for any redacted information.

However, I find numerous redactions in the information provided saying 'confidential material removed' or similar without giving reasons or quoting the relevant section of the act on which you rely.

Allan Richards

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

Having upheld a complaint the Information Commisioner has served British Waterways with a decision notice.

The Commissioner finds that BW has breached sections 10(1), 17(1), 17(1)(b), 17(1)(c) and 17(3) of the FOIA.

BW has been given 35 calender days (from 9/2/2012) to take specified remedial steps.

Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as contempt of court.

Dear British Waterways,

May I remind you that a decision notice in respect of this FOIA request requires that you take remedial steps within 35 days of 9th February 2012.

Yours faithfully,

Allan Richards

Nigel Johnson,

Dear Mr Richards

 

(1)     Information withheld from the disclosures made in response to your
request were (unless stated by exception below) all in reliance upon the
exemption contained in s.43(2) Freedom of Information Act 2000 because the
information withheld would or would be likely to, if disclosed, damage the
commercial interests of a person.  In these cases the information withheld
concerned the terms under which commercial property transactions were
entered into (including price) in the context of a competitive market and
disclosure would, or would be likely to, damage the interests of the
counter-party to BW in the transaction.  In some cases the information
withheld was competitive terms under which BW would be prepared to enter
into transactions disclosure of which would, or would be likely to,
prejudice the commercial interests of BW.

(2)    BW considers that it is in the public interest to maintain the
exemption where so replied upon.  The reasons for this are (a) a very
substantial part of BWs overall revenues required to support its public
activities are derived from competitive commercial activities; (b) by
s.134 Transport Act 1968 BW is obliged to carry on these activities as if
it “were a company engaged in a commercial enterprise”; (c) disclosure of
information that would, or would be likely to, prejudice BWs commercial
interests or those of a counter-party would threaten the commercial
revenues sought from such activity. A risk of loss or reduction of
revenues available to be spent on the public functions of BW would be
contrary to  the public interest.  Furthermore information on the overall
performance of BW in conducting its commercial activities is available in
aggregated form in its published Annual Accounts and the public interest
in being able to judge such performance is facilitated by that provision
of information.

(3)    The  withholding of information from the documentation disclosed in
response to your request that was not in reliance of the exemption in 
s.43(2) FoI Act 2000 are as follows:

a.       In the finance report at section 7 (Amendment to BW Bank Mandate)
and the appendix to the Board minutes the names of persons permitted to
authorise bank transactions, and the process by which such authorisations
are made, were withheld from disclosure as disclosure would, or would be
likely to, prejudice the prevention of crime.  The exemption of such
information from disclosure is permitted by s.31(1)(a) FoI Act 2000;

b.       In the minutes of the June meeting of the Remuneration Committee
information in section 4 was withheld in reliance upon s.22 (Information
intended for future publication; and  s.36(2)(b)(i) and (ii) and s.36(c). 
It is intended (and was intended at that time) that information on the
bench-marking of director remuneration be published.  This intention was
publicly announced at the annual meeting of BW in October 2011. The
information withheld is information needed to inform the remuneration
committee for the purposes of determining benchmark levels for the
remuneration of executive directors and is being used for the purposes of
negotiating terms of remuneration with those directors.  Those
negotiations are on-going though closer to conclusion. The benchmark
information will be published once the negotiations are concluded but
premature disclosure in advance of the conclusion of those negotiations
would be damaging to the interests of BW (and therefore the effective
conduct of its public affairs) as it would hinder the free and frank
exchange of views and provision of advice for the purposes of (i) agreeing
the negotiating strategy of BW and (ii) conducting the negotiations
themselves.

c.       The qualified person in whose opinion the exemptions referred to
in (b) above applied (such that disclosure in advance of the conclusion of
negotiations and subsequent publication would prejudice the effective
conduct of public affairs) was Tony Hales, Chairperson of BW.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Johnson

Secretary to the Board

on behalf of British Waterways.

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

Interesting to see the number of recent decision notices against this authority:-

http://www.ico.gov.uk/tools_and_resource...

( http://preview.tinyurl.com/79jya22 )

But specifically the pdf decision for this request and complaint:-

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

( http://preview.tinyurl.com/7j52mcf )

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

Whilst BW has not published decision notices as recommended by the Information Commissioner, they can be found on the Information Commissioners Office website at:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/tools_and_resource... by selecting 'British Waterways' in the 'Authority' box.

So far this year ICO has issued 7 decision notices all finding in favour of the complainant. Six of these notices required remedial action by BW. ICO now has two further complaints that BW has not taken the remedial steps required.

Allan Richards