Bulk lamp changes

The request was refused by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

As part of the council's Street Lighting maintenance regime, please indicate how much the council has spent on bulk lamp changes over the last FIVE years.

Please break this down into annual totals for financial years ENDING (paid to any contractor) as follows:

year ending 2009
year ending 2010
year ending 2011
year ending 2012
year ending 2013
(part) year ending 2014

For each financial period, please break totals down further into cost of works / materials for:

labour
lamps
lantern cleaning
traffic management
photocells
all other applicable / relevant cost codes

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Stefan Ellis left an annotation ()

Let's hope that you won't be left in the dark with your request.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

To paraphrase Councillor Green, "High levels of illuminance" will be the best disinfenctant.

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

 

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information
Act. Please find Wirral Borough Council’s responses alongside your
questions below.

 

I hope this information will be of interest to you.

 

Kind regards,

 

Sent on behalf of

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to
use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge.

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Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Bulk lamp changes'.

I'm afraid I cannot accept your response that the council is unaware of the breakdown totals of money spent on individual components of the Colas operation.

This implies a worrying degree of carelessness and lack of oversight on the part of the contract issuing body.

I therefore request that you use your resources and best endeavours to track down the appropriate totals and costs, as requested, and ask a senior officer to carry out a thorough internal review of your first response.

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

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon

 

Thank you for your further correspondence.

 

The reviewing officer has considered your request and does consider the
original response appropriate, to your request for this information,
Wirral Council has no further recorded information to provide to you in
relation to this enquiry.

If you are dissatisfied with this response to your request for information
and internal review, you have the right to complain to the Information
Commissioner. Please find their contact details below.

 

Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire

SK9 5AF

[1]www.ico.gov.uk
Tel 0303 123 113

Kind regards

Sent on behalf of

 

Mark Smith

Head of Environment & Regulation

Regeneration & Environment Directorate

Wirral Council

 

 

 

 

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Transparency's passe, opaqueness 'modern',

Off we go, down the path most trodden...

...Appealed to the ICO.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

I have a copy of the 500+ pages of the Colas contract (so does Wirral Council). Please send me an email tomorrow and I'll dig out and publish the section on rates for bulk lamp changes. Hope that helps!

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

 

Case references FS50533485 and FS50535453

 

I refer to your two requests for information concerning street lighting,
in respect of which you complained to the Information Commissioner’s
Office (ICO). The Council has decided to amend its response to the two
requests for information as provided below. This response has been
copied to the ICO
 

Request 1- FS50533485
 

On 22 January 2013, you requested the following information:-

 

“… the report was provided this morning, but without the identity of the
author.  My question is: who wrote the report? Was it (Redacted)
yourself, a combination of the two or some other party?”
 

The Council sought to rely on the exemption contained in Section 40 (2)
of the Freedom of Information Act  2000, ( FOIA). However as the report
referred to in the request related to activities and measures  affecting
the elements, namely, highways, I consider that your request for
information should have been dealt with under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004, being environmental information, the
author of the report providing advice in respect of street lighting on
highways.

 

The Council has a duty to make environmental information available on
request unless one or more of the exceptions in the Regulations apply.

 I consider that your request for information concerning the author of
the report  is exempt information under  Regulation 13 of the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to the extent that the
information requested includes personal data, of which you as applicant
are not the data subject and as respects which the first condition in
Regulation 13 (2) is satisfied. Regulation 13 (2) (a) provides that the
first condition is satisfied

 

 

(a)    in a case where the information falls within any of the
paragraphs (a) to (e) of the Data Protection Act 1998, that the
disclosure of the information to a member of the public otherwise than
under the Regulations would contravene any of the data protection
principles.

.           I consider that the disclosure of the requested information
would contravene the first data protection principle, that personal data
shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and shall not be processed
unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 of the Data
Protection Act 1998 is met. The only potentially relevant condition in
Schedule 2  is  Condition 6 (1), namely:-“The processing is necessary
for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller
or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except
where the processing is unwarranted in any particular case by reason of
prejudice to the rights and freedoms of legitimate interests of the data
subject “

 

I consider that the disclosure of this information would be processing
of personal data which processing would be unwarranted by reason of
prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data
subject, namely the officer, who prepared the report, a former employee
of the Council. I do not consider that such processing would be
necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by yourself
as a third party, being a member of the public. I consider that your
legitimate interest has been met by the Council providing you with a
copy of the report referred to in your request for information. I have
had regard to the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Edem and the
Information Commissioner and The Financial Services Authority {2014,
EWCA Civ 92) . The issue in that  appeal was whether disclosure of the
names of three officials could be withheld on the grounds that it was
personal data and that disclosure of that information would contravene
the first principle of the Data Protection Act 1998 “Personal data is
data which relates to a living individual “who can be identified””.(Lord
Justice Moses-Paragraph 40 of the decision). I consider that
supplying information  as to the identity of officer concerned with
preparing the report   amounts to supplying personal data. As a former
employee, the officer would  have a reasonable expectation that their
personal data would not be disclosed to a member of the public, nor were
they of sufficient seniority that their personal data should be
disclosed.  

 

I am therefore refusing your request for information under Regulation 14
of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, relying on Regulation
13 of the 2004 Regulations.

 

 

Request 2 - FS50535453

On 11 February 2014, you requested the following information:-

 

As part of the council’s Street Lighting maintenance regime, please
indicate how much the council has spent on bulk lamp changes over the
last FIVE years. 
 
Please break this down into annual totals for financial years
ENDING (paid to any contractor) as follows:

year ending 2009
year ending 2010
year ending 2011
year ending 2012
year ending 2013
(part) year ending 2014

For each financial period, please break totals down further into cost of
works / materials for:

labour
lamps
lantern cleaning
traffic management
photocells
all other applicable / relevant cost codes”
 

I consider that your request for information should have been dealt with
under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, being
environmental information, the request relating to bulk lamp changes
being activities affecting the element of land, namely highways. I have
set out below the information given by the Council in its original
response on 17 February 2014, this information now being provided under
the 2004 Regulations.

 

 

year ending 2009        2008/09 - No bulk lighting changes took place

year ending 2010      2009/10 - £102,996.70

year ending 2011      2010/11 - £125,317.22

year ending 2012      2011/12 - £128,233.83

year ending 2013      2012/13 - £61,472.79

(part) year ending 2014    2013/14 - £86,959.73 (to date)

 

 

I refer to your request for information in respect of the following.

 

For each financial period, please break totals down further into cost of
works / materials for:

labour
lamps
lantern cleaning
traffic management
photocells
all other applicable / relevant cost codes

 

Regulation 12 (4) of the 2004 Regulations provides that a public
authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that it does
not hold that information when an applicant’s request is received.  The
contractual arrangements entered into by the Council provided that the
rates and prices entered in the Schedule of Rates were deemed to be the
full inclusive value of the work which included a range of detailed
components.  The figures set out above include the individual items or
components you have referred to in your request and the Council does not
hold separately the information you have requested.

 

I am therefore refusing part of your request for information under
Regulation 14 of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, relying
on the exception contained in Regulation 12(4) (a) of the 2004
Regulations.

 

Yours sincerely and sent on behalf of

 

Surjit Tour

Head of Legal & Member Services

and Monitoring Officer

Department of Transformation and Resources

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Town Hall

Brighton Street

Wallasey

Wirral

CH44 8ED

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

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References

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mailto:[email address]

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

The ICO have received my appeal, and are asking me to respond within 7 days. Here's an insulting excerpt from their email:

"These steps would appear to satisfy the elements of your complaint."

As they don't (see council response above), and the council have once again retreated into full lockdown, here's my response:

From: Paul C
Sent: 27 July 2014 10:38
To: 'casework@ico.org.uk'
Subject: RE: FOI cases [Ref. FS50533485] [Ref. FS50535453][Ref. FS50535453]

FAO CRESSIDA WOODALL
FAO ANDREW WHITE (for information purposes re: conflation of two separate, unrelated requests)

Dear Ms Woodall,

Thank you for your email. I am dissatisfied with the steps taken by both the council and the ICO. Please ensure this email is forwarded to Andrew White, or to the relevant person should he have moved on.

Firstly, please note that the data controller in this case, without any explanation, has unhelpfully linked two separate FoI requests together in their response. I am surprised that you’ve permitted them to do this, which may result in your regulatory response becoming weakened, homogenised and potentially irrelevant e.g. (HOW can one decision notice adequately cover two separate, unrelated requests?)

I would caution you to check back on the history of this council, which has been forced to self declare abuse of learning disabled people over an EIGHT year period...

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgConvert...

(See 7.1 – portfolio holder for Social Services, Councillor Steve Foulkes is now MAYOR OF WIRRAL), and to pay out large sums of public money in order to conceal its own targeting of complainants and whistleblowers, and its protection of abusive senior officers. In addition, it has been monitored twice by the ICO, resulting in CEO Graham Burgess being required to sign an ICO undertaking and to make a public statement promising improvement. The incompetence / refusal to play ball persists, and cannot be interpreted as ‘improvement’.

To avoid confusion (which only serves those withholding the information), I will now deliberately separate the two unconnected requests. The following response relates entirely to FS50535453.

Link to original request:

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

I would draw you to the Council’s first response below:

"The contract used for bulk lamp change is based on a schedule of rates,
and therefore the Council does not hold information relating to the
contractor’s component costs such as labour, materials, cleaning, traffic management, etc., associated with this operation."

This was upheld on internal review by a senior officer, Mark Smith. I did not ask strictly for “component costs”. I asked for the costs of works / materials charged to the council for ‘labour, lamps, lantern cleaning, traffic management, photocells, all other applicable / relevant cost codes’.

To state that “bulk lamp change” is based on a schedule of rates, begs the question: “Why aren’t the broken down values for each rate (labour, materials, lantern cleaning, traffic management, photocells, etc. as originally requested) in the possession of the council, and provided in full?”

In addition, I would draw your attention to ICO Decision Notice FS50522152 where Assistant Commissioner Anne Jones found in favour of the complainant when Caerwent Community Council were found not to have dealt with the public request in compliance with Section 1(1) of the FOIA.

Wirral Council, six months later, amended its response to one set out under the Environmental Information Regulations:

"Regulation 12 (4) of the 2004 Regulations provides that a public
authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that it does
not hold that information when an applicant’s request is received."

Similarly here, although they’ve declared that the breakdown costs are included in the totals, there is no indication that the council have carried out a calculated search for the required information and upon not finding it, advised me of the results of their search.

Furthermore, for a council to accept in good faith annual totals from their contractor with no apparent breakdown of the actual costs of the work completed, appears to display extremely lax stewardship on the part of the public authority. The public paymaster would expect senior officers and councillors to be laying down strict reporting conditions and to be comprehensively monitoring and scrutinising these contracts on a frequent and ongoing basis in order to secure the best deal for the council tax payer.

Openness and transparency is important on Wirral, particularly given that the last highways contract (with COLAS) was plunged into chaos, following suspected impropriety at the highest levels, and the suspension and untimely departure of the Director overseeing it.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/975054...

To fail to keep detailed schedules of rates for works completed, if true, allows free rein to the contractor and is a resounding failure of oversight.

The other request (FS50533485] will be dealt with separately.

Please respond and tell me what you now propose to do,

Many thanks,

Paul Cardin