Bullying in Blackpool Council

Yabootoyou made this Freedom of Information request to Blackpool Borough Council

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 Blackpool Borough Council,

This request is being made to make the public at large and people in each authority aware of which councils are the worst offenders or the better examples when it comes to bullying in the workplace. All councils have very similar anti-bullying / dignity at work policies, but there seems to be a difference in the level of bullying. This is intended to statistically show those differences.

1) How many employees of your authority have
made an
official complaint of harassment and bullying at work since the 1st April 2009?

2) How many of these complaints were upheld in favour of the
complainant?

3) How many of those which were not upheld in favour of the
complainant went on to Appeal?

4) How many of those that went to Appeal were found to favour the
complainant?

5) How many complaints went on to an Employment Tribunal?

6) How many of these were found to uphold the complaint?

7) Out of how many of those allegations (the number given to question 1) did the complainant of
bullying claim that the bullies were telling lies?

8) How many staff does your authority have and what is the current population within your authority's area?

Yours faithfully

Mr Lewis

yabootoyou

FOI, Blackpool Borough Council

Thank you for your email.

 

Your request for information will be dealt with under the Freedom of
Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations and will be
allocated a reference number. It will be passed to the most appropriate
council department to gather the information. The department may respond
directly to you, but you may receive a response from the Information
Governance Team via [1][Blackpool Borough Council request email].

 

In line with the legislation, we strive to respond promptly but no later
than 20 working days after the date of receipt. If we need to extend this
to clarify your request or to undertake a complex Public Interest Test we
will let you know.

 

Information Governance Team

 

Blackpool Council

 

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References

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1. mailto:[Blackpool Borough Council request email]

Luke Hill, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Lewis

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST (FOI Ref: 151039)

I am writing to confirm that we have now completed our search for the information you requested on 15 November 2015. I wish to advise you that some information cannot be disclosed as exemptions apply.

You asked:
1) How many employees of your authority have made an official complaint of harassment and bullying at work since the 1st April 2009?
Please see below.

2) How many of these complaints were upheld in favour of the complainant?
Please see below.

3) How many of those which were not upheld in favour of the complainant went on to Appeal?
2.

4) How many of those that went to Appeal were found to favour the complainant?
0.

5) How many complaints went on to an Employment Tribunal?
0.

6) How many of these were found to uphold the complaint?
N/A – as per response to 5).

7) Out of how many of those allegations (the number given to question 1) did the complainant of bullying claim that the bullies were telling lies?
Please see below.

8) How many staff does your authority have and what is the current population within your authority's area?
Staff: 3,889
Current Population: 142,100

In respect of the information in questions 1), 2) and 7) your request for information will not be processed. This is because the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004. In accordance with s.17 of the Act this letter acts as a Refusal Notice.

You may wish to refine and resubmit your request so that it reduces the cost to within the appropriate limit. However we have to inform you that at this time our recording system is not searchable therefore a manual search would be required of each record. Any refinement may result in a 0 response due to the number of records we could search within the timescales. However your request has prompted us to review our recording systems and we will be introducing a more efficient methodology going forward.

The legislation allows you to use the information supplied to you for your own personal use. Please be aware that any commercial use or other use such as publication or sale may be a breach of copyright under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 unless you obtain the copyright holder’s prior permission.

Not all of the information that the Council supplies to you that is subject to copyright, will be the Council’s copyright. You should seek consent from the Council or the copyright holder as appropriate. If you wish to reuse the information supplied you should contact the Council for advice on this.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may ask for an internal review and you should submit this in writing to: FOI Internal Review, Blackpool Council, PO Box 4, Blackpool, FY1 1NA. Your request for internal review should be submitted within 40 working days of receipt by you of this response.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. You can contact the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, (www.ico.org.uk).

If you have any queries about this letter you can contact me, or write to: FOI, PO Box 4, Blackpool, FY1 1NA, or email us at [Blackpool Borough Council request email]. Please remember to quote your reference number when you contact us.

Kind regards,
 
Luke Hill
Employee Relations Support Assistant
Employee Relations
Deputy Chief Executive's Department |
Blackpool Council | Number One, Bickerstaffe Square| Talbot Road | Blackpool | FY1 3AH
Post to: Employee Relations | Blackpool Council | PO Box 4 | Blackpool | FY1 1NA
01253 477232
[email address]
 
Blackpool: A fair place where aspiration and ambition are encouraged
Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

show quoted sections

Dear Luke Hill,

Please refine my request to include the dates from the 1st January 2013 to present.

Yours sincerely,

Yabootoyou

Employeerelations, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Lewis

Firstly, we note that you sign your correspondence Yabootoyou. Unfortunately, as we are not satisfied that this is a valid individual's name for response, we will continue to use the name you supplied originally.

We would like to thank you for the refinement you have submitted. However, as the information is not held in a searchable format, neither is it held by years, we would be required to undertake a manual search of all employee records as we outlined in our previous response. Therefore, the issue of your request exceeding the appropriate limit remains and we are formally reissuing the refusal notice outlined in our letter of 14 December 2015.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may ask for an internal review and you should submit this in writing to: FOI Internal Review, Blackpool Council, PO Box 4, Blackpool, FY1 1NA. Your request for internal review should be submitted within 40 working days of receipt by you of this response.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. You can contact the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, (www.ico.org.uk).

Yours sincerely

HR Team
Blackpool Council
Number One, Bickerstaffe Square| Talbot Road | Blackpool | FY1 3AH
Post to: Employee Relations | Blackpool Council | PO Box 4 | Blackpool | FY1 1NA
01253 477230
[email address]
 
Blackpool: A fair place where aspiration and ambition are encouraged
Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to

show quoted sections

Dear Employeerelations,

I would like to add the following question to my request.

Q9) Out of the number in the response to question 1, how many of
the complainants said that they had been called "a loner"?

Yours sincerely,

Yabootoyou

Employeerelations, Blackpool Borough Council

Thank you for your email.

We will respond to your email within the next 24 - 48 hours, if however you require an urgent response please contact a member of the Employee Relations Team on (47) 7233.

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John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Mr Lewis, I read your request with interest. The definition and literal reference to 'bullying' could be interpreted to exclude a number of situations where cases that include potential 'bullying' or similar tactics may have been applied, but that are defined by the responding Council as being different. Please feel free to contact me and I'll elaborate. The actual reported occurrence could change considerably. j.rudkin@tesco.net

FOI, Blackpool Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Lewis

Please find our correspondence attached to your enquiry below

Regards

Information Governance Team
Deputy Chief Executive’s Dept. | ICT Services
Bickerstaffe House | Bickerstaffe Square |Talbot Road |Blackpool |FY1 3AZ
[email address]

show quoted sections

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Further to my previous annotation - I whistle blew openly and in line with protocols and procedures regarding a project (I-CAN and specifically the part known as Blackpool4Me) in 2011. Money return to a project disappeared; equipment of significant value vanished and it included data that was critical and private to the then CEO. I wanted to bring in the price, but this was refused. I doubt the data loss was ever declared. I was subsequently targeted and misled by ICT Management into a position where my role was made redundant. This was clearly an attempt at bullying. When I attempted to garner support, many witnesses cried away from acting in my favour because they were frightened by possible consequences. Having battled relentlessly from 2011 - 2014 I had little respite from pressure. The whole thing was reported to the ICO, and is now in the hands of the Local Government Audit Teams. It is time action was taken.

Yabootoyou left an annotation ()

Mr Rudkin

I am sorry for what you have been through.

Perhaps you could put an annotation here about the results from your audit...

Mr Lewis

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Yabootoyou (Mr Lewis). Thanks for the suggestion. The matter is in the hands of the Government Internal Audit Agency. The matter was 'audited' by the Council themselves and they found there were no anomalies. Unfortunately as the auditors have no record of the £100,000 (ish) returned to the project, they were unable to satisfy a supporting Councillor that the matter should be closed. The people who were aware have tried to wash their hands of the whole thing, making sound as though I am just creating a fuss because I was made redundant. There have even been comments about my authenticity banded around in public. As I say, the matter is now with the overnment Internal Audit Agency - passed to the DCLG. Frankly, I fear they will treat this as 'just £100k', a small sum in the eyes of many. To me though it was important. I also think it would be important to the public.

"Cllr Williams / John

Apologies for the delay in reply but I have been off for a few days.

I have checked with DCLG and it is still their intention to visit Blackpool CC.

Regards

Dave

Dave Green

Senior Auditor/Investigator, Internal Audit Investigations Team

4TH Floor, 1 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0ET

"To whom it may concern.
Around 2011/12 in my capacity as a councillor and portfolio holder I was given a presentation on the ICAN scheme being developed for education support by Blackpool Council in partnership with Granada learning.
Much later in 2013 as a governor of Anchorsholme Primary Academy I was made aware of a new software system for the school that provided a comprehensive live monitoring of progress of both classroom and individual pupils.
The system had been developed by Mr. Dan one of the school’s teachers.
The software and its use immediately reminded me of the ICAN programme I had been introduced to at the earlier presentation.
Both the school and Mr. Dan were very keen to have the programme launched into other schools on a commercial basis and I promised to try and help them achieve this.
Through a fellow councillor I made contact with Mr. Rudkin who had been involved with ICAN and had also been a lead member of the team who provided the original presentation I understood at that point that the ICAN project had been abandoned and also that Mr. Rudkin had left the local authority.
I wanted advice on how to market Mr. Dan’s software and also a third party review on the schools system and its actual value.
When Mr. Rudkin and I subsequently met we discussed Mr. Dan’s software programme and also the demise of the ICAN project. Mr. Rudkin expressed his disappointment that the original ICAN program had been shelved and that he also believed he had been treated badly by the authority in regard to his dismissal. Mr. Rudkin was also concerned in regard to the ERDF funding for the ICAN project and he expressed his belief that some of the returned funds had been absorbed into in-house projects and not paid back to the ERDF as required in the funding agreement.
I informed Mr. Rudkin that whilst I could not comment or be involved in his dismissal situation I would ask for copies of the financial summary of the ICAN program and clarify for myself whether or not the funding regulations had been adhered to.
I then subsequently issued an FOI to the council for sight of the relevant documents.
Some time later I received a phone call from Mr. Rudkin advising me that totally unsolicited he had personally received a response in regard to my FOI request.
This was most unusual as he had neither been party to my FOI nor had he any knowledge that I had in fact made such a request. My presumption was that the council had believed that Mr.Rudkin and I were in collusion in regard to my request, which was not the case, and that someone at the council had taken it upon themselves to wrongly include Mr. Rudkin in their response which of course is both wholly inappropriate and a breach of data protection.
Being the leader of the Opposition party on the council I had both a political reason and also a duty to assess for my self if any funds had been wrongly allocated.
At that point I decided to ask Mr. Rudkin exactly which documents I should request to ascertain if indeed the funding had been diverted and with this information I immediately issued a subsequent FOI asking for specific information.
During this period I also met with two officers from the ERDF to ascertain exactly what steps I should take in regard to any the relevant funding shortfall and was advised to request an internal audit and if still not satisfied I should report back to the ERDF.
I then met with the chief Executive and head of democratic services of Blackpool Council and explained my concerns whilst at the same time requesting that an internal audit be carried out.
This audit was completed in due course by Mr. Lee Frugg an officer of the council and his report indicated that the accounts in regard to the ICAN project were in order and that any unreturned surplus was within the accepted parameters of the ERDF requirement.
I subsequently confirmed this information by email to Mr. Rudkin and considered the matter closed. There was no reason for Mr. Rudklin or I to have any further contact in regard to this or any other subject.
Mr. Dan has now left Anchorsholme Primary Academy and I believe he is in fact working with Mr. Rudkin and others in further developing his original concept and delivering it to other educational providers.
I have reviewed my own historic correspondence with other council officers in regard to the ERDF funding and further information has come to light which I will discuss fully with senior council officers and the auditor in due course.
I outline the history of my involvement with Mr. Rudkin and the details of my ICAN enquiries as a matter of record and consider this to be an ‘open’ document available to anyone who wishes to understand my own involvement in the situation. I also confirm that I have forwarded a copy of this by email to Mr. Rudkin and the chief Executive of Blackpool Council
Cllr. Tony Williams
Councillor for Anchorsholme
Leader of the conservative group Blackpool Council.
April 3rd 2015

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Re - read this. In my case my Manager made it very clear to me that I was "alone" in my belief that I was being mistreated. You have one case. This, added to no records being made of meetings (which broke procedures), and the fact that 'meetings' were held improperly without HR representation as well as threats having been made if I spoke to anyone (including my union). My treatment was nothing short of disgusting.

It comes as no surprise that the Council did not respond (and made a case to issue a s.17 of the Act i.e. a Refusal Notice). I'm intrigued to know whether the numbers are either so large that the costs of searching and compiling would burden them ... or whether it is just another unfortunate case of loosing information they do not want to have to declare?

Reference:

1) How many employees of your authority have made an official complaint of harassment and bullying
at work since the 1st April 2009?

In respect of the information in questions 1), 2) and 7) your request for information will not be
processed. This is because the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate
limit’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004. In
accordance with s.17 of the Act this letter acts as a Refusal Notice.