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

Change in procedure for issuing Planning Enforcement Notices

Mrs. O'Reilly made this Freedom of Information request to Carmarthenshire County Council Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

We're waiting for Mrs. O'Reilly to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear Carmarthenshire County Council,

We are aware that all 'Planning Enforcement Notices' issued by the council are now issued on behalf of the head of department Rhodri Griffiths in accordance with the scheme of delegation. We are also aware that historically this was not always the case, and that in the year 2017 many notices were issued by a relatively junior member of staff (Stephen Thomas) on behalf of Julian Edwards. This was at odds with the scheme of delegation, which clearly required Notices to be issued on behalf of the head of department and for the delegation to be recorded.

In line with the Freedom of Information Act:
Please provide all documents, emails, meeting minutes, information that relate or refer to this change in procedure for how 'Planning Enforcement Notices' are issued and signed, and/or Stephen Thomas or any other staff issuing notices on behalf of Julian Edwards without lawful delegated authority.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs. O'Reilly

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Diolch am eich gohebiaeth.

Os ydych yn gwneud cais am wybodaeth, bydd y cyfnodau isod yn berthnasol:

 Deddf Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 2000 (DRhG) a’r Rheoliadau Gwybodaeth
Amgylcheddol 2004 (RhGA) - 20 diwrnod gwaith, oni bai bod angen eglurhad
arnom ynghylch y wybodaeth yr ydych yn gofyn amdano.

 Deddf Diogelu Data 2018 a Rheoliad Cyffredinol ar Ddiogelu Data y DU
(ceisiadau ynghylch data personol) – un mis ar ôl derbyn y cais.

Os bydd angen eglurhad arnom ar unrhyw agwedd o’ch cais, byddwn yn
cysylltu â chi mor gynted ag y bo modd.

Thank you for your correspondence.

If you are making a request for information, the following timescales will
apply:

 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) & Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR) - 20 working days, unless we need clarification
regarding the information you are seeking.

 Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR (requests relating to personal data) –
one month from the receipt of the request.

If we do need to clarify any aspect of your request, we will contact you
as soon as possible.

Tîm Rheoli Gwybodaeth | Information Governance Team
Gweithrediadau a Llywodraethu TG | ICT Operations & Governance
Adran y Prif Weithredwr | Chief Executive’s Department

Mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg |
You are welcome to contact us in Welsh or English

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs. O’Reilly

 

Further to your request for information below, we require further
clarification.

 

 Firstly i think it is important to respond to highlight the authority
does not accept your characterisation that the issuing of notices in 2017
was " at odds with the the scheme of delegation"

 

Could you refine your request as it is currently not clear what you are
seeking in the second part of the request - and/or Stephen Thomas .......?

 

Please provide all documents, emails, meeting minutes, information that
relate or refer to this change in procedure for how 'Planning Enforcement
Notices' are issued and signed, and/or Stephen Thomas or any other staff
issuing notices on behalf of Julian Edwards without lawful delegated
authority.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Tîm Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth | Information Governance Team

Gweithrediadau a Llywodraethu TG | ICT Operations & Governance

sirgar.llyw.cymru | carmarthenshire.gov.wales

Mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg 

You are welcome to contact us in Welsh or English

 

 

[You don't often get email from
[1][FOI #1072484 email]. Learn why this is
important at [2]https://aka.ms/LearnAboutSenderIdentific... ]

 

Caution: This is an external email and did not originate from within the
Council. Please take care when clicking links or opening attachments. When
in doubt, use the 'Report Message' button.

Rhybudd: E-bost allanol yw hwn ac nid oedd yn tarddu o'r Cyngor. Byddwch
yn ofalus wrth glicio dolenni neu atodiadau agoriadol. Pan fyddwch yn
ansicr, defnyddiwch y botwm 'Report Message'.

 

 

Dear Carmarthenshire County Council, 

 

We are aware that all 'Planning Enforcement Notices' issued by the council
are now issued on behalf of the head of department Rhodri Griffiths in
accordance with the scheme of delegation. We are also aware that
historically this was not always the case, and that in the year 2017 many
notices were issued by a relatively junior member of staff (Stephen
Thomas) on behalf of Julian Edwards. This was at odds with the scheme of
delegation, which clearly required Notices to be issued on behalf of the
head of department and for the delegation to be recorded.

 

In line with the Freedom of Information Act:

Please provide all documents, emails, meeting minutes, information that
relate or refer to this change in procedure for how 'Planning Enforcement
Notices' are issued and signed, and/or Stephen Thomas or any other staff
issuing notices on behalf of Julian Edwards without lawful delegated
authority.

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #1072484 email]
2. https://aka.ms/LearnAboutSenderIdentific...

Dear FOIA,

The scheme of delegation in place for 2017 is clear in that planning enforcement notices can only be issued on behalf of the head of department. Additionally it covers that any such delegations must be recorded. There is no such record of any delegations and the council has accepted it has no record of Stephen Thomas being given lawful delegated authority.

I would also like to point out that the procedure for issuing notices has changed since the Council became aware that many Notices were issued without the lawful delegated authority. All notices now seem to be signed off as follows 'authorised officer on behalf of Rhodri Griffiths - Head of Place and Sustainability'.

Please could you confirm when this procedure changed.

I am sorry that the wording of my request was not clear. I will rephrase it as follows:

Please provide all documents, emails, meeting minutes and information that relate or refer to this change in procedure for how planning enforcement notices are issued and signed.
Please also provide any documents, emails, meeting minutes, information that refers to Stephen Thomas or other staff issuing Notices on behalf of Julian Edwards without lawful delegated authority.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs. O'Reilly

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs O'Reilly

Thank you for submitting your request for information, which was received on 16th January 2024 and subsequently clarified by you, as below.

In response, the scheme of delegation in place for 2017, for the delegation of authority to Head of Service to issue enforcement notices is set out with in the Council's Constitution, which has been released to you in response to a previous request. Nonetheless, you can obtain a copy of the Constitution here:

https://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/ho...

The procedure for issuing enforcement notices has not changed and remains in accordance with national guidance, as follows:

https://www.gov.wales/development-manage...

Under Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, a public authority is not obliged to provide information where this is already reasonably accessible to the applicant, which in this case is via two websites, as set out above.

Formal sub-delegation to officers for the issuing of enforcement notices was introduced by the incumbent head of service in January 2023, as a best practice approach. That sub delegation is attached. The recipients were 11 officers with an enforcement role within the Place & Sustainability division and was copied to one support officer.

The Council has not issued any enforcement notices without lawful delegated authority.

As we are in effect refusing to provide some information on the basis that it is already published, please consider this email to be a formal notice of refusal as required by Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Your right of appeal

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled, you can request a review by writing to:

The Head of Administration & Law
Carmarthenshire County Council
County Hall
Carmarthen
SA31 1JP

Email: [email address]

If you remain unhappy with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely

Tîm Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth | Information Governance Team
Gweithrediadau a Llywodraethu TG | ICT Operations & Governance
sirgar.llyw.cymru | carmarthenshire.gov.wales
Mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg 
You are welcome to contact us in Welsh or English

show quoted sections

Dear Carmarthenshire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Change in procedure for issuing Planning Enforcement Notices'.

Dear Carmarthenshire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Change in procedure for issuing Planning Enforcement Notices'.

The procedure for issuing and signing enforcement notices has clearly changed since 2017, when relatively junior members of staff were signing notices on behalf of Julian Edwards. All notices are now issued on behalf of the head of service as per the scheme of delegation.

It seems unlikely that there are no documents that cover this change in how Enforcement Notices are issued and signed. I do not believe that LPA staff changed how they sign and issue notices without any written record, emails or notes referring to this change.
Planning officers are human and therefore they probably communicate about these things using mobile phones, Whatsapp and email (like regular people) but unfortunately these communications are not always released through FOI requests as they should be and sometimes they go missing or are deleted.

The Council have been challenged on the legality of Stephen Thomas and Julian Edwards issuing Enforcement Notices and have never been able to show that these officers had the lawful authority to act in the way they did. It seems highly unlikely that no records, emails or notes exist that cover this credible allegation that Stephen Thomas was acting beyond his powers in issuing notices on behalf of Julian Edwards.
We hope that following this internal review we will receive the information that we requested in our What Do They Know request sent 16 January 2024 and clarified in later messages.

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

Yours faithfully,
Mrs. O'Reilly

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Diolch am eich gohebiaeth.

Os ydych yn gwneud cais am wybodaeth, bydd y cyfnodau isod yn berthnasol:

 Deddf Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 2000 (DRhG) a’r Rheoliadau Gwybodaeth
Amgylcheddol 2004 (RhGA) - 20 diwrnod gwaith, oni bai bod angen eglurhad
arnom ynghylch y wybodaeth yr ydych yn gofyn amdano.

 Deddf Diogelu Data 2018 a Rheoliad Cyffredinol ar Ddiogelu Data y DU
(ceisiadau ynghylch data personol) – un mis ar ôl derbyn y cais.

Os bydd angen eglurhad arnom ar unrhyw agwedd o’ch cais, byddwn yn
cysylltu â chi mor gynted ag y bo modd.

Thank you for your correspondence.

If you are making a request for information, the following timescales will
apply:

 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) & Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR) - 20 working days, unless we need clarification
regarding the information you are seeking.

 Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR (requests relating to personal data) –
one month from the receipt of the request.

If we do need to clarify any aspect of your request, we will contact you
as soon as possible.

Tîm Rheoli Gwybodaeth | Information Governance Team
Gweithrediadau a Llywodraethu TG | ICT Operations & Governance
Adran y Prif Weithredwr | Chief Executive’s Department

Mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg |
You are welcome to contact us in Welsh or English

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

 

 

Dear Mrs O’Reilly,

 

Further to your email below I confirm that I have been asked to conduct
the internal review that you have requested. I will aim to complete the
review within 20 working days, that is by the 19^th March 2024.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Edgecombe

 

show quoted sections

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Please find enclosed the outcome of your request for an internal review in
this case

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