Changes to Employment Rights of Elected Mayors

John Coyne made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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.

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,
Following the report of the cost to the public purse of £89k in pursuit of an Employment Appeal Tribunal claim by Mayor Anderson of Liverpool, it has been claimed that the DCLG will be making changes to the regulations governing the entitlements related to paid time off for public duties, specifically for holders of an elected mayoral post.

Please disclose the correspondence, dates and notes of conversations and/or any other communication between the DCLG (officials and/or ministers) and Liverpool City Council (politicians and/or officers) on the matter of any requests to investigate and/or change such regulations.

The period of interest extends from 14th April 2015 to the present, but please include any new material which has arisen between now and the time you fulfil this request.
Yours faithfully,

John Coyne

Andrew Lock,

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for contacting us on 21 September 2015 requesting Following the
report of the cost to the public purse of £89k in pursuit of an Employment
Appeal Tribunal claim by Mayor Anderson of Liverpool, it has been claimed
that the DCLG will be making changes to the regulations governing the
entitlements related to paid time off for public duties, specifically for
holders of an elected mayoral post.Please disclose the correspondence,
dates and notes of conversations and/or any other communication between
the DCLG (officials and/or ministers) and Liverpool City Council
(politicians and/or officers) on the matter of any requests to investigate
and/or change such regulations. The period of interest extends from 14th
April 2015 to the present, but please include any new material which has
arisen between now and the time you fulfil this request.
 
I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 and aim to send you a response by 19 October 2015.
 
If you have any questions, please ask by return email. Please leave the
subject line unchanged when replying, to make sure your email gets
straight to me.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Andrew Lock,

The response to my request is now overdue. Please advise of the reason for this.

Yours sincerely,

John Coyne

Andrew Lock,

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request received on 21 September
2015 concerning Following the report of the cost to the public purse of
£89k in pursuit of an Employment Appeal Tribunal claim by Mayor Anderson
of Liverpool, it has been claimed that the DCLG will be making changes to
the regulations governing the entitlements related to paid time off for
public duties, specifically for holders of an elected mayoral post.Please
disclose the correspondence, dates and notes of conversations and/or any
other communication between the DCLG (officials and/or ministers) and
Liverpool City Council (politicians and/or officers) on the matter of any
requests to investigate and/or change such regulations. The period of
interest extends from 14th April 2015 to the present, but please include
any new material which has arisen between now and the time you fulfil this
request..
 
We are working on your  request but we need more time to process
it, because we are  considering the public interest and section 35 of the
Freedom of Information Act. We will now try to respond to you by 16
November 2015.
 
Complaints procedure
 
If you are unhappy with this response, we will review it and report back
to you. (This is called an internal review.) If you want us to do this,
let us know by return email within two months of receiving this response.
You can also ask by letter addressed to:
 
Department for Communities and Local Government
Knowledge and Information Access Team
1st Floor NW, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
 
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this internal review, you can ask
the independent Information Commissioner to investigate. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at email address [1][email address] or
use their online form at [2]ico.org.uk/concerns or call them on 0303 123
1113.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/concerns

Andrew Lock,

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request received on 21 September
2015 concerning Following the report of the cost to the public purse of
£89k in pursuit of an Employment Appeal Tribunal claim by Mayor Anderson
of Liverpool, it has been claimed that the DCLG will be making changes to
the regulations governing the entitlements related to paid time off for
public duties, specifically for holders of an elected mayoral post.Please
disclose the correspondence, dates and notes of conversations and/or any
other communication between the DCLG (officials and/or ministers) and
Liverpool City Council (politicians and/or officers) on the matter of any
requests to investigate and/or change such regulations. The period of
interest extends from 14th April 2015 to the present, but please include
any new material which has arisen between now and the time you fulfil this
request..
 
We are now considering the request but we need more time to process it.
This is because because we are continuing with consideration of the public
interest and section 35 (1) (a) of the Freedom of Information Act. We will
now try to respond to you by 16 December 2015.
 
Complaints procedure
 
If you are unhappy with this response, we will review it and report back
to you. (This is called an internal review.) If you want us to do this,
let us know by return email within two months of receiving this response.
You can also ask by letter addressed to:
 
Department for Communities and Local Government
Knowledge and Information Access Team
1st Floor NW, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
 
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this internal review, you can ask
the independent Information Commissioner to investigate. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at email address [1][email address] or
use their online form at [2]ico.org.uk/concerns or call them on 0303 123
1113.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/concerns

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'Changes to Employment Rights of Elected Mayors'.

Please explain the difficulty in weighing the qualified exemption against the public interest in disclosure. To assist you in reviewing that assessment please take the following into account.
(1) The exemption protects the process of developing government policy, but I suggest that there is no currently active policy development in this area: if the government had wished to give additional (or lesser) rights to elected mayors as distinct from other elected members of local authorities it would have done so when it introduced that office.

(2) I have a plausible suspicion of wrongdoing. I base that suspicion, among other things, on the timing of the letter from the Mayor of Liverpool to the SoS Greg Clark of 22 July 2015.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...
That letter was created the day before the final release of the information that the city council had paid a legal bill of £89,000 supporting Employment Tribunal and Appeal Tribunal claims. Relevant FoI here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...
The letter's creation, I suspect, could have been calculated to deflect criticism of that expenditure on behalf of the Mayor. Otherwise, why would the letter not have been sent shortly after 14th April when the Appeal judgement was handed down?

(3) I further base my suspicion on the contents of the letter which includes serious inaccuracies and falsehoods. For example, it claims that the ET and EAT cases relate to the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989... Yet that Act gives no rights to elected members: it places a cap on paid time off. Neither the ET nor the EAT dealt with any limitation on paid time off so it is wrong to claim that the tribunals' costs were in whole or in part justified by a need to clarify the Act.
EAT judgement is here http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/201...

(4) Time is of the essence in resolving the plausible suspicion of wrongdoing. Selection of candidates for the mayoral election in 2016 is in progress and if any errors in governance are identified they need to be remedied well before an election period. Alternatively, if the correspondence can reveal a justifiable rationale for the Mayor's conduct, then that needs to be placed in the public domain.

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,

John Coyne

Dear Andrew Lock,
I need to correct a reference in Point (2) of my request for an Internal Review made today.
The FoI link given should have been this one
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...
Also, that FoI yielded the fact that the Council had paid the legal fees, but not the total amount which emerged later.
On the other hand, the 23rd July response did contain the statement
"The City Council are currently in discussion with the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) as to the possibility of the reimbursement of cost to the City Council", but it was subsequently disclosed that the "discussion", in the form of the Mayor's letter, had only begun on the previous day.

Yours sincerely,

John Coyne

Despatch Box,

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000 - 1429176
Thank you for your email of 2 December 2015, requesting an internal review
of the Department's handling of your request for information, and
specifically an explanation of the difficulty in determining the public
interest.

I apologise for the continued delay in issuing a response to your request.

We have ascertained that there are two items with information relevant to
your request. One of these is the letter from the Mayor of Liverpool to
the Secretary of State Greg Clark of 22 July 2015, which you referred to
in a recent email. As this is already available to you we are exempt from
supplying it directly, under s21 of the FOI Act.

The other information has been extracted from a longer document. This is
the information for which we are considering the public interest. Because
some of the information has been provided by a third party we needed to
consult them regarding disclosure in order to conduct the public interest
test.

Please be assured that we are working on this request and will send you
our substantive response as soon as it is possible to do so.

Yours sincerely
 
 
Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner - Finance and Corporate Services
 
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Andrew Lock,

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request received on 21 September
2015 concerning Following the report of the cost to the public purse of
£89k in pursuit of an Employment Appeal Tribunal claim by Mayor Anderson
of Liverpool, it has been claimed that the DCLG will be making changes to
the regulations governing the entitlements related to paid time off for
public duties, specifically for holders of an elected mayoral post.Please
disclose the correspondence, dates and notes of conversations and/or any
other communication between the DCLG (officials and/or ministers) and
Liverpool City Council (politicians and/or officers) on the matter of any
requests to investigate and/or change such regulations. The period of
interest extends from 14th April 2015 to the present, but please include
any new material which has arisen between now and the time you fulfil this
request..
 
We are now considering the request but we need more time to process it.
This is because we are continuing with consideration of section 35 (1) (a)
and the public interest test. I do apologise for this further delay and we
will now try to respond to you by 18 January 2016.
 
Complaints procedure
 
If you are unhappy with this response, we will review it and report back
to you. (This is called an internal review.) If you want us to do this,
let us know by return email within two months of receiving this response.
You can also ask by letter addressed to:
 
Department for Communities and Local Government
Knowledge and Information Access Team
1st Floor NW, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
 
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this internal review, you can ask
the independent Information Commissioner to investigate. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at email address [1][email address] or
use their online form at [2]ico.org.uk/concerns or call them on 0303 123
1113.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. https://ico.org.uk/concerns

Andrew Lock,

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 21 September 2015.
 
I have attached our formal response to your request, and the information
you asked for.
 
Knowledge and Information Access Team
Department for Communities and Local Government
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Andrew Lock,
Please recall that my FoI request asked for all communications, including dates thereof. You have provided one undated incoming email.

(1) Are we to take it that there has been no reply or even acknowledgement from DCLG following the letter from the Mayor of Liverpool of 22 July 2015?

(2) You had applied the qualified exemption under Section 35 of the Act, to do with formulation of government policy. Yet you are saying that there are no DCLG originated communications to disclose, so how can that exemption reasonably have applied: has DCLG been prevaricating in its response to me?

You will note that I have already requested an internal review and that request stands. In the meantime I would appreciate a response to the two questions above.
Yours sincerely,

John Coyne

Ben Heathcote,

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Coyne
 
Internal review under the 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 31 December 2015. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
 
I am considering your concerns and will aim to provide you with a response
by 29 January 2016.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner - Finance and Corporate Services
 
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Ben Heathcote,

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 1429176             Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Coyne

Please find attached the Department's response to your request for an
internal review.
Yours sincerely
 
 
Ben Heathcote
Lead FOI Business Partner - Finance and Corporate Services
 
[email address]

Dear Ben Heathcote,
Thank you for the response to my request for an internal review.

I appreciate that this review was done swiftly and that it has resolved the issues I raised, particularly the matter of the exemption.

I accept the apology for the delay with the original FoI request.

Yours sincerely,

John Coyne

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org