Chronic Non-Attendance at LCR Combined Authority Meetings By Mayor Anderson

Josie Mullen made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

Mayor Joe Anderson was given the Housing and Public Service Reform portfolio in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. This is one of the most important portfolios as there are inextricable links to Planning/Environment etc
Taking this into consideration please supply all information relating to the following questions:

[1] Mayor Anderson has not attended 12 consecutive meetings of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority:
[a] Why was Mayor Anderson given this important portfolio when he had no intention of attending the LCR Combined Authority meetings?

[b] What sanctions are available in the Combined Authority Constitution to deal with chronic problems of non-attendance?

[3] Please supply all the reasons why Mayor Anderson was permitted, month after month, to absent himself from these important meetings?

ps Constantly sending Cllr Ann O'Byrne in his place is totally unacceptable

31st May 2018 - AGM - presumed absent
29th April 2018 – present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
9th March 2018 – present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
2nd February 2018 – present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
19th January 2018– present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
8th December 2017 – present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
17th November 2017 – present from LCC – Nobody/Mayor Anderson absent
20th October 2017 - - present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
15th September 2017 – present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
18th August 2017 – present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
14th July 2017– present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent
16th June 2017– present from LCC – Cllr Ann O’Byrne/Mayor Anderson absent

Yours faithfully,

Josie Mullen

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Ms. Mullen

RSN17535

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [email address]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Ms. Mullen

RSN17535

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act. Please find Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s response below.

Why was Mayor Anderson given this important portfolio when he had no intention of attending the LCR Combined Authority meetings?

With regard to why Mayor Anderson was given this portfolio, the 2017/18 Portfolio appointments were made at the Annual Meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on 26th May 2017. Item 5 of the agenda considered and approved a report from the Head of Paid Service on Member Appointments. This can be viewed at the following link: http://councillors.knowsley.gov.uk/ieLis...

All portfolio holders are supported by lead officers; in 2017/18 these were Mike Palin (St Helens Council) for Housing and Eric Robinson (Wirral Council) for Public Service Reform.

The Combined Authority has no recorded information to provide in response to your point relating to intended meeting attendance.

What sanctions are available in the Combined Authority Constitution to deal with chronic problems of non-attendance?

The Combined Authority’s Constitution is available on its website at the following link: http://liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/upl...

There are no explicit sanctions for non-attendance of meetings. The Constitution allows for substitute members to attend in place of the member. The appointment of Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne as Mayor Anderson’s substitute was approved, along with the other substitute appointments, at the meeting on 26th May 2017.

Please supply all the reasons why Mayor Anderson was permitted, month after month, to absent himself from these important meetings?

As stated above, the Combined Authority Constitution allows for substitute members to attend in place of members. There is no requirement for members to provide reasons or to ask permission for their non-attendance. The Combined Authority therefore has no recorded information to provide to you in response to this question.

I trust that this information is of interest to you.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right under the Act to ask for an internal review, which should be addressed to:
Jill Coule
Interim Monitoring Officer
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Email: [email address]

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is
The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [email address]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright.  You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law.  Documents (except photographs) can also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting.  Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Dear Ms. Mullen

RSN17535

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [email address]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's handling of my FOI request 'Chronic Non-Attendance at LCR Combined Authority Meetings By Mayor Anderson'.

[ GIVE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR COMPLAINT HERE ]
This FOI response is an absolute outrage. What you are basically saying is that Mayor Anderson has been given one of the most important portfolios in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and yet it doesn't matter if he never attends meetings, so never contributes at these meetings or participates in any dialogue with other portfolio holders at these meetings.

[a] "All portfolio holders are supported by lead officers; in 2017/18 these were Mike Palin (St Helens Council) for Housing and Eric Robinson (Wirral Council) for Public Service Reform.
I NEVER ASKED WHO THE LEAD OFFICERS WERE

[b]" There are no explicit sanctions for non-attendance of meetings.... There is no requirement for members to provide reasons or to ask permission for their non-attendance. "
PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY THERE IS ANY POINT IN HAVING PORTFOLIOS, WHEN THE HOLDERS ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO ATTEND MEETINGS. WHILE IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A PORTFOLIO HOLDER TO BE ABSENT THROUGH SICKNESS OR AN UNAVOIDABLE COMMITMENT. ACCEPTING [OR DEMANDING] A PORTFOLIO WHEN YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTENTION OF EVER ATTENDING THE MEETINGS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND SHOWS UTTER DISRESPECT TO THE TAXPAYERS/ELECTORATE OF THE COMBINED AUTHORITY . IT ALSO SHOWS WEAKNESSES IN THE CONSTITUTION
[C] It says that the approval of portfolio appointments was - " Item 5 of the agenda considered and approved a report from the Head of Paid Service on Member Appointments.
PLEASE INDICATE IF THE HEAD OF PAID SERVICES AT THE TIME WAS GED FITZGERALD, NOW ON LONG-TERM POLICE BAIL FOR ALLEGED INTIMIDATION OF WITNESSES AND PERVERTING THE COURSE OF JUSTICE

NB The reason why Mayor Anderson does not attend any of the meetings is abundantly clear and should not be tolerated.

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,

Josie Mullen

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Ms. Mullen

Thank you for your email, which is being treated as a request for an internal review of the Combined Authority's handling of your enquiry.

A response will be provided within 20 working days.

Kind regards,

Andrew Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [email address]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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Coule, Jill, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Mullen

 

Thank you for your request for an internal review received on 12 June
2018.  I have now had the opportunity to consider your original request
and the response provided by Mr Henderson, the Senior Information
Management Officer.  Your concerns seem to stem around the issues listed
below.  Please also find my response to the issues I have identified.

 

a)    Additional information provided which was of no use to you

 

I am sorry that you found the additional information that was provided by
Mr Henderson unhelpful regarding Lead Officers.  I have asked Mr Henderson
to carefully consider in future Freedom of Information responses and make
clear when additional information is being offered in a response and
whether it is suitable in all the circumstances of that request to include
that additional information.

 

 

b)    Reasons for continued non-attendance by a councillor at meetings of
the Combined Authority

 

In handling a Freedom of Information request, a public authority is
obliged to provide access to information that it holds.   The Liverpool
City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) does not hold the information that
you seek. In other words the LCRCA does not hold records as to why
councillors do not attend meetings.

 

To assist you further I thought it would be helpful to explain that the
LCRCA only records as part of the minutes of the meetings who has or has
not attended a meeting and whether a substitute councillor has attended in
the stead of the nominated councillor.

 

 

c)    Lack of sanctions for non-attendance

 

Whilst you have conveyed to me your sense of frustration in this regard,
again I would reiterate that in handling a Freedom of Information request,
a public authority is only obliged to provide information that it holds.  

 

To assist you further I can confirm that the LCRCA does not have the
statutory power to impose sanctions on members for non-attendance at
meetings by councillors.  This is why no records exist.

 

 

d)    Confirmation of the Head of Paid Service

 

The link that Mr Henderson included in his initial response did confirm
that Mr Ged Fitzgerald was the Interim Head of Paid Service.

 

In light of my analysis of the above issues my view is that the response
provided by Mr Henderson was a reasonable response.  I have not provided
any additional information to you that you were entitled to receive under
the Freedom of Information legislation.  In an effort to assist you I have
provided an explanation in relation to points b) and c) above.

 

I hope the above information is of assistance to you.  If you remain
dissatisfied, you can further pursue your concerns by contacting the
Information Commissioner’s Office:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Or by using the following link:

 

[1]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

Jill Coule

Chief Legal Officer & Monitoring Officer

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

 

Telephone: 0151 330 1855

[mobile number]

Email: [2][email address]

 

 

 

 

 

From: FOI CA
Sent: 25 June 2018 15:52

 

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