Dear The English Heritage Trust,

Please supply copies of all communications and notes, including but not limited to emails, relating to or mentioning Blick Mead between 1 December 2019 and 1 August 2019.

Yours faithfully,

C. Smith

Our Reference:19/01006

 

Dear Mr Smith,

 

Re: Information Request – Blick Mead, Amesbury, Wiltshire

 

Thank you for your email to the English Heritage Trust on 14 November in
which you requested the following:

'Please supply copies of all communications and notes, including but not
limited to emails, relating to or mentioning Blick Mead between 1 December
2019 and 1 August 2019'.

Please note that we have taken your quoted date of 1 December 2019 to mean
1 December 2018. 

Your request will be considered under the Freedom of Information Act
(2000)/ the Environmental Information Regulations (2004).  We will be
writing to you within the statutory 20 working day timeframe with a
response to your request.  You will be informed if this is not possible.

 

Yours sincerely, 

 

Information Rights Team

 

Historic England

The Engine House

Swindon

SN2 2EH

 

Telephone: 01793 414567

 

We will keep a record of contact details provided by you and details of
your enquiry for administrative purposes.  We will not use these details
for marketing purposes and we will never sell your personal details or
share your information with another organisation for marketing purposes.
If you would like to know more or understand your data protection rights,
please take a look at our [1]Privacy and Cookies Policy.

 

References

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Gibbons, Frances,

9 Attachments

REF: 19/01006

 

Dear C Smith,

 

Thank you for your email dated 14 November in which you have requested
copies of all communications held by English Heritage relating to or
mentioning Blick Mead between 1 December 2018 and 1 August 2019. Your
request has been processed under the Environmental Information Regulations
2004 (EIR).

 

Having looked into your request I can confirm that English Heritage holds
information that falls within its scope. I have attached the relevant
documents for your information.

 

I have removed personal information from the attached documents. In making
this decision I have relied upon Regulation 12(3) of the EIR. Third party
personal data, the disclosure of which would breach one or more of the
data protection principles in the data protection legislation 2018.

 

Information has also been removed on the basis of relevance.

 

You should also be aware that Regulation 12(4)(e) of the EIR has been
applied to withhold some information (both partially and in full) that is
considered to be exempt internal communications.

 

Regulation 12(4)(e)- Internal Communications.

 

The exception from disclosure contained in Regulation 12(4)(e) - which is
concerned with internal communications, is applicable as it consists of
internal email correspondence between English Heritage staff that has not
been shared more widely. It can reasonably be defined as ‘internal
communications’ and so engages the exception.

 

Whilst I am aware of the explicit presumption in favour of disclosure that
is contained within the EIR, and acknowledge that it is in the public
interest that English Heritage is accountable and open in the way that it
operates and reaches decisions, it is essential that the information in
question is considered in context. 

 

It is important that staff members are able to have free and frank
conversations in order to reach the most appropriate outcome for their
work. If staff feel inhibited during discussions it is possible that not
all the relevant matters will be discussed. This in turn would have a
detrimental effect on the working processes of English Heritage. I do not
believe this to be in the public interest.

 

Having considered the above arguments I have decided that the public
interest is best served by withholding the information.

 

Finally, you should note that information has also been removed under
Regulation 12(5)(f) of the EIR.

 

Regulation 12(5)(f)- Volunteered Information.

 

Information can be withheld under Regulation 12(5)(f) of the EIR if it was
volunteered.  In order to be “volunteered” the information has to satisfy
a three-part test: that the provider was not under any obligation to
provide it, has not consented to its disclosure and the party that it was
given to is not under or could not be put under any obligation to disclose
it.  I can confirm that I consider the information that I am withholding
under this exemption to meet the criteria, and as such the exception is
engaged.

 

As the application of the exception in Regulation 12(5)(f) of the EIR is
subject to a public interest test it is not sufficient for me to say, for
the reasons above, that I consider the exception to be engaged. I also
have to consider whether, in all circumstances of the case, the public
interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in
disclosing the information.

 

In favour of disclosure I have considered the argument that it is in the
public interest for English Heritage to be open about the information that
it receives. Making such information public helps to ensure the
transparency of any decision making processes. I have also considered the
presumption in favour of disclosure that is contained within the EIR.

 

In favour of maintaining the exception I have considered the argument that
each case has to be considered on its merits. I believe that the document
in question was provided in confidence for information purposes.  If third
parties feel inhibited when engaging with English Heritage it is possible
that not all the relevant facts will be considered during the
decision-making process.  This would then lead to potential flaws.

Having considered the above arguments I have concluded that the public
interest is currently best served by maintaining the exception.

 

I hope that the information I have been able to provide is useful to you.
Details of our review procedure are attached.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Frances Gibbons

Mrs Frances Gibbons
Senior Information Rights Officer

Information and Records Management

Historic England | Room 2/20 | The Engine House | Fire Fly Avenue |
Swindon | Wiltshire | SN2 2EH

01793 414445

 

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This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically
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Dear Mrs Gibbons,

Thank you for your response and the information. From an online search it appears there may have been some communications overlooked. One example would be communications to and from the media in relation to Blick Mead. Another example would relate to a recently broadcast National Geographic TV film about Blick Mead, featuring an interview with the English Heritage curator of Stonehenge filmed at the stones. In view of media interest and other examples such as this TV film, it would be rather unusual if discussions about content took place and arrangements for interviews made without any mention of Blick Mead. I would be obliged if you would please check.

Yours sincerely,

C. Smith

Gibbons, Frances,

1 Attachment

Dear C Smith,

 

Thank you for your email dated 13 December. I will investigate your query
and will be back in touch to confirm the situation as soon as I am able.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Frances Gibbons

 

Mrs Frances Gibbons
Senior Information Rights Officer

Information and Records Management

Historic England | Room 2/20 | The Engine House | Fire Fly Avenue |
Swindon | Wiltshire | SN2 2EH

01793 414445

 

[1]Historic England Logo

We are the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate
England's spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields
to parks and pie shops.
Follow us:  [2]Facebook  |  [3]Twitter  |  [4]Instagram     Sign up to our
[5]newsletter     

This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically
stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your
system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the
information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to
Historic England may become publicly available. We respect your privacy
and the use of your information. Please read our full [6]privacy policy
for more information.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.historicengland.org.uk/
2. https://www.facebook.com/HistoricEngland
3. https://twitter.com/HistoricEngland
4. https://www.instagram.com/historicengland/
5. http://webmail.historicenglandservices.o...
6. https://www.historicengland.org.uk/terms...

Gibbons, Frances,

2 Attachments

REF: 19/01006

 

Dear  C Smith,

 

Thank you for your email dated 13 December in which you asked if English
Heritage held additional documentation in regards to your request
concerning Blick Mead. I have now investigated your query thoroughly and I
can confirm that English Heritage does hold additional information that
falls within the scope of your request. I am very sorry that this
information was not considered for release as part of my initial response
to you.

 

Having assessed the additional information, I can confirm that it is
exempt from disclosure under Regulations 12(4)(e) and 12(5)(e) of the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

Regulation 12(4)(e)- Internal Communications.

 

The exception from disclosure contained in Regulation 12(4)(e) - which is
concerned with internal communications, is applicable as it consists of
internal email correspondence between English Heritage staff that has not
been shared more widely. It can reasonably be defined as ‘internal
communications’ and so engages the exception.

 

Whilst I am aware of the explicit presumption in favour of disclosure that
is contained within the EIR, and acknowledge that it is in the public
interest that English Heritage is accountable and open in the way that it
operates and reaches decisions, it is essential that the information in
question is considered in context. 

 

It is important that staff members are able to have free and frank
conversations in order to reach the most appropriate outcome for their
work. If staff feel inhibited during discussions it is possible that not
all the relevant matters will be discussed. This in turn would have a
detrimental effect on the working processes of English Heritage. I do not
believe this to be in the public interest.

 

Having considered the above arguments I have decided that the public
interest is best served by withholding the information.

 

Regulation 12(5)(e)- Confidentiality of Commercial or Industrial
information.

 

The exception in Regulation 12(5)(e) of the EIR is concerned with
protecting the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information
where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate
economic interest.

 

Having reviewed the information in question I am of the opinion that it is
reasonable to consider the information to be confidential, and that
disclosure would adversely affect the economic interests of the English
Heritage Trust.

 

As the application of the exception in Regulation 12(5)(e) of the EIR is
subject to a public interest test it is not sufficient for me to say, for
the reasons above, that I consider the exception to be engaged. I also
have to consider whether, in all circumstances of the case, the public
interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in
disclosing the information.

 

In favour of disclosure I acknowledge that it is in the public interest
for the public to be provided with information relating to how English
Heritage operates in a corporate environment. Making such information
public helps to ensure the transparency of our work. I also acknowledge
the presumption in favour of disclosure that is contained within the EIR.

 

In favour of maintaining the exemption I have considered the importance of
ensuring that English Heritage has the ability to operate in a competitive
commercial environment, and that they are not put at a disadvantage by the
release of confidential documentation which is of a commercial nature. It
is important to note that any information that is released under the EIR
is considered to be in the public domain. While I accept that transparency
and accountability are important, I believe that in this instance there is
an overriding obligation to ensure that confidential discussions remain
confidential. It is important that 'customers', both actual and potential
feel that they can approach English Heritage in confidence to discuss
various matters without threat that information would be released into the
public domain inappropriately. Failure to do this would damage the
reputation of English Heritage, giving a clear advantage to our
competitors in this field. This in turn would impact on potential revenue
generation.

 

Having considered the above arguments I have concluded that the public
interest is currently best served by maintaining the exception.

 

I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful on this occasion. Details of our
review procedure are attached.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Frances Gibbons

 

 

Mrs Frances Gibbons
Senior Information Rights Officer

Information and Records Management

Historic England | Room 2/20 | The Engine House | Fire Fly Avenue |
Swindon | Wiltshire | SN2 2EH

01793 414445

 

[1]Historic England Logo

We are the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate
England's spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields
to parks and pie shops.
Follow us:  [2]Facebook  |  [3]Twitter  |  [4]Instagram     Sign up to our
[5]newsletter     

This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically
stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your
system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the
information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to
Historic England may become publicly available. We respect your privacy
and the use of your information. Please read our full [6]privacy policy
for more information.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.historicengland.org.uk/
2. https://www.facebook.com/HistoricEngland
3. https://twitter.com/HistoricEngland
4. https://www.instagram.com/historicengland/
5. http://webmail.historicenglandservices.o...
6. https://www.historicengland.org.uk/terms...