Communications between Haringey Council and the ballot administrator CES

Paul Burnham made this Freedom of Information request to Haringey Borough 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.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

Regarding the Love Lane ballot in August/September, the ballot administrator CES has advised us that 'The Council sought our guidance and advice in relation to the door-step collection of ballot papers by their officers or representatives'.

(1) What was the date that Haringey Council asked CES whether the council could collect votes door to door at Love Lane?

(2) Please give the content of the letter or email making this request; and the CES reply in full.

(3) Were there meetings, either in person, online, or by phone communication, where this matter was discussed? If so, give details.

(4) Please release all documents relating to the council's rationale for making this request.

(5) Please release all communications between LBH and CES regarding the running of the Love Lane ballot, the ballot itself, and its aftermath.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Burnham

Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Burnham

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
LBH/11868221

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 29 November 2021.

 

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 29 December 2021

 

Should our response to your request breach the statutory time-frame and
you remain unhappy with our response you have the right to complain to the
Information Commissioners Office.  You can contact them at
[email address]. Information about their services is on their website:
www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Corporate Feedback Team

 

From: Paul Burnham
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2021 1:19 AM
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Communications between Haringey
Council and the ballot administrator CES

 

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

Regarding the Love Lane ballot in August/September, the ballot
administrator CES has advised us that 'The Council sought our guidance and
advice in relation to the door-step collection of ballot papers by their
officers or representatives'. 

(1) What was the date that Haringey Council asked CES whether the council
could collect votes door to door at Love Lane?

(2) Please give the content of the letter or email making this request;
and the CES reply in full.

(3) Were there meetings, either in person, online, or by phone
communication, where this matter was discussed? If so, give details.

(4) Please release all documents relating to the council's rationale for
making this request.

(5) Please release all communications between LBH and CES regarding the
running of the Love Lane ballot, the ballot itself, and its aftermath.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Burnham

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

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #811159 email]

Is [Haringey Borough Council request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Haringey Borough Council? If so, please contact us using this
form:
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

Paul Burnham left an annotation ()

Response by 29 December 2021

Maple Matthew, Haringey Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Burnham,

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 29 November 2021,
in which you asked for the following:

 

“Regarding the Love Lane ballot in August/September, the ballot
administrator CES has advised us that 'The Council sought our guidance and
advice in relation to the door-step collection of ballot papers by their
officers or representatives'. 

 

 1. What was the date that Haringey Council asked CES whether the council
could collect votes door to door at Love Lane?
 2. Please give the content of the letter or email making this request;
and the CES reply in full.
 3. Were there meetings, either in person, online, or by phone
communication, where this matter was discussed? If so, give details.
 4. Please release all documents relating to the council's rationale for
making this request.
 5. Please release all communications between LBH and CES regarding the
running of the Love Lane ballot, the ballot itself, and its
aftermath.”

 

My response to each of the questions in turn is as follows:

 

 1.  The Council did not ask CES whether the Council could collect votes
door to door at Love Lane. 

 

The Council did ask Civica for advice on, in a situation where a resident
seeks to give a Council officer their sealed ballot envelope, whether the
officer is able to post it on their behalf. This related to situations
with vulnerable residents. This advice was requested on 25 August 2021.

 

 2. Please see pages 40 and 41 of the email communications provided in
response to question 5 (emails dated 25 and 26 August 2021).

 

 3. There were no meetings where this matter was discussed.

 

 4. There are no documents related to the council’s rationale for making
this request.

 

 5. Please see attachment.

 

Please note that the information you requested includes information which
includes personal data about members of the public. Where this is the
case, this information has been redacted.

 

Requests for personal data are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act
under Section 40 (2) of that Act if the disclosure of the information
would breach any of the Data Protection principles. 

 

The first principle states that personal data should only be disclosed in
fair and lawful circumstances. In considering fairness, we need to balance
the reasonable expectations of the data subject and the potential
consequences of the disclosure against the legitimate public interest in
disclosing the information. The subject would not expect us to disclose
their personal information to the public in response to an FOI request, it
would therefore be unfair and a breach of the first principle for us to
provide this information to you. We do not believe that there are any
public interest arguments in favour of disclosure in this case that would
outweigh our responsibility to be fair to our residents/customers in the
way we use and disclose their personal information.

 

If you are unhappy with how we have responded to your request you can ask
us to conduct an Internal Review. If so, please contact the [1]Corporate
Feedback Team.  (Please note you should do so within two months of this
response.)

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Matthew Maple

Regeneration Manager (High Road West)

Regeneration Team

River Park House, 225 High Road

Wood Green

London, N22 8HQ

 

T: 020 8489 2821 / M: 07891 412443 / E: [2][email address]

 

Pronouns: he/him

 

CURRENT WORKING PATTERN:

Days: Monday to Friday

Core hours: 0900-1730

Working location: Home based

Note: when working from home reachable on landline and mobile

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential, may be
subject to legal privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or
organisation(s) to whom this email is addressed. Any unauthorised use,
retention, distribution, copying or disclosure is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this email in error, please notify the system
administrator at Haringey Council immediately and delete this e-mail from
your system. Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be
free of any virus or other defect which might affect any computer or
system into which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility
of the recipient to ensure they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted for any loss or damage from receipt or use thereof. All
communications sent to or from external third party organisations may be
subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant
legislation.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your response.

I asked “(5) Please release all communications between LBH and CES regarding the running of the Love Lane ballot, the ballot itself, and its aftermath.” The reply to this is ‘Please see attachment’, referring to a document consisting of emails.

I have three questions to ask:

(1) You have released emails only, without the attachments. All the attachments to emails were also communications. Can you please release them as well?

(2) Where there any WhatsApp (or any other media) communications between LBH and CES? If so, please release these.

(3) I am concerned that you have not provided all of the emails requested, especially concerning the interim turnout report which was due on Friday 03 September. More detail on this point follows:

CES provided twice weekly interim turnout reports during the ballot, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Six earlier interim turnout reports are provided as part of the email string, but there are no emails included about the last interim turnout report, which was due on Friday 03 September, other than this email from Scott Mundy:

Scott Mundy of Haringey wrote to Sonali Campion of CES on 01 September 2021 14:30, Subject: RE: Interim Report 1/09/2021,

"• Please could you copy Sarah and Matt (both copied) into the remaining interim reports and the final ballot result. [CES replied: Will do]

• Re. interim reports – to confirm we will get another one on Friday, which will capture any votes you collect on Thursday? [CES replied: Correct].”

Please can you therefore provide all missing emails related to the last interim turnout report, which was due to be emailed from CES to LBH on Friday 03 September?

Yours sincerely,

Paul Burnham

Maple Matthew, Haringey Borough Council

16 Attachments

Dear Mr Burnham

 

Your Freedom of Information request, our reference LBH/12178222

 

Thank you for your request for information dated 17 January 2022 in which
you asked for the following:

 

I asked “(5) Please release all communications between LBH and CES
regarding the running of the Love Lane ballot, the ballot itself, and its
aftermath.” The reply to this is ‘Please see attachment’, referring to a
document consisting of emails.

 

I have three questions to ask:

 

(1)          You have released emails only, without the attachments. All
the attachments to emails were also communications. Can you please release
them as well?

 

(2)          Where there any WhatsApp (or any other media) communications
between LBH and CES?  If so, please release these.

 

(3)          I am concerned that you have not provided all of the emails
requested, especially concerning the interim turnout report which was due
on Friday 03 September. More detail on this point follows:

 

CES provided twice weekly interim turnout reports during the ballot, on
Wednesdays and Fridays. Six earlier interim turnout reports are provided
as part of the email string, but there are no emails included about the
last interim turnout report, which was due on Friday 03 September, other
than this email from Scott Mundy:

 

Scott Mundy of Haringey wrote to Sonali Campion of CES on 01 September
2021 14:30,  Subject: RE: Interim Report 1/09/2021,

 

"• Please could you copy Sarah and Matt (both copied) into the remaining
interim reports and the final ballot result. [CES replied: Will do]

 

• Re. interim reports – to confirm we will get another one on Friday,
which will capture any votes you collect on Thursday? [CES replied:
Correct].”

 

Please can you therefore provide all missing emails related to the last
interim turnout report, which was due to be emailed from CES to LBH on
Friday 03 September?

 

My response to questions 2 and 3 is as follows:

(2) There were no WhatsApp (or any other media) communications between LBH
and CES.

(3) This email from Friday 3 September is attached which was omitted in
the FOI response.

 

In response to question 1, please find attached the following documents:

 1. Data templates for ballot registration and voter list – sent by CES to
LBH on 19 April 2021 (and again at later dates)
 2. Haringey brand guidelines – sent by LBH to CES on 5 May 2021
 3. Ballot registration letter – sent by CES to LBH on 12 July 2021
 4. Ballot papers, letters and reminder letters – sent by CES to LBH on 11
August 2021
 5. Love Lane Landlord Offer – sent by LBH to CES on 1 September 2021
 6. Letter from the Chief Executive of Haringey Council, Zina Etheridge,
to voters on the Love Lane Estate – sent by LBH to CES on 1 September
2021
 7. Letter from the Leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Peray Ahmet, to
voters on the Love Lane Estate to confirm the ballot outcome – sent by
LBH to CES on 7 September 2021
 8. CES Report of Voting on the ballot – sent by CES to LBH on 7 September
2021
 9. GLA Compliance Checklist – sent by CES to LBH on 9 September 2021
10. Copy of spoiled ballot paper (anonymised) – sent by CES to LBH on 30
November 2021

 

The remainder of attachments to the emails, excluded from the above, fall
into one of the following categories.  These are labelled category a) and
b) for the purposes of this response only.

 a. Documents in unfinished/draft form, of which the final version has
been provided as part of this FOI response; and
 b. Documents which are commercial in nature and relate to the procurement
and fees for the services of CES as independent body for the resident
ballot.

 

Our view is that these documents are exempt from disclosure.  The reasons
for this are set out below.

 

Category A

Where emails have contained unfinished/draft documents relating to the
Love Lane Landlord Offer and resident ballot, we consider these are exempt
from release under Regulation 12(4)(d) of Environmental Information
Regulations (EIR).

 

Regulation 12(4)(d) of EIR states; a public authority may refuse to
disclose information to the extent that the request relates to material
which is still in the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to
incomplete data.

 

We consider that this exception applies because: The request for a draft
report and a draft of a document is by its nature an unfinished form of
that document.

 

Regulation 12(4)(d)  is a qualified exception and is therefore subject to
the public interest test.

 

The public interest arguments for releasing this information are as
follows:

 

o There is always a general public interest in disclosing environmental
information, derived from the purpose of the EIR
o To encourage transparency in the Council’s decision making processes
o To allow transparency of decisions on how public funds are spent
o To inform public debate on the particular environmental issue that the
information relates to
o To show how a public authority has met its obligations under other
environmental legislation

 

The public interest arguments for withholding the information are as
follows:

 

o We consider that releasing incomplete or unfinished material into the
public domain could distract public debate away from the substantive
issues that the information relates to.
o We consider that in this case it would difficult for this unfinished
information to be placed into context that would allow us to
counteract any confusion. 
o Instead the debate could focus on secondary issues such as the
differences between a draft and a final version etc. creating more
enquiries  and distracting Council officers from their normal duties
as they would be required to provide responses to such enquiries.

 

It is therefore considered that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

 

Category B

Documents relating to the procurement and fees for the services of CES we
believe are commercially sensitive information:

 

Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act allows us to withhold
information if to provide it would be likely to prejudice the commercial
interests of any person and it is in the public interest to withhold the
information. We think that to disclose documents relating to the
procurement of the independent body for the ballot would prejudice the
commercial interests of CES. We do not believe it would be in the public
interest for this information to be placed in the public domain.  This
constitutes a formal refusal to provide this information, as required
under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

This is a qualified exemption and is therefore subject to the public
interest test.

 

This exemption applies because:

•          Release of information would reduce the ability of the Council
to participate competitively in commercial activities and increase the
cost to the Council in undertaking such projects

•          The information relates to the procurement of existing and
upcoming contracts and current prices in a competitive market environment,
and release of this information would be prejudicial to the financial
interests of both the Council and the contractors concerned

 

The public interest arguments for releasing this information are as
follows:

•          To encourage transparency in the Council’s decision making
processes

•          It allows transparency of decisions on how public funds are
spent

 

The public interest arguments for withholding the information are as
follows:

•          The Council’s position in future procurement negotiations may
be jeopardised if this information is released

•          The Council’s position in negotiations with prospective
contractors will be jeopardised if this information is released

•          It would have a detrimental impact on the Council’s ability to
obtain value for money

 

It is considered that the public interest in withholding the information
outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

 

This above constitutes a refusal notice for the requested information as
required by the Freedom of Information Act.

 

If you are unhappy with how we have responded to your request you can ask
us to conduct an Internal Review or complaint about how your request was
handled. If so, please contact the Corporate Feedback Team as
follows (Please note you should do this within two months of receiving
this response):   

 

[1][email address]

 

You may also complain to the Information Commissioner’s office, who may be
able to help you. However they would normally expect the local authority
to have undertaken a complaint investigation or Internal Review of the
request before they will accept the referral. You can contact the
Commissioner at:

 

[2][email address]

[3]www.ico.org.uk

 

  

Yours sincerely

 

 

Matthew Maple

High Road West Lead

Regeneration and Economic Development

 

T: 020 8489 2821 / M: 07891 412443 / E: [4][email address]

 

Pronouns: he/him

 

CURRENT WORKING PATTERN:

Days: Monday to Friday

Core hours: 0900-1730

Working location: Home based

Note: when working from home reachable on landline and mobile

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections