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Conflicts of Interest: Core Planning Strategy

Peter Kairns made this Freedom of Information request to Northumberland County Council

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Dear Northumberland County Council,

I am deeply concerned by reports of conflicts of interest during the vote to withdraw the Core Planning Strategy in July 2017 at Northumberland County Council.

It is my belief that Councillor Robbie Peter Moore, who represents Alnwick Ward had a clear conflict of interest that was not declared during that vote. His employment at the time, as the Council's register of interests shows, was with George F White LLP, a company who issued a statement only hours after the vote was successful to say how their clients (Moore's clients) would financially benefit from the decision.

Can I ask the following;

1. Has this been investigated thoroughly?
2. What were the findings of any investigation?
3. Why have I not publicly seen any answer to these important questions?
4. Why has Mr. Moore not updated his register of interests despite now working for a new company and no longer being employed by George F White?

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Kairns
Fairfields, Alnwick.

Northumberland County Council

1 Attachment

Our Ref: 5076  

Dear Enquirer,

INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for your request for information which will be dealt with under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental
Information Regulations 2004.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we
will let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

If you have any queries about this matter please contact us. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Kind regards

Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF

Tel: 0345 600 6400
Email: [Northumberland County Council request email]
Web: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk

Northumberland County Council

1 Attachment

Our Ref: 5076   

Dear Enquirer,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST 

I refer to your Freedom of Information request (ref: 5076). 

Right of Access 

Section 1(1) of the Act provides any person making a request for
information to a public authority is entitled. 

(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request (which Section
1(6) of the Act designates as the "duty to confirm or deny"), and 

(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him. 

The right is to obtain access to the information itself and not to the
document or record which contains it. 

The Act creates a general right of access to information held by public
authorities subject to various exemptions. 

 

I am deeply concerned by reports of conflicts of interest during the vote
to withdraw the Core Planning Strategy in July 2017 at Northumberland
County Council. 

It is my belief that Councillor Robbie Peter Moore, who represents Alnwick
Ward had a clear conflict of interest that was not declared during that
vote. His employment at the time, as the Council's register of interests
shows, was with George F White LLP, a company who issued a statement only
hours after the vote was successful to say how their clients (Moore's
clients) would financially benefit from the decision. 

Can I ask the following; 

1. Has this been investigated thoroughly? 
2. What were the findings of any investigation? 
3. Why have I not publicly seen any answer to these important questions? 

 

The above questions are refused under Section 41(2) of the Freedom of
Information Act. Please see guidance below on this refusal. 

4. Why has Mr. Moore not updated his register of interests despite now
working for a new company and no longer being employed by George F White? 

 

Cllr Moore did inform the Monitoring Officer and this change was made in
the Northumberland County Council website. Please see link below

[1]http://committee.northumberland.gov.uk/D...
Duty to confirm or deny 

Under Section 41 Northumberland County Council neither confirms nor denies
whether it holds the information you have requested. 

Exemptions 

The Freedom of Information Act sets out various exemptions to the right of
access. 

Section 41- Information provided in confidence. 

(1) Information is exempt information if— (a) it was obtained by the
public authority from any other person (including another public
authority), and (b) the disclosure of the information to the public
(otherwise than under this Act) by the public authority holding it would
constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person. 

(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that,
the confirmation or denial that would have to be given to comply with
section 1(1)(a) would (apart from this Act) constitute an actionable
breach of confidence. 

The arrangements, adopted under the Localism Act 2011,  under which the
Council consider such matters provide for such consideration to be
conducted on a confidential basis in protection of the interests of those
who may raise a concern and those who may be subject to any relevant
allegations. The requirements regarding the need for confidentiality are
highlighted to those make use of those arrangements and requests are made
and repeated for the need for that confidentiality to be maintained and
there is therefore a clear expectation that confidentiality will be
observed all times. It is considered that in these circumstances that the
public interest in maintaining the exemption under section 41 outweighs
the public interest in disclosure

Notice of Refusal 

Please treat this letter as a Notice of Refusal as regards the information
covered by the Section 41 Exemption. 

Advice and Assistance 

The County Council recognises its statutory duty to provide advice and
assistance under Section 16 of the Act. 

Subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the Council
is seeking to be transparent and open in its response. 

Complaints 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request an internal review by writing within 2 months
from the date of this response to the Information Governance Office: 

Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF 

Email: [2][Northumberland County Council request email] 

Information Commissioner 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have a right by Section 50 of the Act to apply to the Information
Commissioner for a decision as to whether your request has been dealt with
in accordance with the requirements of the Act at: 

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire 
SK9 5AF 
Tel: 01625 545 745 / Fax: 01625 524 510
Email: [3][email address

There is no charge for making an appeal. 

Yours sincerely 

FOI Coordinator - HR/OD Directorate 
Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF

Tel: 0345 600 6400
Email: [4][Northumberland County Council request email] 
Web: [5]http://www.northumberland.gov.uk 

References

Visible links
1. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
2. mailto:[Northumberland County Council request email]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[Northumberland County Council request email]
5. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...

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