Copy of full KPMG report on LDL

Katie M. made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Liverpool City Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please provide a copy of the full due diligence Report produced by KPMG in fulfillment of its engagement to provide "Financial and tax due diligence in relation to the proposed acquisition of Liverpool Direct Limited" as set out in the Schedule on pages 29-32 of the Engagement Letter you released today after being ordered to do so by the Information Commission in its Decision Notice FS50571721 on Information Request 351819.
According to KPMG's own correspondence, this report appears to have been dated 10 October 2014, but since there appears to have been some confusion about the date of the report in question, may I make clear that the actual date is secondary at this stage . However, to be clear, I am not referring to the extract dated 13 October 2014, previously disclosed by the Council. KPMG itself, in the published extract, states that "This extract forms part of a fuller Report.." So for the avoidance of doubt, please be clear that the document I am seeking is this fuller Report, produced in early October 2014.
Finally, may I point out, as Mr Todd also pointed out in December 2014 in the correspondence on IR 351819, that a document defining itself as an "extract" of a "fuller Report" cannot possible be intended by anyone to be the final written report superseding all previous information, and if indeed your office should continue to assert this I will immediately complain to the Information Commissioner.

Yours faithfully,

Catherine Byrne

Julian Todd left an annotation ()

Dang! You got there before me!

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

Information request
Our reference: 398714

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

I have added an annotation to Julian Todd's request (the one that got the engagement letter released) containing the text of the KPMG financial diligence brief, which is the reason for this request. It's here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/k...

Jawahier Sharif Ali, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Byrne,

Please see attached our response to your request of information.

Regards, 

Jawahier Sharif Ali (Fatima) I Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I 6^th Floor I Cunard Building I Pier Head I Water
Street I Liverpool I L3 1DS
E: [1][email address]
Online: [2]www.liverpool.gov.uk

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.liverpool.gov.uk/

Dear Jawahier Sharif Ali,

Thank you for your prompt reply to my request.
However, I am somewhat puzzled by it.
You have not actually provided the information I have asked for, nor, indeed, have you refused to provide it.
Your explanation of the work done by KPMG refers to a number of documents prepared as part of the due diligence work carried out as part of the process for the council to acquire full ownership of Liverpool Direct, but does not supply them. These are clearly the documents that my request refers to. Could you please supply them without delay.

Cordially
Catherine Byrne

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Here is the response I actually received:

RESPONSE:

Whilst the Council was a 40% shareholder in Liverpool Direct Limited, the accounts of the Company were managed and prepared by BT, so for the Council as purchaser to gain the necessary assurance on the financial position of the Company there were two distinct phases to the due diligence work:

1) Fieldwork conducted June-July 2014: KPMG produced a “draft red flag” paper which identified matters to be reviewed/resolved as part of discussions between the parties.

2) “Issues update / Final report” work conducted August-October 2014: In August KPMG produced a draft “Issues update document” which summarised progress on the issues identified during the fieldwork phase. This document went through a number of redrafts as matters were resolved, including being renamed “Final report” on 9th October, albeit it retained similar form and content to the previous “Issues update document” drafts. The Council received a “pack” of documents from KPMG on 9th October comprising that working draft “Final report”, the “Draft red flag” paper from the first phase and the original version of the “Issues update” document - together this set of three documents served as a full record of the work conducted by KPMG to that date and form the “fuller report” referred to by them. Subsequent drafts of the “Final report” contained some further changes as KPMG finalised their review and report.
Liverpool City Council received no other reports or outputs from KPMG.

This is followed by the usual boilerplate (The City Council will consider appeals......).
Hence my email asking for the actual documents.

The description of the work done by KPMG is as you would expect for this kind of due diligence.
The introductory remarks about LDL's accounts being "managed and prepared by BT" and hence the council needing "assurance on the financial position of the company" epitomise everything that was wrong with the Council's attitude and approach to LDL. The Board of any company should know exactly what its financial position is, and if they don't, they are totally failing in their fundamental duty to the shareholders under company law. ALL of the shareholders (however small the percentage of shares they own).
This is precisely why the whole thing went pear-shaped.
In all those years, the complete idiots who acted as LCC's directors on the board of LDL clearly never had sight of the real management accounts of the company. This kind of oversight is the primary duty of the board of directors of absolutely any company, by law, and you have to wonder what on earth they thought they were doing, indeed, what the board itself actually did. The minutes (official documents of the company, which have to be retained) will make fascinating reading.
For the first 6 years of LDL's existence there were no politicians on the board of LDL - the Council's sole director was David Henshaw, chief exec. He completely ignored his legal duties under company law. So, presumably, did the City Solicitor, who was supposed (according to the founding documents) to receive minutes of all board meetings and so must have been aware that the board was not operating properly. Spectacular negligence if not worse.

Dear Liverpool City Council,

I received a response to this request on 8 September from Jawahier Sharif Ali which neither supplied the information I am seeking nor refused it. It simply explained what information the council held.
I responded to Ms/Mr Ali on 9 September, pointing this out, and asking for the information to be supplied (or, indeed, refused). So far there has been no response whatsoever to this message.
This request is now overdue, and I would therefore ask you to supply the information I requested, summarised in the 8 September response, without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Catherine Byrne

Dear Mr Symm,

Since you have always had the courtesy to respond to previous FOIA requests of mine, I would ask you to please look into this one.
I received a prompt but incomplete response to a request on 8 September from Jawahier Sharif Ali, and replied the next day pointing out the omissions and asking for a proper response. This was not answered or even acknowledged. I again wrote, this time to the main FOI contact address, on 13 September. Again, I received no answer or acknowledgement.
The emails I sent are reproduced below. I hope you will ensure that I finally receive a proper response.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

E-mails:

9 September 2015
Dear Jawahier Sharif Ali,
Thank you for your prompt reply to my request.
However, I am somewhat puzzled by it.
You have not actually provided the information I have asked for,
nor, indeed, have you refused to provide it.
Your explanation of the work done by KPMG refers to a number of
documents prepared as part of the due diligence work carried out as
part of the process for the council to acquire full ownership of
Liverpool Direct, but does not supply them. These are clearly the
documents that my request refers to. Could you please supply them
without delay.

13 September 2015
Dear Liverpool City Council,
I received a response to this request on 8 September from Jawahier
Sharif Ali which neither supplied the information I am seeking nor
refused it. It simply explained what information the council held.
I responded to Ms/Mr Ali on 9 September, pointing this out, and
asking for the information to be supplied (or, indeed, refused). So
far there has been no response whatsoever to this message.
This request is now overdue, and I would therefore ask you to
supply the information I requested, summarised in the 8 September
response, without further delay.

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

Please leave this matter with me and I'll go through the emails you've kindly provided and the response we sent out and come back to you ASAP

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Dear Mr Symm,

Could I point out that it is now two weeks since I received the incomplete response.
It contained a clear description of the documents I am seeking, so I am surprised it is taking so long to provide them.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I am actively working on a more detailed formal response to your request which I will have with you as soon as possible.

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Dear Mr. Symm,

It is now 3 weeks since the response to this request was due. Could you please let me know when I will be getting a response?

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I am working on our response as quickly as possible but am unable to give any timeframe in terms of when it will be completed

As soon as it is concluded I will ensure a copy is with you as quickly as possible.

Please accept my apologies for the delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I can confirm that our response is still in the process of being drafted and we will be in a position to provide it by the end of last week.

I appreciate our revised response has been delayed and your continued patience has been appreciated

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

Dear Mr. Symm,

Thank you for the update.
I appreciate that you are doing all you can, but it is now 20 days over the 20 day deadline for a response, as I imagine you are aware.
As I stated in a previous e-mail, since the documentation I am seeking was clearly identified in the first, incomplete, response, it is hard to understand why there should be such a lengthy delay, since the only issue is whether or not an exemption is applicable.
In this regard, could I remind you all of the Information Commissioner's comments and recommendations regarding the inappropriate application of exemptions in its decision FS50571721 (13 July 2015), which ordered the Council to release the KPMG engagement letter (your ref. 351810).
By the way, you wrote "end of last week", which I imagine is a typo. Do you mean the end of this week, or the end of next week?

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Dear Mr. Symm,

Thank you for the update.
I appreciate that you are doing all you can, but it is now 20 days over the 20 day deadline for a response, as I imagine you are aware.
As I stated in a previous e-mail, since the documentation I am seeking was clearly identified in the first, incomplete, response, it is hard to understand why there should be such a lengthy delay, since the only issue is whether or not an exemption is applicable.
In this regard, could I remind you all of the Information Commissioner's comments and recommendations regarding the inappropriate application of exemptions in its decision FS50571721 (13 July 2015), which ordered the Council to release the KPMG engagement letter (your ref. 351810).
By the way, you wrote "end of last week", which I imagine is a typo. Do you mean the end of this week, or the end of next week?

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

Our response will be with you by the end of next week. please accept my apologies for my earlier mistype

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

By my calendar that's a promise to produce the documents by Friday 16th October.

Dear Mr Symm,

You assured me last week that I would have a response by the end of this week, and do not doubt that you would have provided one if you had been in a position to do so. However, so far I have received nothing.
May I remind you that I am entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office that LCC have not provided a response to a request submitted on 10 August, and can do so without having to first wait for the outcome of an internal review, given that the communication I received on 8 September was not actually a proper response, but merely set out in detail the information that the council holds.
Please inform whoever is actually responsible for this delay that I will be submitting a complaint to the ICO immediately, if I do not receive a proper response by the end of today, and that, given the ICO's comments about the mishandling of the FOI request that prompted this one, I am today submitting a further request to yourselves for all the internal correspondence/emails dealing with it.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I have been unable to complete our response by the deadline I provided last week

If you wish to contact the ICO this is, of course, your decision. In the meantime I will continue to work on our response and have it with you as soon as possible.

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Dear Mr Symm,

Could you please let me know what "as soon as possible" means?
Realistically, when do you think you will have a response?

Thanks

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Byrne

Please find attached additional information as requested and my apologies for the delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Online: www.liverpool.gov.uk

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Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

So a valid request on the 10th August receives a refusal on 20th October.

This is filibustering.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Yes it is. And what a refusal! Five full pages of repetitive and poorly argued rubbish which seems to conflate this request with the one asking for emails on the handling request that I submitted last Friday. Not a word about the public interest.
I will of course be seeking an internal review once I've digested all this, and will no doubt end up having to complain to the Information Commissioner.
I think in the end a lot if not most of it will have to be released. We're just going to have to wait ages for it. But given the amounts of money - and the people - involved, it will be worth the effort, and the wait.

Josie Mullen left an annotation ()

How many nights did the "cabal of three" burn the midnight oil in order to produce this load of worthless, pointless,meaningless, purposeless,valueless, dysfunctional, meandering load of gobbledygook.
I did an M.A in Gobbledygook at the University of Tripe. - Here is the translation of the response for you:
"In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, we have absolutely no intention of allowing you anywhere near the truth.So, in accordance with that objective we have send you A.L.O.Bs

Julian Todd left an annotation ()

Have you notified the ICO yet? Would you like help with drafting the application to them?

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Yes I have. When I submit my request for an internal review, they will be informing the council that they need to do it promptly.
Yes, I do want help. Thank you. I'll be in touch.

Julian Todd left an annotation ()

Just in case there's more obfuscation, I've done my parallel request.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Dear Mr Symm,

I refer to your response of 19 October, refusing my request.
Leaving aside, for the time being, the fact that you have applied at least one inappropriate exemption, and did not conduct a proper public interest test, I would like to ask for an internal review of the response's contention that what KPMG actually provided was "email communication and telephone conversations with the relevant officers" that were "extremely fluid and were of varying sizes due to issues being resolved at various stages." and that these communications were what the council has identified as all the information it holds relevant to my request.

This is not true, the Council identified the precise information I am seeking in the earlier partial response (8 September), although this response refusing my request appears now to contradict this.
In addition to the ample evidence of written reports that is already in the public domain, including the service as described in the KPMG Engagement letter and the specific statement by KPMG that "This extract forms part of a fuller Report..", as quoted in my initial request, the partial response you provided on the 8 September actually stated that:
"...for the Council as purchaser to gain the necessary assurance on the financial position of the Company there were two distinct phases to the due diligence work:
1) Fieldwork conducted June-July 2014: KPMG produced a “draft red flag” paper which identified matters to be reviewed/resolved as part of discussions between the parties.
2) “Issues update / Final report” work conducted August-October 2014: In August KPMG produced a draft “Issues update document” which summarised progress on the issues identified during the fieldwork phase. This document went through a number of redrafts as matters were resolved, including being renamed “Final report” on 9th October, albeit it retained similar form and content to the previous “Issues update document” drafts. The Council received a “pack” of documents from KPMG on 9th October comprising that working draft “Final report”, the “Draft red flag” paper from the first phase and the original version of the “Issues update” document - . Subsequent drafts of the “Final report” contained some further changes as KPMG finalised their review together this set of three documents served as a full record of the work conducted by KPMG to that date and form the “fuller report” referred to by them. ”
This is precisely what I am seeking, as I spelled out in my initial request, which stated: "KPMG, in the published extract, states that "This extract forms part of a fuller Report..". So for the avoidance of doubt, please be clear that the document I am seeking is this fuller Report, produced in early October 2014."

I then made 8 further requests/reminders to provide these clearly identified documents, and eventually, 6 weeks later, received a response that did not provide them, but instead consisted of five pages of poorly argued obfuscation, which stated, among other things, that the engagement letter "does not refer to, or state that the production of any type of report was either asked for by the City Council or was part of KPMG’s role in the process" and that " what KPMG assisted with was the establishment of, via email communication and telephone conversations with the relevant officers , an issues update, which summarised progress on issues identified". Neither of these specious contentions is true.

Finally, I would inform you that since the Council has already taken an inordinate length of time (a total of 50 working days) to produce this reply, I informed the Information Commissioner's Office. They expressed the hope that the review would be expeditious, and I understand will be writing to you to this effect.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office and have no access to my emails.

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998
or Environmental Information Regulations 2004 please forward it to:
[email address]

 

I would advise that we will not consider it received until it is forwarded
to this address.

For any general information or advice ring 0151 233 0418 and one of my
colleagues will be happy to assist.

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Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

That's a clear enough statement, I think.

Well done in enlisting the support of the ICO at this 'early' stage.

Liverpool City Council have been truly appalling in their handling of any information which might prove embarrassing. I can see the temptation - they must hope that people will simply give up. By now they should have realised that certain individuals never give up.

If you're reading this, Joe Anderson, could I make a suggestion? Get this information out now, rather than waiting a month or two for the ICO to force its release. It will be hugely embarrassing for you, and there's an election coming up. Perhaps the Council can stall till after the election but I doubt it, in which case your interests may be better served by early disclosure, so you're not in the Echo for the wrong reasons (again) just before an election.

Information Governance, Liverpool City Council

Information request
Our reference: 398714

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Dear Mr. Symm,

I requested an internal review of your very late response refusing this request the day I received it, 23 October 2015, more than 30 working days after the end of the 20 working day deadline - no explanation was provided for the delay.
You will be aware that the Information Commissioner's Guidance states:
"The Commissioner takes the view that a reasonable time for completing an internal review in the majority of cases is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer. In those circumstances, the public authority should, as a matter of good practice, notify the requester and explain why more time is needed."
This "reasonable time" elapsed last Monday. Could you please inform me when I can expect a response, and also explain why more time is needed.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

I am unable to give an indication of when our response will be complete

Please accept my apologies for the delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Dear Mr Symm,

Thank you for your prompt response, but my previous email sought an explanation of why more time is needed for this internal review, in accordance with the good practice recommended by the Information Commissioner.
Could you please explain the delay?

Cordially,
Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

The response has yet to be finalised and until it has been it will not be sent out. This is due to the present workload of the Information Team and your continued patience is appreciated.

Please accept my apologies for the delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Dear Mr Symm,

May I remind you that the Information Commissioner's Office instructed you to issue your internal review of my request within 20 days of receipt of their letter to you, which you will have received on 30 November.
In their communication to me, enclosing a copy of the above letter, the ICO invited me to contact them again if you failed to provide the internal review within the period of time stated.
This period has now elapsed. Please note that I will be contacting them on Monday next if I do not receive the requested review by the end of this week.

Cordially,
Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office and have no access to my emails.

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998
or Environmental Information Regulations 2004 please forward it to:
[email address]

 

I would advise that we will not consider it received until it is forwarded
to this address.

For any general information or advice ring 0151 233 0418 and one of my
colleagues will be happy to assist.

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Dear Mr Symm,

The internal review of your refusal of this request is now very overdue .
As I reminded you a week ago, the ICO recommended that you provide it within 20 working days of receipt of its letter to you, dated 30 November. Even allowing for bank holidays, this period elapsed last week.
I have not received any reply from you, and have not received the review.
Please explain why there has been yet more delay, as the guidance recommends, providing an estimate of when the Council intends to actually provide a proper response.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

Our response has yet to be completed. I can confirm it is being worked upon and will be with you as soon as possible.

I am, however, unable to give any timeframe at the moment

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Josie Mullen left an annotation ()

If it wasn't such a serious matter it would be laughable!!!!!!!!. This is an Anderson quote

." I also welcome our transparent processes where reports are submitted quarterly to Select Committee for scrutiny. We take our legal duties seriously unlike the previous administration. One of my first jobs as Council Leader in 2010 was to improve the lamentable performance and demolish the scandalous attitude of cover-ups and lies around responses to FOI which the Lib-Dem administration ruled over. – I vowed that openness and transparency would prevail under my administration and I am pleased that this is the case. I can assure the questioner, that unlike the former Leader of the Council, I have absolutely no involvement whatsoever in dealing with FOI requests.”

Josie Mullen left an annotation ()

Here's a little Anderson quote from the 1st Mayoral Select Committee.
As there was NO tendering permitted at all as far as Liverpool Direct Ltd was concerned. Yet again, this
miss-information is appalling

"Whilst it is desirable to keep work local - and where possible we will -we do have to operate within the legal framework for public procurement. This means ensuring we run fair, robust and open competitive tender processes that do not discriminate against potential
bidders - whether they be local, national or international.

Dear Mr Symm,

It is now over 3 months since I requested an internal review of your refusal of this request, and almost 6 months since I submitted the original request. May I remind you, again, that the Information Commissioner recommended that you complete the review within 20 working days of its communication dated 30 November. This deadline elapsed at Christmas, and a further 20 working days have elapsed since then.
Clearly the internal review is not ready. Would you please have the courtesy to give me some idea of when it will be complete.
I would point out, again, that the ICO guidance also requires you to provide an explanation of whatever is causing the delay. Since your department is evidently well able to respond to many other FOI requests within the legal time scales, please provide an explanation that does not rely on the workload of the Information Department.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office and have no access to my emails.

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998
or Environmental Information Regulations 2004 please forward it to:
[email address]

 

I would advise that we will not consider it received until it is forwarded
to this address.

For any general information or advice ring 0151 233 0418 and one of my
colleagues will be happy to assist.

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

Complaint accepted by ICO 13 January 2016.

Dear Mr Symm,

You have not even acknowledged, much less replied, to the email I sent you a week ago, reproduced below. I received only an automatic response. When may I expect a proper reply?

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

email sent on 28 January 2016

Dear Mr Symm,

It is now over 3 months since I requested an internal review of your refusal of this request, and almost 6 months since I submitted the original request. May I remind you, again, that the Information
Commissioner recommended that you complete the review within 20 working days of its communication dated 30 November. This deadline elapsed at Christmas, and a further 20 working days have elapsed
since then.
Clearly the internal review is not ready.
Would you please have the courtesy to give me some idea of when it will be complete.
I would point out, again, that the ICO guidance also requires you to provide an explanation of whatever is causing the delay. Since your department is evidently well able to respond to many other FOI
requests within the legal time scales, please provide an explanation that does not rely on the workload of the Information Department.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

The City Council is fully aware of the timeframe provided by the ICO and we are working on completing the internal review as quickly as possible.

When I am able to either provide a timeframe in which you can expect the response, or to provide the response itself I will of course do so

I trust this is of assistance

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Audrey O'Keefe left an annotation ()

Mr Kevin Symm - if the City Council are fully aware of the time frame provided by ICO - ''why don't you/LCC work to it''.......

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Thanks, Audrey. That is precisely what I was trying to get - quite why they think it's OK to behave like this.
This is now a formal complaint that the ICO is investigating, and by not producing the review, they are making things worse. They must know that the ICO is very very likely to decide that they should release the full report, and by delaying like this, with no adequate explanation, they will rightly be severely criticised.

Dear Mr Symm,

A further month has passed without the now very overdue internal review, without any indication of when it will actually be forthcoming. The review is now over 3 months late, and 2 months beyond the Information Commissioner's deadline.
You have previously explained the delay as due to the workload of your department. But your department has clearly been able to process and respond to other requests, and other internal reviews, so this explanation is clearly inadequate.
Please provide the review, or a date by which I can expect to receive it. I would also ask you to provide a proper explanation for this appalling delay in carrying out something which surely should have been a priority, given the Information Commissioner's recommendation that this review be completed by the end of November.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

We're still working on the response which will be with you upon completion. Unfortunately I cannot give you a date as to when this will be

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached response

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [1][email address]

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Katie M. left an annotation ()

This is the actual review part of the 6 page document I received (stripped of the repetition at the beginning and the boiler plate at the end):

I have considered your review in the context of both your original request and the response provided to you. In addition, I have liaised with the relevant departments after having asked them to review their original response.
I am now in a position to provide the following –
Responding on a point by point basis, you state that ‘you have applied at least one inappropriate exemption, and did not conduct a proper public interest test’.
The City Council relied upon the application of Sections 36, 41 and 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all of which are qualified exemptions. The public interest in disclosure was fully considered and included in the response and, as such, the City Council is unsure what this comment refers to – as no further explanation was offered we cannot assist further
In terms of your comments regarding the existence of a full due diligence report produced by KPMG, the City Council can only reiterate what we have already stated and, once again, confirm that there is no full due diligence report produced by KPMG. The information we do hold, as has already been confirmed, is exempt in accordance with Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, with the additional information being exempt by virtue of Sections 41 and 43 respectively.
However, the purpose of this review is to look at the appropriateness and applicability of the exemptions applied, in this case Sections 36, 41 and 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This process is now complete and I can now confirm that it is the opinion of the City Council that, while appropriate and applicable, the application of Sections 41 and 43 were, in light of the public interest, not robust enough to withhold the information under.
With regard to this element of the review, it is my conclusion that the application of Sections 41 and 43 be not upheld.
The next element of your review required me to give consideration to the application of Section 36. The basis of the application of an exemption under Section 36 can only be made in accordance with the reasonable opinion of a Qualified Person (QP) and on the provision that the information is of a relevant nature.
While the public interest test is separate from this process, the opinion of the QP is significant and cannot be overlooked, especially when, as in this case, it is in agreement with the application of the relevant exemption. The release of the information and the overturning of the relevant exemption would, in this case, be in direct conflict with the reasonable opinion of the QP. As such the application of Section 36 remains relevant and appropriate.
In conclusion and to summarise, while the application of Section 41 and 43 were appropriate I feel, in this instance, that they do not stand up to the scrutiny of internal review and, as such, are not upheld. However, the application of Section 36 is upheld and the information remains exempt in accordance with the reasons provided under Section 36’s application in our original response.
This concludes my review. As I have now reviewed your original response, you have exhausted the Council’s appeals process for the purposes of this request.

Given the lengthy delay (over 4 months), I had thought they might come up with something a bit better, but this is the usual stuff.
Again without a proper public interest test - because that awful paragraph about how the OP's opinion is "especially" significant because it agrees with an exemption that is based on the very same opinion (as stated in the previous sentence) is not only mind-bogglingly circular, it appears to end there (with this astonishing contention), and doesn't even mention much less consider the public interest.
Anyway, I'll be forwarding this to the ICO a bit later on (although they probably have a copy anyway, since they are already investigating this).
Other people's comments, observations, etc. would, as always, be useful.

Josie Mullen left an annotation ()

Obfuscate: “the obscuring of intended meaning in communication, making the message confusing, willfully ambiguous, or harder to understand.“

Manipulation: “to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner.”
Lying - The most widely accepted definition of lying is the following: “A lie is a statement made by one who does not believe it with the intention that someone else shall be led to believe it” (Isenberg 1973, 248) (cf. “[lying is] making a statement believed to be false, with the intention of getting another to accept it as true” (Primoratz 1984, 54n2))
Corrupt - dishonourable, unscrupulous, unprincipled, amoral, untrustworthy, underhand, deceitful, double-dealing, disreputable, discreditable, shameful, scandalous;

Katie M. left an annotation ()

The ICO issued its Decision Notice yesterday (reference: FS50602771), and I got my copy today. It isn't on their website yet, but will be soon (so I won't reproduce it here).
I won, because of the public interest, and they have to disclose the information within 35 calendar days of the date of the decision, which means by Wednesday 13 July.
Hopefully they won't appeal (although they don't seem to have a problem spending public money on pointless legal proceedings, so they might.....).

Dear Mr Symm,

Might I remind you that the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice ordered the release of this report within 5 weeks of the date of issue of the Notice, and this deadline expires tomorrow.
Could I also ask that you please ensure that I receive a revised response to my request for the related correspondence, as ordered in an earlier Decision Notice. Your office has not even acknowledged the two reminders I have sent through this site. Could I point out that although the Council deemed this particular request vexatious, the Information Commissioner's Office did not, and ordered the Council to issue a proper response by 27 June. This deadline elapsed two weeks ago.
I would be most grateful if you could expedite proper responses to both of these requests.

Cordially,
Catherine Byrne

Katie M. left an annotation ()

The Information Commissioner's Office ordered the release of this report within five weeks of its Decision Notice.
This deadline expires tomorrow.

Dear Liverpool City Council,
The deadline imposed by the ICO for the release of this report was a week ago (13 July).
The previous day, I sent the email reproduced below to Kevin Symm, who had been dealing with my request. To date I have not received so much as an acknowledgement, although I know from this site that the message was delivered.
Please provide an appropriate response, and some explanation of why the Council is not complying with the ICO decision, and has not replied to entirely reasonable emails.
text of email sent on 12 July:
"Might I remind you that the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice ordered the release of this report within 5 weeks of the date of issue of the Notice, and this deadline expires tomorrow.
Could I also ask that you please ensure that I receive a revised response to my request for the related correspondence, as ordered in an earlier Decision Notice. Your office has not even acknowledged the two reminders I have sent through this site. Could I point out that although the Council deemed this particular request vexatious, the Information Commissioner's Office did not, and ordered the Council to issue a proper response by 27 June. This deadline elapsed two weeks ago.
I would be most grateful if you could expedite proper responses to both of these requests."
Yours faithfully,
Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

We are still in the process of collating what information we hold and this will be provided to you as soon as possible.

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

Dear Mr. Symm,

Thank you for the somewhat belated reply.
I should have received this information within 5 weeks of the decision notice, which as you will be aware was issued 6 weeks ago. So it is already late.
Moreover, it is surprising that it is taking so long to re-collate information that must already have been collated when it was submitted to the ICO's office during their consideration of my complaint.
Please be aware that I have informed the Information Commissioner's Office of this further delay.

Cordially,
Catherine Byrne

Josie Mullen left an annotation ()

I think it is more a case of needing more time to decide which information they can withhold from you without it being discovered. 'Their' behaviour is completely transparent:
[1] I was present in Council in circa 2007 when Anderson declared that he wanted Liverpool Direct investigated by the police [Hogan Howe]
[2] His stance was the same until 2010 when he became Leader....and then, all of a sudden, he's the best of friends with McElhinney and LDL miraculously becomes the most amazing Joint Venture ever.
[3] Anderson states in Cabinet doc that LDL has been a wonderful thing from its inception, completely forgetting about the years that he bitterly complained about it.
It actually started out as a very good idea, but by the time McElhinney and Henshaw got their hands on it - 'down hill all the way' comes to mind.

LCC - STOP TREATING US ALL LIKE IDIOTS....WE HAVE A VERY CLEAR IDEA WHAT YOU'VE BEEN UP TO!!!!!!

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Yes, Josie, you're probably right about what they're doing, but it will be futile. They themselves provided a full description of what the information was right at the start, when I first made the request. This description is still here on this site, on record, despite their protestations that there was nothing other than the summary already disclosed. The ICO did not accept this argument. They then had to show the information to the ICO during their consideration of my complaint (it is described in the DN). And the ICO was clear that although it may well be embarrassing etc., the public interest in disclosing the full due diligence over-rides this. So any attempt to withhold stuff is unlikely to work.

Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

I note that we're approaching the 1st anniversary of the original request. Is this some kind of record? Should we send cards?

Dear Liverpool City Council,

A Decision Notice ordering you to disclose the information I requested was issued by the Information Commissioner's Office on 8 June.
After repeated reminders, you informed me on 21 July that you were "collating" the information.
Since the information you must disclosed was clearly identified (by the Council) 10 months ago, provided to the ICO during its consideration of my complaint, and described in the Decision Notice, "collating" it should not have taken over 8 weeks.
I would remind you that the notice stated, inter alia, that " Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court".
Please have the courtesy to at least acknowledge this message, and then provide the information you have been ordered to release, without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Catherine Byrne

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne

In regards to both of your emails I can confirm that the City Council is working on both formal responses which will be with you as soon as possible.

Please accept my apologies for the delay

Regards,

Kevin Symm I Senior Information Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Angela Lewis, Liverpool City Council

Dear Catherine Byrne.

Please be advised that the report you have requested is now available for
collection.  Can you please contact the Information Team to arrange
receipt of it.

Regards
Angela Lewis
Information Assurance Officer.

0151-233-0418

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Dear Ms Lewis,

Thank you for informing me that the report is finally ready.
However, since I am aware that you have electronic copies of all the information I have requested, could you please explain why you cannot provide them as attachments to an email.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

Catherine, you're right to vote insist on public disclosure through this site. They've spent more than a year withholding this information, which is scandalous in itself. They have also told falsehoods, claiming that the information doesn't exist.

Let's have it out in the open so we - the taxpayers who paid for this report - can see what it says.

Dear Ms Lewis,

After assuring me that the documents were ready, when I phoned at lunch-time today, you then informed me at around 4 pm, in the Council's Reception area in the Cunard Building, that the documents were not actually ready, as you had been given a large box file of documents which needed to be photocopied.
You assured me that the documents would be ready tomorrow.
There was no explanation of why the electronic versions of these documents originally supplied to the Council by KPMG have not been produced - or, indeed, if photocopies were to be provided, of why they had not been made earlier, since the Council was informed over 2 months ago that the information had to be disclosed.
Please provide me with the electronic versions: this would save time, and would also make them available to the many other people who are interested in this issue (there is at least one other request for them, under the FOIA).
Failing that, I would ask you to please inform me, by e-mail, when the photocopies of the documents are actually ready. I am reluctant to waste any further time on fruitless trips to the Cunard Building, or indeed, on waiting for half an hour when I get there, as I had to today.
Finally, I would again remind you that not producing these documents by the deadline specified in the Decision Notice means that the Council is actually in contempt of court, and has been for some time.
I would also ask you to please acknowledge receipt of this message.

Cordially,
Catherine Byrne

Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

Catherine, if you can find an agency to scan these docs I'll pick up the tab. Let's get them out into the public domain.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Hi Jenny,
Yes, absolutely, thanks. Then maybe we could ask Francis Irving, who I think works on the site, to put a link to the documents, as he did when Julian got the LDL joint venture agreement and service agreement in another whopping box file of documents.
Hopefully I'll get them tomorrow - although given the astonishing farce this afternoon, we certainly can't take that for granted. I'm going to inform the ICO about what happened tomorrow morning, and hopefully they will speed things up.

Lewis, Angela - (Legal), Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Byrne
Thank you for your email which I acknowledge. The documents are ready for you to collect at the Cunard Building.

Kind Regards
Angela Lewis.

Angela Lewis I Information Assurance Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building  Water Street  I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]

Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Dear Ms Lewis,

Thank you.
Due to work commitments, I am unable to come today, but I hope to be able to pick up the info at the Cunard late tomorrow morning.
However, I would again ask you to please explain why the information cannot be provided in electronic format, not least because this would be far more convenient, since I would not need to come and physically pick it up.
To be clear, I realise that yesterday you were only provided with a box-file of paper, but I understand that the information was originally provided to the Council by KPMG in the form of attachments to emails , so I would be most grateful if you could provide the information in its original format - i.e. the attachments originally provided to the Council by their supplier KPMG.
Could I also ask you to please ensure that the Council provides a proper answer to my related request for the internal e-mail correspondence on this one (your ref. 414742) . The Decision Notice on that complaint was issued on 23 May, and it required the Council to provide a proper response within 5 calendar weeks. That was 7 weeks ago, and despite a number of perfectly civil reminders, I have received nothing at all - no new response, no explanation, no acknowledgement.
I am aware that you did not initially deal with either of these requests, and appreciate that you may well be busy, but this issue really has dragged on for ages, and both Decision Notices were issued some time ago. So I would ask you to please deal properly and promptly with both of the above issues.

Cordially,

Catherine Byrne

Lewis, Angela - (Legal), Liverpool City Council

Dear Catherine Byrne .

Ii will be available all tomorrow morning and after 2pm tomorrow afternoon
Kind Regards

Angela Lewis I Information Assurance Officer
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building  Water Street  I Liverpool I L3 1DS
T: 0151 233 0418 I E: [email address]

Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I L2 2DH

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Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

I think that this is an inappropriate response from a public servant.

Ms Lewis should surely have answered your question about electronic documents, and should, at the very least, have made a commitment to look into the missing response.

This is particularly concerning as the Council risks being found to be in contempt. In fairness to Ms Lewis, that might have been her reason for saying nothing - to avoid making the situation worse from a legal perspective - but it's a bad day for local democracy when a council ignores a ruling from the Information Commissioner, tells untruths ( as can be shown to have taken place in respect to this request) and makes a citizen wait a year for information which they are legally obliged to produce in 20 working days.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Thanks for the support Jenny. You're right, it's a disgraceful attitude, and speaks volumes about the attitudes of Council officers - both to members of the public, like us, and to the law. They really think they can get away with just ignoring their legal obligations and treating members of the public with contempt. Perhaps because they have, so far.
For what it's worth, yesterday Ms Lewis appeared to know nothing about any of this, and appaered to have been handed a box file of documents by the Legal people yesterday morning, and told to photocopy it and give it to me. She has had no previous dealings with this.
It is clear that the Council hope to keep the content of this report out of the public domain. That won't work, as we can scan and publish everything. But I am worried that all this "collating" they have allegedly been doing actually means pruning, and so I will be going through the documents I get tomorrow very carefully.
Fortunately, the ICO's office have made clear that they expect the whole report to be released, without redactions or omissions, so if anything has been removed, we will eventually be able to get it.
But all these delaying tactics just make a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act, accountability, transparency and all the rest... and all this has got worse and worse over the last few years, so that by now it is blatant. Thoroughly depressing and utterly infuriating.

Jenny Griffin left an annotation ()

If there are omissions, these should be clear to the ICO once we've digitised the files. At that point, we need to decide on the appropriate course of action.

George Murray left an annotation ()

Ha ha look who is back from the woodwork. Jenny Griffin, the invisible woman

Katie, really, why do you persist in doing this? You do your best to come across as a well reasoned, sensible individual when, in reality, you create profiles on a website to make yourself look important, then, even worse, you have full blown conversations with yourself

I thought you were a cut above the Mullen's and O'Keefe's of this world.

By the way how is Mr Sullivan, you really need to improve your spelling Katie

Katie M. left an annotation ()

I can't be bothered rebutting this idiocy. Again.
See https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

George Murray left an annotation ()

So your idea of showing my idiocy is to link everyone to another example of your multiple personalities?

You become odder and odder by the post