Copy of letter published on website identifying Highways Dept whistleblower

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough 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, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please forward a copy of the document that was published on the Wirral.gov.uk website which identified a long term whistleblower who was receiving Frank Field's assistance in order to expose impropriety and the loss of several hundred thousands of pounds in public money associated with the current Highways Contract - won by COLAS.

The document was later taken down, but by then it was too late. The damage had been done.

Here is a link to a press article to assist you. This contains all the details:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/980817...

Please redact any personal identifying information as you see fit in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

This was an extremely serious breach of a private individual's private information. It will also have the unfortunate consequence (to the public interest, not the council's interest) of deterring anybody working at the council from following in the path of at least 3 brave whistleblowers who have exposed malpractice in recent years,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Arthur Hurworth left an annotation ()

Good luck with your request, but from personal experience WBC does not give a damm about Data Protection, they consider they are beyond the law, and the ICO.
Only when it suits their purpose do they hide behind the Data Protection Act.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Copy of letter published on website identifying Highways Dept whistleblower'.

You are in breach of the Freedom of Information Act. Please ask a senior person to carry out an internal review.

Please send an acknowledgement of receipt for this follow up request

Yours faithfully

Paul Cardin

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Email sent today to Director Graham Hodkinson asking whether the info, in its entirety, has been published yet. If not, what's the latest?

Hopefully, there'll be a link to the information posted here soon.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Please ignore last annotation. This was mistakenly posted to the wrong place.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

It's now November and I've heard nothing from you. I requested an internal review in August, but this has never been acknowledged.

Please acknowledge this request with a receipt ASAP and begin to action this and get it sorted out.

You are currently in breach of the Freedom of Information Act,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

 

Wirral Council acknowledges your email below and apologies for the delay
in response to your enquiry. Your freedom of information request received
11.07.2012 is acknowledged and is with the department of law hr and asset
management and we will contact you with any information we can provide as
soon as this is available.

           

Kind regards

    

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

               

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Email received from the ICO today, after I'd complained in early October:

PROTECT

29 November 2012

Case Reference Number FS50475062

Dear Mr Cardin

Your information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for your correspondence dated 6 October 2012 in which you complain about Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s failure to respond to your information request which is outlined below;

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

When considering complaints about delayed or failed responses to information requests our priority is to ensure requesters receive a response as quickly as possible (where one has not been provided) and to monitor any persistent trends which might indicate that a public authority was routinely failing to respond within the statutory 20 working days permitted under section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act.

We monitor complaints where a serious contravention of section 10 is recorded and where persistent contraventions occur we will consider placing a public authority on our monitoring programme (http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/prom... ).

I have written to the public authority to provide them with a copy of your original request, reminding them of their responsibilities and asking them to respond to you within 10 working days of receiving our letter. I enclose a copy of my letter to the public authority for your information. The late response will be recorded and as described will form part of our ongoing activity to consider the performance of public authorities and the Freedom of Information Act in the future.

Should you wish the Information Commissioner to issue a decision notice for your specific complaint we are able to do so, however it is important to note that the Commissioner does not need to serve a decision notice in an individual case in order to use that case as evidence for enforcement action.

If Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council responds and refuses to release the information you have asked for and you are dissatisfied, you may, after exhausting their internal complaints procedure, complain to us again.

I have enclosed a fact sheet explaining more about our complaint handling procedures. At this point the case has been temporarily closed and I would like to thank you for bringing this these concerns to the attention of the Information Commissioner. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days please contact us quoting the reference number on this letter.

If you require any further assistance then please contact me on the number below.

Yours Sincerely

[Officer name redacted]
Case Officer
First Contact
Information Commissioner’s Office

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

People may be interested to note that this is what happens to Wirral Council whistleblowers - they're either bullied out of their jobs, or they have their identity released globally on the Council's internet server.

By stark contrast, a rather different brand of treatment is reserved for senior figures.

Here's a link to the report into alleged impropriety indulged in by director David Green, who was eventually welcomed back into the fold with 'no case to answer' after 10 months' suspension:

http://tinyurl.com/cu8mpv3

Arthur Hurworth left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Cardin,
What an unfortunate situation you are in having your request dealt with by the Legal Services of WBC.
From personal experience over a Data Protection issue, I can only re-iterate my previous annotation, WBC consider they are beyond the law, have no regard for truth or decency and are only in it for self gratification, and of course if things go pear shaped their wacking big pay offs.
They break the DPA when it suits, but hide behind it, they do not adhere to FOI requests in the legal time scale, but hide behind obscure provisions of the FOI.
They wouldn't know the truth if it triped them up, but unfortunately it won't be these pathic people that end up losing their jobs, it will be honest hard working, decent staff that go first, as WBC need these oinks to protect Heads of Service and irrmoral Councillors.

While the good people of Wirral sit back and allow this to happen, whistleblowers within the Council and truth chasers as yourself and I are, will be fighting an up hill battle.

WBC think they are in charge, but forget who pays thier salary's and pays for all the compromise agreements and further pays to refund the vunerable that were disgustingly robbed.
WHY IS IT THAT NOBODY HAS BEEN PROSECUTED?
Answer: COVER UP AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Here is a link to an article, setting out what I feel is the background and true motivation behind Wirral Council's very poor response times.

Notably, there are just 2 people dedicated to Freedom of Information and Data at this council (one professional and one admin assistant) - which says it all really.

http://easyvirtualassistance.wordpress.c...

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This request was lodged 10 months ago and an internal review requested 8 months ago.

I've heard nothing. Despite your organisation being monitored by the ICO for three months of this.

Please advise,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

John Hannigan (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Hi Paul,

Can you explain to me how does this council get away with flaunting the law time after time concerning FOI requests ?

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel ?

John Hannigan.

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon,

In response to your request for an internal review, please see attached
document, apologies you have had to wait so long for a response.

 Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information Manager

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to
use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge.

show quoted sections

Dave rimmer left an annotation ()

Eleven months to give a refusal....an absolute disgrace.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Copy of letter published on website identifying Highways Dept whistleblower'.

Please ask a senior officer to carry out an internal review within the next 20 working days.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your enquiry below. As you have already had an internal
review, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner.
The address is the Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear Corrin, Jane,

Thanks for your response. An inexperienced young lad at the ICO advised me I could have another internal review. I argued I couldn't. He insisted I could.

You've now put paid to that, so I'll appeal to the ICO. Hopefully, this matter will speed up (11 months and counting) and be resolved quickly with the intervention of the regulator,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Lyon, Rosemary A., Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Kay,

 

Ref: FS50482286

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

Complainant: Paul Cardin

 

I refer to your letter and email of 28 June. I am grateful for the
extensions of time in which to respond. The Complainant had requested a
copy of the document which was published on the Council’s website and
which had identified a particular individual. The Complainant in his
request had asked that the Council redact any personal identifying
information, in complying with his request.

 

Having revisited the Complainant’s request, the Council is agreeable to
disclosing the document requested, having redacted the personal data,
which named several individuals in one part of the document. The document
concerned was not produced by the Council, but was sent to the Council, by
the Audit Commission , being a covering letter dated 6 June 2012 enclosing
a public interest report. The Council no longer seeks to  rely on the
exemption contained in Section 32. However, in connection with the
personal data, the Council, still seeks to rely on Section 40 (2) of FOIA
in respect of the personal data. The Audit Commission (as then constituted
) was the data controller in respect of the information contained in the
letter of 6 June 2012.

 

I consider that the individual names of those who were provided a copy of
the public interest report is personal data and  is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act in that the
Complainant  is  asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is  not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of
the requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. The Complainant has himself
requested that personal identifying information be redacted. If the
personal data were not redacted,

 

I do not consider that any of the conditions in Schedule 2 would be met
and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that the processing would be
unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or
legitimate interests of the data subjects, who were given copies of the
report. I do not consider that such processing would be necessary for the
purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the Complainant   as a third
party, being a member of the public. I have considered whether there is a
legitimate public interest in disclosure and balanced this against the
rights of the individuals who received the report .I consider that
disclosure of that information, now, over a year after the public interest
report itself was published would not be a fair processing of personal
data. As you are aware, the Council has separately been in contact with
the Information Commissioner’s Office in connection with one of the
individuals identified when the letter was originally published on the
Council’s website.  I consider that this is an absolute exemption and not
subject to the public interest test.

 

I also consider that if the Council disclosed the personal data,  the
Council would  be breaching the second data protection principle that
personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful
purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible
with that purpose or those purposes.

 

 I therefore enclose a copy of the redacted document requested by the
Complainant. I have copied him into this response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Rosemary Lyon,

Solicitor,

Wirral Borough Council,

Legal and Member Services,

Transformation and Resources,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rodney Breen left an annotation ()

Funny that they say they have redacted the personal data to protect the rights of the individuals concerned, and then redacted it so badly that most of the names are readable ...

Arthur Hurworth left an annotation ()

This action does not in the least surprise me, data protection and the council officers that should no better, inc, Rosemary Lyon, say one thing, and as in this case, it is clear to see, they cannot even redact in a lawful protective manner.

They are quick at spouting DPA rules, but fail to follow them.
I urge anyone who's name can be identified to take legal action, as I did.