correspondence between DCLG and Wirral Council about Wirral Council newspaper "Wirral View"

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

A recent tweet by a local councillor on Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council refers to a meeting with a minister to discuss a publication called "Wirral View" which is a newspaper recently started and published by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

A link to the tweet is provided here https://twitter.com/ianlewis675/status/8... .

There has also been public discussion and debate locally about previous correspondence from DCLG to Wirral Council about this matter.

Please in response to this request could you provide

i) copies of correspondence between DCLG and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (also known as Wirral Council) about this matter. For clarity this means correspondence both to and from Wirral Council.

If a timescale is required for the above, please could it be any correspondence from 1/1/2016 to the date of this request (27/11/2016).

I would like this to be provided electronically and remind you of your duty to provide advice and assistance to those making a request.

If any information requested above is available in draft form (for example correspondence drafted but not yet sent), I would like to know whether this exists to.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

                            
Our reference: 2940238             Information request

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Thank you for your email. We are currently processing your request. If you
have any questions, please ask by return email. Please don’t change the
subject line when replying as this could delay your message getting to the
right person.
 
Department for Communities and Local Government
Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
 
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Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

                            
Our reference: 2940238             Information request

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Dear Sir/Madam
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for contacting us on 28 November 2016 requesting Copies of
correspondence between DCLG and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (also
known as Wirral Council) about this matter. For clarity this means
correspondence both to and from Wirral Council.

If a timescale is required for the above, please could it be any
correspondence from 1/1/2016 to the date of this request (27/11/2016).
 
I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 and aim to send you a response by 29 December 2016.
 
If you have any questions, please ask by return email. Please leave the
subject line unchanged when replying, to make sure your email gets
straight to me.
 
Yours faithfully
 
 
Andrew Lock
FoI Business partner - Localism
020333 42137
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'correspondence between DCLG and Wirral Council about Wirral Council newspaper "Wirral View"'.

Thank you for your two acknowledgements both dated 28th November 2016.

The second acknowledgement states, "I am dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and aim to send you a response by 29 December 2016. "

Unfortunately the date of 29th December 2016 has passed and no response has been received.

In the 20 days since this request has been made DCLG have neither supplied the information, nor given a reason for refusing this request.

Therefore my request for an internal review is down to a lack of response.

Please could you either send me the information or refuse this request?

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

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

Dear Mr Brace

Thank you for your recent email.

Please accept our apologies - we are endeavouring to reply to your
information request as soon as we can. I appreciate that you have been
very patient in waiting for a reply. The Department’s response times are
published and we do not like such cases taking so long either.

In this particular case, we have to consult various colleagues before
responding. We do not normally carry out formal internal reviews for time
complaints. If you are still dissatisfied you are always entitled to
follow our usual procedures once we have formally responded or approach
the Information Commissioner.

thank you
Andrew
Andrew Lock
DCLG KIA
03034442137

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'correspondence between DCLG and Wirral Council about Wirral Council newspaper "Wirral View"'.

On the 30th December 2016, I requested an internal review because of the lack of response to this request.

I appreciate you are consulting before releasing the information, however you have breached section 10 and 17 by not providing this information within the 20 day time limit or a reasoned reason for refusal.

I also point out that ICO suggests an upper time limit of 40 days for internal reviews and that there have been 19 working days since my request for an internal review and 36 calendar days since that request for an internal review.

Please could you either provide the information or partial information (with a reason for refusal) as soon as possible please?

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

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 2940238             Information request

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Dear Mr Brace, please see attached our rinternal review of to your request
.
Yours faithfully
 
 

Ben Heathcote

Data Protection Compliance Manager
Department for Communities and Local Government
Fry Building,
2 Marsham Street,
London,
SW1P 4DF

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Appealed this to ICO for a decision notice on the 28th February 2017.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

ICO have written to DCLG on the 20th March 2017 requesting that DCLG respond to myself and ICO within the next 10 working days.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

The next edition of Wirral View has been cancelled http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/151926... .

However I'm still awaiting a detailed response from DCLG to this request!

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

10 Attachments

                            
Our reference: 2940238             Information request

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Dear Sir
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 28 November 2016.
 
I have attached our formal response to your request, and the information
you asked for. I apologise for the significant delay in issuing this
response.
 
Knowledge and Information Access Team
Department for Communities and Local Government
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

1 Attachment

Dera Mr Brace
please find attached a further document that should have been issued to
you with our FOI response of earlier today - this message relates to
document  "Wirral 9." Some information relating to the personal data of
individuals has been redacted in line with the Data Protection Act.
thank you
Andrew
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ScarletPimpernel

Dear Despatch Box,

Dear DCLG (and ICO),

Thank you for sending some of the information I requested today.

In the timescale between drafting this letter and it being sent to DCLG and ICO you have sent further information (9a). For purposes of clarity and to avoid confusion this was written before 9a was sent and I will address that issue in future correspondence.

Unfortunately despite your covering letter stating all the information requested had been sent, there have been redactions made to filename Wirral 7 R.pdf (a letter from Cllr Jeff Green to Marcus Jones MP dated 4/11/2016 stamped 07 NOV 2016) and Wirral 9.pdf.

I would respectfully draw your attention to Freedom of Information Act 2000, s.17 which requires you to explicitly state the following:

(a) that information has been withheld
(b) the specific exemption (or exemptions) in question you are relying on and
(c) why the exemption applies

For ease of communication I have numbered the redacted blocks from 1 to 12 and I would appreciate it if you (and ICO) could refer to such numbering in future correspondence.

For clarity, once DCLG has made clear the information in (a) to (c) above, I would like the opportunity to make representations to DCLG and ICO on the applicability of redactions before ICO issues a decision notice.

However some questions do arise and I remind you of your duty to provide advice and assistance (Freedom of Information Act 2000, s.16).

Wirral 3.pdf and Wirral 9.pdf are redacted/unredacted versions of the same document. Therefore as DCLG seemingly released the information accidentally in block 6-12 I challenge the basis of withholding this information.

The information withheld in Wirral 7 R.pdf on page 1 (block 1-2) duplicates information supplied on page 1 of Wirral 4.pdf. However the metadata has been removed.

Block 4-5 on page 2 of Wirral 7 R.pdf is duplicated on page 2 of Wirral 4.pdf.

Considering that the phone number in block 3 of Wirral 7 R.pdf is also duplicated in Wirral 4.pdf, please could DCLG revise its position and release Wirral 7 R.pdf (with timestamps) without redactions?

I am sending a copy of this communication also to the ICO case officer dealing with this matter.

Below are my notes on each letter you've sent and a numbering system for the redacted blocks.

==================================================

Wirral 1.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Phil Davies (undated)
Metadata: created 28/6/16 modified 20/12/16

Wirral 2.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Phillip Davies
(undated) but stamped 05 DEC 2016
Metadata: created 5/12/16 modified 20/12/16

Wirral 3.pdf
Letter from Cllr Phillip L Davies to Marcus Jones MP dated 28th July 2016
Metadata: created 1/8/16 modified 20/12/16

Wirral 4.pdf
Letter from Cllr Jeff Green to the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP dated 1/8/16
Metadata: created 1/8/16 modified 20/12/16

Wirral 5.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Jeff Green stamped 23 AUG 2016
Metadata: created 23/8/16 modified 20/12/16

Wirral 6.pdf
Letter (sent by email) from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Jeff Green stamped 20 OCT 2016
Metadata: created 20/10/16 modified 20/12/16

Wirral 7 R.pdf
Letter from Cllr Jeff Green to Marcus Jones MP dated 4/11/2016 stamped 07 NOV 2016
Metadata: created modified

Redactions (note numbering is from top to bottom)

Page 1
Block 1 -
Block 2 -

Page 2
Block 3 -
Block 4 -
Block 5 -

Wirral 8.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Jeff Green stamped 06 DEC 2016
Metadata Created 20/12/16 Modified 20/12/16

Wirral 9.pdf
Letter from Cllr Phil Davies to Marcus Jones MP dated 28th July 2016
Metadata Created 1/8/16 Modified 20/12/16

Redactions (note numbering is from top to bottom)
Page 1
Block 6 -
Block 7 (Telephone) -
Block 8 (Fax) -
Block 9 (Email) -
Block 10 (my ref) -

Page 3
Block 11 -
Block 12 -

Note: (apart from redactions) and different datestamps Wirral 9.pdf appears to be a duplicate of Wirral 3.pdf. Could you clarify which of these two has been sent in error please?

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

Dear Mr Brace
thank you for your message of 27 April. I can confirm that the only
material we have redacted is that which concerns personal data: this
information  is withheld as it falls under the exemption in sections 40(2)
and 40(3)(a)(i) of the FOIA, which relates to the personal data of which
the applicant is not the data subject. Section 40(2) of the FOIA provides
that personal data relating to other persons is exempt information if
disclosure would breach the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). We consider
that disclosure of this information is likely to breach the first data
protection principle in Schedule 1 to the DPA, which relates to the fair
and lawful processing of personal data. Therefore, we have concluded that
this information is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) read in
conjunction with section 40(3)(a)(i) of the FOIA.
I apologise for not making this clear in my initial response.
thank you
Yours sincerely
Andrew 
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ScarletPimpernel

Dear Department for Communities and Local Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'correspondence between DCLG and Wirral Council about Wirral Council newspaper "Wirral View"'.

Dear DCLG,

Below the ==== is a copy of correspondence sent to ICO today about this matter in response to their communication of the 13th July 2017 (case reference FS50670163 ).

=========================================================================================

Dear Christopher Kay,

Thank you for your email.

Please note Wirral 3.pdf/Wirral 9.pdf are redacted/unredacted versions of the same letter from Cllr Phillip Davies (Leader of the Council) dated 28th July 2016.

Therefore I see the s.40(2) redactions to Wirral 9.pdf to be incorrectly applied as the information has already been released by DCLG in response to this request and is published on the whatdotheyknow.com website.

In respect of the other redactions that DCLG seeks to use s.40(2) for Wirral 7 R.pdf and Wirral 9a.pdf .

The context from the unredacted information shows the author in both documents to be Cllr Jeff Green (Leader of the Conservative Group on Wirral Council).

His email address and contact details are already in the public domain on Wirral Council's website here http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgUserInf... , see email address/phone/fax/mobile number.

As a Conservative councillor lobbying a Conservative government to take a decision (legal action about a newspaper) about a Council run by an opposing political party (Labour):-

a) although it is acknowledged that Cllr Jeff Green is a living individual,

b) it is argued that there is a pressing social need to have transparency about a politician of a political party lobbying the government of the same political party to take (or not take) a proposed course of action that involves a council run by an opposing political party.

As to the other personal data in Wirral 7 R.pdf and Wirral 9a.pdf, that does not relate in some way to Cllr Jeff Green (such as email addresses at DCLG), the section 40(2) article arguments (where a living individual could be identified) are accepted.

It is also pointed out that two other letters from Cllr Jeff Green (Wirral 4.pdf) is released without redactions.

Therefore it doesn't make sense for DCLG to redact the personal details from one letter from the same person dated 1st August 2016, but not from one dated 4th November 2016, when the information redacted from the 4th November 2016 can easily be ascertained by comparing it to the letter dated 1st August 2016.

Furthermore I would point out that politicians have to expect lower levels of privacy as they are accountable to local electors at election time who will then vote for them, or another candidate or not vote at all.

Hopefully the above explains my position, but I will copy this response to DCLG too.

If there are any points of clarity you wish to raise, please email me.

I have attached the documents referred to to this email for ease of reference (although you may have already received these from DCLG).

I also draw ICO's attention to the existing case law on this matter of s.40 application, Goldsmith v IC and Home Office [2014] UKUT 0563 (AAC) and Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v IC [2008] EWHC 1084 (Admin).

I also argue that release of the information above is proportionate and does not interfere with Cllr Jeff Green's article 8 rights.

John Brace

=========================================================================================

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

Yours faithfully,
John Brace

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

                            
Our reference: 2940238             Information request

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Dear Mr Brace,
 
Internal review under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 14 July 2017. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
 
I am considering your concerns and will aim to provide you with a response
by 11 August 2017.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Timothy Granville
 
Knowledge and Information Access
Department for Communities and Local Government
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Despatch Box, Department for Communities and Local Government

3 Attachments

                            
Our reference: 2940238             Information request

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Dear Mr Brace,
 
Internal review under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Please find attached my formal response to your request for an internal
review. Please also find attached two documents which are being released
to you under FOIA.
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Timothy Granville
 
Knowledge and Information Access
Department for Communities and Local Government
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

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