Correspondence from Information Commissioner case officers

The request was partially successful.

Dear Billingham Town Council, this is a Freedom of Information Act 2000 request.

Please provide copies of all correspondence you have received from Information Case officers, with respect to ICO complaint references FS50733772, FS50734649 and FS50734089.

The references refer to complaints made to the Office of Information Commissioner by North Billingham Residents Association with regard to the way you have responded to three of our Freedom of Information requests submitted in January 2018.

NOTE: We wish to receive the information requested above in an electronic form which is capable of re-use, in accordance with item 102 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 – “Release and publication of datasets held by public authorities”. Therefore please simply forward the original Emails and any attachments, unless the original correspondence was received by hard copy letter.

Yours sincerely,
Kevin Bowler, Chair of North Billingham Residents Association.

Dear Billingham Town Council, more than 20 working days have passed since this FOI Act 2000 request for information was submitted to you, and no response has been provided.
I would suggest that you respond as soon as possible as you have already failed to meet your obligations under the Act.

Yours faithfully, Kevin Bowler

Clare Gamble - BTC Scrutiny Panel left an annotation ()

This information is being collated and will be provided by the end of August 2018.

Dear Billingham Town Council, you indicated through Clare Gamble that the information requested would be supplied at the end of August 2018. Unfortunately we are now past mid September and the information is still awaited. Please could you supply the information requested as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Bowler

Clare Gamble,

Hi Kevin,
Please accept my apologies for the delay. It was our intention to supply
scanned copies of the emails which are stored in a file in the office but
as you have requested the information in a reusable format, we have had to
go through the mailbox to source the original emails which took longer
than expected.
I now have the information requested and will forward these to you before
the end of this week.
Kind Regards
Clare

Dear Clare Gamble, please be advised that you do not appear to have supplied the E mails that you said would be uploaded on September 18th. It would be appreciated if you could supply them ASAP.

Yours sincerely,
Kevin Bowler

Kevin Bowler left an annotation ()

It was agreed that the E Mails requested could be sent to the main E Mail address of North Billingham Residents Association. These have been received. It appears that some of the messages that would be expected to have been sent or received have not been supplied.

Dear Clare Gamble, thanks for providing the correspondence between Information Commissioner case officers and the Town Council for the three specified Freedom of Information requests.
Three of the seventeen E Mails provided appear to be duplicated. It is also noted that you have provided some correspondence between North Billingham Residents Association and the Town Council, although this was not actually requested.

However, it appears that some correspondence requested has not however been provided as indicated below:

Phased return Case ref FS50734649
No correspondence has been supplied which accounts for a comment from Matthew Cresswell - ICO to BTC (Referred to in his 26/06/18 message to the Town Council where he says "We wrote to you previously "

Management agreement Case ref FS50733772
No Email supplied has been supplied from Mrs Rickaby to the ICO 8th May 2018 which would have led to the case officer comment "Thank you for your e-mail earlier today" arising in a follow up Email later the same day. (The missing E mail and the reply which is provided relate to Mrs Rickaby's claim she was instructed to send FOI Correspondence to NBRA chair's personal E Mail address).

No correspondence from BTC to ICO case officer Christopher Kay was provided which should have been supplied to comply with a request he made, namely "In order to assist with this determination please answer the following questions". That request was made in an attached MS word doc attached to one of the E mails you provided.

Audited accounts Case Ref FS50734089

No correspondence from BTC to ICO case officer to Rrahmon Salihu ICO was provided which should have been supplied to comply with a request he made "In order to assist with this determination please answer the following questions". That request was also made in an attached MS word doc attached to one of the E mails you provided.

Please can you supply the missing correspondence cited above or explain why it has not been provided.

Yours sincerely, Kevin Bowler

Chair North Billingham Residents Association.

Dear Clare Gamble, on October 7th we contacted you to let you know that there was evidence to suggest that some messages between the Town Council and ICO case officers had not been provided. We also asked you to look into this matter and report back, explaining why the messages had not been provided.

Please can you give this matter your attention at the earliest opportunity.
Yours sincerely,

Kevin Bowler,
Chair, North Billingham Residents Association

Dear Clare Gamble, we have contacted you several times since September 18th 2018 to let you know that there was evidence to suggest that some of the requested messages between the Town Council and ICO case officers had not been provided. We also asked you to look into this matter and report back, explaining why the missing messages had not been provided.

Despite two reminders, we have received no reply to the issue of the missing messages. Please could you give this matter your urgent attention, so that we do not have to consider asking the Town Council to hold an internal review .

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Bowler,
Chair, North Billingham Residents Association

Dear Clare Gamble, please could you provide an update on the search for the missing E Mail messages that we believe should have been provided in response to this FOIR.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Bowler

Dear Clare Gamble, at tonight's meeting of North Billingham Residents Association (21/01/2019) this outstanding FOI request was discussed. We consider that we have thus far demonstrated considerable patience but the request still needs to be concluded.

Accordingly, within 7 working days, please either provide the E mail messages which are still outstanding or explain why you are unable to provide them. If no response is forthcoming after then, it was agreed that we will call on the Town Council to hold an internal review of their handling of this FOI request.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Bowler

Dear Billingham Town Council, please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information request reviews on behalf of the Council.

I am writing to request an internal review of Billingham Town Council's handling of the North Billingham Residents Association FOI request 'Correspondence from Information Commissioner case officers'.
Despite repeated requests, we have not received the actual missing E mails we identified that should have been originally provided. Nor has an explanation as to why they could not be provided been given. North Billingham Residents Association now call on Billingham Town Council to hold an internal review into the way this request has been dealt with. A satisfactory outcome would be the provision of the missing E mails we identified 2018 or an explanation as to why they cannot not be provided.

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

Yours faithfully,
Kevin Bowler

Dear Clare Gamble, we understand that the agenda for the February 2019 Town Council meeting has no item in place for dealing with our call for an internal review of your handling of our 2018 Freedom of Information request seeking Correspondence from Information Commissioner case officers.

Please note: At our meeting held on 18/02/2019 it was agreed that a complaint should be submitted to the office of the Information Commissioner if the opportunity to respond to the call for an Internal Review is not taken at the meeting or any later than 01/03/2019.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Bowler

Dear Billingham Town Council, we understand that the agenda for the February 2019 Billingham Town Council meeting has no item in place for dealing with our call for an internal review of your handling of our 2018 Freedom of Information request seeking Correspondence from Information Commissioner case officers.

Please note: At our meeting held on 18/02/2019 it was agreed that a complaint should be submitted to the office of the Information Commissioner if the opportunity to respond to the call for an Internal Review is not taken at the meeting or any later than 01/03/2019.

Yours faithfully, Kevin Bowler
Chair, North Billingham Residents Association.

BTC Scrutiny Panel, Billingham Town Council

Dear Mr. Bowler,
Thank you for your email follow up regarding the outstanding emails and I
appreciate your patience whilst we have tried to resolve this matter.
Billingham Town Council are unable to supply copies of the two emails on
the grounds that they were sent from the email account of the Executive
Officer and Responsible Financial Officer and this employee is no longer
with us. As a result, the email account has now been deleted.
The email response which was sent to the ICO from the
[1][Billingham Town Council request email] cannot be supplied to you. The
reason for this is in accordance with the Decision Notice Reference
FS50734649 dated 7th September 2018, the ICO deeemed this as sensitive and
personal data and therefore exempt.

If you are unhappy with our decision, you have the right to make a
complaint to the Information Commissioner, pursuant to section 50 of the
FOIA.  The contact details are:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 54 57 45
Fax: 01625 524510

Web: [2]www.ico.gov.uk

 

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Dear BTC Scrutiny Panel, thanks for providing an eventual final response to this FOI Request.

Please Note: We think you should be very concerned from a scrutiny perspective that the previous ""Executive Officer" took it upon herself to delete her dedicated BTC Email account. This is a reflection of wholly unsatisfactory succession planning, business continuity and masking accountability for her actions by the Council.

The fact that she has prevented the Council from seeing some of what she said to Information Case officers raises serious accountability issues, particularly as she sought and got resolutions from the whole Council to endorse her actions in dealing with Freedom of Information requests.

It does also beg the question, what other messages might have been received and sent on behalf of the Town Council by the "Executive Officer"are now inaccessible, and what might the impact of that be on the accountability of the Town Council? All of the messages in her dedicated Town Council E Mail account should implicitly be of interest and be accessible to the whole of the Town Council.

We now consider the request to have been completed.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Bowler

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