Dear Cotgrave Town Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I write to request:

1) The names of the moderators for the Cotgrave Community Website.

I believe this information should be freely available to anyone in the community who asks for it. Since you hold information on all website members, I know you will also hold this information as well.

2) The date of the next meeting of the moderators that members of the public can attend.

Since the moderators will also be in attendance at that meeting, you cannot claim that it would be against the Public Interest to provide the information requested at point 1).

Yours faithfully,

Penny Bunn

Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council, Cotgrave Town Council

To Whom This May Concern

In response to your request under the 'Freedom of Information Act'

Cotgrave Town Council's responsibility to the Cotgrave Community Website is
in a financial obligation only, the Council pay for the relevant licences
required to make the site legal.

The Cotgrave Community Website is moderated by a group of local residents
and not by the Cotgrave Town Council, therefore the Cotgrave Town Council
are not under any obligation to provide the information requested and as the
'moderation group' are residents, we do not hold that information within the
council office.

A date for the next moderation group meeting has not been formally agreed
yet.

Regards
Julie Stephenson
Town Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council.

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Dear Ms Stephenson

I am afraid the information you have given is untrue.

Under 'Privacy Policy', the Cotgrave Community Website page reads as follows:

"1.1 Welcome to www.cotgravecommunity.com (“the Site”), owned and operated by Cotgrave Town Council, Cotgrave Leisure Centre, Woodview, Cotgrave, Nottingham NG12 2PL ("Cotgrave Town Council")."

The same information is reproduced under the Terms of Service.

According to your own statements, therefore, reproduced TWICE on the Cotgrave Community website, you ARE the owners AND operators of the site and therefore fully responsible for all information pertaining to it. Legally, this includes responding to FOIA requests made regarding its operation or content.

According to the Terms of Service,under the section 'About the information COTGRAVE TOWN COUNCIL collects', it reads as follows:

"2.3 When you register to the Site, you will be asked to submit personal information about yourself in order to register and/or upload Material and/or engage in Member Activity. The precise information collected will depend upon whether you wish to register as a Member but may include, for example, your name, postal address and email address."

You therefore DO have a list of all the names and contact details of everyone involved in the site, which must also include the names of the current moderators.

Please therefore provide this information.

2) Please advise me of the date of the next Moderators' Meeting as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Penny Bunn

Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council, Cotgrave Town Council

Dear Ms Bunn,

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your request for residents' personal information. The Freedom
of Information Act requires us to provide this information to you within 20
working days of receiving your request. Therefore we will respond to you no
later than 22nd April 2014

In order for us to properly review your request, please could you provide us
with further details explaining why you need this personal information and
precisely what you are intending to do with it.

Kind Regards

Jane Pick
Administration Manager
Cotgrave Town Council

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Dear Ms Pick

I have spoken to Charlotte, at the Information Commissioner's Office, who has advised me that I am under absolutely no obligation to provide answers to your questions; and further, that you have no right to have asked them.

Since the website moderators hold regular meetings, which members of the public are allowed to attend, the names of the moderators cannot be rendered 'private'. Since anyone attending such a meeting can see the moderators, and ask their names, no argument can be made for privacy.

In fact, the information qualifies as being 'publicly available information' and there should be no issue with you providing it.

In my view, the names of the moderators should be published as a matter of course, along with the Minutes of any meetings they hold. It is surely in the Public Interest to provide such information freely, so that residents can know who is moderating their community website on their behalf.

I look forward to receiving the list of names, and the date of the next moderators' meeting, at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council, Cotgrave Town Council

Reference: [203841-5c9a1dfc] FOI REQUEST - REFUSAL NOTICE (ABSOLUTE
EXEMPTION)

Dear Ms Bunn

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Further to your request for information dated 3rd April 2014, I can confirm
that the information you requested is being withheld under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

You requested for personal information about local residents who are members
of Cotgrave Community Website and participate in its moderation.

The exemption applied is under SECTION 40.
(Regarding Data Protection Act 1998)

This exemption applies because the Freedom of Information Act does not
remove the Council's Data Protection Act obligations to its residents.

If you wish to discuss any of the above please contact me. Please remember
to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to Vance Wood, Chairman, Cotgrave Town Council, Woodview,
Cotgrave, Nottingham, NG12 3PJ or e-mail [Cotgrave Town Council request email].

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint or review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally,
the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45
www.ico.gov.uk

Regards
Julie Stephenson

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Dear Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council,

I am in receipt of your refusal to provide the information I have requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

As previously advised, I have already been in touch with the Information Commissioner's Office about this matter and they have confirmed that since the moderators appear at public meetings about the website and its management, this information can be deemed as already being 'within the public sphere'.

Further, TWO of the moderators - Harry Burrows and Russ Hamer - have openly mentioned their roles as moderators of the site, on the Community website itself (I have copied and saved their postings). This confirms that they did not, at the time of writing, regard information about their role as moderators as being in any way confidential.

Additionally, Mr Burrows has written on the Community message board about a conversation he has had about the moderation of the message board, in the street, with another member of the public. Again, it is clear that this information is therefore not in any way confidential.

I know already that the creator of the site was Sally Ward, since her appointment to the role was made public some years ago. Ms Ward has contributed to discussions on the site and it is therefore clear that her identity is ALSO not confidential.

Finally - Ms Ward informed me, some time ago, that the Assistant to the Town Clerk, Jane Pick, was a fourth member of the moderating team. Again, Ms Ward spoke about this quite openly, in a public space; so again, it is difficult to see how this information can be deemed in any way exempt under Data Protection law.

FOUR of the names of the moderators are therefore already in the public sphere and no attempt has been made to protect their identities.

If these are the only four moderators, then it is very difficult to see WHY you would be concealing their identities under the DPA.

If there are more moderators involved, I would like their names, please. Since they will be appearing at public meetings, which are open to residents, the information is deemed as information which is already in the public sphere and therefore does not qualify as exempt.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

Dear Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council,

By law, you should have responded to the above request by 24th April 2014.

Can you please provide the date for the next meeting of the Moderators of the Cotgrave Community message board, which is open to the public?

I note you have not responded to my reply to your refusal to complete the information I already have about the current Moderators (Sally Ward, Jane Pick, Harry Burrows and Russ Hamer) and request that you do so.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

Clerk to Cotgrave Town Council, Cotgrave Town Council

Dear Ms Bunn,

Further to your email of 6th May 2014.

Council had responded to your Freedom of Information request on 10th April,
as follows:-

"Dear Ms Bunn

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Further to your request for information dated 3rd April 2014, I can confirm
that the information you requested is being withheld under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

You requested for personal information about local residents who are members
of Cotgrave Community Website and participate in its moderation.

The exemption applied is under SECTION 40.
(Regarding Data Protection Act 1998)

This exemption applies because the Freedom of Information Act does not
remove the Council's Data Protection Act obligations to its residents.

If you wish to discuss any of the above please contact me. Please remember
to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to Vance Wood, Chairman, Cotgrave Town Council, Woodview,
Cotgrave, Nottingham, NG12 3PJ or e-mail [Cotgrave Town Council request email].

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint or review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally,
the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 www.ico.gov.uk"

The date of the next Moderators meeting has now been arranged, this will be
held on Monday 19th May at 6 pm in Studio 4 of Cotgrave Leisure Centre.
Moderator meetings are for members of Cotgrave Community Website only.

Moderators deal with the editorial, design and functionality issues of the
site. If you have an issue that you would like to raise as a non member of
the website, please can you email this to [email address] by 12
noon on Friday 15th May at the latest, so this item can be included on the
agenda. If you have an issue that is not related to the moderation of the
website this can be directed to the Chairman of the Council, c/o Cotgrave
Town Council, Cotgrave Leisure Centre, Woodview, Cotgrave, Nottingham, NG12
3PJ or email [Cotgrave Town Council request email].

Yours sincerely

Julie Stephenson
Town Clerk

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Penny Bunn left an annotation ()

This case has now been referred to the Information Commissioner's Office and copies of this documentation attached. 7th May 2014.

Penny Bunn left an annotation ()

COTGRAVE COMMUNITY MESSAGE BOARD MODERATORS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

I was banned from the Cotgrave Community Message Board a few months ago, because I DARED to ask for the names of the moderators making the decisions about which posts should - and should not - be displayed. Since then, I've been involved in a very protracted case involving the Information Commissioner's Office, and an AWFUL lot of lying from the Town Council, who first said the message board was nothing to do with them (LIE!), then demanded to know what I was intending to use the information for (they are not allowed to do that), then claimed that there was NO official moderators' group but that it was open to all members of the community. A Data Protection Act request revealed that an awful lot of really nasty emails about me had been circulating between the following people, who ARE the moderators of the Town Council message board:

Sally Ward - designer of the website, who disregarded her obligations under the Data Protection Act and actually TOLD ME, when I met her out dog walking, that Jane Pick is one of the moderators. She also completely disregarded my own requests for confidentiality from the bullies on the 'Moderators' Group', and I have copies of the emails she sent to them, PLOTTING how they would exclude me from the community website. I had hopes that Sally Ward's conduct would be better than the rest, but she seems to have lowered her moral standards to suit those of the guttertrash she works for, at Cotgrave Town Council.
Julie Stephenson - Town Clerk, still bitter about my election to the council four years ago and utterly devoted to the bullies who ran the council up until then (and will be back in power after the election next year, no doubt). A member of both Facebook hate sites, set up after the former council was ousted from power in the last elections.
Jane Pick - Assistant to the Town Clerk, ALSO a devotee of the former council and extremely bitter that we kicked them out.
Harry Burrows - One of the miseries from the vile Friends of Cotgrave Country Park group, who have made it their business to pick on dog owners and spread lies about us.
Russ Harmer - dog hater and thought to be the author of several vicious, untrue and misleading posts about dogs on the former council website.

There is one other name on the list: John Ludlum, who didn't participate in any of the nasty emails that went round and seems like a nice chap.

Read what Harry Burrows suggested to his fellow conspirators in an email to them on 23rd March this year: "Would it perhaps be a good idea to start a group listing the ORGANISERS, not mentioning the word Moderators.... We could still keep our own moderation group private."

SO, the very same people who have bullied and threatened so many of us over the years, and who think they have complete control over our village, are CONTINUING to dominate and ensure that "their way" is always followed and is always the prevailing view. So, bear this in mind if you decide to post on the community website - if you don't agree with the views of the bullies, you can expect to be pushed off the site. Their bullying extends further than that, actually. One couple was so badly bullied by the former council that they had to leave their home, their friends and all they held dear and move to Lincolnshire for the sake of their own safety. It's time the people of Cotgrave stood up to these bullies, it really is. They DON'T represent the views of the majority of us any more, and they are far too biased when it comes to dog owners. In my view, they really are not qualified to moderate ANYTHING, particularly when they are prepared to lie so blatantly and to plot between themselves about how to fool site contributors by LYING to them as well, through using words like 'organisers' and keeping their moderators group 'private'. Disgusting!

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