Council functions

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Brent Borough Council

The request was refused by Brent Borough Council.

From: Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

23 August 2008

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to know the average proportion of time the elected
representatives of your authority spend as part of their duties for
2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 on their main activities. The
activities that form their duties (employment) as an elected
representative are:

1 directly resolving complaints against the executive (Council
Staff) of the Council by residents;
2 sitting on committee's;
3 acting for the political parties that they represent and/or
ceremonial duties (i.e. all time not spent on sitting on a
Committee or resolving a complaint against the executive);

The total time spent by an elected representative for a Council on
these three activities should be 100 per cent of the time they
spend 'working for a Council' as an elected representative.

I would additionally like to know how much in total was paid to
local councillors to meet all their duties (including expenses) for
2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 by your authority, and how many
elected representatives are (and were) represented on your
authority for these years.

I would also like to know how many Complaints in total were
submitted to your Council in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 for
each year. I would further like to know how many of these
complaints were formally considered by an elected representative
for each of these years.

I would further like to know how many complaints against the
Executive (Council staff) led to the elected representatives
formally identifying that the Executive had acted wrongly for the
years 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, and how many of these
formal determinations by the elected representatives identify that
there was no wrong-doing by the Executive. How many staff employed
by your authority in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 ceased to
be employed by your authority as a direct result of a complaint
against the Executive, and the Councillors identifying this to be
the case.

I would further like to know how much money the Council has paid to
a complainant (i.e. victim of a Council's wrongdoing) through its
own complaints system (i.e. excluding any intervention by the Local
Government Ombudsman, Valuation Tribunal or similar body) in
2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

I would like to know how much money either in the form of local
settlement or additional formal finding of maladministration
causing injustice the Local Government Ombudsman has recommended
that your Council pay in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 (for
each year) and if the Local Government Ombudsman's recommendations
have been met in full (including any non-financial recommendations
for each year)). Please detail any recommendation that has not been
met in full and provide a copy of the Elected representatives
decision. Please additionally identify if these costs were met
directly by Council Tax Payers or the Council's insurers (excluding
self insurance by a Council)

Finally, please provide details of the financial cost of
administering all your complaints systems (including FoI and DP) by
the Executive for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the number
of staff employed in administering complaints and resolving these
(Full time equivalent staffing levels). Please also provide details
of your total administrative costs for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and
2007/2008 and the total number of staff employed by your authority,
as well as any pay increase (including increments) made to the
Council's Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) in pounds sterling
for each of these years. Please additionally identify if the Chief
Executives wages included performance related payments.

If you do not have this reasonably basic management information
related to complaints and/or identify that the costs of accessing
the information requested will be more than £450 please state this
and identify that your Authority does not have either a functioning
or accountable complaints system, and does not maintain any basic
management information related to this issue.

If you have a complaints system not fit for purpose please identify
which political party currently controls your Council, and if this
political party has appointed the current Electoral Registration
and Returning Officer through its control of the Council (with date
of their formal appointment). Please name the current Electoral
Registration and Returning Officer, and identify if they are also
Head of Paid Service, and Clerk to your Authority. Please
additionally provide any documentation maintained by your Local
Authorities Head of Paid Service identifying that they personally
do not believe it to be appropriate for your Council to have a
complaints system that is fit for purpose. This documentation
should be in existence due to the provisions of s4 of the Local
Government Act 1989.

Yours faithfully

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

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From: Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

28 September 2008

Dear Sir or Madam,

Overdue. Complaints process engaged

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

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Brent Borough Council

30 September 2008

To: [FOI #1956 email]

Dear Mr Carruthers

Freedom of Information Request 418344

I refer to your below request for information and your email of 28th
August advising that a response was overdue.

I regret that due to an error in the way your request was entered onto our
FOI request monitoring system it was not allocated to an officer to
answer and was overlooked. Please accept my apologies for this.

However, having read your request I am advising you that in accordance
with Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act the Council is refusing
to respond to your request on the grounds that the request is vexatious.

We have reached this conclusion on the following grounds:

a) Answering the request will impose a significant burden on the Authority
.

b The request is obsessive.

c) Some of the questions are argumentative in nature, particularly the
questions included in the last two paragraphs of your letter.
If you are dissatisfied with the response or how the Council has handled
your request you can complain to the Council by writing to the following
address: IT Standards Manager at Brent Council, Room 105, Brent Town Hall,
Forty Lane, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 9HD, telephone 020 8937 1402, e-mail
[1][Brent Borough Council request email]. It is the Council***s policy to ensure that, where
practicable, your complaint is dealt with by someone who was not involved
in the original decision.

You also have a right of appeal about our decision to the Information
Commissioner, however, the Information Commissioner will not normally
consider an appeal until you have exhausted your rights of redress and
complaint to the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
as follows:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF; Telephone: 01625 545 700,
www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

yours sincerely

Stephen Williams
for
Head of IT

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From: Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

30 September 2008

Dear Sir or Madam,

Review requested. most if not all of the information should be
readily accessible - a large number of Council's have identified
that your assertions are mistaken, and that it is custom and
practice for this information t be readily available.

There is nothing argumentative in the final two paragraphs. The
information requested is basic management information, and as the
Head of Paid Service is responsible for the acts of the staff.. he
will either identified that the complaints system is OK.. or will
have personally made a report (Local Gov and housing Act 1989..

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Link to this

Brent Borough Council

2 October 2008

Dear Mr Carruthers,

I acknowledge your request for a review.

I will be treating this request as an appeal under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

I'll investigate your case and respond within the next 20 working days.
Regards,
Rajesh Seedher
IT Standards Manager
Brent Council
020 8937 1402

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS To [email address]
<[FOI #1956 email]> cc
Subject Re: Freedom of Information
30/09/2008 19:07 request - Council functions

Dear Sir or Madam,

Review requested. most if not all of the information should be
readily accessible - a large number of Council's have identified
that your assertions are mistaken, and that it is custom and
practice for this information t be readily available.

There is nothing argumentative in the final two paragraphs. The
information requested is basic management information, and as the
Head of Paid Service is responsible for the acts of the staff.. he
will either identified that the complaints system is OK.. or will
have personally made a report (Local Gov and housing Act 1989..

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

show quoted sections

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS left an annotation (17 December 2008)

Quote-marks With ICO

Link to this

Brent Borough Council

12 February 2009


Attachment FOIRSHC01.doc
175K Download View as HTML

Attachment awareness guidance 22 vexatious and repeated requests final.pdf
107K Download View as HTML

Attachment vexatious requests a short guide.pdf
65K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Carruthers,

You have requested an appeal to the refusal to your request for
information as below. Please see the attached letter in response to your
appeal and the associated guidance documents.

Regards,
Rajesh Seedher
IT Standards Manager
Brent Council
020 8937 1402

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To: [FOI #1956 email]

Dear Mr Carruthers

I refer to your below request for information and your email of 28th
advising that a response was overdue.

I regret that due to an error in the way your request was entered onto our
FOI request monitoring system it was not allocated to an officer to
answer and was overlooked. Please accept my apologies for this.

However, having read your request I am advising you that in accordance
with Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act the Council is refusing
to respond to your request on the grounds that the request is vexatious.

We have reached this conclusion on the following grounds:

a) Answering the request will impose a significant burden on the Authority
.

b The request is obsessive.

c) Some of the questions are argumentative in nature, particularly the
questions included in the last two paragraphs of your letter.
If you are dissatisfied with the response or how the Council has handled
your request you can complain to the Council by writing to the following
address: IT Standards Manager at Brent Council, Room 105, Brent Town Hall,
Forty Lane, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 9HD, telephone 020 8937 1402, e-mail
[1][Brent Borough Council request email]. It is the Council***s policy to ensure that, where
practicable, your complaint is dealt with by someone who was not involved
in the original decision.

You also have a right of appeal about our decision to the Information
Commissioner, however, the Information Commissioner will not normally
consider an appeal until you have exhausted your rights of redress and
complaint to the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
as follows:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF; Telephone: 01625 545 700,
www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

yours sincerely

Tony Ellis
Head of IT

show quoted sections

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Alex Skene left an annotation (15 July 2009)

Quote-marks The ICO has now ruled on this request:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/d...

"Having considered all of the arguments in this case, the Commissioner is satisfied that to the extent that the requests have a serious value this does not outweigh the significant burden and distraction or the effect of harassment that the requests impose. Therefore he does not consider it inappropriate for the request to have been deemed vexatious. Furthermore, bearing in mind the wider context in which the requests were made, he attributes particular significance to the argument that the requests were manifestly unreasonable. He has therefore concluded that the complainant’s requests were vexatious and the public authority was correct to rely upon section 14(1) as its basis for refusing to comply with them."

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS left an annotation (16 July 2009)

Quote-marks The Commissioner has published their opinion..

However, have they analyzed the data?

Link to this

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