Council officer resigns after fraud investigation

The request was partially successful.

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

Re; the Grimsby Telegrapgh article published April 12, 2017:

http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/fraud-...

Is North East Lincolnshire Council's Annual Fraud Report allowed to be viewed by members of the public and if so please disclose it under the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours faithfully,

Si Simons

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam 

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request, concerning North East
Lincolnshire Council’s Annual Fraud Report 2016-17, which has been given
the reference number NELC/5065/1718.

 

The information you have asked for forms part of the information we have
published on our website, to promote transparency and answer frequently
asked questions.  This information is updated on our website annually when
it is presented to the Audit and Governance Committee.

 

Please use the following link to take you to the web page and the
information that you require:

 

[1]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/audi...

 

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to
request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which
elements of the Council’s response or handling of the request you are
unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal
review process.  If following this you are still dissatisfied you may
contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request
an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary
arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

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Dear PPD - FOI,

Thank you for the link.

Under the heading "Internal investigations 2016-17" (page 7) of the Annual-Fraud-Report-2016-17, it states that "9 internal allegations have been reported during 2016/17. Investigations have been conducted by HR and service areas with specialist support from Internal Audit where appropriate". It also indicates that 2 officers Resigned or were Dismissed.

https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/wp-content/up...

I can't find a reference in the report to the abbreviation "HR", nor is there any information elaborating on the Resignations /Dismissals. Can the council please clarify these points?

Yours sincerely,

Si Simons

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

Thank you for your further correspondence in relation to information request reference 5065_1718. I can clarify that the abbreviation 'HR' refers to Human Resources, the department that deals with employee related matters.

With regard to your further query in relation to any information elaborating on the resignations/dismissals you would need to provide further clarity as to what recorded information held by North East Lincolnshire Council you are requesting. It may be helpful if I explain that the Freedom of Information Act (2000) gives individuals and organisations the right of access to all types of recorded information held, at the time the request is received, by public authorities such as North East Lincolnshire Council. Section 84 of the Act states that in order for a request for information to be handled as a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, it must be for recorded information. For example, a Freedom of Information request would be for a copy of a policy, rather than an explanation as to why we have that policy in place. On occasion, North East Lincolnshire Council receives requests that do not ask for recorded information, but ask more general questions about, for example, a policy, opinion or a decision. In this instance you have asked for us to elaborate on the information provided and have not requested specific recorded information.

If you are able to provide further clarity as to what document or recorded information you wish to be provided copies of, we will reconsider your request for information.

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which elements of the Council’s response or handling of the request you are unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal review process. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Feedback Officer

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Dear PPD - FOI,

I've taken the trouble to look on the ICO's website and I'm satisfied that my question would be considered a valid request under the FoI Act. See here https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

I would just like as much information relating to the resignations /dismissals that the council has on record which can be provide within the scope of the FoI Act. I might add that it should not be necessary for a taxpayer to be put to the trouble of trying to find out what should be published in the local newspaper or/and in council reports.

Yours sincerely,

Si Simons

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

 

I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NELC/5110/1718.

Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and
you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will
take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you
of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.

Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:

[1]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council-infor....

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

Thank you for your information request, reference number NELC/5110/1718. 
I wish to confirm that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the following
information:

 

It is not clear from your request what information you require, despite
requests for clarification. I am therefore pleased to provide you with the
number of resignations and dismissals for North East Lincolnshire Council
in the last financial year, excluding Education:

 

Number of dismissals: 3

Number of resignations: 126

 

If you need any further information in relation to these figures, please
specify the details that you require.

 

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to
request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which
elements of the Council’s response or handling of the request you are
unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal
review process.  If following this you are still dissatisfied you may
contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request
an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary
arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

 

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Dear PPD - FOI,

The newspaper article implies that a council officer was given the opportunity to avoid being criminally investigated if he/she resigned.

I would like whatever information you can release about this case. Who it was, Job title etc. etc.

Yours sincerely,

Si Simons

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

 

Thank you for your further enquiries in relation to information request
reference 5110_1718.

 

It is not within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to comment on
the presentation of information in local newspapers. As previously advised
the report is available on the North East Lincolnshire Council website at
the following address:
[1]https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/audi...

 

Further information to that contained within the report or information
already disclosed to you cannot be released due to data protection.

 

Under section 1 of the Act I can confirm that North East Lincolnshire
Council holds further information relating to the investigations referred
to in the report.

 

As the information you have requested is about a living individual we are
unable to provide it to you. Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Act 2000
provides an exemption to the disclosure of information which is personal
data of a third party.

 

‘Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt
information if

                (a) It constitutes personal data which do not fall within
subsection (1), and

                (b) Either the first or the second condition below is
satisfied.’

 

The Data Protection Act 1998 defines personal information as 'data which
relates to a living individual who can be identified a) from those data,
or b) from that data and other information which is in the possession of,
or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller'.

 

The information you have requested would therefore be exempt from
disclosure if either of the conditions set out in sections 40 (3) or 40
(4) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are met. The relevant condition
in this case is at section 40 (3) (a) (i), where disclosure would breach
any of the Data Protection Principles. The Data Protection Principles are
set out in schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

I have considered the eight Data Protection Principles and conclude that
disclosure of the third party’s personal information would breach the
first Data Protection Principle, which states that 'Personal data shall be
processed fairly and lawfully’. In concluding that disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first Data Protection
Principle, I have taken the following factors into account:

 

1. The purpose(s) for which North East Lincolnshire Council obtained and
holds the information requested.

2. The third parties reasonable and legitimate expectations of what should
happen to their personal information.

 

Having considered the information involved and the purposes for which it
was obtained, I am satisfied that it is exempt from disclosure under
section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by virtue of section
40 (3) (a) (i). As this is an absolute exemption there is no statutory
requirement to consider the 'Public Interest Test'. The council's decision
is, therefore, to not provide the information you have requested.

 

As I have determined that disclosure of the information would be unfair to
the third party, I have not considered whether any of the other Data
Protection Principles would be breached by the disclosure of the
information requested. To disclose any further information regarding the
investigations, such as the name or job title, would allow individuals to
be identified.

 

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to
request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which
elements of the Council’s response or handling of the request you are
unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal
review process.  If following this you are still dissatisfied you may
contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request
an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary
arrangements.

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

 

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Dear PPD - FOI,

The report in the Grimsby Telegraph is untrue. Is that what you're saying?

Yours sincerely,

Si Simons

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