Councillor William Duff PhD

Gordon C Stalker made this Freedom of Information request to Angus Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Gordon C Stalker

Dear Angus Council,
I am writing to enquire about Councillor Duff under The Ethical Standards in Public Life (Scotland) Act 2000 (Register of Interests) Regulations 2003
I note from the Press and Journal that he attended the 525th anniversary of Montrose Port Authority at House of Dun by Montrose.
I do not see this declared under Gifts and Hospitality (para 3.13 of above code).
Could you please provide Mr Duff's latest list of interests.

Yours faithfully,

Gordon C Stalker

LEGDEM, Angus Council

Dear Mr Stalker

Thank you for your information request dated 2 July 2018 (received by Angus Council that same day).

If we are unable to provide you with a response within 20 working days, we will advise you of this in writing.

Please refer to the information below which explains your right to complain if you are unhappy with how the Council is dealing with your request.

If you have any queries, please ask for me on 01307 476234 or email [email address]

Yours sincerely
Brenda Angus

_______________________________________________________________________________
Brenda Angus | Clerical Officer | Place | Legal & Democratic | Angus Council | Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park | Forfar | DD8 1AN | Tel: 01307 476234 |DX 530678 FORFAR|Email: [email address] ; [email address]

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002
ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2004
INSPIRE (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2009

Your Right to Request a Review by the Council

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which Angus Council has dealt with your request for information under any of the above statutory instruments, you have a right to ask the council to review its actions and/or decisions regarding your request. If you wish to do this, you should make your request to the Service Leader – Legal & Democratic, Place Directorate, Angus Council, Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park, Forfar DD8 1AN or e-mail [email address] within 40 working days.

Your request must:
• be in writing (or recordable format);
• give your name and address for correspondence;
• give details of the information which you originally requested from the council; and
• give the reasons why you are dissatisfied with the way in which your application for information has been dealt with.

Your application for review will then be considered by the council’s review panel. The review panel will write to you informing you of its decision not later than 20 working days after receipt of your request for a review. The review panel will also provide you with a statement of its reasons for arriving at the decision it has made.

Your Right to Appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner

If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the council's review panel (or where the review panel has not provided you with a response), you have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt with by the council in accordance with the above statutory instruments.

Your application to the Scottish Information Commissioner must:
• be in a recordable format (letter, e-mail, audio tape etc);
• give your name and address for correspondence.
• give details of the request for information which you originally requested from the council;
• give details of why you were dissatisfied with the council’s response to your original request;
• give details of why you were dissatisfied with the decision of the council's review panel.

In the case of an EIR or FOI request your application to the Scottish Information Commissioner must be made within 6 months of receipt of the decision of the council’s review panel (or within 6 months of the date that the review panel should have responded). No such time limit applies under the 2009 Regulations.

Appeals to the Commissioner can be lodged online through the following hyperlink:
http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR... or by contacting:

Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9BS; Telephone - 01334 464610; Fax - 01334 464611; Email - [email address]

show quoted sections

FriedrichM,

Dear Mr Stalker

 

Request for Information

 

Thank you for your request for information dated 2 July2018 (received by
the Council that same day) which has been passed to me for attention. 

 

You have requested the following information:

 

Could you please provide Mr Duff's latest list of interests.

 

This information is routinely published on the council’s website under the
information published for each elected member, e.g.
[1]https://www.angus.gov.uk/media/register_... for
Councillor Duff, and as such this information is exempt from release in
terms of S25 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  Just for
completeness, I refer you to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct which can be
accessed here:

[2]http://www.standardscommissionscotland.o...

 

I am sorry that I cannot be of further assistance to you in this instance.
Please refer to the information set out below which explains your right to
complain if you are unhappy with how the Council has dealt with your
request. If you have any queries, please contact me on 01307 476246 or
e-mail [3][email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

Martin Friedrich

 

 

________________________________________________________

Martin Friedrich | Paralegal-FOI | Place Directorate – Legal &
Democratic| Angus Council |Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park |
Forfar | DD8 1AN | Tel: 01307 476246 |Email: [4][email address]

 

 

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2004

INSPIRE (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2009

 

Your Right to Request a Review by the Council

 

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which Angus Council has dealt with
your request for information under any of the above statutory instruments,
you have a right to ask the council to review its actions and/or decisions
regarding your request. If you wish to do this, you should make your
request to the Service Leader - Legal & Democratic, Place Directorate,
Angus Council, Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park, Forfar DD8 1AN or
e-mail [5][email address] within 40 working days.

 

Your request must:

·         be in writing (or recordable format);

·         give your name and address for correspondence;

·         give details of the information which you originally requested
from the council;  and

·         give the reasons why you are dissatisfied with the way in which
your application for information has been dealt with.

 

Your application for review will then be considered by the council’s
review panel.  The review panel will write to you informing you of its
decision not later than 20 working days after receipt of your request for
a review. The review panel will also provide you with a statement of its
reasons for arriving at the decision it has made.

 

Your Right to Appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner

 

If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the council's review panel (or
where the review panel has not provided you with a response), you have the
right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision as
to whether your request for information has been dealt with by the council
in accordance with the above statutory instruments.

 

Your application to the Scottish Information Commissioner must:

o be in a recordable format (letter, e-mail, audio tape etc);

o give your name and address for correspondence.
o give details of the request for information which you originally
requested from the council;
o give details of why you were dissatisfied with the council’s response
to your original request;
o give details of why you were dissatisfied with the decision of the
council's review panel.

 

In the case of an EIR or FOI request your application to the Scottish
Information Commissioner must be made within 6 months of receipt of the
decision of the council’s review panel (or within 6 months of the date
that the review panel should have responded).  No such time limit applies
under the 2009 Regulations. 

 

Appeals to the Commissioner can be lodged online through the following
hyperlink:

[6]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...
or by contacting:

 

Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St
Andrews, Fife, KY16 9BS; Telephone - 01334 464610; Fax - 01334 464611;
Email - [7][email address])

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Gordon C Stalker

Dear Angus Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Angus Council's handling of my FOI request 'Councillor William Duff PhD'.

I have obtained a copy of Dr Duff's Register of Interests from the Angus Council website but it does not include a recent prestigeous event, which he attended.
I do not understand why you say this exempt from FOI enquiries and will certainly dispute this with the Information Commissioner once you have completed your Internal Review.

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,

Gordon C Stalker

Martyn Dewar left an annotation ()

Hi Gordon -

I've noticed your request while doing some maintenance - perhaps I might be able to offer some assistance.

The exemption Angus Council are quoting is section 25 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act which covers "Information otherwise accessible" - an example of this could be things that they might publish on their website, or that they have available for inspection in an enquiry office.

It seems their reply perhaps didn't really explain that this exemption in the context of their answer is more of a signpost to the resource made available than a refusal to provide it.

--
Martyn, WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Gordon C Stalker left an annotation ()

I requested Councillor Duff's Register of Interests because he attended functions associated with the 525th Anniversary of Montrose Port Authority in June 2018. He was elected by the public not the port authority, who may be responsible for devastating coastal erosion due to dredging. My request was refused by Angus Council as the information is publicly available, which it is not. I have requested an internal review and made a complaint to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

FriedrichM,

Dear Mr Stalker

 

I refer to your undernoted follow-up email to your recent request for
information (received by the council on 26 July 2018).  Before I pass your
request to the council’s review panel for a formal review I thought it
might be helpful to explain the reasons for our decision in more detail.

 

You have requested:

 

Could you please provide Mr Duff's latest list of interests.

 

In response we advised you that the information you have requested is
available on the council’s website (dated 23 March 2018) and as such it is
easily accessible to you.  I have checked the relevant entry and this
remains unchanged.

 

We also advised you that as this information is already easily accessible
to you, which you confirmed in your undernoted email dated 26 July 2018,
the council is not obliged to provide you with the same information as it
is technically exempt from release in terms of S25 of the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  Just for clarification, this does not
mean that any information has been withheld from you.

 

As such the council has fully complied with your request in terms of S1(1)
of the 2002 Act as we have no other information falling within the scope
of your request.

 

For completeness, you seem to raise the question whether Councillor Duff
should have made a declaration in regard of the event you are referring
to.  While this is not covered by FOI as you are requesting an explanation
of matters, not recorded information which the council holds, I should
explain that it is each individual elected member who has to decide
whether a declaration of interest etc should be made – it is not for the
council to make that decision. 

 

I refer you in particular to Para 3.7 of the 2010 [1]Code of Conduct for
Councillors (a [2]revised version came into force on 9 July 2018).  While
I am unsure of the timing and nature of the event to which you refer it is
my understanding that elected members do carefully consider their
obligations under the Code.

 

I trust this answers your query.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Martin Friedrich

 

 

___________________________________________

Martin Friedrich | Paralegal-FOI | Place - Legal & Democratic| Angus
Council |Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park | Forfar | DD8 1AN | DX
530678| Tel: 01307 476246

 

show quoted sections

FriedrichM,

Dear Mr Stalker

 

I refer to previous correspondence.  In this context I would advise that
it has come to my attention this morning that the updated [1]Register of
Interest for Councillor Duff has been finalised yesterday and is now
available on the council’s website. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Martin Friedrich

 

 

___________________________________________

Martin Friedrich | Paralegal-FOI | Place - Legal & Democratic| Angus
Council |Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park | Forfar | DD8 1AN | DX
530678| Tel: 01307 476246

 

From: FriedrichM
Sent: 02 August 2018 14:29
To: '[FOI #495282 email]'
<[FOI #495282 email]>
Subject: FOI Request 600/18: What Do They - Declaration of Interests

 

Dear Mr Stalker

 

I refer to your undernoted follow-up email to your recent request for
information (received by the council on 26 July 2018).  Before I pass your
request to the council’s review panel for a formal review I thought it
might be helpful to explain the reasons for our decision in more detail.

 

You have requested:

 

Could you please provide Mr Duff's latest list of interests.

 

In response we advised you that the information you have requested is
available on the council’s website (dated 23 March 2018) and as such it is
easily accessible to you.  I have checked the relevant entry and this
remains unchanged.

 

We also advised you that as this information is already easily accessible
to you, which you confirmed in your undernoted email dated 26 July 2018,
the council is not obliged to provide you with the same information as it
is technically exempt from release in terms of S25 of the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  Just for clarification, this does not
mean that any information has been withheld from you.

 

As such the council has fully complied with your request in terms of S1(1)
of the 2002 Act as we have no other information falling within the scope
of your request.

 

For completeness, you seem to raise the question whether Councillor Duff
should have made a declaration in regard of the event you are referring
to.  While this is not covered by FOI as you are requesting an explanation
of matters, not recorded information which the council holds, I should
explain that it is each individual elected member who has to decide
whether a declaration of interest etc should be made – it is not for the
council to make that decision. 

 

I refer you in particular to Para 3.7 of the 2010 [2]Code of Conduct for
Councillors (a [3]revised version came into force on 9 July 2018).  While
I am unsure of the timing and nature of the event to which you refer it is
my understanding that elected members do carefully consider their
obligations under the Code.

 

I trust this answers your query.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Martin Friedrich

 

 

___________________________________________

Martin Friedrich | Paralegal-FOI | Place - Legal & Democratic| Angus
Council |Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park | Forfar | DD8 1AN | DX
530678| Tel: 01307 476246

 

show quoted sections

Gordon C Stalker

Dear Angus Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Angus Council's handling of my FOI request 'Councillor William Duff PhD'.

Councillor Duff's register was not up to date. I suggest this is done on a regular basis e.g. monthly or bi monthly or after accepting hospitality where there is an obvious conflict of interest.

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,

Gordon C Stalker

Gordon C Stalker

Dear FriedrichM,
I note that Councillor Duff's Register of Interests was updated on 2nd August 2018. This provides the information, which I requested on 2nd July 2018 by a Freedom of Information (FOI) enquiry.
This is out with the 20 working day statutory period and once Angus Council have completed their internal review I will make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

Yours sincerely,

Gordon C Stalker

FriedrichM,

[Subject only] Automatic reply: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Councillor William Duff PhD

show quoted sections

FriedrichM,

Dear Mr Stalker

 

I refer to your undernoted message dated 4 August 2018 with regard to the
Council's decision of 23 July 2018 in respect of your request for
information.

 

I accordance with the council’s review process, I have passed your
complaint to the Service Leader - Legal and Democratic and the Chief
Executive, who are the Council's Review Panel for this purpose. The Review
Panel will write to you informing you of its decision with regard to your
complaint by 24 August 2018.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Martin Friedrich

 

 

___________________________________________

Martin Friedrich | Paralegal-FOI | Place - Legal & Democratic| Angus
Council |Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park | Forfar | DD8 1AN | DX
530678| Tel: 01307 476246

 

show quoted sections

 

Dear Sir,

 

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

 

I can advise that a review Panel convened on 16 August to consider your
request for a review.

 

The Panel determined as follows.

 

Findings of Fact

 

1.      On 2nd July 2018, you submitted a request to see the register of
interests for Councillor Duff under The Ethical Standards in Public Life
(Scotland) Act 2000, (Register of Interests) Regulations 2003.  In
particular you had noted from the Press and Journal that Councillor Duff
attended the 525th anniversary of Montrose Port Authority at House of Dun
by Montrose but that this was not declared in the register.

 

2.      On 23 July 2018 the council responded as follows:

 

This information is routinely published on the council’s website under the
information published for each elected member, e.g.
[1]https://www.angus.gov.uk/media/register_... for
Councillor Duff, and as such this information is exempt from release (my
emphasis) in terms of S25 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002.  Just for completeness, I refer you to the Councillors’ Code of
Conduct which can be accessed here:

[2]http://www.standardscommissionscotland.o....

 

3.      On 26 July 2018 you requested a review on the following terms:

 

I have obtained a copy of Dr Duff's Register of Interests from the Angus
Council website but it does not include a recent prestigeous event, which
he attended.

I do not understand why you say this exempt from FOI enquiries and will
certainly dispute this with the Information Commissioner once you have
completed your Internal Review.

 

Panel Determination

 

1.      In terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“the
Act”) the council responded to you within 20 working days as required, in
that the council properly referred you to the published list of elected
members interests which was the most up to date register of information at
the time of your request.

 

2.      The Panel, however, noted that whilst properly reflecting the
wording of the legislation in the response to you, there was perhaps an
implication that the council had applied an exemption to withhold
information from you.  The Panel determined that this was not the case and
that no information had in fact been withheld from you. Section 25 of the
Act refers to an exemption which means that an authority does not have to
re-produce information that is already in the public domain, for example,
on the council’s web-site, which was the case here. At the date of the
council’s response, the council properly referred you to the current
on-line published register of elected members’ interests. However, the
Panel acknowledges that you may have been misled into believing that
information had been withheld from you by way of an exemption, and I 
apologise to you for this. I can advise that the  Panel has taken steps to
ensure that future responses are as clear as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Alan Ingram

  

 

 

 

 

Alan Ingram |Senior Solicitor | Place Directorate |Legal & Democratic
Services |Angus Council |Angus House | Orchardbank Business Park | Forfar
| DD8 1AN | Tel: 01307 476229 | DX 530691 FORFAR e
|[3][email address] or [4][Angus Council request email]

 

 

This message is strictly confidential. If you have received this in error,
please inform the sender and remove it from your system. If received in
error you may not copy, print, forward or use it or any attachment in any
way. This message is not capable of creating a legal contract or a binding
representation and does not represent the views of Angus Council. Emails
may be monitored for security and network management reasons. Messages
containing inappropriate content may be intercepted. Angus Council does
not accept any liability for any harm that may be caused to the recipient
system or data on it by this message or any attachment.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.angus.gov.uk/media/register_...
2. http://www.standardscommissionscotland.o...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[Angus Council request email]