Dear Durham Constabulary,

Please provide the following information by way of the Freedom of Information Act:

1. Up to and including 30th September, 2019 the amount billed to Durham Constabulary by (a) external solicitors (b) counsel, in defence of this claim.

2. Up to and including 30th September, 2019 the number of hours spent on this claim by (a) Durham Constabulary legal department. (b) Durham Constabulary information rights department.

3. Total budget for the claim provided for in the force's 2019/2020 acounts.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

Your request has been received by Durham Constabulary's Information Rights
& Disclosure Unit and will be actioned accordingly. If you have any
queries please contact 0191 375 2596 Mondays to Fridays between the hours
of 7.45am and 5pm.

DURHAM CONSTABULARY, Protecting Neighbourhoods, Tackling Criminals,
Solving Problems…Around the Clock

NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING: Use your postcode to get access to local news and
events from your Neighbourhood Policing Team, at
https://www.durham.police.uk

This email carries a disclaimer, a copy of which may be read at
https://www.durham.police.uk/Pages/E-Mai...

Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon Mr WIlby,

Please find attached response to your Freedom of Information request.

Thanks very much

Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Business Innovation & Development Command
Durham Constabulary
Police Headquarters
Aykley Heads
Durham DH1 5TT
Email: [email address]
Telephone: 0191 375 2594 Internal 752594

Delivering excellent policing, inspiring confidence in victims and our communities, by:
Protecting Neighbourhoods
Tackling Criminals
Solving Problems
…around the Clock

show quoted sections

Dear Durham Constabulary,

I am writing to request an internal review of Durham Constabulary's handling of my FOI request 'County Court claim D9QZ60NM'.

The grounds for complaint are:

1. At Q1(a) you provide an amount as requested. Given the amount of correspondence and work done on this claim by Kennedys, much of it by Tom Holbrook, a senior partner with a commensurate billing rate, that figure seems extraordinarily low. The reviewer is, respectfully, invited to re-visit the records.

2. At Q1(b) you state there is no recorded information. That, taken at its face, would appear to be inconceivable. Miss Ceca-Dover, of counsel, would, presumably be in breach of her income tax obligations if she had not billed clients for work done in the fiscal year 2018/19?

3. At Q2(a) Durham confirms that it does hold information, but do not disclose it. Please explain in what format it is held, why only part of it is held and why this is not disclosed.

4. At Q3 it is respectfully suggested that your response would put you in breach of even the most basic accounting standards. Such an assertion is grounded in having held senior positions in both FTSE-100 and FTSE-250 plc's in my career.

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,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

Good morning,
Durham Constabulary acknowledges receipt of the request for an Internal Review of the Decision in the FOIA response 995/19. This will be passed to the Internal Reviewer who will contact you in due course.

Yours sincerely
Freedom of Information Decision Maker.
Business Innovation & Development
Durham Constabulary

show quoted sections

Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

Dear Mr Wilby

I refer to your email of the 14^th November 2019, shown below, in which
you seek an Internal Review of the Constabulary’s handling of the Freedom
of Information request dated 30^th September 2019.

I have been asked to conduct the Internal Review on behalf of the
Constabulary due to not having been involved with the original request or
response. The Internal Review process allow for the original decision to
be overturned, modified or upheld in full.

The Internal Review request is founded on the belief of the requester that
the information disclosed is inaccurate and invites me to revisit this.
Further the implication of the Internal Review request is for further
information and comment to be made by the Constabulary.

I have reviewed the original data provider’s information, supplied to this
Unit, and found that the sum provided in the Response was accurate.
However, there was an unintended oversight made in providing the
information in response to requests 1a and 1b of the original request in
that the data provider failed to point out that the sum provided for the
costs of both solicitor and counsel and included Value Added Tax in
relation to both persons. I am satisfied that this was a mistake caused by
pressure of workload, to which no sinister motive may reasonably be
attributed.

The Internal Review request makes reference to two named professional
persons. Durham Constabulary does not make any comment regarding the named
persons. Further I am not obliged in the Internal Review to consider the
comments or opinions of the requester in relation to the named
professional persons.

In relation to point 3 of the Internal Review request which queries the
response to request 2a and 2b. I have reviewed the response and am
satisfied that Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act has been
complied with. The decision maker stated clearly in the response as
follows: ‘I can confirm that the information that you seek is held in part
by Durham Constabulary’. This was an accurate statement. In relation to
the request 2a and 2b I have caused further enquiries to be made and am in
a position to add the further explanation to the response provided. In
relation to request 2a the claim referenced D9QZ60NM was entered onto a
case management system which records case and progress entries but does
not allow for the time spent to be recorded. In relation to request 2b
there is no information held. The reason for this is whilst IRDU staff
record time spent on specific pieces of work, for example Rights of Access
requests and Freedom of Information requests, time is not recorded in
relation to other duties which may or may not be associated with work of
the Unit.

In relation to point 4 of the Internal Review request which refers to the
response to request 3 I have sought further explanation and am satisfied
that the response provided is accurate. Durham Constabulary publishes
audited annual accounts on its website which are openly available.

I turn to the implied invitation within the Internal Review to provide
further information. I have considered this in full and am not obliged to
release any further information in relation to the claim reference
D9QZ60NM by virtue of the following exemptions under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000:

Section 41 – Information Obtained in Confidence

Section 42 – Legal Professional Privilege

Section 30 – Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Public
Authorities

Section 43 – Commercial Interests.

Section 41 is an absolute class based exemption and does not require the
public interest to be considered. However in this instance the
Constabulary notes that information between professional and client is
passed in circumstances which typically give rise to an implicit
obligation of confidentiality.

All the other listed exemptions are qualified and class based and do
require the public interest to be considered.

Factors Favouring Disclosure under S42

Disclosure of further information would demonstrate the Constabulary’s
openness and accountability concerning decisions made on how public money
is spent in order to ensure that it is proportionate and fair in the
particular circumstances of the case.

Factors Favouring No Further Disclosure under S42

Legal professional privilege is a fundamental principle in law. The
Constabulary believes there is a strong public interest in maintaining the
confidentiality of legal privileged information in order to safeguard its
litigation strategy in a civil suit which is ongoing. There is a need to
protect confidential communications brought together for the purposes of
litigation. The release of any further information would relate to
proceedings that are current at the time of the request, as such it would
not be possible to conduct fair and unbiased legal proceedings, if
confidential information relating to the case were disclosed into the
public domain. The Constabulary cites the ICO Decision Notice FS50707969
dated 31/05/2018 and Appeal reference EA/2017/0121 Wilby v. ICO (Dismissed
FOIA2000) dated 15/03/2019

Factors Favouring Disclosure under S43

Releasing further information would promote the accountability and
transparency of Durham Constabulary in the spending of public money and
the way the Constabulary conducts its business.

Factors Favouring No Further Disclosure under S43

It is in the public interest in Durham Constabulary being able to
negotiate and secure legal professional engagement, from solicitors and
counsel, on terms that secure the best value for the public purse, without
prejudicing its commercial interests or the commercial interests of legal
advisors it wishes to engage. The disclosure of fees paid to either
solicitors or counsel in respect of cases would be likely to prejudice
their ability and the ability of other legal professionals engaged by
Durham Constabulary to negotiate with other clients about fees and as such
would likely harm their commercial interests.

Factors Favouring Disclosure under S30 (2) (a) (iv)

The public are entitled to know that Durham Constabulary undertakes any
legal process, and in this instance civil ligation, fairly and
proportionately.

Factors Favouring No Further Disclosure under S30 (2) (a) (iv)

Any further information released in relation to claim reference D9QZ60NM
would be prejudicial to all the parties in the case which is ongoing
before the Civil Courts.

Whilst there is weight to be attached to the arguments set out in relation
further disclosure it is the opinion of the Internal Reviewer that these
are outweighed by those factors against further disclosure as implied by
the Internal Review request.

In accordance with Section 17 (3) (b) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 this email acts as a Refusal Notice in relation to any further
disclosure in regarding claim reference D9QZ60NM.

In conclusion I am satisfied that whilst the information given in the
response dated 28^th October 2019 was accurate further explanations should
have been provided and to this extent alone the request of Internal Review
is upheld. The explanations are provided herein above.

If you are dissatisfied with the Internal Review decision you have the
right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office at
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF telephone number:
01625 545700; website of:

 

[1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Decision Maker.

Business Innovation & Development Command

Durham Constabulary

 

REQUEST FOR INTERNAL REVIEW  received 14/11/2019

 

Dear Durham Constabulary,

 

I am writing to request an internal review of Durham Constabulary's
handling of my FOI request 'County Court claim D9QZ60NM'.

 

The grounds for complaint are:

 

1. At Q1(a) you provide an amount as requested. Given the amount of
correspondence and work done on this claim by Kennedys, much of it by Tom
Holbrook, a senior partner with a commensurate billing rate, that figure
seems extraordinarily low. The reviewer is, respectfully, invited to
re-visit the records.

 

2. At Q1(b) you state there is no recorded information. That, taken at its
face, would appear to be inconceivable. Miss Ceca-Dover, of counsel,
would, presumably be in breach of her income tax obligations if she had
not billed clients for work done in the fiscal year 2018/19?

 

3. At Q2(a) Durham confirms that it does hold information, but do not
disclose it. Please explain in what format it is held, why only part of it
is held and why this is not disclosed.

 

4. At Q3 it is respectfully suggested that your response would put you in
breach of even the most basic accounting standards. Such an assertion is
grounded in having held senior positions in both FTSE-100 and FTSE-250
plc's in my career.

 

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,

 

Neil Wilby

Investigative journalist

 

Twitter:       @Neil_Wilby

Web:             neilwilby.com

 

 

DURHAM CONSTABULARY, Protecting Neighbourhoods, Tackling Criminals,
Solving Problems…Around the Clock

NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING: Use your postcode to get access to local news and
events from your Neighbourhood Policing Team, at
https://www.durham.police.uk

This email carries a disclaimer, a copy of which may be read at
https://www.durham.police.uk/Pages/E-Mai...

References

Visible links
1. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/