DCLG Public Bodies

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide copies of all documents identifying why the Commission for Local Administration in england whose Chair and Vice Chair are appointed by the secretary of State (DCLG) are not included in the The Department for Communities and Local
Government’s Public Bodies 2008 publication.

Please further provide copies of all documentation identifying why the Local Commissioners for Public Administration in England (CLAE) are identified as falling within a requirement for Pre-appointment hearings in the Department for Communities and Local Government: Public Appointments Plan, but the positions of Chair and Deputy Chair of the CLAE that the Secretary of State is personally responsible for appointing are excluded.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'DCLG Public Bodies'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dc...

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Juliet Tomlin, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Dear Mr Carruthers

REQUEST FOR INTERNAL REVIEW

Thank you for your email of 30th September 2009, in which you seek a
review of the handling of this case by Communities and Local Government to
your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The review will be considered Aunder the Department's internal review
procedures. A full re-evaluation of your request will be undertaken.

I will today allocate this request to an Internal Review Officer and you
should receive a reply by 28th October 2009.

Freedom Of Information Advice Team
Zone 6
D Floor
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonard-On-Sea
East Sussex
TN39 3RF

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Vanita Patel, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Carruthers
Please find attached a response to your FOI request dated 1 September
2009. I apologise for the delay in replying.
I also attach the 'Access to Information Department for Communities and
Local Government Internal Review Procedures' leaflet referred to in the
letter.

<<091006 - F0003379 - Mr Carruthers. doc.doc>> <<061027 DCLG IR
procedures.pdf>>

Regards
Vanita Patel

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Vanita Patel,

Many thanks for your reply. The CLAE does appear to have 'special' even unique status.

However, the CLG and their Department are responsible for designating the Chair and Vice Chair of the CLAE.. These have to be Local Commissioners... and the post of a new Local Commissioner was advertised quite some time ago.. and interviews conducted. The post advertised was that of local Commissioner and Deputy Chair of the CLAE.

The CLG Select Committee have yet to have details forwarded to themselves despite a pre-appointment hearing being advertised on the CLG diary as due to take place on 12 October 2009.

As yet no details have been provided to the CLG Select Committee and as a consequence they have been unable to issue a press notice.

It appears that possibly the CLG have identified that the incumbent Local Commissioner is not suitable to be Chair or Vice Chair of the CLAE.

Surely, as the Secretary of State and their Department designates the Chair and Vice Chair of the CLAE.. and the CLG have oversight over their duties in this role.. that possibly there is a reason.. as the list of appointments covered by Select Committee pre-hearings was identified following issues with the Comptroller General and their judgment being identified as flawed in Private Eye and similar organs.

There must be a reason why CLG and/or the CLAE advertised both posts ? and made them both subject to a pre-appointment hearing

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Katharine Rees, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Carruthers,

I am the internal review officer, appointed to conduct a review of the
handling of your FOI request ref.no. F0003379.

My response is attached.

Thanks

Katharine
<<2009 10 08 Final IR reply to Mr Carruthers.doc>>

Katharine Rees
Olympics Programme Officer
Thames Gateway and Olympics Directorate
Communities and Local Government
Zone J9
8th Floor
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU
Tel:0303 4441921
Please note my new telephone number is: 0303 4441921

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Vanita Patel, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    091013 IR Leaflet revised text reformatted in Word with CLG logo and EH address.doc

    189K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Carruthers

I refer to your email below of 7th October. Firstly my apologies for the delay in replying. As your email follows on from my earlier reply to your FOI request, reference number F0003379, I have treated your request as a request for additional information clarifying my response to FOI F0003379.

The Governance of Britain Green Paper (2007) set out examples of public appointments suitable for pre-appointment hearings with Departmental Select Committees. It recommended that the post of Commissioner for Local Administration be subject to a pre-appointment hearing by the Department’s Select Committee. Both the Government and the Commission agree with this recommendation, and confirmed they had no objections to the three Local Commissioners being subject to pre-appointment scrutiny.

As you quite rightly point the role of Chair and Vice-Chair is designated by the Secretary of State as set out in Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974, under which the Ombudsman operates.

The vacant role was Local Government Ombudsman and Vice-Chair. In the interests of equal opportunities and openness and transparency it was right and proper that the post be publically advertised. This approach is also consistent with the 'Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointment to Public Bodies'. Although the CLA is not OCPA regulated, the appointment was made using the Code as best practice. The OCPA guidance makes clear that unless there are urgent or compelling reasons all posts should be subject to the public appointment process.

[extract from OCPA guidance]
Appointments as chair and deputy/vice chair from current public body membership
6.13 Unless there is statutory or other legally binding provision for public body members to elect a chair from their own number, or a candidate has been selected and appointed as chair designate, appointment as chair is subject to the public appointments process described in Chapter 5 of this Code.

CLG aims to be as helpful as possible in the way it deals with requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. If, however, you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been handled or the outcome, you may request an internal review within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Information about the Department's review procedures and how to apply for an internal review of your case is attached at the end of my email. This also explains your right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision in the event that you remain dissatisfied following the authority's review

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number (F0003379) in any future communications.

Vanita Patel
Local Governance
Communities and Local Government

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Vanita Patel,

many thanks for your reply.

I am fully in agreement with your point that appointment to the position of local commissioner should be subject to pre-appointment scrutiny.

However, the Chair and deputy Chair of the CLAE have to be designated by the secretary of State.. and they have to be local commissioners.

The designation by the secretary of state would have exposed Ms Seex a current Local Commissioner to a fixed term appointment..

The statute identifies that it is not an appointment it is a designation by the Secretary of state..

s23(7) The Secretary of State shall designate two of the Local Commissioners for England as chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the Commission for
Local Administration in England and, in the event of there being more than one Local Commissioner for Wales, shall designate one of them as chairman of the
Commission for Local Administration in Wales.

The appointments process is only for a local commissioner.. not designation of chair and vice chair of the CLAE.. could you provide the documentation identifying that the Secretary of State and their Department have chosen to ignore statute.. I would have thought this issue was something that would have been raised in a triennial review.

The last time a vice chair was appointed.. the post was excluded from the appointments process.. There are only two local commissioners to actually choose from.. (one currently.. who must be acting as the deputy Chair already)..

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Vanita Patel, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Dear Mr Carruthers

I refer to your email below.

I would be grateful for clarification on your request.

Regards

Vanita
Local Governance
Department for Communities and Local Government

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Vanita

the issues are very simple. The post of local commissioner has to be subject to a pre-appointment hearing.

The post of deputy chair of the CLAE is not.. this post is designated by the Secretary of state (there are only three of them.. and one of the local commissioners is a chair)..

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Vanita Patel, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Dear Mr Carruthers

I refer to your email below.

The post of Local Commissioner is subject to a pre-appointment hearing and the Secretary of State takes account of any report from the Select Committee before making a recommendation to Her Majesty as to appointment of any individual.

The Vice-Chair is designated by the Secretary of State who takes account of any relevant information in deciding which of the Local Commissioners should be designated as vice chair. Although there is no commitment by the Government to seek views from any select committee before making such a designation, the Secretary of State is entitled to, and does, have regard to any views they might express.

Vanita Patel
Local Governance
Department for Communities and Local Government

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Vanita Patel,

then please provide a copy of any documents identifying that the York Local Government Ombudsman was not suitable to be designated as Vice Chair of the CLAE.

My understanding is that to overcome this impediment the person appointed to the post of LGO to replace Jerry White would have needed to female.

This would also be a breach of OCPA guidance.. as the Secretary of State should not have advertised a post that that they were responsible for designating..

The vote of confidence in the York Local Commissioner is very clear.. and the assumption must be that she is incapacitated and that the Secretary of State and their Department have already identified this to the Crown as required by s23(6) of the LGA 1974 - please provide a link and / or copy of the documents identifying this. Doubtless of the Chair of the CLAE has already provided the documents.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS