electronic copies of invoices for 17-18 FY

The request was partially successful.

ScarletPimpernel

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

I would like to make the following requestion for "environmental information" as defined by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Please could you provide electronic copies of the below numbered 12 invoices paid during the 2017-18 financial year by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. By invoice I mean all pages of a multi-page invoice including attached schedules of costs or breakdown of costs where applicable. Where there is not an accompanying invoice, I'd like to see some record of what the payment is for.

I also remind you of your s.16 duty to provide advice and assistance to those making requests.

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

=============================================================================

Number Name Vendor Invoice Date Subjective Name Cost Centre Code Cost Centre Name Line Amount Incl VAT

3 Social Marketing Partners Ltd 31/03/17 Campaigns K-2201- Liverpool City Region/Combined Authority 1200

16 Weightmans LLP 31/01/17 Consultants Fees A-3001- Combined Authority General 4410

17 Weightmans LLP 31/03/17 Consultants Fees A-3001- Combined Authority General 4813.5

40 Commission for the New Economy Ltd 22/03/17 Rent J-1850- Liverpool City Region Brussels Office 5322.25

66 Green Blue Skies Ltd 30/06/17 Consultants Fees J-1850- Liverpool City Region Brussels Office 2400

71 Gallium Fund Solutions Ltd 04/07/17 Consultants Fees A-3001- Combined Authority General 7500

80 Green Blue Skies Ltd 10/03/16 Consultants Fees J-1850- Liverpool City Region Brussels Office 1700

84 Liverpool City Region LEP Ltd 05/07/17 Consultants Fees A-3001- Combined Authority General 20000

86 Metro Dynamics Ltd 25/07/17 Consultants Fees A-3001- Combined Authority General 53515.67

105 DLA Piper UK LLP 31/08/17 Consultants Fees A-3001- Combined Authority General 10000

123 DLA Piper UK LLP 30/09/17 Consultants Fees A-3009- Mayoral Priorities 10000

126 Metro Dynamics Ltd 29/09/17 Consultants Fees A-3008 CA Mayors Office 18918.75

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Brace

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

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FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

9 Attachments

Dear Mr Brace

 

RSN18785

 

Thank you for your recent request made to the Liverpool City Region
Combined Authority under the Freedom of Information Act. Please find
attached copies of the requested documents.

 

Please note that Item 40, listed as £5,322.25 to Commission for the New
Economy Ltd. for rent was in fact a credit note (i.e. a refund), which was
incorrectly attributed in the published data as expenditure. My apologies
for any confusion.

 

Personal information exempt under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 as disclosure would allow the possibility of the
identification of a living individual(s), thereby breaching the General
Data Protection Regulation and/or the Data Protection Act 2018.

The Combined Authority believe that there would be no expectation that
their information would be disclosed to a third party, and therefore does
not regard disclosure as constituting the ‘fair and lawful’ processing of
personal data. As a result, disclosure would breach the First Principle of
the General Data Protection Regulation (Article 5(1)(a)). We are also of
the opinion that disclosure of the information would not provide any
greater understanding of the subject matter. The personal information is
question has therefore been redacted in accordance with Section 40(2) of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

The Combined Authority views some details of the invoices as potentially
commercially sensitive, and must give consideration to Section 43 of the
Act. Section 43 is a qualified, prejudice-based exemption, and is
therefore subject to a public interest test. The Information
Commissioner’s Office has issued guidance on Section 43, which can be
viewed on their website at this link.

The public interest argument for disclosure is that it allows a greater
degree of scrutiny over how public money is spent in the delivery of the
Combined Authority’s work, while contributing to transparency over how
decisions have been reached. It is important that public authorities allow
their decisions to be scrutinised by the public to ensure that funds are
managed appropriately.

The public interest factors to withhold the information relate to the
prejudicial impact that the disclosure would have on the commercial
interests of any person (including the public authority itself). It would
not, for example, be in the public interest to disclose information about
a particular commercial body if that information was not common knowledge
and would be likely to be used by competitors in a particular market to
gain a competitive advantage. Disclosure under the Act is viewed as to the
world at large, not simply to the individual requester, and consideration
must therefore be given to how it may be used by any party.

In this particular case, the Combined Authority has consulted with all
service providers to establish any concerns that they may have about the
contents of the invoices being disclosed. While the final decision on
whether or not information should be disclosed in response to a request
must be made by the Combined Authority, we have given due consideration to
the feedback received.

 

•             DLA Piper advised that as their rates are per the Crown
Commercial Services framework, they had no concerns about these details
being disclosed;

•             Weightmans stated that the majority of their work itemised
in the invoices is subject to competitive tender in a highly competitive
marketplace, and disclosure of their hourly rates would have a severe
detrimental impact; and

•             Social Marketing Partners Ltd. and Metro Dynamics Ltd. also
expressed concerns about the disclosure of their day rates due to how it
could used by competitors to undermine any future commercial activities.

 

In the case of Green Blue Skies Ltd., the company was a sole trader who in
January 2019 applied to be voluntarily removed from the register Companies
House. While the business is not currently trading, there is every
possibility that it may restart its work in the future, and for the
purposes of this request has therefore been considered as if it was still
operating. It has not been possible to consult with the company, but we
believe that the same concerns regarding day rates exist as outlined
above.

 

It is the opinion of the Combined Authority that balance of factors
against disclosure of the identified information outweighs those in favour
of its release. We are therefore relying on Section 43(2) to withhold some
of the requested information contained within the attached documents. The
public interest is, in our view, suitably addressed by the overall totals
of the invoices and the descriptions of the services carried out.

 

The redactions made to each document are outlined below.

 

•             Social Marketing Partners Ltd. (Invoice 3) – personal and
commercially sensitive data

•             Weightmans LLp (16 & 17) – personal and commercially
sensitive data

•             Commission for the New Economy Ltd (40) – personal data
(credit note)

•             Green Blue Skies (66 & 80) – personal and commercially
sensitive data

•             Gallium Fund Solutions – commercially sensitive data (bank
details)

•             Liverpool City Region LEP (84) – personal and commercially
sensitive data (bank details)

•             Metro Dynamics Ltd. (86 & 126) – personal and commercially
sensitive data

•             DLA Piper UK LLP (105 & 123) – personal data

 

I trust that the information supplied if of interest to you.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review, which should be addressed to:

       Jill Coule

       Chief Legal Officer / Monitoring Officer

       Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

       [email address]

 

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also
have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address
is

                The Information Commissioner’s Office,

                Wycliffe House,

                Water Lane,

                Wilmslow,

                Cheshire SK9 5AF

                www.ico.gov.uk

 

Andy Henderson

 

 

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box
1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN

Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

 

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

 

The information supplied continues to be protected by copyright. You are
free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and
non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can
also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of
news reporting.  Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication
would require the permission of the copyright holder.

 

 

Dear Mr Brace

 

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will
be answered within twenty working days.

 

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Andy Henderson

 

 

Senior Information Management Officer | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box
1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN

Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

 

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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ScarletPimpernel

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews/Environmental Information Regulation reconsiderations.

I am writing to request an internal review/reconsideration of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's handling of my FOI/EIR request 'electronic copies of invoices for 17-18 FY'.

Thank you for providing some of the information requested. In this request for an internal review/reconsideration I will be using the numbering system used in my original request.

3 (Social Marketing Partners Ltd)

According to the last set of accounts filed with Companies House for this company, "The average number of persons (including directors) employed by the company during the year was 2".

Companies House also lists two current officers of this company:

1) Phillipa Jane Sargent (Company Director/Programme Manager NHS) and
2) Ben O'Brien (Marketing Director).

I refer you to ICO decision notice FS50276863 , which can be read here https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... where the names of managers were disclosed in response to a request.

As it is highly likely that the blacked out email address and telephone number on this invoice relates (because of the logic above) to a manager, I therefore ask the LCRCA to provide this information as existing case law has already decided that section 40 does not apply to managers or those in public-facing roles.

Although for completeness I will also mention [2014] EWCA Civ 92 and quote from paragraph 3:

"3. Mr Edem complained to the Information Commissioner. Part of that complaint was upheld by the Commissioner in his notice of 26 May 2011. The Commissioner accepted that the complainant had a legitimate interest in information about the grade of staff who had handled his complaint. But the Commissioner continued:-

"[21] The Commissioner notes that while the staff in question worked on the complainant's complaint, they did not correspond with him about it. He also notes that the public authority has confirmed that they were not in public-facing roles and that these individuals were of a grade below that of manager. It is the Commissioner's view that these members of staff would have had no expectation that their names would be released into the public domain.

The Commissioner is also satisfied that disclosure of their names would not add anything further to the way in which the complainant's complaint had been dealt with. Therefore any legitimate interest in the disclosure of the names of these individuals is outweighed by the prejudice disclosure would cause to the rights and freedoms of the individuals concerned."

In order to be useful and to provide the context of the quote from paragraph 21 above, decision notice FS50312938 can be read here https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... .

16 and 17 (Weightmans)

On both invoices 16 and 17 the name next to the words "Our contact" is blacked out, so are the names on the attached breakdown of costs and later the partial name of a limited company ending with "Services Limited".

In relation to the blacked out name of the limited company, the term "personal data" is defined in Article 4(1) of the GDPR as:

"any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person ('data subject'); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;"

A natural person has to be a living human being and a limited company doesn't qualify as it isn't either alive or a human being.

The person obscured next to the words "Our contact" is highly likely to be a legal professional, therefore in a public-facing role (possibly even as a manager). These same arguments apply to the same person's name elsewhere such as on the breakdown of costs. Therefore for the reasons outlined regarding invoice 3 above this name (or names) should be disclosed. Similar arguments would also apply to the consultant's name working for the limited company if he/she were either in a management position and/or in a public facing role. Finally it is highly like that in the Description column that this relates to the name and email address of a senior manager/s at LCRCA, therefore should be disclosed for the same reasons outlined above.

105 and 123 (DLA Piper )

The same arguments are made as above in relation to invoices 16 and 17 about the disclosure of the names of fee earners (as they are public-facing) as well as regarding the withheld names of LCRCA staff in the narrative.

71 (Gallium Fund invoice)

The sort code (40-05-30) and account number (44578988) have been blacked out on this invoice. However the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) which includes the same information has been disclosed. As the sort code and account number have been disclosed as part of the IBAN, it makes no logical sense for the LCRCA to redact the sort code and account number whilst at the same time disclosing the IBAN.

66/88 (Green Blue Skies Limited)

I am guessing that the first blacked out piece of information is that either of Victoria Kelly (who is the sole director of this company) or her telephone number (07952 781156) and also part of her email address (which is in full [email address] ).

Although due to the active proposal to strike off this company, the website is no longer functioning an archived page from 10th August 2018 from the same website can be found here https://web.archive.org/web/201808100057... which contains both the mobile phone number and the complete email address.

Therefore as this information is in the public domain, I don't understand the LCRCA's reasoning in withholding the information.

86/126 (Metro Dynamics Ltd)

On both invoices the bank branch address (the bank is listed as RBS) is listed as "3rd Floor, 38 Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3AZ". Although that branch has since closed, an archived page from RBS's website, see https://web.archive.org/web/201712171506... discloses the sort-code for this branch as 16-00-01. Therefore it doesn't make sense to disclose the bank branch address, but not the sort code as the latter can be determined from the former.

71 - Gallium Fund Solutions Ltd

In the list of redactions in response to this request made to each document, Gallium Fund Solutions is listed as "commercially sensitive data (bank details)", yet much information has been redacted from a breakdown of costs for the first invoice (including the column headings). Gallium Fund Solutions is also not listed as having responded to the consultation with any concerns about this information being disclosed in response to an information request. Therefore considering the sums of public money involved (£64,218.80 and £22,702.50) and the absence of any concerns by Gallium Fund Solutions about disclosure, the fact that s.43 is subject to a public interest test and also in order to be a valid refusal (see s.17(c) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000... has to state why an exemption applies, I consider that the LCRCA hasn't stated why the withheld information (other than the bank details) on the Gallium Fund Solutions invoices has been withheld and for the avoidance of doubt ask for the blacked out information both in the breakdown of costs to be disclosed and elsewhere (apart from the bank details)

40 (Commission for the New Economy)

For the reasons outlined above the name to the right of "Responsible" on this invoice would be in a public-facing role. Therefore for the same detailed reasons given for invoice 3 should be disclosed as the names of those in public-facing or management roles cannot be withheld as personal information (section 40).

84 (Liverpool City Region LEP Ltd)

For the reasons just outlined above in relation to invoice 40, the person's name redacted to the right of "Contact name" would be in a public facing role, therefore shouldn't be withheld as personal information (section 40).

EIR matters

In relation to the following invoices:

105 (DLA Piper UK Ltd) for "Advising on Mersey Tidal Barrage",
123 (DLA Piper UK Ltd) for "Advising on Mersey Tidal Barrage",
66 (Green Blue Skies Ltd) for work including "completion of Liverpool City Region Climate Adoption good practice case study document",
40 (Commission for the New Economy Ltd) for "50% of rent on Brusssels Office space"
and
84 (Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership) for "Contribution to Customs Warehouse".

I regard these as requests for "environmental information" as defined in the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (for the reasons listed below). Therefore the Freedom of Information Act 2000 doesn't apply to these five invoices and any reasons given by reference to the FOIA 2000 for withholding information relating to these invoices doesn't apply.

The below relates to the definition of "environmental information" which can be read here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/... .

105/123 - this is information held in relation to the Mersey Tidal Barrage which is environmental information because it is about coastal and marine areas (part (a) of the definition of environmental information) as well as part (c) as it relates to plans likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in (a),

66 - as detailed above this invoice is for in part "completion of Liverpool City Region Climate Adoption good practice case study document" which as the document is to do with climate resilience it is about policies and plans (part (c)) designed to protect land (part (a)),

40 - this relates to a specific piece of land (the Brussels Office) therefore falls under part (a),

84 - information about a "Customs Warehouse Project" is a measure such as a plan (see part(c)) likely to affect land (see part(a)).

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

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Mr Brace

Thank you for your email requesting an internal review in respect of the above. I write to acknowledge receipt.

Kind regards

Julie Watling

Legal, Democratic Services & Procurement Manager | Merseytravel | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1703 | [mobile number] | Email: [email address]

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ScarletPimpernel

Dear FOI CA,

Please note that in respect of the internal review about the couple of Green Blue Skies Limited invoices (66 and 80), that since this request for an internal review the Green Blue Skies Limited company has been dissolved on 16th April 2019 (you can check this with Companies House if you wish).

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Brace

I write further to your emails of 7th and 16th April 2019, in which you requested an internal review of the Combined Authority’s response of 4th April 2019. For ease of reference, I have replicated the labelling used previously in this request’s correspondence.

3 Social Marketing Partners Ltd

You have claimed that the email address and mobile phone number contained on the invoice should have been disclosed as they belong to ‘managers’ of Social Marketing Partners. The ICO guidance (https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...) states

However, a request concerning the professional practice of an individual can refer to personal data which is much more intrusive. In such circumstances it may be possible to argue that although there is a legitimate interest in understanding standards of competence in the public sector, this is met by the oversight of professional governing bodies (or the checks and balances within an organisation) rather than focusing on the performance of one particular individual. The seniority of the individual would be significant in these considerations.

Should the disclosure not meet the necessity test, there is no need to perform the balancing test and you should withhold the information. [p.20]

It is clear that such disclosure is considered only in relation to public sector employees, not private service providers (‘there is a legitimate interest in understanding standards of competence in the public sector’). A greater degree of transparency is expected in the public sector, and private sector employees would have no reasonable expectation that their personal data would be disclosed in response to an FOI request. The point raised by Mr Brace is therefore not relevant.

You go on to cite [2014] EWCA Civ 92 for ‘completeness’, where release of the information was not seen as necessary as it would not add any further insight into Mr Edem’s complaint. While Mr Edem’s (ultimately inadequate) legitimate interest in the information was as part of a long-running dispute, you have, to our knowledge, no history of dealings or complaints with Social Marketing Partners Ltd. that would be illuminated by the disclosure of the information. Furthermore, it has been explicitly stated to the Combined Authority by the business owner that the details in question are their personal email address and mobile phone number. The stance of the Information Commissioner, endorsed by the Court of Appeal, supports that adopted by the Combined Authority in response to your request.

16 and 17 Weightmans

The ‘contact’ is an individual employed by Weightmans, not a limited company as you state.

You have repeated your point as outlined above in relation to ‘managers’. This is not relevant for the reasons stated. Fee earners are not public-facing, they are client-facing; they do not correspond in any meaningful way with members of the public. Their work involves being engaged in a professional capacity.

105 and 123 DLA Piper

As above; the fee-earners are not public-facing, they are employed directly by a private company and interact with clients. The LCRCA employee whose name was redacted is neither in a public-facing role or of sufficient seniority to warrant disclosure. Any legitimate interest in knowing who signed the invoices off is satisfied, in my view, by the inclusion of Frank Rogers’s signature on Invoice 105 and John Fogarty’s on 123.

71 Gallium Fund invoice / Gallium Fund Solutions Ltd

Though not expressly stated in our response, Gallium did provide feedback to our consultation, asking that the bank details be withheld. On review, the IBAN should also have been redacted.

You have stated that ‘column headings’ have been redacted, but this is not the case. You also state that the payments were for £64,218.80 and £22,702.50; they were not (there was one payment of £7500 plus VAT). It would appear that you have confused this with Metro Dynamics, which I will address below.

86/126 Metro Dynamics Ltd

On review, the branch name should have also been redacted.

To address your point regarding the redaction of column headings, incorrectly attributed to Gallium Fund Solutions Ltd., the columns relate to the respective fee earners (they correspond with the ‘Daily rate & admin fee’ row). For the reasons stated above, there is no reason why these would be disclosed.

66/88 Green Blue Skies Limited

You have raised the point that the personal data redacted is available in the public domain via an archived webpage.

Any processing of personal data must be in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. Personal data already being in the public domain is only a condition when processing special category (Article 9), and we would still need an Article 6 condition. The only possible one would be that the ‘processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject […]’.

In my view, the personal data itself adds nothing to the public discussion. The inclusion of the personal data does not provide any further insight into the work carried out by Green Blue Skies Limited for the Combined Authority. What little legitimate interest there may be in disclosure is overridden by the interests and/or rights and freedoms of the data subject.

Your further comment that the company was dissolved on 16th April 2019 is not relevant as we must respond as the situation was on the date of the initial request (26th March 2019). Even if we were to take this into account, I do not believe this alters the Combined Authority’s position as the company was voluntarily dissolved and they would be free to resume trading.

40 Commission for the New Economy

You have stated that the individual whose name was redacted occupies a public-facing role. It is unclear what this is based on, and we have no reason to believe that it is accurate. As with the names of the fee earners above, the inclusion of a name on an invoice, submitted for purely professional purposes between two organisations, does not make a role ‘public-facing’.

84 Liverpool City Region LEP Ltd

As above, you believe that the individual occupies a public-facing role. They do not. The individual is an accountant in Merseytravel’s Finance department, who works directly with clients who are providing services to the Combined Authority, not the public.

EIR matters

On review, some of the requested invoices could possibly be classed as environmental information, and therefore the Environmental Information Regulations may have been more appropriate than the FOIA.

However, there is no fundamental difference between S.40(2) of the FOIA and Reg. 12(3) and 13 of the EIR (this is explicitly stated as an ‘equivalent exception’ in the ICO guidance https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...), while Section 43 of the FOIA and Reg.12(5)(e) of the EIR only differ in that the EIR exception is broader. As stated in the ICO guidance to Reg.12(5)(e) (https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...)

39. Some of these arguments may be similar to those made under the section 43 commercial interests exemption under FOIA. However, economic interests are wider than commercial interests, and can also include financial interests.

You have not advanced any argument to consider on whether the requested information should be disclosed if considered under the EIRs as opposed to FOIA. I do not believe our response would have been any different.

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is
The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Regards

Sent on behalf of

Jill Coule

Chief Legal Officer / Monitoring Officer| Liverpool City Region Combined Authority| Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

The information supplied continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication would require the permission of the copyright holder.

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