Employment Tribunal Outsourcing to Barristers/Solicitors

V Gray made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City 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 refused by Liverpool City Council.

Dear Liverpool City Council

I would like to know how much the Council has spent outsourcing to either Barristers Chambers or Solicitors at Employment Tribunals for all Council Staff (including Teaching Staff). Any combination of those below, between 1st August 2000 and the 31 October 2010:

1) For constructive dismissal

2) Unfair dismissal

3) One (or more) of the various discrimination claims and/or under the Protection from Harassment Act

4) Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

5) Any other Employment issues, I may have omitted.

Please name the Solicitors/Barristers that the Council have outsourced to: For example, 2010 Number (which is the cost spent) Name (Name of Solicitor/Barrister). Please provide the figures in the following format e.g. 2006 – NUMBER HERE AND SOLICITOR OR BARRISTERS NAME HERE; 2007 – NUMBER HERE AND SOLICITOR OR BARRISTERS NAME HERE; 2008 – NUMBER HERE AND SOLICITORS OR BARRISTERS NAME HERE ; 2010 – NUMBER HERE AND SOLICITORS OR BARRISTERS NAME HERE; etc, thus making it easier for one to read and to ensure there is no misunderstandings.

I would request that you include VAT in the figures. Not a before and after VAT, a figure which included total cost including VAT.

Please also send this information as "calendar years" not financial years.

Please note that I do not seek or require any personal information such as names and addresses – only the total figures and name of the law firms whom the Council outsourced too.

I would ask that you remember the statutory duty imposed upon public authorities by virtue of Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act to provide advice and assistance to requesters. If for any reason you are leaning toward rejecting any part of this request or if you plan to argue that it is unmanageable or unanswerable in any way then I would expect you to contact me promptly to find ways to answer this request to our mutual Satisfaction.

Yours faithfully,

G

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Sir/Madam

I refer to your request for information made in the name of G dated 14
January 2011

Before I can begin to gather the information you have requested I need to
be satisfied that the request is a properly made one in accordance with
Section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 8(1) requires requesters to use their real name when making a
request, for it to be a valid request.

Before I can commence your request I require you to confirm your real
name.

In the event that your real name is G I will need to see your birth
certificate or deed poll document or other document which confirms that
this is your name.

Please get back to me within 14 days of today's date with this
confirmation.

If we do not hear from you within this timeframe, we will assume you no
longer wish to pursue your request or review, and your file will be
closed.

Kevin Symm

Senior Information Officer

Legal Services

Liverpool City Council

Municipal Buildings

Dale Street

Liverpool

L2 2DH

TEL: 0151 225 3007

[email address]

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Dear Symm, Kevin

I must apologise there was slight technical glitch when I first registered which omitted my name. This has now been rectified by the have you say team, who have been extremely helpful in resolving this issue.

I look forward to receiving the correct information from you.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached acknowledgement letter

Regards,

Kevin Symm

Senior Information Officer

Legal Services

Liverpool City Council

Municipal Buildings

Dale Street

Liverpool

L2 2DH

TEL: 0151 225 3007

[1][email address]

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References

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Dear Symm, Kevin,

Thank you for your message. I look forward to receiving the correct information.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached response

Regards,

Kevin Symm

Senior Information Officer

Legal Services

Liverpool City Council

Municipal Buildings

Dale Street

Liverpool

L2 2DH

TEL: 0151 225 3007

[1][email address]

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
file:///tmp/BLOCKED::mailto:[email address]

Dear Mr Syms

The information I requested is basic clerical research. I suggest you contact the Deputy Director of Financial Services Susan Curran, Susan can ask one of the clerical staff to run a report on the database and I am sure they will find the correct information, as all council financial procedures have to be adhered to.
I am sure Liverpool City Council are not as incompetent as you implying.

One would also clarify that when one was referring to total cost thus was for each Solicitor/Barrister for each year’s work. I am not requesting information to be provided on a spreadsheet or any other office format, a word document will suffice.

If the files are manual files held in what the Data Protection Act, refers to as a "Manual relevant structured filing system," one would expect it would take at most a minute to extract a file from a cabinet, open it, turn up the Employment Tribunal tab and glance at the sheet and scribble a note if the file refers to Name of Solicitor/Barrister and put it back again.
The "relevant cost limit" from Section 12 is £400 or two and a half days work. By those figures, one would expect you to be able to review
1000 files in that time.

I am mindful that Liverpool Council have cited the ‘costs’ exemption,
yet section 16 of FOISA imposes a duty to provide advice and
assistance. Yet Liverpool Council have not done so. Liverpool Council have done nothing to assist me in seeking to find a way that would help me obtain the information I am requesting. Therefore, if the information exists, Liverpool Council are required to disclose it unless an exemption applies. I am mindful that Liverpool Council have cited the ‘costs’ exemption, yet section 16 of FOISA imposes a duty to provide advice and assistance. Liverpool Council have not done so.

Liverpool Council have done nothing to assist me in seeking to find a way that would help me obtain the information I am requesting.

Therefore the only conclusion I can draw is that Liverpool Council are purposefully seeking to conceal the number of cases that have been outsourced to Barrister/Solicitors within their organisation.

Please undertake to have the decision reviewed by a senior officer not involved in making the original decision and communicate their response within the relevant timescale on this website.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

V Gray

Please accept this email as formal acknowledgement of your request for a review of the response we provided.

Regards,

Kevin Symm

Senior Information Officer

Legal Services

Liverpool City Council

Municipal Buildings

Dale Street

Liverpool

L2 2DH

TEL: 0151 225 3007

[email address]

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Dear Mr Symm

Thank you for your email. I look forward to receiving the correct information.

Yours sincerely

V Gray

Glanville, Andrea, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Gray

Please find attached our response to your request for an internal review.

Andrea Glanville
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
Telephone 0151 225 2709
Fax: 0151 225 2392
email: [1][email address]

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Glanville, Andrea,

You have refused to provide a breakdown of the various barristers' chambers and solicitors' firms whom you have employed claiming that the information is 'personal data'.

The Data Protection Act only applies to living people - Businesses, Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships are not 'living individuals' and are not therefore covered by the exemption at Section 40.

You have not given any reason why you cannot provide business names or the names of the chambers in which the barristers whom you have employed work.

Additionally, in cases where Tribunal proceedings have been brought, the names of the representatives of both parties and their counsel are published in the Tribunal's decision. There is no expectation of privacy and these cases are not the sort dealt with by the Family Division of the High Court or the Court of Protection where anonymity is required in order to safeguard vulnerable children or adults.

Please adhere to the request and provide the names of the Barristers/Solicitors. Not excuses.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please explain why you have failed to respond to the letter which was sent to you on the 22 March 2011.

Yours faithfully,

V Gray

Audrey O'Keefe left an annotation ()

V Gray
can't wait to read their response.

Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please explain why you have failed to respond to my request. As a legal department you are fully aware of Legal Proceeding which have to be adhered to.

Please provide the names of the Solicitors/Barristers that the Council have outsourced to.

I would remind you that you are legally obliged to tell the truth.

Yours faithfully,

V Gray

V Gray left an annotation ()

Copy of email sent to Joe (Leader of the Council)

Dear Joe

I hope you are well? I requested information from LCC on the 14 January 2011. Alas they have failed to fully respond to this request. As they are obliged by legislation to assist with the request, I felt rather than involve the Information Commissioner, it would be more productive to ask you to intervene.

Here is the link for the request.
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/em...

Thank you for your assistance.

Kindest Regards

V Gray

Information Requests, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Gray,

Upon checking our systems this case was responded to and closed on 22
March 2011. For confirmation purposes I attached another copy of our
response for your consideration.

Regards,

Jawahier Sharif Ali (Fatima)

Information Officer

Legal Service

Liverpool City Council

Municipal Buildings

Dale Street,

Liverpool

L2 2DH

Tel: 0151 225 3132

Email: [1][email address]

Website: [2]www.liverpool.gov.uk

P Please consider the environment before printing this email. Thank you.

<<132976_Gray_APPEAL_Response_220311.doc>>

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Dear Information Requests,

I strongly advise you to read the email sent to you on the 22 March 2011. Is it normal Council Procedure to close a FOI request when you have failed to respond to an email? Just to refresh your memory there is a copy of an email I sent to you on the 22 March 2011.

Please provide the information I requested.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

22 March 2011
Dear Glanville, Andrea,

You have refused to provide a breakdown of the various barristers'chambers and solicitors' firms whom you have employed claiming that the information is 'personal data'.

The Data Protection Act only applies to living people - Businesses,
Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships are not
'living individuals' and are not therefore covered by the exemption at Section 40.

You have not given any reason why you cannot provide business names
or the names of the chambers in which the barristers whom you have employed work.

Additionally, in cases where Tribunal proceedings have been brought, the names of the representatives of both parties and their counsel are published in the Tribunal's decision. There is no expectation of privacy and these cases are not the sort dealt with
by the Family Division of the High Court or the Court of Protection where anonymity is required in order to safeguard vulnerable children or adults.

Please adhere to the request and provide the names of the Barristers/Solicitors. Not excuses.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Gray

I refer to your recent emails regarding our failure to respond to your
request for information. A review was conducted on this case and you were
notified of the outcome on 22 March 2011.

You were advised that the barristers names would not be released under
Section 40 as this was considered personal information we did not state
the Barristers Chambers information was exempt as you quite rightly state
personal information relates to living individuals and we consequently
provided the Chambers details that we have used for Employment related
matters and this was contained in our response of 22 March 2011.

I would point out that you were advised in our letter of 22 March 2011
that you have now exhausted the Council's appeal process and if you remain
dissatisfied with this response you should forward this to the Information
Commissioners Office at the details that were provided to you in our
letter of 22 March 2011.

Yours sincerely

A Glanville

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Dear Andrea Glanville,

Please explain in simple English why you are refusing to respond to my request to provide a breakdown of the various barristers'chambers and solicitors' firms whom you have employed as there is no legal exemption. By law you are required to provide the correct information.

Do you have the legal authority from Liverpool City Council to refuse to respond to this request?

As you stated in you previous email you have no legal right to refuse me. Therefore the only conclusion I can draw from your response is that you put the welfare of the Barristers before your legal duty to provide the truth to the tax payers of Liverpool.

Please provide the information I have requested and no this is not the end of the request. Do not ignore this email as you have with previous emails.

I have forward this request onto my Local MP as I feel you have failed in your duty to provide advice and assistance (section 16). You have provided nothing but excuses.

Yours sincerely,

V Gray

V Gray left an annotation ()

Dear Luciana

As my elected member of Parliament I could you please investigate this complaint against Liverpool City Council http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/em...

Thank You for your assistance.

Kindest Regards

Vicky

Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please explain why you have not responded to my last letter.

Yours faithfully,

V Gray

Information Requests, Liverpool City Council

Dear Ms Gray

May I refer you to correspondences from Andrea Glanville, sent to you on
the 15 July which was ended with the following:

"I would point out that you were advised in our letter of 22 March 2011
that you have now exhausted the Council's appeal process and if you
remain dissatisfied with this response you should forward this to the
Information Commissioners Office at the details that were provided to
you in our letter of 22 March 2011."

Liverpool City Council has provided you with a response to your original
request and a response to your request for an internal review

As a result we are unable to provide any further information.

If you wish to pursue this matter further I would refer you to the ICO,
their contact details are:

Website is www.ico.gov.uk and the postal address and telephone numbers
are:-

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Fax number 01625 524 510
Telephone 01625 545745

Email - [email address] (they advise that their email is not
secure).

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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