ERDF Records. Access to retained Project Information.

John Rudkin made this Freedom of Information request to Blackpool Borough 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 Blackpool Borough Council.

Dear Blackpool Borough Council,

Reference here is made to Blackpool Council’s published and public policies.
According to the Council's "Data Protection Act - Council Policy" created on behalf of Blackpool Council ( ICT/0008/01, August 2013, Authorised by Tony Doyle ICT (Information Guidance) I ask a question regarding the following entry:

That "In Compliance with the Data Protections Principles" "To enable it to fully comply with the DPA", Blackpool Council will: "Follow the Council’s published Corporate Retention Schedule"

The Corporate Retention Schedule is publicly information, published at:
https://www.blackpool.gov.uk/Your-Counci...
Issue Date 05/10/04, Version/Issue Number 1.2, Effective From Date 7 February 2005

According to Page 70 (and associated pages) this Corporate Retention Schedule, Blackpool Council retains ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) records for a period as follows (required by EU Directive), as well as for Audit purposes.

"Minimum 3 years after final payment of the programme is made to UK Government BUT...
Currently to be kept until 31/12/2025 or until destruction date is advised.

Note: Do not destroy without first receiving confirmation from The North West Development Agency (or any successor body or CLG) that the 2007-2013 Programme has officially closed."

This retention and disposal schedule covers:
Project Documentation including:

• Project bids
• Project briefs and business cases
• Project logs, risk logs etc.,
• Invoices
• Banks Statements
• Bank Reconciliation records
• Salary allocation (incl.Timesheets)
• General records and client files
Partner Organisation records
Public Funding records
Paper Records (MUST BE ORIGINALS)

I require access to the specific project records and finances created for the following Project:

I-CAN (Interactive Community Access Network) ; Final Report 2008; Project Closure 2009 Closure Audit 2010, GONW 5220 EUR, Interactive Community Network Project 18

I require access to the project progress reports (as they were originated complete) and financial reports (as reported and officially signed, including match funding). This documentation is all part of the original paper records.
Yours faithfully,

John Rudkin

Customer First, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Rudkin,

Thank you for your email which we received 8th November 2014.

This has been forwarded to our Freedom of Information officer. They will
reply to you directly.

Thanks
Laura

show quoted sections

FOI, Blackpool Borough Council

Our Ref: 141065/JR/DT/F4

Dear Mr Rudkin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

We are writing regarding your request for information that we received on 10th November, the first working day after you submitted the request by email. In that request you asked us for Access to specific ERDF records .

To assist us in determining a response to your request I need to ask you to clarify what you mean by "access" to the records. Our reason for asking is that the council is aware that you have some knowledge of the quantity of records that may be held, and as you are located in the Fylde Coast, you may mean "inspection" rather than another format.

To confirm what you mean by the term "access" you can write to: FOI, Blackpool Council, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1AD or email us at [email address]. Please remember to quote your reference number when you contact us.

Please note that if you do not provide more detail about your request for information within three months from the date of this letter, we will consider your request closed.

Yours sincerely

Information Governance Team

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

In reference to your request for a definition of access:

"To assist us in determining a response to your request I need to ask you to clarify what you mean by "access" to the records. Our reason for asking is that the council is aware that you have some knowledge of the quantity of records that may be held, and as you are located in the Fylde Coast, you may mean "inspection" rather than another format."

1) I am aware that the quantity of records for this specific project were compiled for audit in three places, that folders were collated that contained records on a quarterly basis, and that each quarterly report contains evidence as well as financial detail that was relevant. Summary documents were also created. These were handed over to Debbie Topping for safe storage at the request of Mr Tony Doyle, Head of ICT and the responsible Departmental Head to retention of this material. To help you understand further which in particular I refer to I provided you with this:

"I require access to the project progress reports (as they were
originated complete) and financial reports (as reported and
officially signed, including match funding). This documentation is
all part of the original paper records."

Please note that all paper records (as required by ERDF in their retention terms) were electronically stored on writable media. I would be equally happy to be supplied with that media as well, while you are asking.

2) The definition of access, in this case is best understood in relation to the term as possibly used in computing terms i.e.:

"obtain, examine, or retrieve (data or a file). synonyms: retrieve, gain access to, obtain; read "the program is used to access data"

I wish to be able to read the contents of the folder I refer to. I will be specific (or more specific) once again:

3) I require access to the project progress reports (as they were
originated complete) and financial reports (as reported and
officially signed, including match funding).

4) Folders were collated that contained records on a quarterly basis, and that each quarterly report contains evidence as well as financial detail that was relevant. Summary documents were also created. I require access to these.

During the access, I expect to be able to look at and scrutinise the documents (and media) I have access to. i.e.:

Definition of "inspection" in English: (Oxford Dictionary)
Careful examination or scrutiny:
on closer inspection it looked like someone was being rather pedantic,
please have your evidence ready for inspection

Thank you

John

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

Dear FOI,

Blackpool Council have failed to provide me with requested access i.e. "ERDF Records. Access to retained Project Information" promptly, as normally required by law. There was an expectation that a response should been made by 8th December 2014.

Please could you look into the delay.

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

FOI, Blackpool Borough Council

Date: 9 December 2014

 
Mr J Rudkin Our Ref: 141065/JR/DT/F17

Via Your Ref: 00000
[1][FOI #238318 email]
Direct Line: 00000
 
Email: [email address]
 
Dear Mr Rudkin

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST

 

I am writing to inform you that your request for information will not be
processed as it has been decided that it is vexatious.  In accordance with
s.17 of the Act this letter acts as a Refusal Notice. The reasons why your
request has been classified as vexatious under section 14(1) are explained
next.

 

I have considered your request received by the council on 10 November
2014. We acknowledged your clarification of what you meant by “access” (we
note that we received this from the WhatDoTheyKnow email address and again
from your personal email address with an un-associated email string
attached). We have taken your clarification to indicate that you prefer to
view the documents and folders specified.

 

As required by section 1(10(a), I am confirming that we hold the original
documents for the specified I-CAN project. However, I have considered the
current storage format, alongside the knowledge that, having worked on or
led this project, you are aware of these documents and the volume of
documents.

 

Whilst you are entitled to express a preference for the communication of
the requested information under section 11, which you have done so in your
clarification emails, the council has to determine if it is reasonably
practical to communicate the information to you in this manner, with
regard to the circumstance and cost of doing so.

 

Following the guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office on
Dealing with Vexatious requests, the council has assessed whether the
request, or impact of dealing with it, is justified and proportionate. I
am also minded to pay due attention to the following indictor:

 

Burden on the authority

The effort required to meet the request will be so grossly oppressive in
terms of the strain on time and resources, that the authority cannot
reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how legitimate the subject
matter or valid the intentions of the requester.

 

It is the council’s view that the impact of dealing with your request, and
particularly the burden to locate the specified documents, review and draw
together, prepare for inspection including any redaction required for a
member of the public to view these, and to make staff available for the
viewing process, would place an unreasonable strain on time and resources
for the Council. This resource would also exceed the ‘appropriate limit’
as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit)
Regulations 2004 and section 12(1) is also applicable. Therefore it is the
council’s view that this is not justified on this occasion.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may ask for
an internal review and you should submit this in writing to: FOI Internal
Review, Blackpool Council, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1AD.  Your request
for internal review should be submitted within 40 working days of receipt
by you of this response.

 

If you are not happy with the outcome of the review, you have the right to
apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. 
You can contact the Information Commissioner at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF, ([2]www.ico.org.uk).

 

If you have any queries about this letter you can contact me, or write to:
FOI, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1NA, or email us at
[3][email address].  Please remember to quote your reference number
when you contact us.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Mrs D Topping MBA

ICT Manager (Information Governance)

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Blackpool Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an urgent internal review of Blackpool Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'ERDF Records. Access to retained Project Information.'

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

Thank you for your careful consideration. The detailed additional information you requested - of the definition of the word "Access" that I used seemed to be the initial point at issue. If in asking for"Access" and our differences and understanding of the term I was "vexatious", please let me know. As to your own listed term "Inspection", I will be happy to receive such definitions from you.

"Burden on the authority

The effort required to meet the request will be so grossly oppressive in
terms of the strain on time and resources, that the authority cannot
reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how legitimate the subject
matter or valid the intentions of the requester."

In stating my request is "vexacious" you have not provided anything except ‘burden" in turning down the request? I find this most unsatisfactory.

Excuse me for asking this, with respect, but would it help at all if the Department that I am requesting an Freedom of Information request about was not carrying out the actual process itself.

ie: being handled by "ICT Manager (Information Governance)”

There might be seen to be an awkward interest implied in ensuring the request was not successful might there not?

Yours faithfully,

John Rudkin

FOI, Blackpool Borough Council

Date: 16 December 2014
 

Our Ref: 14/1065/JR/F23
Mr J Rudkin Your Ref: 00000
Via [1][FOI #238318 email] Direct Line: 00000
  Email:
[email address]

Dear MR Rudkin
 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST
 
We have received your email dated 9 December 2014 in which you have
requested an internal review of your recent information request.
 
The Internal Review will be conducted by our Chief Internal Auditor as you
have questioned the impartiality of the Information Governance Team that
usually deals with these matters on behalf of the Council.
 
This process will review the procedures undertaken by the officers who
dealt with your original request and consider whether the information
disclosed to you was appropriate to fulfil your request.  The reviewing
officer will take into consideration any exemptions that may apply to the
disclosure of information.
 
You will be informed of the outcome of this review in due course.
 
We would like to reiterate that if you have any queries about this letter
you can contact us by writing to FOI, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1NA, or by
email to [2][email address]. You should note that all FOI requests or
internal review requests are forward to this email address when received
by other council services and delays can occur if this email address which
is provided in our response correspondence is not used. Please quote your
reference number when you contact us.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Information Governance Team
 

show quoted sections

Tracy Greenhalgh, Blackpool Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Rudkin,

 

Please find attached the results of my internal review relating to your
Freedom of Information Request.

 

Kind Regards

 

Chief Internal Auditor

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Dear Tracy Greenhalgh,

Please address this response to the Chief Internal Auditor.

Many thanks for your prompt response to my request for an internal review. I have some difficulty understanding how the request will create so much work. Is it me? Is someone deliberately trying to prevent me looking at the files? It certainly feels like that is the case. I know exactly which files I need, and I have clarified this in my requests for clarification. Are you aware that I created and compiled the files myself. There should be no data present that would create a need for redaction at all. This is an ERDF project.
I will now write to the ICO as a result of this rejection, as you leave me no option. Otherwise, and this would be very simple, all I need to do is point out the files I require to look at.
I am sorry this is causing so many issues and problems, but I simply cannot see how.
Yours sincerely,
John Rudkin

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Dear Chief Governance Officer,

I have been approached to offer advice on a project that closely mirrors the one under question. I have found it very difficult to answer the question as a result because I only have partial records of the finances available. I need access to the financials and reports in early January.

As I was the Project Coordinator:
1) There cannot be any concern about a need to redact any information, as I was present throughout, and I am aware of all actions. There was no information in the project reports that cannot be publicly viewed. This was a project conducted using public funds and supported by ERDF grants to the tune of approx. £525k

2) According to the Blackpool Council 'Corporate Retention Schedules v 1.7 ' : Section 24, Page 70
ERDF Project Documentation including: • Project bids
Paper Records (MUST BE ORIGINALS)
Currently to be kept until 31/12/2025 or until destruction date is advised. European Directive.
• Banks Statements
• Bank Reconciliation records
• Salary allocation (incl. Timesheets)
ERDF General records and client files

3) As Project Coordinator, I know exactly what I need to find. I generated all of it. Your estimates of time required are wildly incorrect.

4) As Project coordinator, I handed over all records of the project under question myself. The person they were handed over to was the Information Governance Manager, Debbie Topping.

5) I have previously been included in correspondence (in error) by the Information Governance Officer at Blackpool Council. At one point an FOI request made by a Councillor was replied to, but to me (apparently in error). This matter was most unsatisfactory. I was concerned initially that someone was trying to make it look as if I was investigating the project - and it raised my suspicions.

"From: John Rudkin <johnar@me.com>
Subject: Could someone please explain this to my satisfaction?
Date: 9 November 2012 16:17:23 GMT
To: Paul Mottershead <Paul.Mottershead@blackpool.gov.uk>, "Legal Hirst(Legal)" <Stephen.Hirst@blackpool.gov.uk>, Carmel McKeogh <carmelmckeogh@hotmail.co.uk>
Cc: Topping Debbie <debbie.topping@blackpool.gov.uk>, Doyle Tony <tony.doyle@blackpool.gov.uk>

Dear Mr Mottershead,

I am writing to you to express to you my concerns regarding some rather strange communications that have reached me.

I received the email enclosed:

.....regarding a Freedom of Information request that really has nothing to do with me at all. Someone is making enquiries, but it is not myself. My concern in receiving this is message ( that was a genuine error, I am informed) is that I cannot feel confident that its arrival and record is not in some way being used against me. Let me explain:

1) In the current tribunal case in which I am pursuing unfair practices by Managers of Blackpool's ICT Services, I have already been lied to and about.

2) The people in ICT are aware of the fact that I-CAN, as a project, was manipulated by the previous Asst Director - I have already formally whistle blown on this subject to Mr Doyle and Mr Legg, but with no action taken to my knowledge.

3) Blackpool Council's representatives has already shown a disregard for the process and procedure, both on of its own HR and the expectations of Unison. Union. I worry about the lengths they will go to continue their manipulations of my situation. This is part of my ongoing case as you know.

4) Pressure has been put on me to drop the case by pressing the point of costs against me. I am the one wronged here, and it is a distasteful way to proceed.

5) I have already been denied access to Councillors by way of "rule changes" made to convenience the Council, when an employee. At every turn I now feel collusion is taking place.

6) I have a witness to a senior member of Blackpool Council warning against working with me as, I was told was said; "He is suing us".

Are there no limit to the lengths some people will go to?

I am suspicious that this FOI enquiry is something that may be being orchestrated to place me in a position that I cannot yet envisage. Am I paranoid? You are certainly pushing me toward it, but I will resist.

I want assurances that this is not some clever tactic to discredit me.

I have decided I will be sending a copy of this email to the Tribunal myself. HR denied me access to Councillors by deciding that my letter of appeal, handed in while still an employee of Blackpool Council was actually NOT accepted on the date recorded, and that therefore you effectively cut off my route of appeal to members. For this reason I have also decided I will send copies the Leaders of all three major Political Parties in Blackpool, as I feel they should be aware of the situation I am in, and also of the way I have been treated. This communication, and the response below is simply not acceptable.

Received 01/11/2012

Dear John.

I didn't think there was anything in particular to answer in your email but thank you for your advice and offer of assistance. As you will no doubt recall, I am fully aware of the rules around FOI and the legislative charging regimes, and around ERDF Retention. I am unable to comment on the approaches taken by other organisations. I am sure that Peter Legg will arrange a meeting should he wish to speak to me or Tony.....

You asked if I got to the bottom of why our response was sent to you - I believe that there was a genuine misunderstanding which led to me being asked to respond. As you have stated that you haven't actually requested this information I will take no further action.

Regards
D "

I simply have no trust remaining.

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

Frankly, this whole matter is totally unacceptable.

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Application to the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) has now been sent.

Dear Tracy Greenhalgh,
I have been advised that the annotations I made to this REFUSED request may not have been picked up. The advice is that I reply accordingly. This is now my reply:

"Dear Chief Governance Officer,

I have been approached to offer advice on a project that closely mirrors the one under question. I have found it very difficult to answer the question as a result because I only have partial records of the finances available. I need access to the financials and reports in early January.

As I was the Project Coordinator:
1) There cannot be any concern about a need to redact any information, as I was present throughout, and I am aware of all actions. There was no information in the project reports that cannot be publicly viewed. This was a project conducted using public funds and supported by ERDF grants to the tune of approx. £525k

2) According to the Blackpool Council 'Corporate Retention Schedules v 1.7 ' : Section 24, Page 70
ERDF Project Documentation including: • Project bids
Paper Records (MUST BE ORIGINALS)
Currently to be kept until 31/12/2025 or until destruction date is advised. European Directive.
• Banks Statements
• Bank Reconciliation records
• Salary allocation (incl. Timesheets)
ERDF General records and client files

3) As Project Coordinator, I know exactly what I need to find. I generated all of it. Your estimates of time required are wildly incorrect.

4) As Project coordinator, I handed over all records of the project under question myself. The person they were handed over to was the Information Governance Manager, Debbie Topping.

5) I have previously been included in correspondence (in error) by the Information Governance Officer at Blackpool Council. At one point an FOI request made by a Councillor was replied to, but to me (apparently in error). This matter was most unsatisfactory. I was concerned initially that someone was trying to make it look as if I was investigating the project - and it raised my suspicions.

"From: John Rudkin <[email address]>
Subject: Could someone please explain this to my satisfaction?
Date: 9 November 2012 16:17:23 GMT
To: Paul Mottershead <[email address]>, "Legal Hirst(Legal)" <[email address]>, Carmel McKeogh <[email address]>
Cc: Topping Debbie <[email address]>, Doyle Tony <[email address]>

Dear Mr Mottershead,

I am writing to you to express to you my concerns regarding some rather strange communications that have reached me.

I received the email enclosed:

.....regarding a Freedom of Information request that really has nothing to do with me at all. Someone is making enquiries, but it is not myself. My concern in receiving this is message ( that was a genuine error, I am informed) is that I cannot feel confident that its arrival and record is not in some way being used against me. Let me explain:

1) In the current tribunal case in which I am pursuing unfair practices by Managers of Blackpool's ICT Services, I have already been lied to and about.

2) The people in ICT are aware of the fact that I-CAN, as a project, was manipulated by the previous Asst Director - I have already formally whistle blown on this subject to Mr Doyle and Mr Legg, but with no action taken to my knowledge.

3) Blackpool Council's representatives has already shown a disregard for the process and procedure, both on of its own HR and the expectations of Unison. Union. I worry about the lengths they will go to continue their manipulations of my situation. This is part of my ongoing case as you know.

4) Pressure has been put on me to drop the case by pressing the point of costs against me. I am the one wronged here, and it is a distasteful way to proceed.

5) I have already been denied access to Councillors by way of "rule changes" made to convenience the Council, when an employee. At every turn I now feel collusion is taking place.

6) I have a witness to a senior member of Blackpool Council warning against working with me as, I was told was said; "He is suing us".

Are there no limit to the lengths some people will go to?

I am suspicious that this FOI enquiry is something that may be being orchestrated to place me in a position that I cannot yet envisage. Am I paranoid? You are certainly pushing me toward it, but I will resist.

I want assurances that this is not some clever tactic to discredit me.

I have decided I will be sending a copy of this email to the Tribunal myself. HR denied me access to Councillors by deciding that my letter of appeal, handed in while still an employee of Blackpool Council was actually NOT accepted on the date recorded, and that therefore you effectively cut off my route of appeal to members. For this reason I have also decided I will send copies the Leaders of all three major Political Parties in Blackpool, as I feel they should be aware of the situation I am in, and also of the way I have been treated. This communication, and the response below is simply not acceptable.

Received 01/11/2012

Dear John.

I didn't think there was anything in particular to answer in your email but thank you for your advice and offer of assistance. As you will no doubt recall, I am fully aware of the rules around FOI and the legislative charging regimes, and around ERDF Retention. I am unable to comment on the approaches taken by other organisations. I am sure that Peter Legg will arrange a meeting should he wish to speak to me or Tony.....

You asked if I got to the bottom of why our response was sent to you - I believe that there was a genuine misunderstanding which led to me being asked to respond. As you have stated that you haven't actually requested this information I will take no further action.

Regards
D "

I simply have no trust remaining.

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

Frankly, this whole matter is totally unacceptable.

Link to this

______________________________________________________________

John Rudkin left an annotation (26 December 2014)

Application to the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) has now been sent.

______________________________________________________________

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

Dear Tracy Greenhalgh,

My application, in this case, has been classified as "vexatious" - the definition of which, in this case I had to get advice on. My requirement to access the information was made, in part, to assist a Blackpool Councillor, who has also had to place a request under the FOIA and previously refused.

It was an error in the forwarding of his request to me, that alerted me to his plight.
I cannot understand why you would deny one of you own Councillors information that would enable him to better serve his ward? All he was seeking to do was replicate what had been done a few years earlier (as it worked very effectively).

In this case, learning from I-CAN helps validate the project to the funders. The information that was all collated and stored together has now, apparently been archived in different locations. As I know exactly what information is required (financials) I can only comment that this has possibly indeed made it much more difficult to follow up, and the action was knowingly carried out.

Surely this is an incorrect use of the "vexatious" which in my opinion, is being utilised to prevent a possible major financial irregularity being more widely known about.

A complaint has now been made to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

Dear Tracy Greenhalgh,

Attn:

Cllr Roger Small
Cllr Christine Akeroyd
Cllr Karen Henshaw JP

Kilnhouse
Sunday 15 November 2015

John Rudkin
45 Folkestone Road
Lytham St Annes
Lancashire
FY8 3EH

[email address]
07708933705

Dear Karen Henshaw JP, Christine Akeroyd and Roger Small,

I would really appreciate your defence of the FOI 2000 Act at its most fundamental level.

FOIA 2000 is far from ideal. It has been damaged over the last few years, and it has been badly abuse, however it is one way that ordinary residents can bring questions to public bodies legally and freely.

As a resident of the Fylde, I used to work at Blackpool Council, which is where I first met the FOI within my work in ICT. I learned of its value, but I also learned of how the act was being abused at time, by the very people who should have been offering serious enquirers information under the FOI rules. It is far from idea in the way it is used by some. I recall seeing members of the Blackpool IT team (and the then Dept Director) use FOI as a way to gather business related advantages for their own purposes (I can tell you more - but for now that will suffice for this letter).

Since 2011 I have discovered how FOI is being devalued in other ways. The growth of the 'vexatious' decision being used by Councils especially ( C3/2013/1855 Dransfield v ICO and Devon County Council (DCC) ) has been a farce. This 'exemption' has prevented a great deal of information being provided quite reasonably, although I fully appreciate that its use can be understood in some cases.

I have used the FOIA 2000 to attempt to expose information that has serious public value. In my case I have attempted to show that 'financial irregularities'witnessed within Blackpool ICT in 2011. This has led as far as meetings with Government Auditors and reports that can show these irregularities might expose a £100,000 misused of EU (ERDF) funding. This was not some minor misuse, but the 'disappearance' of the funding... i.e. no audit trail.

Because of this I have reported and fought that in my opinion my redundancy from Blackpool Council was a least in part related to the fact that I was being silenced. My case for the acceptance of my FOI is now at appeal against the vexatious decision on my FOI and supported by the ICO.. There are related FOI enquiries - all refused -Read at:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/g...
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin
45, Folkestone Road
Lytham St Annes
Lancashire
FY8 3EH

Yours sincerely,

John Rudkin

Tracy Greenhalgh, Blackpool Borough Council

Thanks for your e-mail.

 

I am out of the  until the 17th November and I will respond to you then.

 

If the matter is urgent please call (01253) 478554 and a member of the
team will be able to help.

 

Thanks

 

Tracy

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nigel hobro left an annotation ()

John Your problem is familiar to myself having experienced difficulties at Wirral Borough Council regarding an ERDF fund for Intensive Start Up support (ISUS). The fund was misused and abused and thereby the shutters came down since WBC was supposed to have overseen the project but signally failed. I experienced the secrecy and delays you have; this culminated with a secret 370 page report first whose mention in a secondary report was redacted-an entire paragraph- then this having been forced to be revealed the report took one calendar year to get hold off via the ICO.
My email is nigelhobro@gmail.com

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Nigel, Thanks for your annotation. It is interesting because my initial reason to chase information was nothing to do with the financial quirks. All I was looking for was information to assist another Blackpool Council Councillor who wanted to use part of the learning from the original project. The reaction of the Council was a surprise. Talk about obstructive! They have spent a fair bit of time (and money) trying to discredit the reasonable requests and using false and misleading reasons for denying access. Alas, there are other hidden issues as well - and in 2014 Government Auditors took interest. Still they fight to prevent making the data open. Someone is worried. I actually declared the background (whistle blew) in 2011, and again in 2013, but it was ignored along with a few other things (disappearances of expensive equipment from the IT Dept and some very critical and personal data never declared). It was scandalously all cast aside without any follow up. Amazingly, the copies of the information seem to have gone missing from County, and the last I heard from the Manchester Court at which I took it to task, all records were accidentally destroyed. The matter is now with the ICO as an appeal, which has been accepted. Who knows what comes next?

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Dan, I can answer the question, but will be posting to the WDTK site simply so that anyone who has been following the trail of evasion can understand the reason I have been so insistent on getting the facts public:
1) The only reason that I became involved with the Councillor involved in this case is because Blackpool Council (mistakenly) posted a response to his request to me. I don't care what anyone says, but I was into a tribunal at that point and I felt as though the Council's handling was erroneous at best, untrustworthy and full of lies I could prove. Alas, they went out of their way to prevent those truths being realised. I know there was a financial concern I had over a project I worked on - and that £100k that had been returned was not 'correctly' recorded. I was really worried that there could be an attempt to implicate me in that. I knew nothing else at that stage, but to distrust the work of my manager who had already totally ignore the fact that I had whistle blown on the matter. Does that help?
2) Some members of the Council have sought to discredit me at ever stage.
I am still appalled at how they seem to have got away with hiding in plain sight by simply being deceptive and devious.
J

nigel hobro left an annotation ()

John

This is crazy that a £100,000 project should, by the council's doings, generate so much work years after it completed.

On ly an explanation of wrong doing fits else why should the Council be led into such a more.

The abnormal had become the normal in much local government such that your questioning is seen as an affront. Someone believes that accountability by local government officers became redundant years ago, like the crew of a mutinous ship that threw away kings regulations long ago and now live in the Pittcairn islands each with as much coconut liquor and native wives as their heart desires.

Press on Mr Rudkin press on these mutineers Will yet see the yardarms at Spithead

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Thankee Nige. Yeah to thy tidingf, I raife me glaff-a-rum to muster ftrength for ye battle afore me. Break out the UT application fcroll.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

I speak from experience of a similar FOI request I made, where I requested documents that the local council routinely destroys after 2 years.

After two decision notices where ICO disagreed with the arguments put forward (very similar to your request it was arguments about cost & whether it was a vexatious request), I think the two year limit was passed and the records (for part of the request) were routinely destroyed.

I'd would suggest you remind the public body of s.77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, see ICO guidance on it here https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... .

Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes it a criminal offence if the information requested is altered, concealed or destroyed with the intention of preventing disclosure under either FOIA or the EIR.

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Thank you SP. Interestingly, in a connected but separate situation, following a tribunal and appeal I was informed all of the documentation and evidence was destroyed before its due date (in error) preventing my follow up. Strange coincidences - that evidence was also included in that. Also, the County Council cannot find its records either. There are just too many 'mistakes' for me not to question.

nigel hobro left an annotation ()

That is a coincidence. The backing sheets to compromising invoices went missing in the Wirral ISUS affair. The sheets would have proven that WBC paid for the bid of neutralize for what by EU law should have been an open cpmpetitive tender. Wbc backed wirral and paid for its work to tender for the ISUS contract. The inviices were for some £7k or more, were contemporaneous to the bid and involved a consultant whose time sheets were for the bid and were not invoiced to neutralize under any other heading.

BBC preferred to say it knew not for what it paid rather than admit it had contravenes EU tendering rules.

What is the purpose of any regulations if they may be side stepped so facially?

nigel hobro left an annotation ()

Some predictive text errors above

For wirral read WIRRALBIZ

Neutralize??

nigel hobro left an annotation ()

Neutralize means Wirralbiz!!

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Everyone who has responded - thank you sincerely, including the direct messages. My appeal was 'unanimously' turned down by the ICO. It seems the responds can get away with calling ME VEXATIOUS instead of looking at the request. I cannot understand why the ICO can't see what is going on here, but if they choose to believe the weaselly excuses, they will be confused. This will not go away. Considering that the project files are now 'missing' from Lancashire County Council archives, and since my tribunal records were erroneously destroyed early it appears all evidence except what I hold has been conveniently deleted. The great thing is that I have it all on record, but for legal reasons my records are now securely lodged ready for 2017.
At the last contact, the Government External Auditors have informed us that the DCLG are intending to look into my allegations. The sooner the better. They will have access to all of my evidence and materials.

nigel hobro left an annotation ()

John

Despair thee not. The Govt Internal audit agency looked into my allegations..found I was correct then proceeded to discover flagrant perversion of the tender process by Wirral council employees flat against the rules of erdf procurement. Of course Wirral spent many press releases denying wrong doing by its staff gainst the GIAA report being published..backed by ICO I should say- and the DCLG is now using s36 v another FOI enquirer.

It is like drawing teeth.

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Nigel - Thanks. Drawing teeth? Its like watching never drying paint dry. Each time I test it, I get messed up again. Its been nearly two years now. How long did it take for your case to actually reach audit out of curiosity? Did any heads roll?

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Coincidentally, this appeared in the local press today: http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/b...

Make you own minds up.

nigel hobro left an annotation ()

Nobody got punished John. Nobody at all

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

Ms. Denham, I do not question the ICOs potential to bring sound advice and direction to the international stage when it comes to international strategies – indeed it is to be encouraged particularly at this time, however I question whether it can be as trusted when such travesties are made around fundamentally simple areas such as what is and what is not of public interest or importance; equally I find it appalling that public bodies are supported almost without question when they throw their legal money into supporting themselves aggressively. I haven’t studied or found my self dwelling on this, but my experiences of being involved with a data dispute have been far from ideal. Such approaches ‘internationalised’ would spell disaster for transparency.
In my situation a local Government organisation I worked for was shown to have ‘lost’ a not insubstantial amount of money that should have been declared to the original funders (ERDF). I initially whistle blew on this only to find it ignored and my reasoning denied. What followed was my redundancy, something the local Government organisation creatively blamed for the ‘vexatiousness’ of my claims to see the facts made public. Such claims on their part – and supported by yo are totally wrong… and their venomous attacks on my attempts to show the facts should have been seen and acted upon. Subsequently my case that started as a simple FOI request had to go to appeal only for the Council to be supported, unanimously by the ICO. This was a travesty and it has allowed the body concerned not only to continue to support its own reasoning for not making public what happened to the funding, but to use their win as a reason to feel successful. The Council tried, but failed, to pay me to drop my claims since being identified as doing similarly with many other cases to successful “gag” complaints. The opportunity for those who succeeded to use ‘rules’ to gain the advantages they wanted seem to have worked. I would not in the least be shocked to see the method mainstreamed. The ICO seem, on the face of my own experience, to be easy to hide behind. The use of the GIA 3037/2011/Dransfield v ICO ruling has been quite catastrophic for those of us caught up in its warped use. It is a ‘get out of that request’ free ruling for those who want to utilise it.
Please can you look into this area of concern as a matter of urgency?
https://www.evernote.com/l/ABtzEfaHzuBJb...
The European funders, in this case, on investigation may find it interesting and beneficial to examine where their funding actually ended up. I certainly don't feel confident that the money was not spent on the community it was initially aimed at!

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

I find it appalling that public bodies are supported almost without question when they throw their legal money into supporting themselves aggressively. I haven't studied or found my self dwelling on this, but my experiences of being involved with a data dispute have been far from ideal.
In my situation a local Government organisation (as highlighted here) I worked for was shown to have 'lost' a not insubstantial amount of money that should have been declared to the original funders (ERDF). I initially whistle blew on this only to find it ignored and my reasoning denied. What followed was my redundancy, something the local Government organisation creatively blamed for the 'vexatiousness' of my claims to see the facts made public. Such claims on their part - and supported by ICO are totally wrong... and their venomous attacks on my attempts to show the facts should have been seen and acted upon fairly. Subsequently my case that started as a simple FOI request had to go to appeal only for the Council to be supported, unanimously by the ICO. This was a travesty and it has allowed the body concerned not only to continue to support its own reasoning for not making public what happened to the funding, but to use their win as a reason to feel successful. The Council tried, but failed, to pay me (Compromise Agreement) to drop my claims since being identified as doing similarly with many other cases to successful "gag" complaints. The opportunity for those who succeeded to use 'rules' to gain the advantages they wanted seem to have worked. The ICO seem, on the face of my own experience, to be easy to hide behind. The use of the GIA 3037/2011/Dransfield v ICO ruling has been quite catastrophic for those of us caught up in its warped use. It is a 'get out of that request' free ruling for those who want to utilise it.
Please can you look into this area of concern as a matter of urgency?
https://www.evernote.com/l/ABtzEfaHzuBJb...
The European funders, in this case, on investigation may find it interesting and beneficial to examine where their funding actually ended up. It certainly was not spent on the community it was initially aimed at!

John Rudkin left an annotation ()

From: John Rudkin johnar@me.com Subject: Re: 100K
Date: 20 June 2016 at 10:45
To: (Cllr) Tony Williams Tony.Williams@blackpool.gov.uk

Tony,
Thanks. That is really useful to know and you couldn’t have been clearer by stating that.
What I need is to prove that this appeal has been damaged on a point of law. In order to do that I need to show clearly that Blackpool Council, along with certain individuals, have deceived the ICO by falsifying their claims. That there have been lies told. Your email suggests that, but I think a copy of your ‘pack’ that went to the DCLG has to be provided and say they did not represent the facts. The ICO decided it had to believe them rather than me.
Mr F**** (he’s OK) was provided with the information he needed to give the result that was required to sound convincing enough for the ICO - I doubt he knew what he was looking for - nor do many others in the chain. They were never going to mention the £100k; instead weasel words were adopted to that the audit was some kind of miracle proof there were no reportable problems. This has been a very thorough, time-consuming and wasteful cover-up, with a total disregard for its impact on others, the squandering of public money and it has to be concluded that this would be unusual ( I am doubting this was a one-off.) But you know my thoughts.
My own position on this matter is still exactly as it was. All I want to do is have tangible proof that those who 'set me up' in 2011 were not to be trusted, and their words were not to be trusted. Naming no names.
I wish it was that simple.
Regards,

John

On 20 Jun 2016, at 10:24, (Cllr) Tony Williams <Tony.Williams@blackpool.gov.uk> wrote:

Hi John

After I received the report from Mr F**** ? I put a pack together with an email from(him) which stated that he hadn't been asked to scrutinise the £100k.

I sent this down to our contacts at DCLG who confirmed that they would share with the appropriate department who if they had further concerns would visit BBC and audit.

As far as I know that audit hasn't taken place.

I think the fact that I included the email from Lee would show that I still had concerns re the £100K.

At no time did I provide any confirmation to Blackpool Borough Council that I was 'satisfied' with Lee's report and the fact that I continued to liaise with DCLG in regard to this would indicate that I still wanted some further confirmation.

That is the series of events so far and I have had no further dialogue with either BBC or DCLG.

This just in case we don't manage to discuss.

Regards
Tony Williams
Councillor for Anchorsholme
Leader of the Conservative Group Blackpool Council 01253 **********************************************************