External Legal Advice

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Scarborough Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Scarborough Borough Council,

With reference to the special dispensations made public in the Extraordinary Meeting of Full Council on Monday 26th June 2017, permitting the Leader and the seven Cabinet Portfolio Holders to vote on a Motion of No Confidence to which they themselves were identified subjects, please provide copies of all correspondence, including:

1) letters,
2) emails,
3) fax messages,
4) SMS messages,
5) voice mails, and
6) contemporaneous notes of telephone conversations and/or face-to-face meetings

TO and FROM Bevan Brittan LLP, in respect of client instructions, clarification, legal advice and/or whatsoever other correspondence pertaining to the above matters, between the dates of 1st April 2017 until the date of your timely response.

Yours, with kindest regards,

Nigel

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Nigel

 

Email Address: [1][email address]  

FOI Request Reference: FOIA5145 - All correspondence with Bevan Brittan
LLP regarding dispensations in respect of vote of no confidence

Thank you for your written communication of 30/06/2017

Your request has been referred to the responsible officer and a response
should be made within the statutory timeframe of 20 working days from the
date of receipt.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we
will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be
required to pay before we will proceed to deal with your request.

Please ensure that any further communication in relation to this matter is
sent by you to the Freedom of Information Officer at the below address
quoting the reference FOIA5145 in all communications.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Freedom of Information Officer

Legal and Democratic Services

Scarborough Borough Council

e:  [2][Scarborough Borough Council request email]

t: 01723 232323

f: 0870 2384159

w:  [3]www.scarborough.gov.uk

 

 

 

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FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Nigel
 
Thank you for your request which has been dealt with under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
 
Request
 
You requested the following information:
 
With reference to the special dispensations made public in the
Extraordinary Meeting of Full Council on Monday 26th June 2017, permitting
the Leader and the seven Cabinet Portfolio Holders to vote on a Motion of
No Confidence to which they themselves were identified subjects, please
provide copies of all correspondence, including:
 
1) letters,
2) emails,
3) fax messages,
4) SMS messages,
5) voice mails, and
6) contemporaneous notes of telephone conversations and/or face-to-face
meetings
 
TO and FROM Bevan Brittan LLP, in respect of client instructions,
clarification, legal advice and/or whatsoever other correspondence
pertaining to the above matters, between the dates of 1st April 2017 until
the date of your timely response.
 
Response
 
Notwithstanding the fact that the requested information would be exempt
from disclosure under section 42 of the FOIA (legal professional
privilege), the Council relies on section 14(1) of the FOIA which states:
 
Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request
for information if the request is vexatious.
 
It is the Council’s position that this request is vexatious having taken
into account context, in particular:
 

* your own request behaviour and history;
* the request behaviour and history of those who are part of the same
pressure group;
* your continuing attacks upon Members and Officers of the Council
through use of your group website and social media;
* the continuing and collective attacks by those who are part of the
same pressure group upon Members and Officers of the Council through
use of your group website and social media;
* your group’s collective stated aim to cause nuisance and disruption to
the Council.

 
The Council also refers to the following ICO Decision Notice which relates
to the activities of your group:
 
[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
 
Paragraph 10 of the Decision Notice sets out 3 bullet points, being part
of the explanation that the Council provided to the complainant (a member
of your group) when using section 14(1). These bullet points are just as
relevant to your request and are repeated below:
 

* Your involvement and active participation in the activities of a
campaign group, whose stated aim is (inter alia) to cause nuisance
and disruption to the Council, has been taken into account;

 

* Articles, stories and other contributions to the websites used by
yourself and the campaign group raise personal attacks against
Council Officers, Elected Members, and others associated with
Scarborough Borough Council. The content is often offensive,
accusatory, defamatory, and partial;

 

* The collective requests and correspondence from those who participate
in this campaign group have over a number of years caused disruption,
irritation and distress, as well as having a significant impact upon
the Council's already stretched resources.

 
Your past behaviour (and that of the group in which you play an active
role) indicates clearly that should the Council respond to your request,
this will result in further requests and correspondence, and a refusal on
your part to accept the Council’s position, thus further wasting limited
resources and causing undue nuisance and distress. It is also anticipated
that this response (as with any response this Council might make to your
request) is likely to be the subject of an offensive, sarcastic,
accusatory and partial “story” on your group’s website and upon social
media, particularly so given that you have already commented on the
granting of the dispensations referred to in your request.
 
The following excerpt from paragraph 35 of the ICO’s Decision Notice
referred to above is also of relevance:
 
“…The Commissioner also accepts the Council’s assertion that the nature
of these requests and of the group’s statements and wider activities has
caused significant harassment and distress to the Council’s staff and
members. The Commissioner is strongly of the view that this adds even
further weight to his decision that section 14(1) was correctly engaged
in respect of the requests considered here.”
 
Review
 
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request please apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF | Tel: [2]01625 545745 | Fax: [3]01625 524510 | Web:
[4]www.ico.org.uk |
 
Yours sincerely
 
Scarborough Borough Council
 

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FOI Scarborough Borough Council,

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

I write to exercise my right to Internal Review of Scarborough Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'External Legal Advice'.

It is my contention that your invocation of either (i) s.42 of the Act, or (ii) the expedient of deeming the request 'vexatious' is absent of merit.

For a full explanation of the grounds for my appeal, including citations from the ICO Guidance, please see:

http://bit.ly/2tQ5rJx

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

Yours, with very kind regards,

Nigel

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Nigel

I acknowledge receipt of your email. As requested, Freedom of Information Request FOIA5145 has been logged for an internal review. We will respond as soon as possible.

Your Sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
Legal and Democratic Services
Scarborough Borough Council
e:  [Scarborough Borough Council request email]
t: 01723 232323
f: 0870 2384159
w:  www.scarborough.gov.uk

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Dear FOI,

Just to remind you:

The test for a request to be deemed "vexatious" is that it must be “a manifestly unjustified, inappropriate or improper use of FOIA” (Information Commissioner v Devon County Council & Dransfield [2012] UKUT 440 (AAC)). The present request does not remotely approach that threshold.

Judge Wikeley (in Dransfield) further held that "[classifying a request as vexatious] must not be used to avoid being held to account, or simply because the public authority faces a request the objective reason for which is not immediately self-evident".

I shall be studying your response in some depth; I demand honesty, openness and transparency from my public servants.

Yours, with kindest regards,

Nigel

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Nigel

 

The Council acknowledges your email requesting a review of the response to
your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, however it will
not be undertaking a review and you should apply directly to the
Information Commissioner’s Office as stated previously. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF | Tel: [1]01625
545745 | Fax: [2]01625 524510 | Web: [3]www.ico.org.uk |

 

Yours sincerely

 

Scarborough Borough Council

 

Dear FOI,

Thank you for providing the information (albeit to another requester) that "the advice was given during a telephone conversation. This advice was not recorded and therefore the Council does not hold the information".

The Council failed in its legal duty to inform me of the fact that it does not hold the information which I requested - and which exists (to adopt your terminology) "only in the someone's head". (She asserts).

The Council's contention that my request was "vexatious" also remains unsubstantiated. The advice (if it ever existed) is not properly subject to legal privilege, since no litigation is in train (nor likely to be); s.42 of the Act is therefore inapplicable.

In short, the Council's responses suffice only to demonstrate its practice and policy of dissimulation.

Quod est demonstrandum.

http://bit.ly/2vRiOVY

Thank you.

Yours, with warmest regards,

Nigel Ward

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