Dear Mr Tillman,

Please provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure on external legal advice and representation from January 1st 2016 to date.
Please provide a list of solicitors, names of counsel, the costs incurred, the terms of reference and purpose of the expenditure.

Thank you,

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs. Thompson,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 22nd
May, 2018, and is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

We are therefore required to provide a response within 20 working days,
which will be on or before 20th June, 2018.

If we require clarification we will also contact you as soon as we can –
please note that the timescale for response specified above may be subject
to change if this is the case.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any
queries, remembering to quote the reference number above in any
communications.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adfywio a Pholisi
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Regeneration & Policy
Chief Executive’s Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire Council

Further to your information request below, please could you clarify what
you mean by the phrase ‘the terms of reference’.

 

Yours sincerely

Robert Edgecombe

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Edgecombe,

By 'terms of reference' I mean the detailed instructions given to external solicitors and/or counsel,

I trust this provides clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire Council

Thank you.

That is very helpful

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Edgecombe,

I believe the 20 day limit for your response, including the request for clarification, has now passed.

I would be grateful for a response to my request without further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson

Data has been provided to Mr Tillman, who will be responding on behalf of the authority. I will let him know that you are chasing a response.

Yours sincerely

Robert Edgecombe

show quoted sections

John W Tillman, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

Further to the email exchange below, we have received data in respect of your request.

However, this is by financial year for 2016/17 and 2017/18, data for 2015/16 having been already published by the Council on our website.

If you are happy to receive information by financial rather than calendar year, I would be grateful if you could confirm this.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adfywio a Pholisi
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Regeneration & Policy
Chief Executive’s Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,

Yes, that information will be fine.
If the response raises further queries I will let you know.

Thank you,

Jacqui Thomspon

Dear Mr Tillman,

I would be grateful if you could send the information which you confirmed you had received, outlined in your email of the 27th June, to which I responded on the same day.
If there is likely to be further delay I would appreciate an explanation,

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

Dear Mr Tillman,

As the time limit for your response passed last week, please could you now send the information to me, or an explanation for the delay, as soon as possible. Otherwise I will have no option other than to report the non-compliance to the ICO.

Thank you
Jacqui Thompson

caebrwyn left an annotation ()

Just to clarify, this response is now a couple of weeks late. It is not a new request as the 'status' indicates but another prompt to the council for a response.

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 22^nd May,
2018 and has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Please accept my apologies for the delay in providing this response.

 

The specific information you requested was as follows:

 

“1. Please provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure on external legal
advice and representation from January 1st 2016 to date.

 

2. Please provide a list of solicitors, names of counsel, the costs
incurred, the terms of reference and purpose of the expenditure.”

 

In response, please find attached the relevant information held by the
Council for the years financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18.

 

The equivalent information for 2015/16 is already publically available on
our website having been reported to the Policy & Resources Scrutiny
Committee on 30^th November, 2016 (item 7, appendix B):

 

[1]http://democracy.carmarthenshire.gov.wal...

 

Under Section 21 of the FOIA, a public authority is not obliged to provide
information where this is already reasonably accessible to the public by
other means, which in this case is via our website as set out above.

 

With regard to your request for the terms of reference in each case, I am
of the view that these would be equivalent to the instructions provided to
the legal professionals, and therefore be subject to legal professional
privilege.

 

Under Section 42 of the Act, a public authority may refuse to provide
information where a claim to legal professional privilege could be
maintained.  In view of the above, I believe this exemption is therefore
engaged.

However, Section 42 is qualified and subject to a public interest test. 
In doing so, I am required to make a clear distinction between what is
genuinely in the public interest and what may merely be of interest to a
person or members of the public. 

There are public interest factors which favour disclosure in this case,
namely transparency and furthering public knowledge in relation to the
expenditure of public funds on external legal services.

Nonetheless, there is an inherent public interest in maintaining this
exemption, which will always be strong due to the importance of the
principle behind legal professional privilege, which is to protect the
privacy of communications between client and lawyer to ensure access to
full and frank legal advice. This is fundamental to the administration of
justice.  I do not consider that this is outweighed by the factors
favouring disclosure set out above and  believe the exemption should be
maintained and the terms of reference withheld from disclosure.

 

As I am refusing to provide some of the information you have requested,
please consider this email to be a formal notice of refusal as required by
Section 17 of the FOIA.

 

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled,
you can request a review by writing to:

The Head of Administration & Law
Carmarthenshire County Council
County Hall
Carmarthen
SA31 1JP

Email: [2][email address]

If you remain unhappy with the handling of your request or complaint, you
have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: [3]www.ico.gov.uk
                                                                                                           
There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely

 

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data

Adfywio a Pholisi

Adran y Prif Weithredwr

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

 

Information & Data Protection Officer

Regeneration & Policy

Chief Executive’s Department

Carmarthenshire County Council

 

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://democracy.carmarthenshire.gov.wal...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

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