Failure to pass on safety concerns St Paul's

David Hansen made this Freedom of Information request to City of London Corporation

The request was refused by City of London Corporation.

From: David Hansen

30 October 2011

Dear City of London Corporation,

I refer to
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fa...

In view of your request I will make precisely the same enquiry of
you. However, I note that you are not impartial in this matter.
Quite the reverse. As outlined in
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/28...
you are colluding with St Paul's in taking legal action. It is
therefore highly unlikely that you would undermine this legal
action by asking searching questions of your partners in crime,
which might have the effect of undermining the legal action.

I refer to the article at http://occupylsx.org/?p=337 and in
particularly the following bit

"Unfortunately, despite our requests of the Cathedral,they have not
provided us with details and information as to how we are perceived
to be threatening health and safety. We once again urge the
Cathedral to bring to our attention, immediately, the particular
details of the health and safety issues to address them.

Our concern is if there are health and safety issues (which we in
any event refute) by the Church failing to tell of them, they are
exacerbating any perceived dangers."

It appears that St Paul's are failing to pass on information on
alleged health and safety problems to those who could benefit from
the warnings. If there are real problems then this failure is
unnecessarily increasing the risks protesters face.

Under the 1974 Act St Paul's have a duty of care to the protesters,
which they appear to be in breach of.

Please detail what steps you have taken to investigate and resolve
this matter.

Please note that "replies" which involve attachments in proprietary
file formats are not acceptable. A reply which is not in plain text
format will be deemed to be a refusal to answer.

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

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From: COL - EB - Information Officer
City of London Corporation

31 October 2011

Dear Mr Hansen,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

The City of London (CoL) acknowledges receipt of your request for information of 30 October 2011, as follows:

Public authorities are required to respond to requests within the statutory timescale of 20 working days beginning from the first working day after they receive a request. The Act does not always require public authorities to disclose the information which they hold.

The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and port health authority. The CoL is the local and police authority for the “Square Mile”, ie the historic City of London, and not for London as a whole. Please see the following link to a map on the CoL's website, which shows the area covered:
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/maps....
The CoL’s port health authority functions extend beyond the City boundary. For further information please see: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/porthealth.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

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From: COL - EB - Markets Directorate
City of London Corporation

21 November 2011

Dear Mr Hansen,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Following your request of 30 October 2011, and our acknowledgement of 31
October, the City of London (CoL) responds as follows. 

 

At the date of your request on 30 October 2011, St Paul's had raised the
following health & safety concerns with the CoL:-

 

a) how the presence of the protesters encampment has compromised
their fire safety arrangements and plan - e.g. access for fire appliances
to the Chapter House and north side of the Cathedral;

 

b) the close proximity of the many tents restricting exits from the
Cathedral; and

 

c) protesters storing LPG / Propane for cooking and petrol for generators
inside their encampment.

 

The Cathedral authorities have discussed all of these matters, in detail,
directly with the London Fire Brigade and subsequently re-opened the
Cathedral to the public following some modifications to the
Cathedrals daily mode of operation.

 

The CoL is inspecting the site daily and any issues or concerns regarding
health & safety or other matters generally are brought immediately to the
attention of protesters' representatives.

 

With respect to the Cathedral authorities providing information to the
protesters in connection with any health & safety risks, we are aware that
they have made both their position and their concerns about the above
abundantly clear to representatives of the protesters.

 

We hope that this response is of assistance. Nevertheless, should you wish
to make a complaint about the way the CoL has managed your enquiry, please
make your complaint in writing to email address:
[1][email address]. For a link to the CoL’s FOI complaints
procedure, please visit the following page:
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the CoL’s FOI Complaints
Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the Information
Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone:
(01625) 545700.  Website: [3]http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

 

The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and
port health authority.

 

The CoL holds the copyright in this communication. Its supply does not
give a right to re-use in a way that would infringe that copyright, for
example, by making copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public or
to any other person. Brief extracts of any of the material may be
reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the purposes of research for
non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and news
reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the copyright owner.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Department of Markets and Consumer Protection
City of London

[4][email address]

[5]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

 

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From: David Hansen

22 November 2011

Dear COL - EB - Markets Directorate,

Your long communication has many words, but it singularly fails to
answer the question you were asked (I can only assume
deliberately). In view of that I would like an internal review.

The question you were asked was to detail what steps you have taken
to investigate and resolve the failure of St Paul's to pass on
"safety concerns" to those affected by, and able to respond to,
these concerns. During the period my enquiry relates to St Paul's
have stated publicly that they did not pass on information to the
campers, or communicate in any other way, at the behest of that
least important species of person a lawyer. They have said that
their "legal advice" during the time they were adopting the
anti-Christian approach was that they should not communicate with
the campers. Thus they failed to pass on "safety concerns". The
campers say the same thing, despite repeatedly asking for
information on these "safety concerns" nothing was forthcoming.
Before, and after, St Paul's silence the campers have responded to
true safety concerns. However, at the time in question they could
not do anything about the alleged "safety concerns", as they were
being kept in ignorance of what they were.

A mere court case is no reason not to pass on "safety concerns". A
mere court case does not overide the requirements under the 1974
Act to pass on information about perceived hazards. People should
not be exposed to excessive danger just because some court case has
not yet started.

When St Paul's adopted a Christian approach by dropping their court
case they started communicating with the campers again. Your
statement that, "With respect to the Cathedral authorities
providing information to the protesters in connection with any
health & safety risks, we are aware that they have made both their
position and their concerns about the above abundantly clear to
representatives of the protesters.", is no doubt true now, but it
has nothing to do with the period my enquiry relates to.

Please answer the question this time. If your answer is that you
are not going to investigate what appears to be a breach of the
1974 Act then please say do, otherwise please outline what steps
you have taken to investigate what appears to be a breach of the
law. It has now been resolved, but my enquiry is not about now but
it is about then.

Yours sincerely,

David Hansen

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From: COL - EB - Information Officer
City of London Corporation

23 November 2011

Dear Mr Hansen,

Thank you for your email of 22 November 2011, requesting a review relating
to the response by the City of London (CoL) on 21 November to your request
of 30 October. In accordance with published guidance by the Information
Commissioner's Office, the CoL aims to respond to FOI complaints not later
than 20 working days from the first working day after receiving the
complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer

City of London

Tel: 020-7332 1209

[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

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From: COL - EB - Markets Directorate
City of London Corporation

28 November 2011

Dear Mr Hansen,

We write further to your Freedom of Information request dated 30 October, our response of 21 November and your request for an internal review dated 22 November where you clarified your original request as follows:

The question you were asked was to detail what steps you have taken to investigate and resolve the failure of St Paul's to pass on "safety concerns" to those affected by, and able to respond to, these concerns.

We are sorry that you found our initial response unhelpful. This was certainly not our intention.

Having considered the correspondence referred to above, we believe our initial response addressed the request set out in that letter. However, having seen your clarified request we are happy to add that there is no information held as to steps taken by the City of London Corporation to investigate and resolve a failure of St Paul’s Cathedral to pass on “safety concerns” to the protesters at the camp in the vicinity of the Cathedral as there was no such “failure” requiring investigation.

As we explained in our initial reply there has been on-going dialogue between the various parties, including the protestors at the site, to resolve any safety concerns as they occur and this dialogue continues.

If, having used the CoL’s FOI Complaints Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the Information Commissioner to investigate. Please contact: Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone: (01625) 545700. Website: http://www.ico.gov.uk/.

We hope this response is of assistance to you.

Department of Markets and Consumer Protection
City of London
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

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From: David Hansen

29 November 2011

Dear COL - EB - Markets Directorate,

"there is no information held as to steps taken by the City of
London Corporation to investigate and resolve a failure of St
Paul’s Cathedral to pass on “safety concerns” to the protesters at
the camp in the vicinity of the Cathedral as there was no such
“failure” requiring investigation."

That statement is completely untrue, as you are unbdoubtedly aware.
If you are not aware of that then you are not doing your jobs.

It is documented by the campers and St Paul's that St Paul's failed
to pass alleged "safety" concerns on to the campers for many days,
despite repeated requests by the campers for access to these.

This is easy to prove http://occupylsx.org/?p=337 refers:

"Unfortunately, despite our requests of the Cathedral, they have
not provided us with details and information as to how we are
perceived to be threatening health and safety. We once again urge
the Cathedral to bring to our attention, immediately, the
particular details of the health and safety issues to address them.
Our concern is if there are health and safety issues (which we in
any event refute) by the Church failing to tell of them, they are
exacerbating any perceived dangers."

while
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/01...
refers to the St Paul's position:

"The Rt Rev Michael Colclough said legal advice had dictated that
contact should be cut as long as court action remained a
possibility, which was "frustrating" for the cathedral."

It is not a matter where there is room to wriggle. It is simply a
fact that, at the time they were intending to run to the courts, St
Paul's failed to pass on alleged safety concerns, at the behest of
lawyers.

You have made clear that you have no intention of investigating
this. Indeed you deny that it ever happened, despite the clear
evidence that it did.

It is easy to see why you have adopted this stance, your activities
are fatally undermined by your conflict of interest.

Yours sincerely,

David Hansen

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From: COL - EB - Markets Directorate
City of London Corporation

6 December 2011

Dear Mr Hansen,

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides a right to information held by a public authority. As we have explained to you, we hold no information relevant to your initial request (or your clarified request).

We are unable to comment on statements made by third parties to which your refer. Nevertheless, in light of your recent correspondence dated 29 November, it might be helpful if we explain further why there is no information held. The safety concerns raised with the CoL by St Paul’s up to the date of your original request related to the obstruction of fire escape routes for users of the Cathedral caused by the presence of the protest camp, but not affecting the campers/protestors. Therefore there was no failure by the Cathedral authorities to inform the protesters as they (the campers) were not affected by these safety concerns and as such there was no investigation, as we have already explained.

We hope this assists.

Yours sincerely,

Department of Markets and Consumer Protection
City of London
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

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