Filming, tweeting & blogging

Michael Walden made this Freedom of Information request to Carmarthenshire 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 partially successful.

Michael Walden

Dear Carmarthenshire Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide copies of all:
A) standing orders
B) policies
C) discussions (emails / memos)

relating to the following:

1) filming of council meetings
2) tweeting at council meetings
3) blogging of council meetings

In respect of this request, "council meeting" shall refer to meetings of the full council, cabinet & committee meetings where members of the public are permitted to attend. It shall not include any meetings (or part of) where the public are not permitted to attend (e.g. closed sessions.)

If answers to part of this request are already published in a public place, please provide links to the location where they can be accessed online by persons not residing within Carmarthenshire County Council.

In the event that this request cannot be answered within the permitted time limit, please disregard item C and concentrate on the other 2 items.

Under the Freedom of Information Act you should respond promptly and in any case no later that 20 days from receipt of this request. I look forward to recieving your response within this period.

If some parts of this request are easier to answer than others, please provide the easiest parts first rather than hold up the entire request.

I would prefer to receive your response in electronic format.

If you decide to withhold some of the information requested using
exemptions in the FOIA, please inform me which exemptions you have used.

If you need clarification of any of the points in this request,
please contact me via email. Under your section 16 duty to provide
advice and assistance I would expect you to contact me if you find
this request unmanageable in any way.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Walden

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mr. Walden,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 12th
June, 2011 and is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act
2000. We are therefore required to provide you with a response within 20
working days, which will be on or before 8th July, 2011.

If we require any clarification or further details, we will contact you
as soon as possible - if this is the case, then the timescale for
response specified above may be subject to change.

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

Yours sincerely

John Tillman

Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data

Adran y Prif Weithredwr

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer

Chief Executive's Department

Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127

Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear FOIA,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you are required to respond to requests for information promptly and in any case no later than 20 working days from the date of the request. The deadline for responding to this request was 8th July 2011.

In your acknowledgement email, you stated that you would provide "a response within 20 working days, which will be on or before 8th July, 2011.".

It is now Tuesday 12th July - you have not responded by your own deadline or the deadline required under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If I do not receive a reply by 5pm today, I will have no choice but to request an internal review of your handling of this request AND lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner for failing to comply with a request.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Walden

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mr Walden,

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the delay in responding.

I regret that I will be unable to provide a response by 5.00pm today,
however, we are working to prepare a response to be provided as soon as
possible during the current week.

Yours sincerely

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

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,

Thank you for your response.

As you have been unable to provide a response to my Freedom of Information Act request within the legal requirement of 20 days, and are unable to provide me with a response today, I would like to request an internal review into the handling of this request.

Specifically I would like you to review why you have been unable to respond to my request within the required time limit as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I would like to draw your attention to guidance published by the
Information Commissioner on conducting FOI internal reviews which states that you should complete this within 20 working days (http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...)

As stated in my previous message to you, I will now be passing details of this request to the Information Commissioner as you are in breach of Section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I look forward to receiving your response to my original request as
soon as possible and the outcome of the internal review no later
than Tuesday 9th August 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Walden

Jemima Smith, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mr Walden,

I acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review. You will
receive a determination on or before the 9th August 2011.

Regards,

J Smith

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Mae'n bosib bod yr
e-bost hefyd yn cynnwys gwybodaeth gyfreithiol freintiedig. Os derbyniwch
y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar
unwaith, dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au
papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i unrhyw un arall, na gweithredu
ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwynt a fynegir, ac
nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu trwy ryng-gipio**r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi. Ni fydd y
Cyngor yn derbyn dogfennau a gyflwynir yn y cyfeiriad e-bost hwn at
ddibenion cyfreithiol, oni chytunir ar hynny yn ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw
gyda'r sawl sy'n eu hanfon.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may also
contain legally privileged information. If received in error please notify
the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy
any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person,
nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions expressed are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council. You
should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We
accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software
viruses or interception/interruption of this mail. The Council will not
accept service of documents at this e-mail address for legal purposes,
unless agreed in advance in writing with the sender.

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

9 Attachments

Dear Mr Walden,

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 12^th June,
2011 and has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I
apologise for the delay in responding to your request.

The specific information you requested was as follows:

"...please provide copies of all:

A) standing orders

B) policies

C) discussions (emails / memos)

relating to the following:

1) filming of council meetings

2) tweeting at council meetings

3) blogging of council meetings"

In response, whilst we do not have in place specific policies regarding
these matters, we do hold information relevant to the remainder of your
request.

Please find attached some relevant information which we hold. Also
attached is a copy of a response to the press on this recently publicised
issue. The remaining information is in my opinion exempt from disclosure,
for reasons I will set out below.

<<Email trail 5.pdf>> <<Press response.pdf>> <<Attachment to Email trail
1.pdf>> <<Attachment to email trail 4.pdf>> <<Attachment to Email trail
5.pdf>> <<Email trail 1.pdf>> <<Email trail 2.pdf>> <<Email trail 3.pdf>>
<<Email trail 4.pdf>>

1. Section 21 - information already reasonably accessible

Although none relate specifically to the issues covered by your request, I
can confirm that all of the Council's standing orders are already
published on its website and may be accessed via the following link (the
relevant section being 'Council Procedure Rules'):

[1]http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/Englis...

Under Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act, a public authority is
not obliged to provide information which is already reasonably accessible
to the applicant, which in this case, is via a website as explained above.

2. Section 42 - legal professional privilege

We do hold further emails which discuss these matters, which are between
our Legal Services and other officers of the Authority. As such, an
exemption from disclosure arises under Section 42 (1) of the Act, which I
quote below in full:

"Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege
or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained
in legal proceedings is exempt information."

Legal professional privilege is a common law concept which protects
communications between a professional legal adviser and client from being
disclosed, including to a court of law.

As Section 42 is a qualified exemption, I am required to consider whether
there is a greater public interest in maintaining the exemption or
releasing the information. In doing so, I must make a distinction between
what is genuinely in the public interest and what may merely be of
interest to a member or members of the public.

The public interest factors in favour of disclosure are the promotion of
transparency, accountability, public understanding and involvement in the
democratic process.

Nonetheless, a decision by the Information Tribunal (Bellamy v Information
Commissioner - EA/2005/0023; 4th April, 2006) held that public authorities
should be allowed to conduct a free exchange of views as to their legal
rights and obligations with those advising them without fear of
intrusion. It is therefore widely accepted that there is a strong element
of public interest inbuilt into the privilege itself, unless there are
equally strong countervailing arguments.

As the information relates to a matter which is still under consideration,
I am unable to identify any public interest factors which favour
disclosure. I have therefore decided to maintain the exemption.

3. Section 40 (2) - personal information

One internal email trail also contains correspondence with a private
individual. I have determined that this should be disclosed with
redactions to prevent the individual from being identified.

I am of the view that the information you have requested is personal
data. This is because personal data, or information, is defined in the
Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) as information that relates to a living
individual who can be identified from the information, or from other
information held or likely to be held by the data controller (in this case
the Council). This would include names, addresses as well as a wide range
of other information about a person.

Under Section 40 (2) of the Act, a public authority may refuse to release
personal data if its disclosure would breach any of the data protection
principles set out in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

The first data protection principle requires that personal data be
processed fairly and lawfully, with the term processing including
disclosure or release to third parties. Schedule 2 of the DPA provides
the conditions relevant to the first data protection principle and at
least one must be met before personal data can be disclosed.

The relevant condition is found at paragraph 6 of Schedule 2, which I will
quote below in full:

"6 (1) The processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate
interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties
to whom the data are disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted
in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms
or legitimate interests of the data subject."

Disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act has the
effect of placing it in the public domain. I must therefore disregard who
has asked for the information and am required to consider whether it would
breach the first data protection principle by releasing it to the public
at large.

The first step in meeting the condition quoted above is to establish
whether there is in fact a legitimate public interest in disclosing the
information, before considering whether the interests of the individuals
in question outweigh this. I would add that the concept of public interest
differs from mere public curiosity, or something that may be interest to
the public.

In the case of this correspondence, I am unable to find any genuine public
interest factor which requires the disclosure of the identity of the
person that wrote it.

As such, I do not consider that the condition cited above can be met and
it is my view that the release of the information being withheld would
breach the first data protection principle. Section 40 (2) of the Act
provides and absolute exemption where this is the case.

In accordance with Section 17 of the Act, please consider this email to be
a formal notice that I am refusing to release certain information covered
by your request.

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: [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: [2]www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours faithfully

John Tillman

Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data

Adran y Prif Weithredwr

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer

Chief Executive's Department

Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127

Allanol/External: 01267 224127

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Os derbyniwch y neges
hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar unwaith,
dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au papur
ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i neb arall, na gweithredu ar sail y
cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwyntiau a fynegir, ac nid
ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu drwy ryng-gipio'r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. If received in error
please notify the sender immediately, delete the message from your
computer and destroy any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed
to any other person, nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions
expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those
of the Council. You should carry out your own virus check before opening
any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be
caused by software viruses or interception/interruption of this mail.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/Englis...
2. file://www.ico.gov.uk

Michael Walden left an annotation ()

Hi everyone,

I know there is quite a bit of interest regarding this request. I've marked it as 'partially successful' as some of the information has been withheld. If anyone wants to challenge the outcome, leave an annotation & I'll get it written up.

Otherwise, I'll wait till the outcome of the internal review into why they failed to provide the information on time.

Jemima Smith, Carmarthenshire Council

1 Attachment

<<KONICA06_EXCHANGE_07292011-133054.pdf>>

Dear Mr Waldon,

Please find attached correspondence for your attention.

Regards,

J Smith

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Mae'n bosib bod yr
e-bost hefyd yn cynnwys gwybodaeth gyfreithiol freintiedig. Os derbyniwch
y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar
unwaith, dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au
papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i unrhyw un arall, na gweithredu
ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwynt a fynegir, ac
nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu trwy ryng-gipio**r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi. Ni fydd y
Cyngor yn derbyn dogfennau a gyflwynir yn y cyfeiriad e-bost hwn at
ddibenion cyfreithiol, oni chytunir ar hynny yn ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw
gyda'r sawl sy'n eu hanfon.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may also
contain legally privileged information. If received in error please notify
the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy
any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person,
nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions expressed are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council. You
should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We
accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software
viruses or interception/interruption of this mail. The Council will not
accept service of documents at this e-mail address for legal purposes,
unless agreed in advance in writing with the sender.

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