FOI: Email and electronic filing search

Tristan Stewart made this Freedom of Information request to Sunderland City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Waiting for an internal review by Sunderland City Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Sunderland City Council,

This is a request for information under FOIA. I request that the information be provided electronically, to this email address.

1)

Please provide the emails which result from a search of your email system, for the past 6 months, on the following keywords:

- Scientology

- COSREC

- COSRECI

- 51 Fawcett

Please include attachments.

2)

Please provide the documents which result from a search of your electronic document storage for the same keywords. By 'electronic document storage' I mean any network, file server(s) or electronic filing system which the Council uses for the storage of electronic documents of any kind.

If this storage is divided by department, then it will be OK for you to limit the search to the following departments:

- the department which awards mandatory relief from national non-domestic rates,

- the department which awards discretionary relief from national non-domestic rates,

- the department which provides legal services to the Council,

- the department which deals with FOI enquiries,

- the department which deals with complaints,

- the department which provides internal auditing to the Council,

- the department which deals with the Council's external auditors.

Many thanks!

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Stewart

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Stewart
I confirm that your request for information has been received and is receiving attention.
The Council aims to provide available information promptly and in any event within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to consider whether the information is exempt from disclosure. Please note that there may be a charge for providing copies of the information. If the cost of complying with your request in full exceeds £450, we will ask you to reconsider your request, or to pay a fee before the information is supplied. If we need to ask you to refine your request or to pay a charge or fee we will let you know.

Mark Anderson
Manager's Assistant
Telephone: 0191 561 2464
E-Mail: [email address]

Customer Number: 1636
Request Number: 2492

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Howard Smith, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Stewart,
 
Further to your FOI request logged with Sunderland City Council.  After an
initial assessment has been conducted against your requirements.  In order
to pursue this request forward, it there would need to be a cost
associated of £450.00 as to assemble the range of data would take in
excess of 2 and 1/2 days of an officers work time.
 
Would you be willing to review your requirements, in order that a reduced
request can be actioned which would not cost the stated amount, and save
you money.
 
Please respond and let be aware of your wishes.
 
Your attention in this matter is most appreciated.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Dear Sunderland City Council,

This is a request for information under FOIA. I request that the
information be provided electronically, to this email address.

1)    Please provide the emails which result from a search of your email
system, for the past 6 months, on the following keywords:

- Scientology

- COSREC

- COSRECI

- 51 Fawcett

Please include attachments.

2)

Please provide the documents which result from a search of your
electronic document storage for the same keywords. By 'electronic
document storage' I mean any network, file server(s) or electronic filing
system which the Council uses for the storage of electronic documents of
any kind. If this storage is divided by department, then it will be OK
for you to limit the search to the following departments:

- the department which awards mandatory relief from national non-domestic
rates,

- the department which awards discretionary relief from national
non-domestic rates,

- the department which provides legal services to the Council,

- the department which deals with FOI enquiries,

- the department which deals with complaints,

- the department which provides internal auditing to the Council,

- the department which deals with the Council's external auditors.

Many thanks!

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Stewart

 
Howard Smith
ICT Security Manager
LCGI M.Inst.LM MBCS
ISOQAR Certified ISO 27001 Auditor 00668
ICT Unit ISO 27001 Certified - Certificate IS 500009
 
Chief Executives
Sunderland City Council
[1]www.sunderland.gov.uk
0191 561 4211
 
 
 
 

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Dear Howard,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Yes, I'm sure I can refine the request to make it smaller.

Could you help me out by telling me how your systems are divided up? Is it by department, or some other way? Could you provide a list? Then maybe I could exclude some parts.

Is most of the time going on part 1 or part 2 of my query? Could you break down the time used into different tasks please, then maybe I can exclude some of them.

Thanks again for your help.

Yours sincerely,

Tristan Stewart

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Stewart

Your request below is acknowledged, but cannot be answered at this time. If I may explain -

The scope of your request is such that it cannot be reasonably serviced within currently applicable fees limits. That is, the Council can only search a proportion of archived e-mail records centrally at this time, with searches of remaining information requiring the individual examination of over 2,000 individual electronic mailboxes.

Similarly, Council data systems are not set up in a manner that allows wholly centralised keyword searches. Performance of the searches you request would require the Council to locate, identify and search relevant network drives, business systems and the individual PC hard-drives of all employees in those areas you have highlighted.

The Council would then be obliged to measure each and every 'hit' from those searches against the exemptions found in the Freedom of Information Act in order to ensure that information was not being disclosed improperly or unlawfully.

The Council's view is that your request would require the application of resources in excess of the fees limit. An initial 'trawl' of the Council's e-mail Vault produces over 250 'hits' under your search terms. As above, each of these would need to be processed at a rate of approximately 4 minutes per hit in order to remain within the current limit of £450 of officer time. In reality, the proper identification, location, extraction and preparation of e-mails from the Vault system plus the individual e-mail account and personal archive file searches required would take significantly longer to achieve and so your request is refused by reference to Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act. Your request for searches of 'electronic document storage' would add significantly to this resource issue and is therefore similarly refused.

In any event, it is not currently clear whether or not your requests below actually constitute valid Freedom of Information Requests. Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act refers to a person's general entitlement with regard to the information they have specified, with Section 8(1)(c) reinforcing this by stating that a valid request "describes the information requested".

The form and format of your correspondence is actually a request for action rather than a request for particular information held. When measured against the definitions within the Act therefore, your request fails to specify or describe desired information and instead asks the Council to undertake a 'trawl' of systems that are not designed with this kind of enquiry in mind. Further, the scope of the requested trawl would - if accepted as a valid request - have the potential to open all public authorities that are governed by the Freedom of Information Act to unlimited demands for searches under any keyword in the dictionary. While individual requestors following this path would not necessarily intend their actions to be vexatious, it is immediately apparent that the required work would be likely to significantly impede the proper undertaking of public business.

While there is no automatic need to undertake a public interest consideration in connection with these issues, I have done so in the interests of completeness. I note that a number of queries relating to the subject of your request have been made via whatdotheyknow.com in recent weeks - in particular concerning issues relating to rate relief etc. It seems highly likely that much, if not all, of the information likely to be truly relevant to your keywords (as opposed to merely 'mention-linked') are likely to be under consideration in connection with existing requests, with the result that the information that can properly be released will be released in response to these existing requests. In this light, it is difficult there would seem to be no demonstrable Public Interest in assigning Council resources to service a further request which seems likely to duplicate the work already involved in other requests.

Accordingly, your request in its current form is also refused as an invalid request under Section 8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, the likely effect of said request being to vex the Council's ability to properly pursue its core businesses.

I appreciate this may not be the response you may have hoped for. If you are unhappy with this response, you may ask for your request to be reviewed. This will be removed from the Directorate and coordinated by the Council's Information Manager. A request for review should be addressed to the Information Manager, PO Box 100, Civic Centre, Sunderland, SR2 7DN.

If this fails to resolve your concerns then you are, of course, free to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

Sincerely,

O Thomas
Sunderland City Council

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Dear Sunderland City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Sunderland City Council's handling of my FOI request 'FOI: Email and electronic filing search'.

My reasons for requesting an internal review are:

- Your refusal notice does not specify clearly which exemption or exemptions are being relied upon.

- It is not clear in respect of which FOIA exemption you are applying a public interest test, or what the factors are which you have included (and excluded) on each side of the public interest test. I have not been given an opportunity to raise factors which I consider relevant.

- I do not agree that my FOIA request is invalid.

- I do not agree that my FOIA request is vexatious.

- I do not agree that I have not described the information I am seeking.

- My understanding of FOIA is that the cost of redaction and considering exemptions cannot be included in the cost calculation.

- SCC seems to be concerned that its decision could set a precedent for other local authorities. My understanding of FOIA is that this would not be the case, and that even if this were the case it is not relevant to any FOIA exemption.

- The possible future actions of other hypothetical individuals requesting future hypothetical information from other public authorities are clearly not relevant to any FOIA exemption which could apply in this case.

- I remain willing to narrow the scope of my request, if you would provide me with further information about the way in which the information is divided up. For example, what is included in the centrally stored emails? (e.g. dates? departments?)

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

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Stewart

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Mr Stewart,

I can confirm that this will now be reviewed by an officer or officers
independent of the original decision. The review will consider whether
the council's response to your request for information complies with the
Freedom of Information Act.

The review normally takes fifteen working days, however should there be
a delay you will be kept informed.

Regards

Mr Darren Rigg
Information Manager

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Howard Smith, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Stewart,
 
Further to your ongoing request, research has been undertaken which
results in the following initial indications:

* we have data from different Directorates spread over a number of
different file servers, so it is not possible to advise the requester
how data is stored.  Some file servers accommodate more than one
Directorate, Directorate data is split across sites
* within ICT we do not manage the way in which data is stored other than
providing the space to our customers
* with the best will in the world, we may have missed some areas where
the data could be stored
* we do not have any tools that allows us to search for key words within
the data stored on file servers, i.e. the best search that could be
done would be on the names of documents only
* I would still envisage the searches taking some time for someone to
run any searches and then copy the documents

 
This will seen as disappointing news for you, I am sure.  We do not have
data mining tools in the authority which could ease the task.  In order to
give you some idea , the following data is representative:
 
    The department which awards mandatory relief from
national non-domestic rates, 2.67GB  

 

    The department which awards discretionary relief from
national non-domestic rates, 2.67GB        

 

    The department which provides legal services to the Council, 10.3GB

    

    The department which deals with FOI enquiries, 10.3GB

    

    The department which deals with complaints:

 

        Each directorate has a dedicated Complaints Coordinator who
records complaints data for their service areas. Searched file servers and
listed areas found below;

        Complaints Team 785MB

        City Legal Services\Advice 152MB

        Former D & R Complaints 52.5MB

        PCC\Complaints Team Adults 1.77GB

        Performance & Development\Complaints 78.8MB

 

        Staff also use the ICCS system to record complaints data so may be
able to get the required information from ICCS.

    

    The department which provides internal auditing to the
Council, [1]Internal Audit 20.7GB       

    

    The department which deals with the Council's external auditors. 
Audit Commission. Audit Commission do not save their data onto the
Council s servers, all data is either saved  onto individual workstations
or their own systems.

 

Where you can identify the data that is used by departments as shown
above, please note how large the data area is.

 

As you can see, this is protracted, hence my questions to you in my last
email.  Also, the problem identifying the specific data.

 

I am sure that your original request is very important to you and all
efforts are being expended to meet your request.  Please review the
information contained within this email and let me know how you wish me to
proceed.

 

Your understanding is most appreciated in this matter.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 
Howard Smith
ICT Security Manager
LCGI M.Inst.LM MBCS
ISOQAR Certified ISO 27001 Auditor 00668
ICT Unit ISO 27001 Certified - Certificate IS 500009
 
Chief Executives
Sunderland City Council
[2]www.sunderland.gov.uk
0191 561 4211
 
 

 

-the department which awards mandatory relief from national

     non-domestic rates,

\\civ-san-02\CTax\Business Rates 2.67GB  

 

-the department which awards discretionary relief from national

     non-domestic rates,

\\civ-san-02\CTax\Business Rates 2.67GB        

 

-the department which provides legal services to the Council,

[3]\\civ-san-02\solicitor 10.3GB

    

-the department which deals with FOI enquiries,

[4]\\civ-san-02\solicitor 10.3GB

    

-the department which deals with complaints,

Each directorate has a dedicated Complaints Coordinator who records
complaints data for their service areas.

Searched file servers and listed areas found below;

\\mor-data-04\P&P\Complaints Team 785MB

\\civ-san-02\Solicitor\City Legal Services\Advice 152MB

\\ccsdata2\Data\Administration\Admin Team\Admin Shared Work\Former D & R
Complaints 52.5MB

\\lee-data-01\PCC\Complaints Team Adults 1.77GB

\\propsrv1\Data\Performance & Development\Complaints 78.8MB

 

Staff also use the ICCS system to record complaints data so may be able to
get the required information from ICCS. Margaret Douglas (Customer
Services Manager) may be the best person to search the

ICCS system if required.

    

-the department which provides internal auditing to the Council,

 \\CIV-SAN-02\Internal Audit 20.7GB       

    

-the department which deals with the Council's external auditors.

Audit Commission. Audit Commission do not save their data onto the
Council s servers, all data is either saved onto individual workstations
or their own systems.

 

3.         Where you can identify the data that is used by departments as
shown above, please note how large the data area is

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks

 

Elaine

 

 

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Dear Howard,

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter; I do appreciate it.

Just to clarify: in your email dated 19 September, are you talking about stored emails, or other document storage, or both?

Re the points raised in your email:

"* we have data from different Directorates spread over a number of
different file servers, so it is not possible to advise the requester
how data is stored. Some file servers accommodate more than one
Directorate, Directorate data is split across sites"

Does 'a number of' file servers mean 10, 100, 1000 or 10,000? It would be useful to have an idea of the order of magnitude.

"* within ICT we do not manage the way in which data is stored other than
providing the space to our customers"

OK - I can't see that really makes any difference to the request.

"* with the best will in the world, we may have missed some areas where
the data could be stored"

I understand that it's possible for anyone to make a mistake in good faith.

"* we do not have any tools that allows us to search for key words within
the data stored on file servers, i.e. the best search that could be
done would be on the names of documents only"

Specialist tools may not be necessary: for example, this facility is built in to systems based on Unix and Windows. I believe the Council runs SAP: presumably the SAP 'search engine' is capable of searching the data stored on SAP.

If you could give an indication of the software platform in use, then that would certainly be helpful to me in directing my query towards what's practical.

"* I would still envisage the searches taking some time for someone to
run any searches and then copy the documents"

I agree that running the search will inevitably take at least a minimal amount of staff resources. Obviously I don't want to inconvenience the Council, and I'm absolutely prepared to work with you to make this resource use as small as is practical.

I would note that even if the IT system takes some minutes to complete the search, that doesn't necessarily mean that a member of staff needs to be watching it while it does that.

I note that the total volume of data is around 40Gb. I do not agree that this is a large amount of data; obviously it's difficult to choose a yardstick for this type of thing, but since I can buy for £40 a hard drive small enough to carry in one hand which would store 250Gb (about five times this amount of data), I wouldn't consider this a large quantity of data.

I also note that a single PC sold for simple home use would typically have the ability to store five or more times this amount of data, which I feel supports my assertion that 40Gb is not a large amount of data.

My thanks again to you and to your colleagues in the IT department for your assistance with this matter.

Next steps:

- I'd like you to go ahead with the file contents search using whatever full-text searching facitlity is built into your operating system (for example, in the case of Unix-based systems, that would be 'grep'; in the case of Windows systems I believe it's called something like 'File Search'; SAP has its own search engine).

- I'd like you to go ahead with the email search also.

Yours sincerely,

Tristan Stewart

Tristan Stewart left an annotation ()

Sunderland council information management strategy

http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/CHttpHandle...

Dear Howard,

Could I also add that it would be useful (in reducing and refining the scope of my request) to have details of the Council's electronic document management system (EDMS), referred to in para 13 of the Council's Information Management Strategy document dated October 07:
http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/CHttpHandle...

Obviously if there are any other documents which give an overview of the Council's electronic document management and storage systems then those would also be most useful.

Thank you again for your assistance with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Stewart

Howard Smith, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Stewart,

Many thanks for your Email, I have just been informed this morning by our Legal Services, that your request was refused
in an Email of 10 September 2010 at 13:18.

I am therefore unable to progress with your request.

Yours sincerely,

Howard Smith
ICT Security Manager
LCGI M.Inst.LM MBCS
ISOQAR Certified ISO 27001 Auditor 00668
ICT Unit ISO 27001 Certified - Certificate IS 500009

Chief Executives
Sunderland City Council
www.sunderland.gov.uk
0191 561 4211

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Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

 

Dear Mr Stewart

 

Further to recent correspondence, I would like to clarify the Council's
position on the status of your request for information .

 

Your request of 8 September remains refused as it is currently worded, the
basis for refusal remaining the reasons set out in our response of 10
September.

 

Our position relating to the validity of a request for a trawl of Council
records rather than a request that specifies information being requested
therefore remains as previously advised but we are keen to assist as far
as is reasonably possible.

 

Your correspondence with my colleague  Howard Smith  is acknowledged but,
at this time, the Council does not employ an EDMS system that would permit
any reasonably centralised searches of the kind your request asks for. 
The Council’s ICT Department is, therefore, unable to set away the
searches you request .  While in IT terms, it is accepted that 40GB is not
an overly large contemporary figure, in terms of actual records or
documents it does represent a very significant amount of information. 
The issue is not the Gigabyte figure, as much as the activities that would
be needed to service your search request.

 

Even assuming that records maintained by only 1000 of the
Council's employees needed to be reviewed, the Council would need to
identify the relevant 1000 and arrange for them to perform their
individual searches, save the outcomes and communicate that result to a
central point for preparation for release.  To achieve this within fees
limits means that each employee would have to be identified and then be
able to perform the required tasks in 1.08 minutes or less (Fees Limit
stands at £400, or 18 hours - 1,080 minutes - of officer time at the
prescribed rate of £25 per hour).

 

This is the work that would be needed to determine whether the Council
holds information by reference to your keywords and, if so, to locate it,
retrieve it and extract it as referenced in The Freedom of Information and
Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 and is the
reason your request was refused by reference to Section 12 of the FOI
Act , not by reference to one of the statutory exemptions .

 

I am sorry if my e-mail of 10 September did not make this clear.

 

If you are able to specify what information you hope to receive,
particular kinds of information or specific Council department/s you are
interested in we will be happy to reconsider our position and establish
whether or not the work needed can reasonably be carried out in those
areas within  the fees limit.  For instance, if your initial request
stems from an interest in information relating to  a specific area of
Council activity, a focussed search of records held only in the relevant
section may assist .

 

With your agreement in the light of the clarification I have provided on
how the fees limit applies to your original request, I propose suspending
review, and invite you to refine and refocus your request to specify
more precisely the information, Council department or service you are
interested in.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

O Thomas

Sunderland City Council

 

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Dear Mr or Ms O Thomas,

I think we fundamentally disagree here, so I'd like to go ahead with the internal review, as that will clear the way for an appeal to the Information Commissioner (if necessary).

I don't agree with your pejorative characterisation of my request as a 'trawl'.

I am certainly not asking for 1000 individual council employess to search each of their email or file storage accounts seperately. That is a misrepresentation of my request.

I doubt your assertion that the council has no way to perform a centralised (or part-centralised) search on emails or files, at the server level. This is simply not plausible.

For example, the Council's documents in the public domain show that the Council is using Microsoft Outlook as an email client, presumably therefore with Microsoft Exchange running on the server. It is my understanding that this software does have the ability to search the emails of many staff members at one time (contrary to your statement above).

Again, I don't agree that I have failed to specify the information I'm looking for.

I would remind you that FOIA operates on a presumption of disclosure; the Council's current position appears contrary to this (for example in the pejorative characterisation of my request as a 'trawl').

I thank you and your colleagues for the time and attention you have spent on this request so far.

Yours sincerely,

Tristan Stewart

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Mr Stewart,

I have noted your reasons for requesting a review in your e mail dated the 10th September 2010.

I am of the opinion that your final point regarding the provision of council information in relation to your keyword searches requires attention in the first instance. The council has identified areas which may hold information that is covered by your request and is in the process of asking these areas to provide any relevant data. It is also being identified as to what kind of federated search can take place against your keyword searches.

Any information that is held in these areas will be provided by the original deadline of Wednesday 6th October.

If you are still unhappy with the information that you have received this will be reviewed along with the other points you have raised. Alternatively if you are satisfied with the information that you have received but require a review on the handling of the request this will take place by an officer independent of the original decision. This will allow any review to comprehensively cover all issues once the original request has been concluded.

Regards

Mr Darren Rigg

Information Manager
Sunderland City Council

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Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Stewart

Further to our previous correspondences regarding your enquiry of 8
September 2010.

Given the difficulty inherent in securing full centralised searches of
all Council data systems, we have reverted to the position established
in your initial enquiry, in which you indicate the scope of an
acceptably 'targeted' search. Please note that this should not be taken
as an acceptance in principle that a wordsearch request falls within the
definition of a Request for Information as set out in Section 8(1)(c) of
the Freedom of Information Act.

Your request highlights seven particular business areas, which map into
the Council's organisational structure as below: -

- the department which awards mandatory relief from national
non-domestic rates, (and)

- the department which awards discretionary relief from national
non-domestic rates,

These responsibilities are managed in the Council's Business Rates Team.

- the department which provides legal services to the Council,

- the department which deals with FOI enquiries,

- the department which deals with complaints,

These responsibilities are managed in the Chief Solicitors Office.

- the department which provides internal auditing to the Council,

- the department which deals with the Council's external auditors.

These responsibilities are managed in the Council's Audit and
Procurement Department.

Accordingly, file searches have been made of the appropriate
departmental network drives under the keywords you supplied, using the
(Windows Search) Search Companion function within Windows Explorer. The
results are as follows -

21/09/2010 - Search on Chief Solicitor's network drive
Filename searches performed consecutively, each finishing as below -
- Scientology - no records returned
- COSREC - no records returned
- COSCRECI - no records returned
- 51 Fawcett - no records returned

22/09/2010 - Search on Internal Audit network drive
Filename searches performed consecutively, each finishing as below -
- Scientology - no records returned
- COSREC - no records returned
- COSCRECI - no records returned
- 51 Fawcett - no records returned

23/09/2010 - Search on Business Rates Team network drive
Filename searches performed consecutively, each finishing as below -
- Scientology - no records returned
- COSREC - no records returned
- COSCRECI - no records returned
- 51 Fawcett - no records returned

I have rechecked the search facilities for Council e-mail systems and am
advised that centralised searches are now a possibility.

A search has been carried out on the facilities now available and the
keywords you supply produce a number of 'hits' - I confirm that e-mail
searches under the terms COSREC and COSRECI both produced Nil Returns:
searches under the remaining terms did, however, produce a number of
hits: these are attached for your reference.

Please note that "51 fawcett" was searched as a quote in order to mirror
your request and to eliminate the possibility of false positives - for
example, returns on other premises on Fawcett Street or, potentially,
any number of files with the number 51 as part of their referencing.

I attach a copy of the return from the "51 Fawcett" search for your
attention. This search was preformed as a quote in order to mirror your
request and to minimise the possibility of false positives - This is
presented in pdf format for convenience: please note that the
information is not reproduced in its 'raw' form, but relevant Freedom of
Information exemptions have been applied. In general, personal
identifiers have been removed from the attached document as it is felt
that the release of this information into an uncontrolled public forum
would breach the Data Protection rights of the individuals concerned.
These data have, therefore, been withheld under Section 40 of the
Freedom of Information Act.

In other cases where an exemption has been applied, the exemption is
noted immediately following the copy email in question for ease of
reference.

With regard to the search results for your keyword 'scientology', you
will note the returned document is rather smaller. At an early stage in
the processing of the search returns it became clear that significant
proportions of the e-mails returned were either the same ones as
highlighted by the above search, or were comprised of SPAM e-mails. In
the case of the former, duplicated 'hits' have not been reproduced here
in the interests of avoiding unnecessary duplication: in Freedom of
Information terms, these e-mails are reasonably accessible to you by
another means - namely, the enclosure detailed above: Section 21,
Freedom of Information Act refers.

In the course of processing this search, it became apparent that roughly
half of the 'hits' produced were in fact SPAM. On examination, it
transpires that these e-mails have been caught by your keyword search
solely due to the inclusion of the term 'scientologist' in the tail of
the message. This was presumably included by the spammers in order to
help defeat SPAM filters and adds nothing to the e-mail. In preparing
the results of the 'scientology' search I have, therefore, assumed you
will have no use for SPAM emails and have excluded these from the final
attachment, but enclose a sample of typical SPAM e-mails found in this
category for your reference.

I am sorry I had misunderstood ICT colleagues' advice on the scope of
search facilities available through Council systems and hope that this
information is of some assistance.

You should note that production of this information has required the
application of significant officer time as, whilst centrally searchable
through the Enterprise Vault, each 'hit' had to be separately extracted
from the list of returns. While your interest in Scientology and
related matters is appreciated, the Council is also mindful of its
general duties to the public and, in particular, to the people of
Sunderland. I must confirm, therefore, that no further information can
be provided in connection with this request whilst remaining under the
fees limit and accordingly this case is considered to be closed.
Section 12(1), Freedom of Information Act refers.

On a related matter, the Council has received a number of thematically
similar requests since May 2010, in the form of a series of enquiries
relating to Scientology, Rates Relief, rating rules and their
application, case-specific material, as well as your own request. I
must advise that it appears to the Council that these requests have been
made by persons acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign.

While the Council will attempt to respond to the requests currently
logged, I must confirm that the right is reserved to aggregate future
similar or linked requests for the purposes of fees estimations /
calculations. Section 12(4), Freedom of Information Act and Regulation
5(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 2004 No 3244) apply in this
regard.

I hope this is satisfactory. If, however, you remain dissatisfied with
our response to your request for information, you may request a further
review. This will be coordinated by the Council's Information Manager. A
request for further review should be addressed to the Information
Manager, PO Box 100, Civic Centre, Sunderland, SR2 7DN.

Sincerely,

O Thomas
Sunderland City Council

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Tristan Stewart

Dear Sunderland City Council,

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

My thanks to O Thomas and his/her colleagues for the information provided so far.

I am writing to request an internal review of Sunderland City Council's handling of my FOI request 'FOI: Email and electronic filing search'.

In respect of electronic documents:

My request was for documents which contained specific keywords in the body of the document, not just in the filename. I believe such a search is possible by setting the appropriate option within 'Windows Search' Search Companion. Please conduct this search, as per my original request.

In respect of emails:

The dates of the information provided (19/02/2010 – 16/04/2010) do not match the dates I requested in my original FOIA request ("the past 6 months" to 8 September). Please conduct this search, as per my original request.

In respect of the redactions to emails, I wish to challenge all redactions:

Concerning the application of s42 (LPP) exemption:
- I believe it may not cover all the information to which it has been applied.
- The LPP exemption can only cover legal advice from lawyer to client. Some of the redacted information does not fall into this category.
- For example, if an email is not sent from the Council's legal department then it cannot be covered by LPP (eg email dated 31 March 2010 08:58).
- Even where the exemption is engaged, I believe that there is a public interest in the release of the information. I have listed some public interest factors below.

Concerning the application of s40 (confidentiality) to emails sent from Council email accounts using the Council's email system: I do not agree that this exemption is engaged. Council employees should not be using the Council's email system for personal correspondence; if they do so then they cannot reasonably expect that this correspondence will be kept confidential.

Wrongly redacted:

- Names and email addresses of council officers/employees. No exemption has been stated for these redactions. This type of information would not normally be redacted in FOIA responses; the names, roles and contact details of council employees are not confidential information.

- Emails which does not name the FOIA exemption applied e.g. emails dated 16 May 2010 11:25, 16 May 2010 11:47, 14 May 2010 09:52

Public interest fators:

The Scientology cult has a long history of socially harmful behaviour in this country and around the world. This is documented in:

- Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology
http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/fostho...
(The 'Foster Report' for HM Government)

- Mr Justice Latey's declaration in the High Court that:
"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. (...) In my
judgement it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt
because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its real
objective money and power for Mr Hubbard his wife and those close
to him at the top. It is sinister because it indulges in infamous
practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line
unquestioningly and to those outside who criticise or oppose it. It
is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially
children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and
brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and
tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and
relationships with others."
Case [1985] Fam Law 127
http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/latey.htm

- Home Office papers on Scientology:
http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

- "Preliminary report to the Clearwater city commission re: The
power of a municipality to regulate organizations claiming tax
exempt or non-profit status" which found that:
"The Church of Scientology has engaged in a pattern of independent
criminal activity, fraud and deceptive sales practices, and viscous
personal attack and abuse."
(part II.G.7)
http://www.xenu-directory.net/documents/...

- Scientology (the organisation itself, as well as specific individuals) convicted of fraud:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/...

- "[Australian] Senate Economics Legislation Committee: Inquiry
into the Tax Laws Amendment (Public Benefit Test) Bill 2010" which
heard evidence of:
"bullying and harassment; two coerced abortions; Scientology
justice procedures, including court hearings resulting in removal
of freedoms; forced financial donations; severe financial stress;
working a minimum of 40 hours and up to 70 hours a week for no pay;
removal of my Australian passport while studying for Scientology in
the US, so I was unable to leave; working under duress all night on
many occasions while my young children were forced to stay at the
office and sleep on the lounge; threats of loss of my family if I
tried to leave; psychological abuse; being forced to sign a suicide
waiver"
http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/e...

- TodayTonight, "Scientology Tax"
http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/article...
(transript of TV news)

- BBC Panorama, "The Secrets of Scientology" (TV documentary)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v1ykr
with accompanying news articles:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_...

- Private Eye, "Cult Cornered (Again)"
http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.ph...

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

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Stewart

Tristan Stewart

Dear Sunderland City Council,

Also, re the document:
'Screen Print From Business Rate System of Scientology Account':
Could you please include a screen print (or other output) from the same system which shows the remainder of the details held in respect of 51 Fawcett St? I believe my original FOIA query covers this information.

Once again, please accept my thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Stewart

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Dear Sir,

I am writing to advise you that a response to your Freedom of
Information review will
be provided within 40 working days from the receipt of your review
request. The reason
for the extension is due to the large volume of information being
considered following
receipt of a number of requests for information relating to Scientology.

Regards

Mr Darren Rigg

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Dear Mr Rigg,

Thank you for your email.

I would draw your attention to the Information Commissioner's Office document "Freedom of Information Good Practice Guidance No. 5, Time limits on carrying out internal reviews following requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000":

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

which states "that a reasonable time
for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. ... In our view, in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days. In such cases we would expect a public authority to be able to demonstrate that it had commenced the review procedure promptly following receipt of the request for review and had actively worked on the review throughout that period."

I therefore look forward to your response to my internal review request as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case within the 40 day limit.

Yours sincerely,

Tristan Stewart