How much did the stoppers cost to install by the Cenotaph?

The request was partially successful.

Dear Bristol City Council,

According to an article in Bristol247, the council have installed more 'stoppers' to prevent skating next to the Cenotaph. The council said:
"The skate strips are being introduced in response to local complaints raising concerns about damage to paving, trees, planters, benches and the ground close to monuments'.

Please provide the following:
1. the evidence of local complaints raising concerns about the matters listed by the council; where were they raised and how many were there?
2. Any correspondence about the installation of the 'stoppers' or 'skate strips' as mentioned by the council. I'd like to see emails from 1 March 2021 to 18 June 2021. Please check in trash and drafts. Also include attachments to any emails.

If you need me to narrow down the request then please let me know.

Yours faithfully,

Joanna Booth

Dear Bristol City Council,

Sorry for the omission but please also provide the cost of installing the stoppers and how many staff were involved.

Yours faithfully,

Joanna Booth

Bristol City Council

 
Dear Joanna Booth
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 21 June
2021.
 
We are dealing with your request and we aim to send a response within 20
working days from the date we received your request.
 
For further information regarding FOI requests, please visit
[1]https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/off...
 
If you have any further queries about your request please contact
[2][email address].
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Customer Relations Team
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 
Bristol City Council
This email contains proprietary confidential information some or all of
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Dear Joanna Booth
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 21 June
2021.
 
We are dealing with your request and we aim to send a response within 20
working days from the date we received your request.
 
For further information regarding FOI requests, please visit
[1]https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/off...
 
If you have any further queries about your request please contact
[2][email address].
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Customer Relations Team
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 
Bristol City Council
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Dear Joanna Booth
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request received on 21 June 2021 concerning Dear
Bristol City Council,
Sorry for the omission but please also provide the cost of installing the
stoppers and how many staff were involved.
Yours faithfully,
Joanna Booth

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Bristol City Council

 
Dear Joanna Booth
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request received on 21 June 2021 concerning Dear
Bristol City Council,
According to an article in Bristol247, the council have installed more
'stoppers' to prevent skating next to the Cenotaph. The council said:
"The skate strips are being introduced in response to local complaints
raising concerns about damage to paving, trees, planters, benches and the
ground close to monuments'.
Please provide the following:
1. the evidence of local complaints raising concerns about the matters
listed by the council; where were they raised and how many were there?
2. Any correspondence about the installation of the 'stoppers' or 'skate
strips' as mentioned by the council. I'd like to see emails from 1 March
2021 to 18 June 2021. Please check in trash and drafts. Also include
attachments to any emails.
If you need me to narrow down the request then please let me know.
Yours faithfully,
Joanna Booth

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Bristol City Council

1 Attachment

 
Dear Joanna Booth
 
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 21 June 2021.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Bristol City Council
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 
Bristol City Council
This email contains proprietary confidential information some or all of
which may be legally privileged and/or subject to the provisions of
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Dear Bristol City Council,

Thank you very much for your response to my third question. That's appreciated.

Would you also provide the answers to the first two parts of my question?

Please provide the following:
1. the evidence of local complaints raising concerns about the matters listed by the council; where were they raised and how many were there?
2. Any correspondence about the installation of the 'stoppers' or 'skate strips' as mentioned by the council. I'd like to see emails from 1 March 2021 to 18 June 2021. Please check in trash and drafts. Also include attachments to any emails.

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Booth

Bristol City Council

3 Attachments

 
Dear Joanna Booth
 
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 21 June 2021.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Bristol City Council
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 
Bristol City Council
This email contains proprietary confidential information some or all of
which may be legally privileged and/or subject to the provisions of
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not the intended recipient, an addressing or transmission error has
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disseminate the information contained within this e-mail. Please notify
the author immediately by replying to this email. Any views expressed in
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specifically states these to be the views of Bristol City Council.
 
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Dear Bristol City Council,

Thank you very much. A quick query on the level of redaction, please. In the Decisions document, someone asks someone else, which politician signed this off. That answer is redacted.

Should politicians' names not be available?

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Booth

Bristol City Council

Dear Joanna 
 
I have forwarded you question to our Data Protection Team who have
provided the below answer.
 
As the councillors in question are no longer elected persons, their data
is treated as personal and it is correct that it has been redacted. 

The councillors would have been working on behalf of BCC and therefore any
decision made was on behalf of BCC. As he/she is no longer an active
Councillor they would not expect their details to be made public and
therefore Section 40(2) applies.

Yours Sincerely 
 
Bristol City Council

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Dear Bristol City Council,

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately there are two problems with this:
1. You have previously published, on numerous occasions, unredacted content not only from politicians who were no longer at Bristol City Council but also from officers.
In an FOI that contains emails from L&G to the Council, you have left unredacted the officers' names: Barra Mac Ruairi, Robert Orrett, and the mayor George Ferguson who was no longer the mayor.
2. Are you saying that as soon as Marvin Rees, the current mayor of Bristol, leaves his post, all his details will be redacted from any FOIs?

Please confirm whether the first point should lead to complaints and whether the second point is true.

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Booth

Bristol City Council

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Bristol City Council,

Thank you for your response. Unfortunately there are two problems with
this:
 
1. You have previously published, on numerous occasions, unredacted
content not only from politicians who were no longer at Bristol City
Council but also from officers.
 
In an FOI that contains emails from L&G to the Council, you have left
unredacted the officers' names: Barra Mac Ruairi, Robert Orrett, and the
mayor George Ferguson who was no longer the mayor.
 
2. Are you saying that as soon as Marvin Rees, the current mayor of
Bristol, leaves his post, all his details will be redacted from any FOIs?
 
 
Please confirm whether the first point should lead to complaints and
whether the second point is true.
 
 
Yours sincerely,

Joanna Booth

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) have been consulted on the
questions you have raised to ensure that we are correct in what advise we
have given.

The ICO have confirmed that ex-employees and ex-councillors details, where
there is no public interest in disclosing and/or where the disclosing of
their details would potentially cause harm can be exempt under Sec 40(2).
That each case is to be considered on its own merits.

We review every FOI case on a case by case basis and assess what is
necessary and proportionate. Therefore, with these 2 principles in place
we feel that in this particular case there is no public interest in
disclosing the details of the ex-councillors. 

They are no longer in a position to influence or make decisions on any
Council business and therefore there is no public interest in releasing
their details. The content of the email correspondence is the key
information and this has been disclosed.

Regarding the decisions to disclose contact details in previous and future
cases, as mentioned each case is dealt with on a case by case basis.

show quoted sections

Dear Bristol City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Bristol City Council's handling of my FOI request 'How much did the stoppers cost to install by the Cenotaph?'.

You have withheld the name of the politician who authorised £20,000 on stoppers, which are still ineffective. They did so at a time when £30,000 was cut from the book fund. This comparison should show that these amounts are significant to their communities.
The emails are not the only relevant part of this FOI.
An ex-councillor should expect that their decisions are visible to the public. It is not in the public interest to hide political decision making once politicians leave office. It is quite obviously contrary to public interest to do this.
You have not conducted a legitimate interest test in this case and your public interest test seemed only to be about releasing the emails.
I think an internal review is important for the reasons listed above.

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

Yours faithfully,

Joanna Booth

Bristol City Council

 
Dear Ms Booth
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 17 August
2021.
 
We are dealing with your request and we aim to send a response within 20
working days from the date we received your request.
 
For further information regarding FOI requests, please visit
[1]https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/off...
 
If you have any further queries about your request please contact
[2][email address].
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Customer Relations Team
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
 
Bristol City Council
This email contains proprietary confidential information some or all of
which may be legally privileged and/or subject to the provisions of
privacy legislation. It is intended solely for the addressee. If you are
not the intended recipient, an addressing or transmission error has
misdirected this e-mail; you must not use, disclose, copy, print or
disseminate the information contained within this e-mail. Please notify
the author immediately by replying to this email. Any views expressed in
this email are those of the individual sender, except where the sender
specifically states these to be the views of Bristol City Council.
 
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Bristol City Council

Dear Ms Booth, 
 
I am writing in regards to your request for an internal review which was
received by BCC on the 17th August. I can confirm this has now been
allocated to an internal impartial officer so that the Internal Review can
be undertaken. 
 
I can confirm that a response regarding your concerns will be provided by
the 14th September.
 
In the meantime, any questions regarding this matter please do not
hesitate to respond to this email.
 
Kind regards,
 
Data Protection Team
 
Bristol City Council
This email contains proprietary confidential information some or all of
which may be legally privileged and/or subject to the provisions of
privacy legislation. It is intended solely for the addressee. If you are
not the intended recipient, an addressing or transmission error has
misdirected this e-mail; you must not use, disclose, copy, print or
disseminate the information contained within this e-mail. Please notify
the author immediately by replying to this email. Any views expressed in
this email are those of the individual sender, except where the sender
specifically states these to be the views of Bristol City Council.
 
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Bristol City Council

Internal Review

Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

 

14th September 2021

Joanna Booth

By email only

 

 

Dear Ms Booth,

Freedom of Information Act Request – 18939394 (Internal Review)

I can confirm that Bristol City Council (BCC) or (the council) received a
request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) on 21^st June
2021 and the information was provided on 27^th July 2021 and 2^nd August
2021. I am writing regarding the outcome of the Internal Review in
relation to Bristol City Council’s handling and processing of your Freedom
of Information request (Our reference: 17317061 and 17316462).

In the interest of impartiality, I have been appointed to carry out an
independent review as an officer who was not involved in the original
decision.

Initial requests June 2021:

Please see below a copy of your initial request for reference:

According to an article in Bristol247, the council have installed more
'stoppers' to prevent skating next to the Cenotaph. The council said:

"The skate strips are being introduced in response to local complaints
raising concerns about damage to paving, trees, planters, benches and the
ground close to monuments'.
Please provide the following:1. the evidence of local complaints raising
concerns about the matters listed by the council; where were they raised
and how many were there?
2. Any correspondence about the installation of the 'stoppers' or 'skate
strips' as mentioned by the council. I'd like to see emails from 1 March
2021 to 18 June 2021. Please check in trash and drafts. Also include
attachments to any emails.
If you need me to narrow down the request then please let me know.

And

Sorry for the omission but please also provide the cost of installing the
stoppers and how many staff were involved.

Original Requests - 17317061 and 17316462.

The requests were acknowledged by BCC on 21^st June 2021.

On the 27^th July BCC disclosed a full response in regards to your request
(17316462) and on the 2^nd August BCC disclosed a full response including
attachments (17317061 - complaints and the decisions from 1^st March to
18^th June). On the 2^nd August we received an email from yourself
requesting clarification regarding the redactions that had been imposed to
ex-councillors names. On the 5^th August BCC responded with advice that
had been provided from the Data Protection Team.

On the 13^th August BCC received a further email raising concerns
regarding the advice shared from the Data Protection Team.

Internal Review

On 17^th August you raised concerns regarding the handling of this matter
and requested an Internal Review be undertaken. I am aware the concerns
raised are as follows:

I am writing to request an internal review of Bristol City Council's
handling of my FOI request 'How much did the stoppers cost to install by
the Cenotaph?'.
You have withheld the name of the politician who authorised £20,000 on
stoppers, which are still ineffective. They did so at a time when £30,000
was cut from the book fund. This comparison should show that these amounts
are significant to their communities.
The emails are not the only relevant part of this FOI.
An ex-councillor should expect that their decisions are visible to the
public. It is not in the public interest to hide political decision-making
once politicians leave office. It is quite obviously contrary to public
interest to do this.
You have not conducted a legitimate interest test in this case and your
public interest test seemed only to be about releasing the emails.

Whilst undertaking the internal review, I have referred to the relevant
provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I have also reviewed the Code of Practice section 5 and Annex A- Table of
FOI Act Exemption Clauses which has been designed to assist public
authorities to apply the law.

Findings

I have reviewed the concerns that you have raised regarding redactions
applied to ex-councillors. Firstly, I have approached the service area and
I would like to provide some clarification regarding the decision to spend
approx. £20,000 on stoppers.

As you are aware, the Council has disclosed that ‘four staff from
different services were involved in the decision making’. I have
investigated this matter further with the service area and I can confirm
that four BCC staff members were involved in devising and agreeing the
option to install the stoppers and Patsy Mellor (Director) agreed with
this option and authorised the funds to be released. Please be advised
that the ex-councillors did not authorise the approx. figure of £20,000 on
stoppers. To provide some context, the ex-councillors received a number of
complaints of which were disclosed to yourself on 2^nd August and in
response to the complaints the Councillors encouraged the Council to take
action.

However, I am aware that in your email dated 13^th August you raised
broader concerns regarding the redaction of ex- councillors and therefore,
I have also addressed this concern in this Internal Review. On the 5^th
August BCC advised that the applicable exemption is Section 40 of the FOIA
which pertains to personal information.

Section 40(2) of the FOIA states that:

“information is exempt from disclosure if it constitutes the personal data
of a third party and its disclosure under the FOIA would breach any of the
data protection principles or section 10 of the Data Protection Act .”

The ICO have highlighted the importance of reviewing each individual case
on its own merit and therefore, we have reviewed the application of
Section 40(2) in this case in correlation with the ex-councillors personal
details. We have established the councillors primary role in this matter
was to encourage the council to act in response to the numerous complaints
received regarding skating at the Cenotaph. Therefore, we have considered
whether the ex-councillors personal data ceases to be public data once
their civic duties have ended. With this in mind, we have considered that
BCC now takes responsibility for any suggestions or decisions made by the
councillors as they are no longer in this role and therefore, are
civilians.

In view of the above, we have considered ICO guidance which states that in
order to rely on the exemption provided by Section 40, the information
must constitute personal data as defined by Section 1 of the Data
Protection Act 2018. The information that we have withheld includes the
names of the ex-councillors and it is accepted that a living individual
can be identified from their name and as this can be linked to public
sources, the withheld information clearly constitutes personal data.

As the information constitutes the personal data of a living individual,
we would need to consider whether disclosure would breach one of the data
protection principles. The first data protection principles comprises of
two components:

* personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully; and
* personal data shall not be processed unless at least one of the
conditions in DPA schedule 2 is met.

We have considered whether disclosure of the ex-councillors names would be
fair on the individual and whether the individuals concerned would
reasonably expect their details to be published after they cease their
role as a councillor. In addition to this we have considered the
consequence of disclosing the names who influenced the decision. This has
then been balanced against the principles of accountability and
transparency alongside any public interest which may arise from
disclosure.

Whilst conducting the Internal Review, I have researched the issue of
stoppers installed in the Cenotaph and Bristol City Council. I note that
there is criticism across social media relating to the stoppers and
therefore, there would be reason to believe that the ex-councillors who
influenced the decision to install the stoppers may be at risk of public
harm. It is difficult to determine with any degree whether disclosure
would result in harm to individuals, but we cannot determine that it would
not. It is, reasonable to consider that the withheld information could
potentially cause unnecessary distress and possible harm to the
individuals involved in the case. In view of this, we believe that the
risk outweighs the possible harm that could be caused to the individuals.

Further to the above, whilst we agree that their details may have been
previously published, it is our role to review every FOI request on a
case-by-case basis and assess what is necessary and proportionate. We have
considered the public interest in disclosing the details of the
ex-councillors and as they are not employed in an official capacity, they
can no longer influence or make decisions on Council business and the
decisions taken have been absorbed as BCC decisions.  Therefore, there is
no public interest in releasing their details. Please note, we have
consulted the ICO regarding the above position and the ICO agree with our
position.

I also note you have raised concerns that a legitimate and public interest
test were not conducted when deciding whether to disclose the
ex-councillors detail. Please be advised that Section 40 (2) is an
absolute exemption which means that the Council are not required to
disclose a public interest test or a legitimate interest test.  The ICO
does advise that public authorities conduct a balancing test which
considers the factors against disclosure with the legitimate interest in
providing disclosure. I can confirm the service area did consider the
legitimate interests of your request and consulted with the Data
Protection Team for advice regarding the redactions of the ex-councillors
names. For the purpose of the internal review, I have considered the
public and legitimate interests in regards to disclosure and these factors
were discussed, alongside the cases individual merit when BCC consulted
with the ICO.

Decision

We therefore find that the Council is entitled to withhold the withheld
information on the basis of the exemption at section 40(2).

This completes the internal review into the handling of your FOI request.

If you are not content with the outcome of this Internal Review you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a
further decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

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

[1]www.ico.org.uk 

Helpline on 0303 123 1113

Yours sincerely,

Data Protection Officer
[email address]

NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

 
Bristol City Council
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the author immediately by replying to this email. Any views expressed in
this email are those of the individual sender, except where the sender
specifically states these to be the views of Bristol City Council.
 
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1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

Dear Bristol City Council,

Thank you for your reply and your concern for ex-councillors' safety in general, and the Central ward cllrs in particular. Please note that one of your redacters did not redact one of the Central ward's names in one of the pieces of communication. Since you were so worried, I felt it important to tell you.

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Booth

Dear Bristol City Council,

Ex-Central ward councillor Kye Dudd has been re-elected as a councillor in the Southmead ward. Would you please investigate whether it would now be appropriate to unredact the councillor's name you kept hidden in your response?

If you can now disclose the name, please do so.

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Booth

Bristol City Council

Dear Ms Booth,
 
Our position has not changed since the 14th September 2021, however, if
you do have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact the ICO.
 
Thank you in advance.
 
Kind regards,
 
Data Protection Officer
 
Bristol City Council
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