Independent review of refusals

Sheila Oliver made this Freedom of Information request to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Waiting for an internal review by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Stockport Borough Council,

In documents eventually obtained from the District Auditor, there is an audit file note in respect of four questions raised at a meeting with Donna Sager, Assistant Director of Children and Young People's Directorate at Stockport Council.

In response to the questions from the District Auditor regarding the massively rising cost of the Harcourt Street School, it is stated that reasons for this are allowances for piled foundations, geotechnical membrane, the site having no services, additional costs traffic survey and replacement sports facilities.

I and other local people raised the issues of these extra costs with the Council before the planning meeting agreed the scheme and requested further consideration be given to the Fir Tree site. I was branded rude, offensive and vexatious for raising these issues and banned from asking any council or FOI questions on the subject, which is still in force, although the Council has since been forced to admit I am neither rude, nor offensive nor personally vexatious.

Could you please confirm whether or not Donna Sager personally conducted any public interest test or internal review of the Council's five year decision to ban me from having any information on this subject. Given what she has admitted regarding the rising costs, it would be extremely strange if she had. I was right to raise these issues and she must have been fully aware of that then and now.

Yours faithfully,

Sheila Oliver

FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mrs Oliver,

I am writing in response to your email below (ref 3186).

As we have previously clarified to you, there has been no `five year
decision to ban me from having any information on this subject'. The
Council took the decision, in 2009, to state that your requests for
information about Harcourt Street were considered to be vexatious under
the FOI Act and manifestly unreasonably under the EIRs. Please see the
internal review letter sent to you by email dated 22^nd April 2009 for
further information, including details of who carried out the internal
review of that decision.

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are
entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be
carried out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your
original request. To ask for an internal review, contact
[1][email address] in the first instance.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are
entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

[2]www.ico.gov.uk

01625 545 745

Yours sincerely,

Claire Naven

Claire Naven

Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Officer,

Andrew Webb, Director of Children and Young People's Directorate, wrote to me at the beginning of this fight saying it would take 84 hours at £25 per hour to read and redact all the secrets associated with this school the Council was trying to put on arsenic, lead and brown asbestos doing no contamination remediations. It would apparently have cost over £300 in photocopying costs - request refused. No internal review was carried out for six months. He banned anyone else associated with objecting to the project from asking questions too. I have his letter if you want a copy. This has been going on for five years and whatever happens I will get to the bottom of the reasons for all this very strange behaviour from the very top officials and Executive councillors at Stockport Council.

I want an independent review of these refusals. The cover up must stop now.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila Oliver

Dear Stockport Borough Council,

This is the text from the Information Commissioner's letter. The Council should be responding to these requests:-

Information Commissioner's Office
Promoting public access to official information and protecting your personal information
15th February 2010
Case Reference Number RCC0296506 / FS50232537 Stockport Borough Council
Dear Mrs Oliver
Thank you for your letter of 7 February 2010. In your letter you state that since the issuing of the Decision Notice in relation to case FS50232537 on 10 November 2009 further evidence has come to light which you feel no proves you are not vexatious. You also state that since the Decision Notice was issued all your subsequent requests for information made to the Council have been refused on the basis that the requests are vexatious.
The Decision Notice found that at the time of your request, which was 1 December 2008, your request was manifestly unreasonable and therefore Stockport Borough Council were correct to refuse to disclose to you the information you requested by virtue of 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations. All Decision Notice must consider the circumstances at the time the request was made and cannot take into account circumstances that post date the request. If you are unhappy with the findings of the Decision Notice you should appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights). Any appeal should be lodged with the Tribunal within 28 days of the date of the Decision Notice. The contact details for the Tribunal are found at the bottom of the Decision Notice.
In relation to your second point, that the Council are now refusing all your requests for information on the basis that they are vexatious, the Decision Notice relates specifically to the request you made on the 1 December 2008 and does not make any finding regarding future requests. If you have made further requests and these have been refused you should ask the Council to review the requests and if following this review you remain unhappy with their response you can bring a new complaint to the Commissioner.
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF t:0845 630 6060 f:01625 524510 e:[email address] w:ico.gov.uk

Yours faithfully,

Sheila Oliver