Information about the Management of Cotgrave Country Park and the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP)

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Nottinghamshire County Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Nottinghamshire County Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please provide the following information:

Countryside Management Officer and staff

• A job specification for the role of Countryside Management Officer at Cotgrave Country Park.
• A clear outline of the powers the Countryside Management Officer, Lee Scudder, has to make decisions on behalf of the County Council when attending community meetings.
• Please confirm whether or not Lee Scudder, the Countryside Management Officer responsible for Cotgrave Country Park, works in a paid or voluntary capacity when he attends evening meetings at which he represents the County Council; specifically, when attending meetings of the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP)?
• If voluntary, what powers does he have when attending community meetings; specifically, when attending meetings of the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP)?
• Please provide a copy of the Duty of Care guidelines for County Council employees towards the public during working hours.
• Please provide a copy of the Duty of Care guidelines for County Council employees towards the public at groups and clubs held outside of working hours.
• Please provide a copy of any guidelines you have for staff if they witness bullying or threatening behaviour towards any member of the public when they are representing County Council interests, at community groups they attend on your behalf.

County Councillors

• Are County Councillors paid to attend community meetings such as meetings of the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park, which take place on weekday evenings out of normal office hours?
• If they are paid, roughly how much are they paid for attending such meetings?
• When attending community meetings, such as meetings of the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP), are County Councillors acting as councillors or as voluntary members of the community?
• Please provide any guidelines in place regarding County Councillors’ Duty of Care guidelines for County Councillors towards the public.
• If these guidelines change outside of working hours, please provide a copy of the Duty of Care guidelines for County Council employees towards the public at groups and clubs held outside of working hours.

County Council policy on bullying and threatening behaviour

• Please provide a copy of the County Council’s policy on bullying or threatening behaviour at groups it funds.
• Please provide a copy of the County Council’s policy on funding groups which are known to use bullying tactics to exclude other members of the community?
• Please provide a copy of the County Council’s policies on victimisation and discrimination in community groups, plus information on how the public should report any breaches of these policies.
• Please provide full details of all the steps the Council must take following a complaint of bullying within a group funded by the Council.
• Please outline all the steps an ‘investigation’ into such conduct would take.

Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP)

• Please detail how much the County Council pays every month for the hire of the room at which the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP) meetings are held.
• Please explain why the County Council is so involved with the FoCCP, as opposed to other community groups within Cotgrave.
• How much does the County Council give to the FoCCP to fund pursuits that interest particularly interest members?
• How much rent does the Diamond Fishing Club pay to the County Council every year, for the fishing rights on Heron Lake?
• Please provide the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP) accounts for the last two years, clearly indicating which income to the FoCCP account has been from the County Council and which has been from external grants independently applied for.
• Please provide Minutes of all meetings held at Nottinghamshire County Council for the past two years, in which Cotgrave Country Park has been discussed.

Dog Owners at Cotgrave Country Park

• Please provide a copy of the County Council’s policy regarding dogs at Cotgrave Country Park.
• Please also provide a copy of any documentation which details the County Council’s long-term plans regarding dogs in Cotgrave Country Park.

Park Wardens

• Please provide documentation evidencing the reasons for advertising for voluntary Park Wardens for Cotgrave Country Park.
• Please provide a copy of your Equality and Discrimination policies regarding voluntary jobs such as the Park Wardens positions at Cotgrave Country Park.
• Please provide the contact name and details of someone authorised to investigate discrimination against applicants for voluntary Park Warden roles at Cotgrave Country Park.
• On what date was it decided that interviews should be held “to assess suitability” for the voluntary positions at Cotgrave Country Park?
• Please provide a list of the criteria for assessing ‘suitability’ for the voluntary Park Wardens positions at Cotgrave Country Park.
• Please confirm that at some point between the end of February and 18th March, the Community Liaison Officer for the Country Parks Service (Dept for Children, Families & Culture) experienced serious computer problems which resulted in a considerable delay in responding to telephone and email enquiries.
• Please detail how many people have applied for the role of voluntary Park Wardens at Cotgrave Country Park.
• Please provide a detailed outline of the role, responsibilities and powers the voluntary Park Wardens will have.
• Please detail what training the Park Wardens will have and by whom it will be provided.
• Please provide a date on which the new, voluntary Park Wardens are expected to start their voluntary roles.
• Please state at what times, and on what days of the week, the voluntary Park Wardens at Cotgrave Country Park are expected to be working.

Yours faithfully,

Penny Bunn

Nottinghamshire County Council

Good afternoon

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded this to the Freedom of Information Team who will get back to you within five working days.

I hope you find this helpful. For any other information and advice on all County Council services please visit our website at http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk or email us at [Nottinghamshire County Council request email]

Yours faithfully,

Tina Whetton
Customer Services
Nottinghamshire County Council

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FOIA EIR DPA, Nottinghamshire County Council

Dear Ms Bunn

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Ref NCC-013454-14

 

Thank you for your request for information about Management of Cotgrave
Country Park. Your request was received on 06 May 2014 and I am dealing
with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case I will
let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be
required to pay before I will proceed to deal with your request.

 

You will receive the information requested within 20 working days, due
date 04 June 2014, unless the Council does not hold the information or
there is a reason for it to be withheld. I will write to you in any event.

 

If you have any requirements regarding the format any information should
be supplied in, e.g. the language to be used, audio, large print and so
on, then please let me know. If you have not already done so, please
supply your email address if you are willing to receive the information
electronically.

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact
me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Further information about your rights is also available from the
Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House 
Water Lane 
Wilmslow 
Cheshire 
SK9 5AF 
Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45
[1]www.ico.gov.uk

 

 

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

 

Complaints & Information Team

Nottinghamshire County Council

 

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FOIA EIR DPA, Nottinghamshire County Council

Dear Ms Bunn

 

Ref NCC-013454-14

 

Thank you for your request for information relating to the management of
Cotgrave Country Park and the Friends of Cotgrave Country Park (FoCCP).

 

Having looked at your current request and taking into account your
previous requests for information and also the complaint you made to the
County Council in June 2013, we are refusing to comply with your request
under S14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Under this section of the Act authorities can refuse to respond to
requests if it would cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of
disruption to do so.  In reaching this decision we have considered the
following factors.

 

The authority has already addressed many of your continuing concerns about
the management of Cotgrave Country Park and the FoCCP and has spent a
considerable amount of officer time trying to explain the Council’s
position.

 

Your request stems from your personal dispute with the FoCCP and also with
the Diamond Fishing Club.  It would appear from our previous
correspondence with you that your desired outcomes would require the
County Council to:

 

·        revoke the Diamond Fishing Club’s lease to fish in the Heron Lake

·        take action against members of the Fishing Club and the FoCCP for
behaviour you deemed to be inappropriate

·        allow dogs unrestricted access to all areas of Cotgrave Country
Park, in particular the Heron Lake.

 

Your current request contains over 36 requests for individual pieces of
information.  However, providing this information is not going to achieve
any of these outcomes. 

 

Therefore, it is the Council’s view that it is not in the wider public
interest to spend any further resources complying with this request.

 

I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful. 

 

You have the right to ask us to review this decision.  If you wish to do
so, or if you wish to raise any concerns about the way your request was
dealt with, then please write to the Team Manager, Complaints and
Information, County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP or e-mail
[email address] quoting the reference number above. 

 

Following this, if you remain dissatisfied, you have the right of appeal
to the Information Commissioner.  However, the Information Commissioner
cannot normally make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 54 57 45

[1]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

Wendy Hallam
Information Officer

Complaints and Information Team
Policy, Planning and Corporate Services
0115 977 2788s

 

Nottinghamshire County Council

County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP
[2]http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/

 

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Dear Ms Hallam

I actually feel that the Council is being extremely discriminatory in its response, which is clearly aimed at being as unhelpful as possible.

It is not up to you to assume that I am aiming for ANYTHING and I object to your assumptions about the aims behind my FOIA requests.

The Council has consistently refused to provide this information, most of which should be freely and openly available to members of the public, anyway.

It is because of your refusal to provide this information in response to letters I have written to you, that I concluded that an FOIA request was the only way forward.

I am resubmitting the request for information about the Park Wardens positions, since there is no way that you can claim to have given me this information before. The Park Wardens positions are new, the questions are new, and I have a right to that information.

If you refuse to provide the information requested, I shall complain to the Information Commissioner's Office and ask them to investigate. Given the Council's obvious bias, requesting an internal review from you would obviously be a waste of everybody's time.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

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Dear Nottinghamshire County Council,

Dear Ms Hallam

I actually feel that the Council is being extremely discriminatory
in its response, which is clearly aimed at being as unhelpful as
possible.

It is not up to you to assume that I am aiming for ANYTHING and I
object to your assumptions about the aims behind my FOIA requests.

The Council has consistently refused to provide this information,
most of which should be freely and openly available to members of
the public, anyway.

It is because of your refusal to provide this information in
response to letters I have written to you, that I concluded that an
FOIA request was the only way forward.

I am resubmitting the request for information about the Park
Wardens positions, since there is no way that you can claim to have
given me this information before. The Park Wardens positions are
new, the questions are new, and I have a right to that information.

If you refuse to provide the information requested, I shall
complain to the Information Commissioner's Office and ask them to
investigate. Given the Council's obvious bias, requesting an
internal review from you would obviously be a waste of everybody's
time.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

Nottinghamshire County Council

Dear FOI Team,

We have received the following email from a customer via the public NCC website. I would appreciate your assistance by responding directly to the customer's enquiry.

If you are unable to respond to the customer, please contact us to advise.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Wood
Customer Services
Nottinghamshire County Council

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Nottinghamshire County Council

Good Morning

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded this to the relevant team who will respond to you directly.

I hope you find this helpful. For any other information and advice on all County Council services please visit our website at http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk or email us at [Nottinghamshire County Council request email]

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Wood
Customer Services
Nottinghamshire County Council

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Dear Mr Wood,

I thank you for your prompt reply, which is displayed on the website along with the email you sent to the relevant department.

Ms Hallam's comments are highly offensive. I have NEVER stated, or suggested, that I want the Fishing Club closed (far from it, actually!); dogs ARE allowed in all areas of the park anyway, so her comment there is irrelevant and ridiculous; and the questions I have asked have not been asked by me under the FOIA before.

Thanks for your assistsnce in this matter, which is appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

FOIA EIR DPA, Nottinghamshire County Council

Dear Ms Bunn

 

Ref NCC-013454-14

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 13 May in which you say that you are
re-submitting the part of your request which relates to the voluntary park
wardens on the basis that you have not asked for this information before.

 

I can see from our records that you have already been sent an
acknowledgement of this request.  However, this was sent in error and I
would like to apologise for this.  I can confirm that we are currently
reviewing whether to accept the new request and I will contact you again
once a decision has been taken.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Wendy Hallam
Information Officer

Complaints and Information Team
Policy, Planning and Corporate Services
0115 977 2788

 

Nottinghamshire County Council

County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP
[1]http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/

 

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1. http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/

Dear Ms Hallam

I am in receipt of your email advising that you are reviewing whether or not you can provide the information I have requested about the voluntary park wardens positions at Cotgrave Country Park.

It is difficult to see how my request can be justifiably refused.

* Normally, a job description, outline of responsibilities and information about the role and position advertised is freely available to any applicants for any kind of job; often online alongside the job advertisement.

*It will be a simple matter of record to identify what dates decisions were taken about suitability testing, etc, of applicants.

* It will be a simple matter of record to identify whether or not there were IT problems in the department specified, between the dates specified.

* Every council must have in place policies around Equality and Discrimination, and an officer who deals with such matters, and all this information should be readily available to anyone who requests it.

* Any applicant for the park warden positions could reasonably ask about the training to be provided, the name of the provider, the start date and expected days and times when warden cover will be provided.

The majority of my questions, in fact, are perfectly reasonable questions that anyone could ask of your HR department. It is therefore difficult to see how my request (submitted separately, as I said I would) can possibly be refused; or indeed, how the Council could justify such a decision to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

FOIA EIR DPA, Nottinghamshire County Council

Dear Ms Bunn

 

Thank you for your e-mail yesterday explaining why you believe the Council
must accept your request for information relating to the role of Voluntary
Park Wardens at Cotgrave Country Park.

 

You are, of course, aware that we had refused to answer these questions
under S14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act when they were submitted as
part of a wider request.  We have now reviewed this decision in light of
your revised request and your comments and I can confirm that we will be
responding to your request.   You should receive a response by 11 June
2014.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Wendy Hallam
Information Officer

Complaints and Information Team
Policy, Planning and Corporate Services
0115 977 2788

 

Nottinghamshire County Council

County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP
[1]http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/

 

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1. http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/

Dear Ms Hallam,

Many thanks. I will look forward to receiving the information.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bunn

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