Information about your plans for St Leonards On Sea Crown Post Office

Rachel Mount made this Freedom of Information request to Post Office Limited

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

The request was partially successful.

Dear Post Office Limited,

Please can you share with me copies of all letters / email/ documentation/ correspondence relating in any way to any aspect of your plans for St Leonards On Sea Crown Post Office. This can be copies of documents and /or links to wherever these are held.

This information should include -
Any correspondence made between Post Office Ltd and Amber Rudd MP.
Any correspondence made between Post Office Ltd and Amber Rudd's staff members.
Any correspondence made between Hastings Borough Council Conservative Party councillors.
The time period of the correspondence should include - 2016 when plans were first proposed, 2017, through to February 2018.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Mount

information.rights, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Mount,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Regards,

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D06092.15F1BC40 Kerry Moodie

Information Rights Team

Ground Floor
20 Finsbury Street 

LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

 

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

 

 

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information.rights, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Mount,

 

Please find an update attached to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D06092.15F1BC40 Kerry Moodie

Information Rights Team

Ground Floor
20 Finsbury Street 

LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

 

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

 

 

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Dear Information.Rights,

Thank you for your response dated 6th March. Unfortunately it provides no information to the simple FOI request. The response requests a 4 wk delay period until 4th April. No valid reason is given as to why more time is required. Please can the Post Office Information Rights Team provide a detailed explanation for this delay.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Mount

information.rights, Post Office Limited

Dear Ms Mount,

As advised we are still reviewing the information you requested and as such we do not have to provide a detailed explanation of the delay.

However, I can advise we are complying with our duties under the act to consider third party disclosures and intend to reply well in advance of the 04 April.

Regards,

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Team
Ground Floor

20 Finsbury Street 
LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

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Dear Information Rights,

By law, public authorities must respond “promptly” to requests. The law states that they must respond within 20 working days, with a couple of exceptions: if I had to clarify a request, or my request was to a school, or in one or two other scenarios, then they may have more time.

My request is concise, clear and focused. I have not received a response & I have not received a proper explanation for this delay.

You dealt with a far more detailed request about St Leonards Post Office last September punctually & well within the 20 day time period. It was sent to you on 30th August 2017 & you had responded with the information by 20th September. This time period also included correspondence between yourself & the applicant dealing with queries relating to the request.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Mount

information.rights, Post Office Limited

Dear Ms Mount,

I understand your views however the requests were different and largely involved information originating from Post Office, this request involves replies from individuals with information obtained from third parties.

Under the Act we are required to consult and give due regard to third party views in order not to breach personal information exemptions and in so doing would be a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Your email below confirms that Post Office discloses information, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies, however we will also ensure that data subjects have been given the right to be consulted, which is a requirement of the Act.

Regards,

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Team
Ground Floor

20 Finsbury Street 
LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

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information.rights, Post Office Limited

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Mount,

 

Please find the response attached to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D06092.15F1BC40 Kerry Moodie

Information Rights Team

Ground Floor
20 Finsbury Street 

LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

 

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

 

 

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Dear information.rights,

Thank you for your FOI response & the St Leonards Correspondence Redacted.pdf.

In your response letter you state the following -
"As such we have released the copies but redacted information we believe identifies third parties."
I can see that throughout the document there are areas of redacted information.

I would like to query why five letters have been entirely excluded from this FOI request document & request that they are included. Please find list below with references -

8th August 2017 letter from Amber Rudd to the Post Office — entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on page 12 of the document in a Post Office email dated 14th August

End of October letter from Amber Rudd sent to the Post Office - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p30 of the document in an email from the Post Office dated 3rd November 2017.

24th October 2017 letter from Amber Rudd to the Post Office - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p37 of the document in a letter from the Post Office dated 17th November 2017.

18th January 2018 letter from Amber Rudd to the Post office - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p63 of the document in an email from the Post Office dated 22nd January 2018.

1st February 2018 letter from Post Office staff member to Amber Rudd - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p64 of the document in an email from the Post Office dated 1st February 2018.
It is referred to again on p64 of the document in an email from Amber Rudd’s office dated 2nd February 2018.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Mount

information.rights, Post Office Limited

Dear Ms Mount,

Personal information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The section 40 exemption is what is termed as an 'absolute' exemption and no reasons have to be given or for the information to be described nor is it subject to a public interest test. The Section 40 exemption is coupled with the Data Protection Act 1998 which governs the personal data exemption - even if you asked for your own information under the Freedom of Information Act it would be refused under the same exemption.

You of course have the right to ask for an Internal Review and/or to approach the Information Commissioners Office. You may find the following link to the Information Commissioners Office website helpful: https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

Regards,

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Team
Ground Floor

20 Finsbury Street 
LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

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Dear Post Office Limited,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Post Office Limited's handling of my FOI request 'Information about your plans for St Leonards On Sea Crown Post Office'.

I query why five letters have been entirely excluded from the FOI request document, dated 14/3/18. Please find list below with references -

1/ 1st February 2018 letter from Post Office staff member to Amber Rudd - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p64 of the document in an email from the Post Office dated 1st February 2018.
It is referred to again on p64 of the document in an email from Amber Rudd’s office dated 2nd February 2018.

2/ 8th August 2017 letter from Amber Rudd to the Post Office — entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on page 12 of the document in a Post Office email dated 14th August

3/ End of October letter from Amber Rudd sent to the Post Office - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p30 of the document in an email from the Post Office dated 3rd November 2017.

4/ 24th October 2017 letter from Amber Rudd to the Post Office - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p37 of the document in a letter from the Post Office dated 17th November 2017.

5/ 18th January 2018 letter from Amber Rudd to the Post office - entirely excluded from this information.
It is referred to on p63 of the document in an email from the Post Office dated 22nd January 2018.

I query the exclusion of the five letters listed above along with any other information not referenced within the document that was also excluded - Information held on record by Post Office Ltd that also related to the request & has been entirely excluded from the document. No satisfactory explanation has been given as to why this information differs from the other documents that have been shared in this request. Also how this exclusion differs within previous requests were information has been shared about plans for St Leonards Post Office.

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

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Mount

information.rights, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Mount,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Internal Review request.

 

Regards,

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D06092.15F1BC40 Kerry Moodie

Information Rights Team

Ground Floor
20 Finsbury Street 

LONDON
EC2Y 9AQ

 

Telephone number: 033 3665 3951

 

 

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Dear Post Office Ltd,

Thank you for your acknowledgement of my Internal Review request dated 26/03/18.

I await your response & refer to the ICO. guidelines -
Ensure the review takes no longer than 20 working days in most cases, or 40 in exceptional circumstances.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Mount

no-reply@postoffice.ecase.co.uk on behalf of Information Rights Team, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Mount,

Please find the outcome attached to your Internal Review request.

Regards,

Kerry Moodie

Information Rights Team

Ground Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London EC2Y 9AQ

0333 665 3951

Mark Underwood1, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Mount,

 

Your FOI Request of 6 February 2018 – FOI201802062651

 

I write with reference to correspondence we have received from the
Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) notifying us of a complaint you
made to the ICO in relation to our handling of the FOI request you
submitted to us on 6^th February 2018 (Request). The ICO has asked that we
revisit our handling of your Request, and that, if we decide to amend our
position, then we should notify you and the ICO that this is the case. We
have therefore carried out a further review of our handling of your
Request and as a result of this are writing to update you of our position.
We are also copying this correspondence to the ICO.

 

Specific items of correspondence you have queried

 

Firstly, we are sorry that you were not satisfied with our handling of
your Request. We would like to take this opportunity to address the
specific matters that we understand you were unhappy about and which you
raised with the ICO.

 

We have been advised by the ICO that you believe further information
within scope of your Request is held by Post Office but has not been
provided to you, and that specifically this includes:

 

1.                 Correspondence between Amber Rudd and Hastings Borough
Council about London Road Post Office referred to on Amber Rudd's website
and in a press article dated 28 November 2017 (Item 1); and

2.                 A letter from Amber Rudd to Post Office which you
believe was sent around the end of October 2017 and which you say is
referred to in an email dated 3 November 2017 (provided to you at p30 of
the disclosure bundle we sent you on 14^th March 2018 (First Disclosure
Bundle) (Item 2).

We confirm that we have not located either of the above documents you have
specifically queried, and therefore do not believe that we hold either
piece of correspondence. Having reviewed the two sources you have referred
to, we can see why you may reasonably suspect we may hold this
information. However, we also think there is a logical explanation as to
why we do not, which we have set out as follows:

Ÿ     Item 1: the ICO has provided us with a copy of the press release on
Amber Rudd's website dated 28 November 2017. We would assume that because
Post Office is not a party to the correspondence you have requested (i.e.
it is between Amber Rudd and Hastings Borough Council), it is not
correspondence we would hold unless we had been copied into it or it was
forwarded on to us. We are satisfied that we have conducted appropriate
searches of the systems on which it would have been held if it had been
copied/forwarded to us, and that these searches have not located it.  We
do not therefore believe that we hold this information. As this is
correspondence with Hasting Borough Council, they should however hold this
information and you may therefore wish to consider asking them directly
for a copy of this. Details of how to make an FOI request to the Council
can be found here:
[1]https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/f...
.

Ÿ     Item 2: we have reviewed the First Disclosure Bundle and the 3
November 2017 email to which you refer (at page 30 of the First Disclosure
Bundle). As you are aware, we redacted certain personal details from that
document on the basis that these details are exempt from disclosure under
section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). As such, we can
see that, in the redacted version, it is not entirely clear who the sender
and addressee of that email were. We would like clarify that the sender of
that email is a member of staff at Citizens Advice (as can be seen from
the email signature shown in the copy you received), and the addressee is
a member of the public. Post Office only holds this email because it was
'cc'd' in to it by the sender at Citizens Advice, however the sender is
not directly addressing Post Office. Therefore, the reference by the
sender to "our recent correspondence" was not a reference to
correspondence with Post Office – rather it appears to refer to other
correspondence between Citizens Advice and the same member of public.
Amber Rudd (and her staff) are not party to the email at all. Accordingly,
we have no reason to suspect we should hold the earlier correspondence
referred to, and are satisfied that we have conducted appropriate searches
to check if we do have a copy, but have not located it. We do not
therefore believe that we hold this information.

Additionally with regards Item 2, we note that an email from Post Office
dated 2 November 2017 on pages 29-30 of the First Disclosure Bundle makes
reference to a letter received by Post Office from Amber Rudd. For the
avoidance of any doubt (and just in case this was the letter on page 30 of
the First Disclosure Bundle you meant to refer to), we would like to
confirm that the letter referred to here has been disclosed to you. The
letter referred to here is the 24 October 2017 letter received by Post
Office from Amber Rudd, which we disclosed at page 4 of the second
disclosure bundle we sent you on 25^th April 2018.

We apologise for any confusion that the redactions may have caused to your
understanding of the disclosed material. We trust the above explanations
now satisfy your queries about these items of correspondence.

 

Additional documents located

 

As part of carrying out the further review of our handling of your
Request, we have re-reviewed the information we had previously located
which we considered fell within scope of your Request at the time and have
identified four further documents which were not disclosed. These
documents were all attachments to emails which were disclosed to you in
the First Disclosure Bundle. Specifically:

 

·         Document 1 – this is an email from the National Consultation
Team which was attached to the email of 6 December 2017 12:12 which was
disclosed at page 53 of the First Disclosure Bundle;

·         Document 2 - the Code of Practice was attached to the Item 1
email from the National Consultation Team;

·         Document 3  - this is an email from the National Consultation
Team which was attached to the email of 20 December 2017 13:33 which was
disclosed in page 58 of the First Disclosure Bundle; and

·         Document 4 – this is an email from the National Consultation
Team which was attached to the email of 14 December 2017 16:54 which was
disclosed on pages 55 and 56 of the First Disclosure Bundle.

We enclose these documents now, with personal information about
individuals who are identified in that correspondence redacted, as it this
is exempt from disclosure under section 40 of the FOIA for the same
reasons explained in our original response to you on 14^th March 2018.

 

We are very sorry we did not provide these documents as part of our
original response. This was simply a case of human error overlooking these
attachments when the original search results were reviewed for relevance
to your Request.

 

Our amended position regarding your Request

 

Until now, we read your Request as a request which was limited to the
specific categories of information you listed, namely:

 

·         any correspondence made between: Post Office Limited and Amber
Rudd MP; Post Office Limited and Amber Rudd's staff members; and Hastings
Borough Council Conservative Party councillors;

·         between a time period from 2016 up to and including the date of
your Request on 6 February 2018; and

·         for information that related only to Post Office's plans to
franchise the London Road, St Leonards on Sea branch (St Leonards).

Based on the above parameters, we undertook targeted searches in the areas
most likely to hold the requested information and disclosed to you the
information that we found which fell within this scope. 

 

However, having now considered your Request again in light of the ICO's
enquiries, it is clear that the full scope of your Request was in fact
much wider than our interpretation, as it was phrased to include the above
categories and include the time period you mentioned, but was not limited
to these parameters.

 

We should therefore have treated your Request as referring to any plans
for St Leonards at any point in the history of the branch, not just to the
more recent franchising plans. We should therefore have read your Request
in its fullest sense, which is in fact captured in the first paragraph
which reads:

 

"Please can you share with me copies of all letters / email/
documentation/ correspondence relating in any way to any aspect of your
plans for St Leonards On Sea Crown Post Office. This can be copies of
documents and /or links to wherever these are held."

Had we interpreted your Request correctly when we received it, we would
have been unable to comply with your Request on the basis that doing so
would have exceeded the cost threshold provided for under FOIA. This
threshold is set out by law at £450 and is calculated by law at a rate of
£25 an hour. It therefore equates to 18 hours of staff time determining if
information is held, locating the information, retrieving it and
extracting it from documents containing it. Given the scale of the
searches that would have been required to identify all information
potentially within full scope of your Request, it is clear that we would
have significantly exceeded the cost threshold. This is because without
parameters to limit the request and enable us to undertake targeted
searches as we did, we would have had to undertake system-wide searches
which would have returned a significant volume of potential items within
the scope of your Request and which would have then needed to be
individually reviewed for relevance.

Had we therefore correctly interpreted your Request we would have been
entitled to refuse to comply with your Request under section 12(1) of
FOIA. We would however have provided you with advice and assistance as to
how you could have refined the scope of your Request to bring it within
the cost threshold. Most likely, we would therefore have suggested that if
you had refined your Request only to the categories of information and
time period you specified were to be included as set out in the three
bullet points above, that we may then have been able to comply with your
Request without exceeding the cost threshold.

Clearly, the circumstances are that we did handle your Request in
accordance with those parameters and supplied you with information we held
following our targeted searches, rather than refusing to comply with it.
We accept however that we did not provide you with the opportunity to
confirm that this refined scope would satisfy your requirements, or to
suggest a different refinement.

If, in light of our explanation regarding the way in which we interpreted
your Request, ie limiting the Request to the parameters above, you are not
satisfied this approach met your requirements and you would have preferred
to refine the request using different parameters, then please let us know
and we will consider the refined request as a new request now under the
FOIA.

We trust that the above explanation helps you to better understand the
matters of concern you raised with the ICO and we are also writing
separately to the ICO to provide a full response to assist with their
enquiries.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mark Underwood

 

[2]cid:image003.png@01D3894A.CB160700 Mark Underwood
Head of Portfolio: Legal, Risk &
2017 Winner of the Global Postal Award Governance
for Customer Experience Ground Floor

20 Finsbury Street
London EC2Y 9AQ

 

Mobile number: 07780 484 120

 

 

 

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1. https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/f...

Dear Mark Underwood1,

I find your amended position unreasonable & outline why below ~

A FOI enquiry was made re St Leonards On Sea Crown Post Office ~ by Erica Smith dated 30th August 2017 ~
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

The above amended request by Ms Smith was still far more extensive than the one I submitted. This request was fully accepted by the P.O. I studied this request closely before submitting my own enquiry to ensure it met with P.O. FOI guidelines.

A large quantity of information that has been sent to me from the period of 2016 to 2017 was irrelevant as it purely related to the Labour councillors & the Labour leader of Hastings Council. All communications to & from Amber Rudd, her staff & her Conservative councillors has been omitted up until August 8th 2017.

From reading the correspondence from August 2017 to December 2017 there are further obvious gaps with communications by the P.O. (inc Laura Tarling) & Amber Rudd & her staff. This information would have related to the consultation, the decision, the 21st Oct 2017 community meeting which both Amber Rudd & Laura Tarling attended.

The following Conservative councillors that would have included in communications to & from the P.O. ~
Councillor Andy Patmore (one brief email dated 4/9/17 & response were included but more exchanges from him with the P.O. would be expected)
Councillor John Rankin
Councillor Rob Lee

As well as the obvious gaps in the FOI bundles there is additional evidence that there were communications between Amber, her staff & councillors can be found on Amber Rudd’s website as she provided numerous updates about St Leonards On Sea Crown Post Office.

Post Office Ltd appear to be repeatedly stalling in sending me the information I originally requested. This should have been a simple straightforward request. It has been made very complicated, delayed & time consuming by the failure to provide the relevant information.

12th July 2017 ~ Amber Rudd Consultation announcement ~
https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/news/st-leon...

9th August 2017 ~ Amber Rudd consultation update ~
https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/news/stateme...

Amber Rudd opens Broad Oak P.O. with Laura Tarling on Friday 28th July 2017 a few days prior to the Aug 3rd consultation for St Leonards Post Office ~
Communications regarding the opening of Broad Oak are likely to have crossed over with communications about St Leonards Post Office. Laura Tarling was at the Broad Oak opening & lead the consultation.
https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/news/amber-c...

Item 1 - re Copies of letters referred to in a press statement ~ Your response is incorrect ~

28th November 2017 ~ Amber Rudd Press release
Within this press release three letters are referred to.
Two of these letters were sent to the Post Office ~ A letter from Amber Rudd to Laura Tarling. A letter written to the Post Office by Conservative councillor Andy Patmore.
Neither of these letters were included within your FOI responses.
The third letter is one written by Amber Rudd to Hastings Council. OBVIOUSLY I did not expect the POL to have a copy of this letter as it was not sent to them.

I am resending you copies of the press release, an identical one was sent to you by the ICO to refer to ~ Please reread & refer to the two letters sent to the P.O. that are clearly detailed here ~

In addition to these to letters there would have been responses from the P.O. The responses are also missing within the FOI bundle.

Link to website ~
https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/news/amber-r...
Copy of transcript ~
Following the announcement that the proposed franchisee withdrew his application for the Post Office Ltd last week, the London Road branch has been temporarily transferred to Potent Solutions Ltd from January.
Hastings Borough Council have stated that they would like the opportunity to take over the Post Office as a freehold in order to protect the service, building and the staff. Amber has written to Hastings Borough Council in order to request that they take forward the proposal and ask them to explore the possibility of becoming the freeholders of the Post Office branch.
Amber has written to Ms Laura Tarling, External Affairs Manager of the Post Office, in support of Hastings Borough Council. Ms Tarling has confirmed that any contract with a franchise owner will “protect the Post Office operation”. Ms Tarling has said that the Post Office is confident that the option to purchase the freehold and the agreements which would be put in place to allow this will allow for “security in the provision of Post Office services to the community in St. Leonards-On-Sea.
Amber Rudd said:
“The Post Office is vital to our community. I want to ensure that our local Post Office has a sustainable future for residents.
I have written to the Post Office to discuss the options available to find the best resolution for the people of Hastings and St Leonards. I am also urging Hastings Borough Council to take forward their proposal to take over the Post Office they had previously said that they would like to do, particularly now that the proposed franchisee has withdrawn his application.
It is important that we safeguard our postal services for the community. I am encouraging all relevant parties to work together in order to get the best outcome for our residents.”
Andy Patmore, Councillor for Maze Hill ward, said:
“The fact that the proposed franchisee has withdrawn their application means that there is a new opportunity for Hastings Borough Council to explore the possibility of purchasing the building’s freehold which could secure the long term operation of a Post Office at the site.
Securing the future of this vital community hub is paramount and I have written to the Post Office urging them to work with the community to find the best solution.”

I look forward to your response on the above.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Mount

Mark Underwood1, Post Office Limited

Thank you for your email.

 

I am currently on leave, with no access to my emails, returning to the
office on Monday 24 September 2018..

 

If your enquiry is urgent please call  or text my mobile on 07780 484 120,
otherwise I will respond upon my return.

 

Kind Regards

 

Mark

 

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Mark Underwood1, Post Office Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Mount,

Your FOI Request of 6 February 2018 – FOI201802062651

I write with reference to your email dated 18^th September 2018
(Response), which I received on 24^th September 2018 after my return to
the office from leave. I trust you will have received my automatic out of
office reply confirming this, but I do apologise for the delay in
responding.

I am sorry you remain unsatisfied with Post Office's handling of your
original FOI request of 6^th February 2018 (Original Request), and with
the further information I gave to you in my letter of 10^th September
2018.

Aspects of your Response which are within the same scope of your Original
Request

My letter of 10^th September provided an update to you of the result of
the further review of your Original Request we have conducted as a result
of your complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). I note
that many of the points you have raised in your Response refer to the same
matters as are within scope of your Original Request.  As you are aware,
your Original Request is still the subject of an investigation being
carried out by the ICO into Post Office's handling of it. We have provided
the ICO with our full response to its enquiries relating to that
investigation on these points, and we will therefore now await the ICO's
response and conclusions on those matters, except in relation to those
aspects we mention further below.

Aspects of your Response which following further information from you, we
will treat as new FOIA requests

There are certain points of detail contained within your Response which
provide us with more information that would enable us to carry out more
targeted searches for the information you originally requested as you have
given us new criteria and parameters we can use to try and identify what
you are seeking. We are therefore prepared to treat these aspects as new
requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
We have set out below those aspects of your Response we will therefore
treat as new requests:

i. Communications to and from Councillor Andy Patmore in relation to St
Leonards between 01 January 2016 and 08 August 2018.
ii. Communications to and from Councillor John Rankin in relation to St
Leonards between 01 January 2016 and 08 August 2018.
iii. Communications to and from Councillor Rob Lee in relation to St
Leonards between 01 January 2016 and 08 August 2018.
iv. Communications about St Leonards which may be located within/crossed
over with communications about the opening of Broad Oak Post Office on
28 July 2017.

 

We are therefore carrying out further searches using this new information
to see if we hold this information. You should expect our full response to
these new requests by 16 October 2018, which is twenty working days from
receipt of your Response.

Correspondence referred to in the 9^th August 2017 press statement by
Amber Rudd

With regards the Amber Rudd press statements to which you referred to in
your Response, we note that, with the exception of the 28^th November 2017
statement which we have addressed below, only the 9^th August 2017 press
release contains reference to correspondence within scope of your Original
Request -
[1]https://www.amberrudd.co.uk/news/stateme....

Specifically, that press release refers to Amber Rudd having written to
Post Office "yesterday" (i.e. 8^th August 2017). We should like to confirm
that this 8^th August 2017 letter was previously disclosed to you at page
one of the disclosure bundle we sent to you on 25^th March 2018. We have
also disclosed to you Post Office's response to Amber Rudd's 8^th August
2017 letter – this is the 14^th August 2017 letter disclosed at page
twelve of the disclosure bundle sent to you on 14^th March 2018.

Letters referred to in Amber Rudd's press statement of 28^th November 2018

 

I can confirm that we will perform further searches for the correspondence
between i) Amber Rudd and Post Office and ii) Councillor Andy Patmore and
Post Office, as referred to in Amber Rudd’s press statement of 28 November
2018.

Erica Smith FOIA request

In your Response, you referred to an FOI request about St Leonards on Sea
Crown Post Office which was made by Erica Smith dated 30^th August 2017,
and stated that this request was "fully accepted" by Post Office, despite
being far more extensive than yours.

This was not the case – Ms Smith's original request of 30^th August 2017
was indeed similarly framed to yours, and due to the very wide scope of
it, Post Office responded to her on 1^st September 2017 to confirm it was
refusing her request on the basis of section 12(1) of the FOIA, since we
could not comply with it within the appropriate cost limit (being £450 or
18 hours of staff time based on a statutory rate of £25 per hour). We
provided Ms Smith with advice and assistance as to how she could refine
her request to bring it within the appropriate cost limit, and suggested a
narrowed list of information. She responded on 11^th September 2017 to
confirm she would like us to proceed by narrowing her request to include
only the list of information we had suggested. We provided our full
response and documents relating to this narrowed request on 20^th
September 2017. The full history of this request can be viewed at the
website you directed us to:

[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
.

We trust this clarifies that Ms Smith's amended request was not more
extensive than your Original Request, and that our application of section
12 to your full request is consistent with the approach we took to Ms
Smith's.

Final comments

I trust this letter provides you with further information to address your
concerns at this stage.  I confirm that we have offered to provide a copy
of this letter to the ICO, for their information as part of their ongoing
investigation of your Original Request.

We will be writing to you in due course to provide our response in
relation to the new requests for information under the FOIA referred to
above.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Underwood

[3]cid:image003.png@01D3894A.CB160700 Mark Underwood
Head of Portfolio: Legal, Risk &
2017 Winner of the Global Postal Award Governance
for Customer Experience Ground Floor

20 Finsbury Street
London EC2Y 9AQ

 

Mobile number: 07780 484 120

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/xIeWCx...
2. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

no-reply@postoffice.ecase.co.uk on behalf of Information Rights Team, Post Office Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Mount,

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
Request.

Regards,

Kerry Moodie

Information Rights Team

Ground Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London EC2Y 9AQ

0333 665 3951

Dear Post Office Limited,

I made no request within my response that there should be a new FOI request. I was clarify points and laying out very clearly a timeline & highlighting faults & gaps within the information you have provided. I did this not just for the POL but also for the ICO who are overlooking these communications.

Your response yet again avoids tackling the original enquiry & providing me with the correct information. Your responses appear framed in a purposely unclear & overly complicated disjointed way to create confusion & avoid providing the information.

All of the information that you detail should have been received within my first request. It does not make any basis for you to create an entirely new FOI request. It just appears to be an excuse for the POL to drag on this enquiry for an even longer period & most importantly divert a large proportion of the enquiry away from the ICO investigation. By creating a whole new FOI request out of the old material you are creating a new opportunity to delay & block the sharing of information for yet another 8 months or even longer & should a new enquiry also prove unsatisfactory for me to have to create a new request for an ICO enquiry. It further wastes my time & that of the ICO.

With regards to correspondence between Amber Rudd, her staff & conservative councillors concerning St Leonards Post Office that may have also included information about the Broad Oak Post Office opening These should have been included in the the response to the original request. These communications would have contained important information about St Leonards Post Office & therefor should have all been filed with the St Leonards On Sea case bundle.

All communications between the conservative councillors & the Post Office should have been included from my original request for the full time period 2016 -2018 requested. It is entirely unnecessary for you to create an entirely new FOI request. All of this falls within my original enquiry had it been dealt with properly from when you first received it 8 months ago.

The ICO should respond in full on this case & observe the more recent correspondence. It is not a matter of the POL specifying which aspects they would prefer the ICO to comment on, which I believe the POL would be doing by creating an entirely new FOI enquiry.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Mount

Mark Underwood1, Post Office Limited

Dear Ms Mount,

Thank you for email of 28 September 2018. Given the content of your email; we will not treat any of the information you included in your email of 18 September 2018 as new FOI requests, nor will we perform the further searches suggested in my email of 28 September 2018. Instead, and as you suggest and appears to be your preference, we will await the outcome from ICO’s investigation.

I can confirm that I will share our correspondence with the ICO.

Kind Regards

Mark

2017 Winner of the Global Postal Award for Customer Experience
Mark Underwood
Head of Portfolio: Legal, Risk & Governance

Ground Floor
20 Finsbury Street
London EC2Y 9AQ
 

 

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