Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
I am writing to request all the information you hold regarding meetings and correspondence between the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and members and/or staff of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council during the period 1st April 2013 to 15th May 2014.
Please also include times, dates and matters discussed in the form of minutes and any relevant reports.
In my opinion you have an overriding duty to act fairly and impartially in the service of us the public.
I look forward to hearing from you further.
Marie C. Watson
Dear Ms Watson
We write further to your recent request for information in which you
"I am writing to request all the information you hold regarding meetings
and correspondence between the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group and members
and/or staff of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council during the period 1st
April 2013 to 15th May 2014. Please also include times, dates and matters
discussed in the form of minutes and any relevant reports. "
Your information request has been dealt with under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) as the information requested is
considered to be ‘environmental information’ under Regulation 2(1) (c) of
the EIR Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004). This provides that information on the
state of the elements of the environment and the interaction among these
elements; factors affecting or likely to affect those elements; measures
or activities affecting or likely to affect those factors or elements, or
designed to protect those elements, will be environmental information.
We must advise that by virtue of Regulation 12 (4) (e) of the EIRs the
Council is not obliged to disclose any internal communications regarding
this matter. The Information Commissioner’s Office has stated that the
concept of a communication is broad and will encompass any information
someone intends to communicate to others or to be placed on file where
others may consult it. It will therefore include not only letters and
emails but also notes of meetings and reports.
Regulation 12 (4) (e) is subject to the public interest test which means
that any decision to withhold the information must be considered against
the public interest factors that would support disclosure of the
The factors in favour of disclosing the information are that the public
would have a greater understanding of how we reach decisions on important
matters of the day and encourage public debate; it would also provide
openness and transparency and allow scrutiny of actions/advice of public
These factors, however, have to be balanced against the strong public
interest in ensuring there is an appropriate degree of ‘safe space’ in
which officials are able to gather and assess information, free from
concern that such information will be made public.
Officers need to be able to discuss the merits of proposals and the
implications of decisions internally. They must be afforded a safe space
to think in private when reaching decisions and this exception focuses on
protecting those decision-making processes. Better informed and robustly
argued decision making can take place when those taking part know they can
be afforded the safe space to make decisions and discuss proposals.
We believe that the factors in favour of maintaining the exception as
outlined above outweigh those in favour of disclosure. The Council
believes that disclosure would harm the way we make decisions/discuss
proposals/give advice and therefore on balance these factors support
maintaining the exception. Your request for information under Regulation
14 of the EIR is refused, relying on the exception contained in Regulation
12 (4)(e) of the EIR.
You have the right to make representations in respect of this refusal of
your request for information, which should be addressed to
[Wirral Borough Council request email]. You also have the right to complain
to the Information Commissioner if you remain dissatisfied after the
internal review process has been completed. The ICO can be contacted at
Principal Information Management Officer
Business Management - Digital
Tel: 0151 691 8201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]
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protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
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