Internal Investigation Reports into Housing Allocations

The request was partially successful.

Dear Nottingham City Council,

Please provide the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Please will you provide me with a copy of any internal reports produced into the alleged housing allocations irregularities as described in the District Auditor's public interest report. Please include in this reports prepared by the much publicised recent internal investigation said to have cost £100k.

Please will you also provide any minutes of meetings or reports/documents between the City Council and Notts Police where the responsibility of investigating this matter was discussed.

Yours faithfully,

Andy Platt

Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

Dear Mr. Platt,

Thank you for your recent request.

As the information you requested is neither personal nor environmental it
will be processed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A response will be sent to you as soon as possible and in any case within
the statutory deadline which is 20 working days starting the working day
after this authority received your request.

If you should have any questions please contact me on the above number
quoting your personal case reference which is IGO/11-8731.

Sincerely,

Glenn E. Estes

Information Governance Case Administrator

Information Governance Office

1st Floor

Loxley House

Station Street

Nottingham

NG2 3NG

Telephone: 0115 876 3855

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Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Platt,

Please find attached our responses to your two latest requests for
information.

Regards,

Andrew Goodfellow

Senior Information Governance Officer

Nottingham City Council | Loxley House | Station Street | Nottingham | NG2
3NG

Tel: 0115 876 3855

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Peter left an annotation ()

What a contemptuous and outrageous response. NCC are clearly out of control - just who do they think they are?

The authority makes every effort not to comply with FOI legislation. It is in fact obstructive, disingenuous and apparently above the legislative framework. It clearly does as it likes.

Disgraceful.

Dear Nottingham City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Nottingham City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Internal Investigation Reports into Housing Allocations'.

The volume of requests

I'm not sure of your claim that I have submitted 22 requests in 12 months under FoI, I only make it 19 requests but that's by the by. This is not an excessive number. It's worth mentioning that 6 of these requests remain unanswered despite repeated instructions to do so by the Information Commissioner.

It should be noted that in cases where the Information Commissioner has held requests to be vexatious it has been in the context of an individual submitting in excess of 70 requests in a short time including batches of 11 and 25 requests in one go. This is a whole order of magnitude greater than the number of requests that I have made. I also find it odd that you should bother to mention my appeals when you say that you have discounted them.

The frequency of requests

You claim that my requests 'frequently overlap' or are 'submitted simultaneously'. The two examples mentioned in your letter are the only requests that have been submitted on the same day and you have provided no examples of cases that overlap. In the cases of Dunbar and Boardman and Harold Tinworth there has been a follow up request, in the case of discretionary housing payments there has been a further similar request but for a different time period and this was for the purpose of seeing whether performance had improved. But this is not the same as requests overlapping. Overall, my requests cover a wide range of subjects and service areas. Therefore your claim that my requests 'frequently' overlap or are submitted simultaneously is utterly false and unsustained.

Significant burden and expense

According to your response to a request by another person NCC received 1491 FoI requests in 2 years, approximately 750 requests per year. My requests therefore represent 2.5% of your workload, 1.7% if we only include those you have actually answered. I accept that this is probably more than the majority of other citizens or requesters but that does not make it disproportionate.

It should also be pointed out that the majority of your burden is caused by your attempts to refuse to provide the information requested which in most cases have been found by the Information Commissioner to be groundless. This is evidence of an inherent bias within the authority of not providing information if it can be avoided, further supported by the authority's stance on publishing £500+ expenditure. If there are any patterns of behaviour to be demonstrated I would suggest that this is the clearest. In other words the emerging pattern is not that my requests are vexatious, it is that NCC is overly secretive.

The use of my blog

Your claim that my blog has the affect of 'harassing' the authority is nonsensical and melodramatic. The blog consists of legitimate comment with occasional injections of humour. Many of the things I write about concern matters of genuine public interest such as the use of consultants, possibly illegally in one case, or the housing allocations scandal. Many of these issues have been covered in mainstream media yet I presume that you are not making this ridiculous accusation against them.

Blogging is a legitimate form of expression and it is entirely justified to use the medium to examine the behaviour of public authorities. Many would argue that this is exactly what the Freedom of Information Act is for.

I also note that your sudden use of the 'vexatious' exemption has been applied on a request that relates to the housing allocations scandal which seems more than a coincidence as NCC appears to have spent vastly more resources on covering this matter up than they ever could on dealing with FoI.

You have failed to demonstrate any cases where my FoI requests have been used in any way beyond evidence for legitimate criticism. Yes I am sometimes disrespectful on the blog but I am entitled to my views on certain individuals and the blog deliberately includes significant use of satire. I understand that NCC and certain of its elected members and employees dislike being challenged or having their activities exposed to a wider audience but all my claims are evidenced and justified and I note that you have never contacted me to dispute anything that has been written, despite a clear invitation for you to do so in an email to one of your legal officers in early 2010.

The legal test under s.14(1) is that it must be the FoI requests themselves, or use of them, that are vexatious, not other aspects of my behaviour. In this respect there is virtually nothing from my blog which supports your claim.

NCC has previous form for using my blogging activities against me, you previously attempted to use it against me in my employment tribunal. These continuing efforts are a threat to my freedom of expression and a clear attempt at deflecting criticism.

Conclusion

Your claim that these two particular requests are vexatious is unjustified, opportunistic and cynical. As such I ask that you reverse this decision and apologise for your false claims of harassment and 'obsessive' behaviour.

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

Yours faithfully,

Andy Platt

Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email below.

Re: Your appeal against our decision
Our ref: As shown in previous communications

I can confirm that all the relevant paperwork has been passed to Stephanie Pearson who is the officer responsible for reviewing all appeals under FOIA.

If you should have any questions please contact me on the above number quoting your personal case reference which is IGO/11-8835.

Sincerely,

Glenn E. Estes
Information Governance Case Administrator

Information Governance Office
1st Floor
Loxley House
Station Street
Nottingham
NG2 3NG

Telephone: 0115 876 3855

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Andy Platt left an annotation ()

Gone to the Information Commissioner...

Dear Information Governance,

As you are no doubt aware, this case has now been accepted as a valid complaint by the Information Commissioner, following your failure to respond to their deadline for completing an internal review.

It would be better for all concerned if you would simply carry out the review and save us all some time and bother. In addition I refer you to the recent decision by the Information Tribunal

http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

As you can see, the Tribunal takes a dim view of public authorities relying on past relations with a requester in finding that a request is vexatious. As this is pretty much the beginning and end of your case I suspect that you are on fairly thin ice with this one.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Platt

Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email below. As I am not the case officer handling your case I can not comment. However, I have passed on your feedback to the relevant persons whom will be in contact shortly if appropriate.

Sincerely,

Glenn E. Estes
Information Governance Case Administrator

Information Governance Office
1st Floor
Loxley House
Station Street
Nottingham
NG2 3NG

Telephone: 0115 876 3855

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Stephen Peach left an annotation ()

I don't think I've see a worse FOI response from a public authority than this reliance on vaxatiousness for a good while.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Talk about being "dragged kicking and screaming". Like the exposed bully, this council is now trying another ploy: adopting the role of 'victim' and hamming it up for all it's worth.

It will be interesting to see the real figure for how many compromise agreements in dispute circumstances have been issued, and whether any FoI / DP gagging clauses will be "shaken out" as this grinding process goes forward:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Dear Information Governance,

Please find a link to a further relevant Information Tribunal decision

http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

I particularly draw your attention to para 36, where the Tribunal draws the distinction between taking into account history and context of a request and taking into account history and context of other requests and dealings with the requester.

With these two Tribunal decisions it seems increasingly unlikely that your decision will be sustained by the Commissioner. I therefore strongly recommend that you reverse your decision and save any further expenditure on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Platt

Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it to the relevant personnel for their attention.

Sincerely,

Glenn E. Estes
Information Governance Case Administrator

Information Governance Office
1st Floor
Loxley House
Station Street
Nottingham
NG2 3NG

Telephone: 0115 876 3855

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Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mr. Platt,

 

Please find attached our response along with supporting documentation. The
Information Commissioners Office has been copied in to this
correspondence.

 

Regards,

 

Andrew Goodfellow

Senior Information Governance Officer

Nottingham City Council | Loxley House | Station Street | Nottingham | NG2
3NG

Tel: 0115 876 3855

 

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This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may
contain personal views which are not the views of
Nottingham City Council unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from
your system, do not use, copy or disclose the information
in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender
immediately. Please note that Nottingham City Council
monitors e-mails sent or received for the purposes of
ensuring compliance with its policies and procedures.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.
The contents of e-mails sent or received may have to be
disclosed if a relevant request is made under current
legislation, such as, but not limited to, the Data Protection
Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000

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Peter left an annotation ()

Cobblers.

Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Platt

 

Further to receipt of a decision notice from the Information Commissioner
with regards your request in relation to the housing misallocations
matter, please now find attached a letter providing the advice and
assistance we were requested to give as an outcome and in fulfilment of
our obligations under the decision notice. A copy of this letter has been
provided to the Information Commissioners Office for their information.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Stephanie Pearson

Information Governance Manager

Resources | Nottingham City Council | Loxley House | Station Street |
NOTTINGHAM | NG2 3NG

t: 0115 876 3855 | e: [1][Nottingham City Council request email] | w:
[2]www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk

 

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This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may
contain personal views which are not the views of
Nottingham City Council unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from
your system, do not use, copy or disclose the information
in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender
immediately. Please note that Nottingham City Council
monitors e-mails sent or received for the purposes of
ensuring compliance with its policies and procedures.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.
The contents of e-mails sent or received may have to be
disclosed if a relevant request is made under current
legislation, such as, but not limited to, the Data Protection
Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000

References

Visible links
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Dear Information Governance,

Re IGO/11-9307

Please will you provide me with all information described under Category 3 in your email? Please take into account the decision of the Information Commissioner FS50391799 in any reasons for a refusal.

If the above does not reach the costs limit then please, in order of priority, provide me with information as described in Category 2 as follows

Allocation cases in St Anns ward
Right to buy in Radford and Park Ward

In addition, regarding the emails previously disclosed, there were redactions for which no reason was given. Please provide these again without redactions or peovide a valid reason for the redactions to remain in place.

As this is effectively a new request now, I would also like to request details of any cases where criminal charges of misconduct in public office were considered, including any legal advice received on that particular issue. As it is apparent no such charges were brought I believe that there is a strong public interest in such information being released.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Platt

Dear Nottingham City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Nottingham City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Internal Investigation Reports into Housing Allocations'.

Following the provision of 'advice and assistance' I responded with a reframing of my request. As such the 20 day time limit restarts. However, as you had previously already used up your 20 days you were technically in breach of the time limit the very next day, however, I have waited until a further 20 days have passed before requesting my review.

You have not responded to my reframed complaint as required by law so in effect, this counts as a refusal. I would like to request a review of this refusal as there appear to be no grounds for it whatsoever.

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

Yours faithfully,

Andy Platt

Nottingham City Council

2 Attachments

Delivery is delayed to these recipients or distribution lists:

[1]FOI requests at Nottingham City Council

Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Internal
Investigation Reports into Housing Allocations

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This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may
contain personal views which are not the views of
Nottingham City Council unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from
your system, do not use, copy or disclose the information
in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender
immediately. Please note that Nottingham City Council
monitors e-mails sent or received for the purposes of
ensuring compliance with its policies and procedures.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.
The contents of e-mails sent or received may have to be
disclosed if a relevant request is made under current
legislation, such as, but not limited to, the Data Protection
Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000

References

Visible links
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Dear Nottingham City Council,

As you appear to have withdrawn your appeal against ICO decision FS5031799, there now appears to be no reason why you cannot immediately provide me with the minutes between NCC and the Police as requested.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Andy Platt

Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

Dear Mr. Platt,

Thank you for your email. You will receive a response in due course.

Regards,

Andrew Goodfellow-Swaap
Senior Information Governance Officer
Nottingham City Council | Loxley House | Station Street | Nottingham | NG2 3NG
Tel: 0115 876 3855

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Information Governance, Nottingham City Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mr. Platt,

 

Please find attached a copy of the response we recently issued along with
supporting documentation which comprises the total of the information held
by this Authority that falls into category 3 (as per our previous
correspondence).

 

Regards,

 

Andrew Goodfellow-Swaap

Senior Information Governance Officer

Nottingham City Council | Loxley House | Station Street | Nottingham | NG2
3NG

Tel: 0115 876 3855

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

From: Information Governance
Sent: 06 November 2012 11:39
To:

Cc:

Subject: IG-1005 - FS50391799

 

Dear Mr.

 

 

Further to the withdrawal of our appeal against the Decision Notice of the
ICO (reference as per subject line), please find attached our response and
supporting documentation.

 

Regards,

 

Andrew Goodfellow-Swaap

Senior Information Governance Officer

Nottingham City Council | Loxley House | Station Street | Nottingham | NG2
3NG

Tel: 0115 876 3855

 

Council of the Year Association for Public Service Excellence Service
Awards 2012 (APSE) and Transport Local Authority of the year (DfT,
Passenger Focus, Transport Times)

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This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may
contain personal views which are not the views of
Nottingham City Council unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from
your system, do not use, copy or disclose the information
in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender
immediately. Please note that Nottingham City Council
monitors e-mails sent or received for the purposes of
ensuring compliance with its policies and procedures.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.
The contents of e-mails sent or received may have to be
disclosed if a relevant request is made under current
legislation, such as, but not limited to, the Data Protection
Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Dear Information Governance,

Re IGO/11-9307

Please note that the information provided so far is only a partial response to my request.

It is known that there have been further meetings been NCC and the Police since those in 2006, at least up until 2009 and maybe beyond. Minutes/notes of such later meetings are within my request.

Please also note that my modified request, following your advice and assistance, also included requests for reports on certain types of cases.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Platt

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