Investigation by Audit and Assurance Committee into fraud and perjury

North East Lincolnshire Council did not have the information requested.

Proxy-3 (Account suspended)

Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,

The Head of North East Lincolnshire Council's Audit and Assurance committee, apparently stated the following:

"It has been concluded that the actions taken by officers regarding your Council Tax account were correct based on the information and correspondence made available to them at the time, and we have found no evidence that any fraudulent activity has taken place."

For context please see the email dated 23 June 2016 in link below (page 451):

https://www.scribd.com/document/32298807...

Q. Please disclose the "information and correspondence made available to them at the time"

Yours faithfully,

Proxy-3

PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Proxy-3

 

We acknowledge receipt of your information request, which has been given
the reference number NEL/3922/1617.

 

To ensure Freedom of Information is effective both for applicants in
making requests and receiving the information they require, and the
Council in its use of resources for handling and responding to requests,
we would refer you to the Information Commissioner’s website which
provides guidance on how to make requests under the Freedom of Information
Act.

 

Link to the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s website:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

The Information Commissioner’s website includes the following guidance on
what you should and should not do when making an information request:

 

What you should not do when making a request

 

•           Use offensive or threatening language.

•           Level unfounded accusations at North East Lincolnshire Council
or its staff.

•           Make personal attacks against employees.

•           Use FOI to reopen grievances which have already been fully
addressed by North East Lincolnshire Council, or subjected to independent
investigation with no evidence of wrongdoing being found.

•           Make assumptions about how North East Lincolnshire Council
organises its.

•           Bury your request in amongst lengthy correspondence on other
matters or underlying complaints.

•           Use requests as a way of ‘scoring points’ against North East
Lincolnshire Council.

•           Send ‘catch-all’ requests for information (such as ‘please
provide me with everything you hold about ‘x’) when you aren’t sure what
specific documents to ask for. If in doubt, try searching on      
[2]www.nelincs.gov.uk or enquiring whether any indexes and file lists are
available. Alternatively, ask for some advice and assistance in framing
your request.

•           Submit frivolous or trivial requests; remember that processing
any information request involves some cost to the public purse.

•           Disrupt North East Lincolnshire Council by the sheer weight of
requests or the volume of information requested. Whether you are acting
alone or in concert with others, this is a clear misuse of           the
Act and an abuse of your ‘right to know’.

•           Deliberately ‘fish’ for information by submitting very broad
or random requests in the hope it will catch something noteworthy or
otherwise useful. Requests should be directed towards   obtaining
information on a particular issue, rather than relying on pot luck to see
if anything of interest is revealed.

•           Make repeat requests unless circumstances, or the information
itself, have changed to the extent that there are justifiable grounds to
ask for the information again.

 

When making your request you should

 

•           Include your name, address and other contact details in the
request.

•           Clearly state that you are making your request under the
Freedom of Information Act/Environmental Information Regulations.

•           Be as specific as possible about the information you want
rather than asking general questions. Try to include details such as dates
and names whenever you can. It may also assist in identifying the
information if you explain the purpose behind your request.

•           Re-read your request to check for any wording which is unclear
or open to interpretation.

•           Use straightforward, polite language; avoid basing your
request or question on assumptions or opinions, or mixing requests with
complaints or comments.

•           Give ample opportunity for any previous requests to be
addressed before submitting new ones.

•           Stay focused on the line of enquiry you are pursuing. Don’t
let your attention start to drift onto issues of minor relevance.

•           Think about whether making a request is the best way of
achieving what you want. If you have an underlying complaint then it may
be better to just take your complaint to the relevant ombudsman and let
them investigate.

•           Aim to be flexible if you are advised that the full request
cannot be met on cost grounds and you are asked to narrow it down. Try to
work with us to produce a streamlined version of the request which still
covers the core information that is most important to you.

 

If your request lacks a clear or serious purpose or if it is not focused
on acquiring recorded information held by the Council, then the Freedom of
Information is probably not an appropriate means through which to pursue
your concerns. You might do better to explore whether there are other more
suitable channels through which to take up your concerns.

 

For a request to be valid under the Freedom of Information Act, section 8
(1) requires that it

 

(a) is in writing,

(b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence,
and

(c) describes the information requested.

 

The Information Commissioner’s guidance ‘Recognising a request made under
the Freedom of Information Act (Section 8)’ clearly states that ‘the
intention of the legislation is for the requester to provide their real
name’. Where a request is made not using the applicant’s real name this
would render the request invalid and affect your appeal rights, as the
powers of the Information Commissioner only extend to requests for
information defined under section 8 of the Act.

 

Link to the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s website:
[3]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

 

In order for the Council to verify that your request is valid, we would
ask that you confirm your name and postal address (please note a PO Box is
not acceptable), to maintain your confidentiality this should not be done
through the ‘What do they know’ website. If you are a registered
organisation we will accept a relevant registration number to verify you
are a genuine organisation.

 

This information can either be sent to [4][North East Lincolnshire Council request email] or to The
Freedom of Information team, Municipal Buildings, Town Hall Square,
Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU.

 

The name and postal address you provide will be used and held for the sole
purpose of managing your Freedom of Information requests. Where a request
is deemed to be valid, we will respond to your request through the ‘What
do they know’ website.

 

Your request will not be responded to until we have verified that your
request is valid in accordance with section 8 of the Freedom of
Information Act.

 

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and I trust that you
understand that North East Lincolnshire Council is asking for this
information to ensure that your request is a valid request under the
Freedom of Information Act, and that the Council are effectively using
Council Tax payers resources in the handling of information requests.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of your request you
can request an independent review by contacting the Information
Commissioner's Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF. Please note that the Information Commissioner only extend to
requests for information defined under section 8 of the Act. 

 

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

 

Feedback Officer

 

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PPD - FOI, North East Lincolnshire Council

Dear Proxy-3

Thank you for your information request reference 3922_1617 and for confirming your true name as required under the Freedom of Information Act. Your request has been considered and is deemed to be a duplicate of request reference 3664_1617. We will therefore not be responding to this request.

We also consider the request to be potentially vexatious in nature as it is part of a concerted campaign by one or more individuals, aimed at frustrating the Council's effective administration of Council Tax. I refer you to the Information Commissioners decision notices reference FS50636996, FS50637737, FS50637994 and FS50639222 which relate to this campaign.

If you believe that your request for information has not been handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to request an internal review by the Council. Please be clear about which elements of the Council's response or handling of the request you are unhappy with, and would like the Council to address during the internal review process. If following this you are still dissatisfied you may contact the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary arrangements.

Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council

Feedback Officer

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