July 2018 Minutes for town council meetings

Daniel Morris made this Freedom of Information request to Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

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 refused by Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire.

Dear Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire,

Please provide copies of the Minutes for all meetings held in July 2018.

Yours faithfully,

D Morris

Dear Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire's handling of my FOI request 'July 2018 Minutes for town council meetings'.

I am disappointed that Ammanford Town Council has chosen not to comply with its legal obligations defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000/Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

I had expected that you would have supplied the information that I requested some time ago - the law requires that you provide the information promptly and in any event no later than 20 days after the request.

A complaint file has been opened with the Information Commissioner's Office.

When do you expect that you will comply with the Act/Regulations and supply the information requested?

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

Yours faithfully,

D Morris

Town Clerk, Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

Dear Mr Morris,

Thank you for your request for minutes of meetings held in July 2018. No meetings were held during this time period so there are no minutes available.

Regards
Clare Hope

Interim Clerk

Dear Town Clerk,

A meeting was held in the Council building on 9 July 2018. This was confirmed by Jonathan Davies (then town Mayor) when he accused me of entering "our office during a council meeting to leave an envelope on the table". That interaction was recorded on 27 July 2018 on the What Do They Know site. You can read my response (16 October 2018) at the following link, and page up for the incendiary remark:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/j...

(I explained I didn't, and how the mail was managed for the building).

I would be grateful if you would check again to see if you can unearth the records of the Meeting. At the very least I would have expected many of the Councillors to be in attendance to help with the preparations for the Carmarthenshire Town Of Culture events that were planned.

Yours sincerely,

D Morris

Town Clerk, Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Morris,

Please find the results of my investigations:

* I have been unable to find any Minutes relating to the meeting

* I have contacted all current Members who may have attended the
meeting, none of them were provided with a copy of the Minutes either
manually or electronically
* I have contacted the previous Clerk (who would have been responsible
for preparing Minutes) and she does not hold any copies and cannot
offer an explanation as to why there are no Minutes available
* As I have been unable to find these Minutes, I answer your questions
as follows:

 1. Please describe thoroughly any searches of relevant paper/electronic
records and include details of any staff consultations

The office has been thoroughly searched by myself and two Members.  All
hard copies of Minutes found during this search have now been filed so can
be easily accessed.  During the search/filing process, we found some
Minutes you have requested, however the Minutes for this meeting were not
amongst them.

The clerk’s lap top has been thoroughly searched.  Unfortunately, the
filing system in place was extremely poor, so I have checked every single
document on the lap top myself.  During this process, I found some Minutes
you requested, however the Minutes for this meeting were not amongst them.

I have retrieved a PC that was predominantly used by a previous clerk,
*********** who kept meticulous records and an excellent filing system. 
It was used for a short time by the last permanent clerk, *********. 
During this process, I found some of the Minutes you requested, however
Minutes for this meeting were not amongst them.

I made contact with ********* to establish if she used any other computers
to prepare Minutes for Ammanford Town Council.  She confirmed, she did use
her own personal lap top in the transition period whilst waiting for
Ammanford Town Council to purchase a new one.  *********** took everything
off her personal lap top, put it on a flash drive which she provided to
me.  I have searched the flash drive.  The minutes for this meeting were
not on there.

******** also gave me her personal lap top so I could check it myself. 
The minutes for this meeting were not on there.

I have checked the e-mails for [1][Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]  The
Minutes for this meeting were not saved to this e-mail address.

I have asked all Council Members to check back through their e-mails to
see if they have any of the information requested.  Some Minutes were
found, however none of the Members have a copy of the Minutes for this
meeting.

I have asked all Council Members to check all hard copies of Minutes that
might be in their possession.  None of the Members have a hard copy of the
Minutes for this meeting.

I have checked the website ammanfordtowncouncil.co.uk to establish if the
Minutes for this meeting were uploaded.  They were not.

 2. If searches included electronic data, which search terms were used and
please explain whether the search included information held locally on
personal computers used by key officials (including laptop computers)
and on networked resources and e-mails.

Ammanford Town Council do not have a network of computers, only a clerk’s
lap top and PC which are not linked.

Every document saved on the clerk’s lap top has been individually checked
to establish if it contains the Minutes of this meeting.  Unfortunately,
they were not found.

Every document saved on the previous clerk’s PC has been individually
checked to establish if it contains the Minutes of this meeting. 
Unfortunately, they were not found.

Every document on the flash drive provided, has been checked
individually.  The Minutes for this meeting were not found.

Whilst checking e-mails, the words “Minutes” & “Agenda” were both used. 
The Minutes for this meeting were not found.

Regarding [2][Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]  - every e-mail sent and
received during the month of May 2017 has been checked.   The Minutes for
this meeting were not found.

I have also checked every e-mail sent and received during the month of
June 2017.  The Minutes for this meeting were not found.

 3. If no or inadequate searches were done at the time, please rectify
this now and let me know what you have done.

Please see response to Question 2

 4. If the information were held would it be held as manual or electronic
records

During my searches, I have discovered Ammanford Town Council have a poor
filing system of their records.  Some are held manually and electronically
and some were held manually only, whilst some were held electronically
only.  All records found, whether manual or electronic have been checked. 
The Minutes for this meeting could not be found.

Going forward, this will be rectified to ensure records are held manually
and electronically.  Records will also be published on the Ammanford Town
Council website.

 5. Was any recorded information ever held relevant to the scope of the
Complainant’s request but deleted/destroyed?

I am unable to confirm whether the Minutes for this meeting were deleted
or destroyed.  It seems more likely they were not created in the first
place and therefore never existed.

 6. If recorded information was held but is no longer held, when did the
Council cease to retain this information?

The Minutes for this meeting would still be required to be held and
published online, if they were ever in existence.  During my searches, I
have found no evidence to suggest they ever existed.

 7. Does the Council have a record of the document’s destruction?

I am unable to confirm whether the Minutes for this meeting were
destroyed.  It seems more likely they were not created in the first place
and therefore never existed.

 8. What does the Council formal records management policy say about the
retention and deletion of records of this type? If there is no
relevant policy can the Council describe the way in which it has
handled comparable records of a similar age?

Currently, Ammanford Town Council do not have their own policy for the
retention and deletion of these type of records.  They should however be
following the legal requirements.  Ammanford Town Council intends to
conduct a full review of its’ handling of records of these type and will
implement a policy going forward.

 9. If the information is electronic data which has been deleted, might
copies have been made and held in other locations?

As noted in my answer to Question 2, I have searched every possible
electronic option I have been made aware of where these Minutes might be
held.  I have been unable to find the Minutes and I can only assume they
never existed.

10. Are there any statutory requirements upon the Council to retain the
requested information?

Yes

I'm sorry I am unable to provide you with the information requested.

Thank you

Clare Hope

Interim Clerk

Tel:  01269 839570

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]
2. mailto:[Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]

Daniel Morris left an annotation ()

Cut & Paste error? Searching emails in May & June 17 is unlikely to yield results for July 2018. Was the ICO really fobbed off so easily?