June 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 successful.

Dear Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire,

Please provide copies of the Minutes for all meetings held in June 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 'June 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

Hello

Please be advised the clerk has left and I the mayor have just had access
to this email to go through it.

I advised yourself to contact me and the commissioner apparently has but
no contact from yourself at all even after I advised the commissioner the
clerk has left

I am dealing with the investigation and complaint in the 20 day period I
was advised of

If you want too meet in the town hall please come in today if you can and
I will give you whatever you want 

I must ask however why did you enter our office during a council meeting
to leave an envelope on the table

However I apologise for lack of correspondence and I am resolving all of
these issues but I advise you to use my email address which is on the
website

Regards

Jon

Mayor

show quoted sections

Dear Town Mayor,

> Hello
>
> Please be advised the clerk has left and I the mayor have just had access
> to this email to go through it.

Ms Bell said that she'd resigned months before.

> I advised yourself to contact me and the commissioner apparently has but
> no contact from yourself at all even after I advised the commissioner the
> clerk has left

I'm struggling to decipher what you meant to write in that sentence. So let's put a few hard facts down and see how the stories align.

On 13th July I spoke with the Information Commissioner's Office, determined there were two case officers working independently of each other (covering the different batches of requests) and put them in touch with each other. They lamented that they'd been unable to contact Ammanford Town Council (19 July) despite issuing a 28 days written notice that you were compelled to respond to by then. I suggested they contact the local Plaid office, home to both our Plaid Cymru AM (and now party Leader) and Plaid Cymru MP - figuring they might have a way to jump on the "Plaid slide in Iscennen" and get through to you. An ICO Case Officer confirmed on 25 July that they had finally made contact with you. The ICO also confirmed that Ammanford Town Council had been referred for enforcement action on account of your failure to pay/register as a Data Controller - they publicised 34 organisations that they were bringing formal action against on 26 September, noting fines of up to £4,350.

> I am dealing with the investigation and complaint in the 20 day period I
> was advised of

We're another 81 days on. Any progress?

> If you want too meet in the town hall please come in today if you can and
> I will give you whatever you want

Afraid my diary was full that week, and I didn't want to exploit such an open-ended offer.

> I must ask however why did you enter our office during a council meeting
> to leave an envelope on the table

And I would have to ask "What evidence do you hold to suggest that I entered your office during a council meeting to leave an envelope on the table?".

I cycled to "your" office on the evening of July 6th 2018 (a slight detour returning home from work) and posted an envelope. Would you like a plot of this part of journey from my GPS on Google Maps? I was concerned when I got an email from what could have been a "burner" account on What Do They Know. I was impersonated in the US a couple of years ago (to effect banking fraud), so I was a little suspicious of a message with a yahoo email address, and especially so with the content of the message. I printed that message and hand wrote a note on it, asking you to simply confirm your authenticity by posting a reply to an address some 200m from "your" office. Here is the message I received:

| Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2018 10:33:58 +0100
| From: Jonathan Davies
| <[email address]>
| To: Daniel Morris <redacted>
| Subject: minutes
|
| ------------------------------------------------------------
| Jonathan Davies has used WhatDoTheyKnow to send you the
| message below. Your details, including your email address,
| have not been given to anyone. If you reply to this message
| it will go directly to Jonathan Davies, who will learn your
| email address. Only reply if that is okay.
|---------------------------------------------------------------------
|
|
| Daniel Morris,
| Hello
|
| I am the new mayor of ATC and have been made aware of this
| site. I want to resolve all issues but not through this
| open site Send me an email to [email address] and we
| can talk and resolve all your issues hopefully
| Feel free to arrange a meeting with myself as well if you
| want
| Yours,
|
| Jonathan Davies
|
| -----------------------------------------------------------
| View Freedom of Information requests made by Jonathan
| Davies:
| https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/jona...

I marked the envelope along the lines of "Private & Confidential - Addressee Only", addressed to yourself as Town Mayor, Ammanford Town Council etc.

The envelope also contained a copy of an earlier formal complaint that remains unresolved. I'm not sure how that compares to the (unopened?) envelope that you report receiving?

For your information, in case you are unaware, here is how mail is handled for "your" office (this information provided by Carmarthenshire County Council back in spring when investigating why the aforementioned Clerk claimed she hadn't received correspondence)

# Dear Mr Morris
#
# I write in response to you enquiry relating to
# correspondence addressed to Ammanford Town Council, which
# are posted into the Town Hall, Ammanford.
#
# The post box on the outside of the Town Hall is accessible
# 24 hours a day and is emptied on a daily basis, during the
# working week. This is done by the Authority's Communities
# Business Support team which are based within the building.
# They then circulate the mail to the addressee's.
#
# Any mail left in the internal mail box within the Customer
# Services Centre is opened and delivered by the Customer
# Services staff, and again would delivered to the intended
# addressee.
#
# Any post sent recorded delivery would require a signature on
# receipt, and a record is kept internally.
#
# All post addressed to Ammanford Town Council would be passed
# on receipt to their office situated within the Town Hall. No
# record is kept by the Carmarthenshire County Council of mail
# addressed to Ammanford Town Council.
#
# Yours sincerely
#
# <helpful agent>
# Swyddog Cwynion / Complaints Officer
# Cwsmeriaid a Pholisi / Customer Focus and Policy
# Cyngor Sir Gar / Carmarthenshire County Council
# Ffon / Phone: 01267 224488

So, a better question would be how did an envelope get from the secure post box on Monday morning to be left on a table (presumably) that evening? Bonus points for confirming that it was unopened and had not been tampered with.

> However I apologise for lack of correspondence and I am resolving all of
> these issues but I advise you to use my email address which is on the
> website

To be frank, I looked at the WordPress instance that appeared in the domain in July and thought it was a fake. There was the no-longer Clerk's contact details, your dodgy yahoo identity and the past Mayor from 2015/16. The only progress to date is you now have your own URL at the top (instead of the hobbyist that is presumably knocking this up as a favour). Modern browsers also mark your site with an insecurity warning!

Next time you look out from "your" office at a Council Meeting, note the former Citizen's Advice Bureau, where a couple defrauded £650,000, then wander through to Quay Street, where a £115,000 theft happened at the Post Office. As the Good Councillor's Guide says "If you are beginning to think there are too many rules, then remember that they protect people’s rights (including yours) and give confidence that the organisation is properly run."

So how about finally showing the Minutes, including acceptance of audited accounts, declaring interests and complying with laws that the public have (handsomely) sponsored civil servants and politicians to draft, scrutinise and enact?

Yours sincerely,

D Morris

Town Clerk, Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Morris,

Please find attached minutes of meetings held in June 2018 as requested.

Regards
Clare Hope

Interim Clerk