LDLrefresh proposal

Julian Todd made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council

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 Liverpool City Council,

I note that on 29 June 2011 the Cabinet received an executive summary from Ernst and Young ref EY/LCC/LDL/001 dated 27 June 2011 containing the following quote on page 1:

"Our engagement was performed in accordance with our engagement agreement dated 7 June 2011... At the request of Liverpool City Council a Partnership Refresh Proposal was received and further updated on 27 May 2011 which sets out the position of BT, its proposals, ideas and suggestions going forward in partnership to 2017..."

Please may I be sent:

(1) A copy of the engagement agreement with E&Y dated 7 June 2011

(2) The invoice from E&Y for the performance of this work (including the billed time and value value)

(3) A copy of the first Partnership Refresh Proposal from BT

(4) A copy of the updated Partnership Refresh Proposal from BT

(5) Any documents (if they are not included in the above) substantiating the merits or otherwise of the assertion that BT has the potential to make a legal claim against the Council for £56million if it were to terminate the contract in accordance with the contract that is in force. This would be done in relation to calculations in Schedule 21 of the December 2006 version of the contract or some other agreement that is not currently known.[2]

Thank you for your time in handling this request. I am sure you understand that disclosure of this information may allow more people and skills to scrutinize the proposals that could be supplied by E&Y in such a short time scale.

[1] Item 4e http://councillors.liverpool.gov.uk/ieLi...

[2] http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached acknowledgement letter

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Todd

I write regarding your recent request made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000

Unfortunately we will be unable to provide a full response by the 28 July,
the deadline for our response.

I can assure you that we are endeavouring to provide the information to
you as soon as possible and, once completed, I will ensure the response is
sent to you as quickly as possible.

Please accept my apologies for this delay and if I can be of any further
assistance please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Regards,

Kevin Symm

Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached response

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Dear Liverpool City Council,

Thank you for replying on 2 August to my 29 June request for details about the Ernst and Young engagement for reviewing LCC Partnership refresh proposal with BT.

The reply contained none of the information I sought. The total refusal was on various groundless bases, such as that the terms of reference for the engagement with E&Y for report into LCC business belonged to E&Y, as was the report they wrote while in the pay of LCC. If this is the case, then some section of the terms of reference should be disclosed to confirm that these were the terms.

Given the never-ending sequence worse and worse decisions regarding the extent and continuation of this contract, it is not reasonable to expect the public to take any decision on trust. As much information should be disclosed, without these unreasonable refusals.

My request in Point 5 asking for substantiation of the alleged £56million claim by BT is NOT exempt under section 42 because there are no legal proceedings -- and there is no risk of any legal proceedings owing to the conclusion of this agreement which means they have been dropped. What this means is that we have a right to see the cards now laid on the table, and to ascertain whether there was any substance to this crucial part of the negotiations that closed this contract renewal on these terms.

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

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

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Todd

Please accept this email as formal acknowledgement of your request for an internal review

As response will be provided to you as soon as possible

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Dear Kevin Symm,

As it has been nearly four weeks since 5 August when I submitted my request for an internal review on my 29 June FOI request for background to the E&Y report and any details substantiating BT's potential £56million legal claim, can I ask what progress has been made towards drafting a reply or disclosing the requested information?

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Todd

As I drafted our original response I am unable to have any further input into our internal review process.

I will speak to the officer who is dealing with your review and provide an update as soon as possible.

If I can be of any further assistance regarding this or any other matter please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[email address]

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

Presumably Kevin Symm spoke to the reviewing officer - I wonder why there hasn't even been an acknowledge (by Andrea Glanville, if recent reviews of his decisions are anything to go by) in over a month.

The refusal letter is positively desperate. How ridiculous to suggest that every single word of the terms and conditions of the engagement, and the invoice for services, is confidential information and "belongs" to Ernst & Young. Because it's on their letterhead?

The terms and conditions were surely set by the Council, weren't they? The agreement merely put the agreed terms in writing, for clarity. And as for the invoice - Councils are rightly required to publish details of all expenditure, which they would not be able to do if this exemption really applied.

And to suggest that disclosure of their terms would stop E&Y bidding on future work, to the detriment of the public - and that preventing this could ever outweigh the public interest in the LDL contract renewal - is ludicrous. It suggests they would only want to do work for the Council if they could charge what they want and keep secret what they actually did and how much they were paid for doing it. If this unlikely scenario is true, how exactly would this serve the public interest?

I'm certain that a great many people are really looking forward to seeing these terms and conditions published - so we can all understand quite how 2 and a half weeks' work by E&Y allowed the council to conclude the deal was good - and that all the previous, and far more rigorous, reports into the LDL contract were wrong.

It is not only in the public interest, but also in E&Y's interest for this information to be published, because LCC has consistently stated that their recommendation is the reason the contract was continued - i.e., that they are responsible.

Dear Symm, Kevin,

I refer to my 29 June FOI request for details about the BT contract refresh proposal, including the work done by Ernst & Young as well as any information to substantiate the alleged £56million legal threat by BT if the negotiations with the Council didn't go their way.

I received a total refusal of my request on 2 August, and asked for an internal review 5 August, over two months ago.

Can you inform me if there has been any progress on this case and when I can expect a reply?

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Todd
First I would apologise for the delay in responding back to you and
failing to giving you an update on your request for an internal review. 
To clarify I have reviewed the earlier response that was sent to you and
it was established that no dialogue had taken place with the 3rd parties
to discuss the release of the information as per your request.  I have now
had the discussions with the 3rd parties and they have presented me with
their arguments for non- disclosure of the information - based on their
arguments we are having to consider Section 41 and Section 43, it is also
suggested Section 42.  I am still in the process of gathering the final
documentation as only then can I make a decision whether I can uphold all
or some of their arguments. 
I will endevour to provide you timely updates and ideally would like to
get the final response to you week commencing 17/10/11.
Thanks for your continued patience over this matter.
Regards

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Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Todd
Regrettably I am unable to provide a response to youa t this time  I have
explained that I have received 'arguments' from LDL & E&Y regarding the
release of the information you have requested and having considered their
arguments it has raised a few more queries that I need to go back to them
to discuss further.  I am off next week and will return w/c 31/10/11
therefore I will come back to you at that time.  Apologies for the ongoing
delay and I appreciate your co-operation over this.
Regards
A Glanville

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Dear Andrea Glanville,

Thank you for your attention to my request for basic information about the renewal of this most worthy and valuable contract.

I very much look forward to reading the 'arguments' produced by the highly qualified and honourable individuals concerned with the deal.

I am sympathetic to the fact that this may be a more difficult and time-consuming process than it should normally be.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

Glanville, Andrea, Liverpool City Council

Thanks for your e mail, I am away from the office and I will haveno access
to my emails during this time.  Any urgent enquiries please direct to
[email address] or contact the Information & Practice Support
Team  on  225 2709.  If your request is in relation to FOI/DPA please
forward this to [Liverpool City Council request email]  if this is a new
request it will not be considered received by the Council until it is
forwarded to this address.

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Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Todd
Please find attached our response to your request for an internal review
of our original response of 2 August 2011.
Please acccept my apologies for the delay in our response to you.
Regards
A Glanville

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Dear Andrea Glanville,

Thank you for your response to my request for an internal review, which I am giving careful consideration to. Thank you for the time you have put into this.

My initial reaction is that LCC engaged E&Y on this contract, not the other way around, so the argument provided against disclosure of engagement agreement is a clear instance of attempting to "contract out" of the obligations of FOI.

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

Secondly, none of the redactions on the refresh proposal have been justified. All I can see is that every number and every word connected to a number has been blanked out.

And thirdly, I believe I asked for evidence substantiating a potential legal claim against LCC estimated by BT at £56million if they did not get what they wanted. Even if your solicitors decided that this was a sufficiently trivial matter not to commit to writing, they must have based it on some material they had access to, for example, an email from BT. Otherwise they could be accused of simply making it up.

http://councillors.liverpool.gov.uk/mgCo...

Once again, thank you for your time on this case.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Todd

Katie M. left an annotation ()

A couple of things worth noting:
a) many of the names and, I would think, some of the figures, are already in the public record.
b) the statement that every single officer who had a copy of the first proposal had destroyed it after it was "withdrawn" by LDL is absolutely shocking - since when did civil servants destroy documents that they should surely keep on file?
c) they didn't delete the quid pro quo to BT's offer to withdraw its legal claims - that LCC had to agree not to pursue any that it might have, in return. It looks possible if not likely that BT/LDL has breached all sorts of contractual clauses, and it's a pity for the council to box itself in like that. This bit was not in the info issued to the public.
d) the document itself is a bit of a joke. It's meant to be a business proposal, but is more like a press release with a few paragraphs of figures grafted on the end. Paragraphs and paragraphs of PR - the usual trumpet-blowing LDL fluff (ground breaking, wonderful, etc etc...), BT and all the things it is doing here in Merseyside to promote its business - exactly the same things its doing everywhere else in the country (except here, in the case of Infinity, Liverpool is pretty low down on the list). All completely irrelevant. Without the fluff, and the acres of black marker redactions, not much hard information.

dh left an annotation ()

Should anyone from any authority considering an outsourcing with BT read this then .........
What sounds good to someone stonewalling reads completely differently to just about everyone else.
No longer have copies ??????????

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Apart from the fact that th terms of E&Y's work for the council will have been agreed between them, and hence E&Y cannot object to their release, and LCC cannot really withhold it, a response to another information request today (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bt...), about the basis for the 52 million pound claim that BT is apparently writing off, contains the following statement:

"In response to point 1 the legal claim was first communicated to the Council in the BT Refresh Proposal document dated 27 May 2011."

It is absolutely impossible to believe that they would actually destroy all copies of this. Enough is enough, the excuses are sounding more and more desperate and incoherent.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

On the question of Ernst & Young and what they actually did, there is a payment of £25,000 E&Y by Liverpool City Council in September 2011.
This is listed as "legal services" for the Chief Executive, so it is probably the work on the refresh proposal. So whatever they did, it was't exactly in-depth (compared to the hundreds of thousands previous reports into LDL have cost).
Please make a complaint about this.

dh left an annotation ()

A couple of things that jump out from the parts of the report that were not blanked are
The suggestion that BT could finance a chair for the aprenticeship fund. This would be BT money going to whoever holds this chair.
The main one is BT suggestion that the Officer Code of Conduct for LCC, or at least the LDL secondees, be changed which is something one would not expect to see in a contract from a supplier. At a casual glance one might assume that it was to tighten it up but if the controls on local governement have been in place for a number of years, they are likely to be pretty tight and that any change would be a tightening up is an assumption and it is possible it may even be going the other way. If it were just a tightening then it would be introduced as an addition rather than a replacement I would have thought. Would be interesting to see BT's suggestions.

Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Todd
I have now received your complaint from the ICO.  I have been in
discussion with the ICO as on reflection the document we released to you
regarding the BT Refresh Proposal had redacted information that was
already in the public domain however you would not have been able to
distinguish that from the redacted data we were relying on under Section
41.
In the first instance I have suggested to the ICO we reissue the BT
documentation to you and not redact the information that is already in the
public domain which may give the response more context to your request. 
WIth regard to the documentation from E&Y I have suggested that we reissue
the actual documentation we received from E&Y and redact only what we
consider exempt under Section 41.  I would also advise that I have gone
back to BT and E&Y to ask them if they are prepared to waive
confidentiality on any other parts of the documentation.  I will endeavour
to get further information to you by w/c 2/1/12.
Regards
A Glanville

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

This insistence on getting Ernst & Young's consent is a bit silly, and unnecessary, strictly speaking.
As I mentioned in an earlier annotation, the terms and conditions of their engagement will have been agreed between them (i.e. E&Y and the council). It's not "their" information, it's joint information. So LCC already hold this information and are entitled to release it. It is of course courtesy to inform E&Y, but that's all it is - courtesy.
Not that I believe for a second that E&Y would in fact press to keep it confidential - it's not in their interest to do so. The terms of their engagement were clearly very narrow and they were given only a limited amount of documentation - they make this clear in summary report that has already been already published. This is clearly why they made the recommendation they did. No-one believes for a second that they would have reached the same conclusions if they had been given full access to all the previous reports and other material documenting all the many failings in this relationship.
The full terms and conditions will merely confirm all this - as does the fact that their work appears to have cost just £25,000. This doesn't actually buy much.
It is the council that needs to keep it confidential - they're the ones who actually set the terms.

Julian Todd left an annotation ()

Clearly E&Y work according to whatever terms they have been paid to work, and it is the Council who wants to keep the matter discrete. However, they may be going to E&Y to apply their best brains to looking for an excuse not to disclose. In which case I hope E&Y will bill them for this "advice".

Glanville, Andrea, Liverpool City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Todd
 
Following my email of 28 December 2011 please find attached the
documentation I referred to, I will have to send the documents
individually due to the size of the attachments.
 
As advised I will also forward a copy of this to the ICO.
 
Regards
 
Andrea Glanville
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
Telephone 0151 225 2709
Fax: 0151 225 2392
email: [1][email address]
 

 

 

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Glanville, Andrea, Liverpool City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Todd
 
This is the final set of attachments
 
Regards
 
Andrea Glanville
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
Telephone 0151 225 2709
Fax: 0151 225 2392
email: [1][email address]
 

 

 

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Julian Todd left an annotation ()

*Reply made to the ICO after being prompted to review my complaint*

Thank you for prompting me to review my complaint in light of the further response on 10 January 2012 from Liverpool City Council.

I appear to have received a new copy of the BT's 27 May 2011 Refresh Proposal with slightly fewer redactions, a second document which appears to be the appendices, most of the engagement agreement with E&Y and a cover letter explaining LCC's current position.

The cover letter explained that the earlier redacted copy sent to me on 16 November 2011 (which I complained about)...

"...included information that was already in the public domain via the Cabinet Report of 29 June 2011, however it would not have been clear to you what was already released in the public domain equally we failed to identify which parts of the report would have been considered exempt under Section 21 – information already easily accessible by other means. Therefore to remedy this issue I have now attached a further redacted report which does not include the redacted data under Section 21, it also contains further information that BT have now waived confidentiality on."

This leaves me with the impression that they simply crossed-out all traces of financial information from the original document as though everything was confidential, and backed up this practice with a blanket excuse in case I refuted the confidentiality of any particular redaction by reference to a disclosure in any other document. I am very sympathetic as to the workload the Council is now under in terms of its continuing obligations in the face of deep financial and staffing cuts, but LDL continues to be the highest value and most problematic contract the Council operates and it has historically been subject to a disproportionate lack of transparency.

I will review my complaint in parts.

(1) I requested a copy of the E&Y's engagement agreement dated 7 June. I have now received a most of this document, outlining the Statement of Work.

However Appendix B (General terms and conditions) remains a secret as this information supposedly belongs E&Y and was disclosed in confidence.

I do not find this reasonable as these terms are in fact part of the contract to which the Council has agreed. If they are truly general terms and conditions they will have been seen by every purchasor of E&Y's services, as well as all its consultants and will most likely be widely understood throughout the business consultant sector.

If there was anything necessarily confidential within these standard terms, E&Y could easily (as it is fully within their paid-for expertise) have by now drafted a public set of standard terms and conditions for use for public authorities.

If, as was explained in the original response to me, these terms state in their clause 25 that the client is not entitled to disclose the terms of business then I believe it is in the public interest to disclose this apparent breach of FOI law (for cases where the client is a public authority) in order to clarify the issue in relation to this prestigious and frequent contractor.

(2) The invoice from E&Y. As the statement of work outlined the cost of the job, I no longer require this information.

(3) A copy of the first Partnership Proposal. The Council has explained that this information has been destroyed (described as having been "returned").

(4) The updated Refresh Proposal made on 27 May 2011.

Some redactions on the have been undone, revealing systems of audit and accountability as well as BT's precise veto powers on the grants made by the proposed Apprenticeship Fund that is likely to be used for PR purposes.

However, there remains a huge quantity of undisclosed information. For example, everything in Table 1.4 (Proposed Contracted Enhanced Service Performance targets) remains redacted, yet the document goes on to explain: "These performance enhancements will... help to reinforce a positive reputation of the City Council..."

As long as we are in the realm of the public reputation of the Council on the basis of these proposed performance enhancements, then it is clearly essential for the actual performance targets to be disclosed to the public in advance so that there is no temptation to misrepresent them in the future by reporting the falling well short of an agreed target as a spectacular improvement.

No further explanations have been provided for any of the redactions. As this agreement has been agreed and become part of the contract, it should be disclosed in full under the terms that any other contract the Council signs should be disclosed.

(5) Substantiation for the potential legal claims against the Council were it to terminate the contract (ie the stick).

Table 1.7 (Potential 'Write-Offs') of the Refresh Proposal lists 9 hidden items with a total of £56.026million, which appears to match this number.

This part of my request remains inadequately addressed. If BT is actually promising that it will never take legal action against certain high-value claims against the Council (and 'write-off' the lost income), then this needs to be seen to be properly stipulated and agreed. If the information is not publically known then there is a chance that any one of these supposedly closed issues could re-emerge in five years time and be used to threaten Councillors and Officers if they do not agree to re-renew the contract on BT's terms again.

Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Todd
Please see attached which I trust you will find self explanatory, if you
could advise how you wish me to proceed with this I will oblige
accordingly.
Regards
A Glanville

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Glanville, Andrea, Liverpool City Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Todd

 

Please find attached our response and supporting information in relation
to the above Decision Notice.

 

Regards

 

Andrea Glanville I Information & Practice Manager
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I
L2 2DH
T: 0151 225  2411 I E: [1][email address]
Online: [2]www.liverpool.gov.uk

[3][IMG]

 

 

 

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