Legal advice for delaying Task and Finish Forum

P Freeman made this Freedom of Information request to East Devon District 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 East Devon District Council,

This request is made under both FoI and ERA regimes.

I understand that the Task and Finish Forum investigation into the affairs of the East Devon Business Forum have been delayed.

Can you please provide me with:

1. A list of people, their job titles and organisations (i.e. both internal and external advisors) who were asked by EDDC officers or members for advice regarding the Task and Finish Forum investigation into the East Devon Business Forum.

2. Copies of all correspondence with these people relating to these requests.

Yours faithfully,

P Freeman

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000346695 .

Customer Service Centre
East Devon District Council

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East Devon District Council

Dear Ms Freeman,

Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

All information relating the scope and work of the Business Task and Finish Forum can be accessed online. The links below may be of particular interest and further minutes can also be viewed online.

I hope this is helpful.

If you feel dissatisfied with the way we have responded to your request, please email our Monitoring Officer at [email address] to request an internal review.

You may also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417

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Dear East Devon District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of East Devon District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Legal advice for delaying Task and Finish Forum'.

The answer provided does not address my requests in any way shape or form.

Can you now please:

1. Provide the information requested.

2. Explain why you provided an answer which does not address the questions asked?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

P Freeman

Ian Clarke,

Dear Mr Freeman


I am sorry that you feel dissatisfied with our handling of your FOIA
request. All available recorded documentation held in respect of the scope
and working of the Business TAFF has been provided and referred to in the
form of information already publicly available online.


In terms of “advice” sought or provided to the TAFF, any advice provided
to them is documented in the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny meetings
which are available online. I understand that the TAFF was advised by our
former Monitoring Officer in terms of the scope being extended to include
employment land issues in the Local Plan and this was documented in the
Overview and Scrutiny minutes.


Advice on the scope of the TAFF was provided at the meetings by the Chief
Executive and this is recorded in the minutes.


At the Overview and Scrutiny meeting of 28th March a member of the public
asked whether independent legal advice had been sought about the scope of
the TAFF and the Chief Executive confirmed that it had not (as set out in
the minutes)


I confirm to you that no further documentation is held in relation to the
TAFF requesting or receiving advice. You may wish to refer queries about
the work of the TAFF to the Chairperson, Cllr Graham Troman direct or
through our Democratic Services Team.


I hope this clarifies things for you but, as you already know, if you
remain dissatisfied you may refer this matter to the Information
Commissioner at [1]


Yours sincerely


Ian Clarke

Solicitor – Interim Monitoring Officer EDDC

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Dear Ian Clarke,

Thank you. That now answers my question - that no legal advice was sought as to whether delaying the TAFF was legally required because the matter was sub-judice, and that the decision to delay it was based upon the advice given personally by the Chief Executive (who is not, as far as I am aware, a lawyer by profession) without the benefit of legal advice.

Unless you can provide evidence to the contrary, I would imagine that the interpretation of "the man on the omnibus" will likely be that the decision to avoid investigating the EDBF in a timely fashion was to avoid bad publicity (or possibly for political reasons) rather than because it was legally sub-judice.

Yours sincerely,

P Freeman