Dear Mr Tillman,

Please could you provide;

1. Copies of all correspondence, (emails, letters and telephone call notes), between the council and the Regional Organised Crime Unit (Tarian) relating to the Llanelli Wellness Village investigation.
The correspondence will also include communications with any other individuals, and bodies, eg CPS, Dyfed Powys, South Wales, Gwent and Kent Police, in relation to the investigation.

2. Copies of all other documents held by the council relating to the Llanelli Wellness Village police investigation.

Thank you

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Diolch am eich gohebiaeth.

Os ydych yn gwneud cais am wybodaeth, bydd y cyfnodau isod yn berthnasol:

Deddf Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 2000 (DRhG) a’r Rheoliadau Gwybodaeth
Amgylcheddol 2004 (RhGA) - 20 diwrnod gwaith, oni bai bod angen eglurhad
arnom ynghylch y wybodaeth yr ydych yn gofyn amdano. 

O ganlyniad i’r sefyllfa bresennol gyda'r firws COVID-19 a'r effaith ar
rai o wasanaethau'r Cyngor, gall fod angen i flaenoriaethu ceisiadau DRhG
a RhGA, yn dibynnu ar y wybodaeth y gofynnir amdani. Ymddiheurwn am hyn.

Deddf Diogelu Data 2018 a’r GDPR (ceisiadau am ddata personol) – un mis ar
ôl derbyn y cais.

Os bydd angen eglurhad arnom ar unrhyw agwedd o’ch cais, byddwn yn
cysylltu â chi mor gynted ag y bo modd.

 

 

Tîm Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

 

show quoted sections

Dear foia team,

Could I please have a response to this request, which was due on the 24th August.

Thank you

Jacqui Thompson

Dear foia,

I would be grateful for a response as it is now two weeks late

Thank you
Jacqui Thompson

Dear foia team,

Could you please provide a response, or at least an explanation for the delay.
The response was due on the 24th August

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

Thank you for your email. We apologise for the lack of response to your request to date.

We are in the process of completing the retrieval of all relevant information and will provide a further response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Tȋm Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth
TG a Pholisi Corfforaethol
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information Governance Team
ICT & Corporate Policy
Chief Executive’s Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

show quoted sections

Dear Foia team,

Thank you for the update received on the 21st September but as a further two weeks have now passed I would be grateful if you could now respond to my request.

Yours sincerely
Jacqui Thompson

Dear Foia team

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'Llanelli Wellness Village investigation' as the council have failed to provide a response within the legal time limit.
The response was due on the 24th August 2021.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

Yours sincerely
Jacqui Thompson

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Your email of the 12^th October to the Council’s FOI Team requesting an
internal review of the handling of your request has been passed to me to
deal with. I will aim to respond fully within 20 working days, that isby
the 8^th December 2021.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robert Edgecombe

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

Mrs Thompson,

 

Please accept my apologies, 20 working days obviously takes us to the
10^th November, not the 8^th December ! I will of course work to that
closer deadline

 

Regards

Robert Edgecombe

 

From: Robert Edgecombe
Sent: 13 October 2021 15:07
To: [FOI #777250 email]
Subject: CCFO-507 - FOIA request 14794

 

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Your email of the 12^th October to the Council’s FOI Team requesting an
internal review of the handling of your request has been passed to me to
deal with. I will aim to respond fully within 20 working days, that isby
the 8^th December 2021.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robert Edgecombe

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

I am very sorry but owing to the pressure of other work I am unable to
meet the 10^th November deadline to respond to your review request. I have
set aside time later this week to try and work on your request and will
update you further as to progress by the 17th November.

 

Please accept my apologies for this delay

 

Regards

Robert Edgecombe

 

From: Robert Edgecombe
Sent: 13 October 2021 15:14
To: '[FOI #777250 email]'
<[FOI #777250 email]>
Subject: RE: CCFO-507 - FOIA request 14794

 

Mrs Thompson,

 

Please accept my apologies, 20 working days obviously takes us to the
10^th November, not the 8^th December ! I will of course work to that
closer deadline

 

Regards

Robert Edgecombe

 

From: Robert Edgecombe
Sent: 13 October 2021 15:07
To: [1][FOI #777250 email]
Subject: CCFO-507 - FOIA request 14794

 

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Your email of the 12^th October to the Council’s FOI Team requesting an
internal review of the handling of your request has been passed to me to
deal with. I will aim to respond fully within 20 working days, that isby
the 8^th December 2021.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robert Edgecombe

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #777250 email]

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

I write to advise that I have finished collating and reviewing the
information that the authority holds in relation to your request. However
before I can make any disclosure to you I am required by the Secretary of
State’s Code of Practice to seek the views both Dyfed-Powys Police and
South Wales Police as to whether they object to my making any disclosure
to you, given that your request relates to investigations carried out by
those forces.

 

I have made contact with both forces and will update you as soon as I hear
from them.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robert Edgecombe

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Please find enclosed a response to your request for an internal review in
this matter. I apologise for the delay in getting it to you.

 

Regards

 

Robert Edgecombe

Dear Mr Edgecombe,

I am requesting an internal review of your response.

I appealed against your response dated 21st December 2021 to the Information Commissioner. The ICO replied today (Ref; IC-150531-T2Q1)to inform me that I must ask for a further internal review.
They said;
" From the information provided, I can see that the Council has just issued an internal review response rather than an initial response to your request.
Although an internal review has been completed, I would advise you to request that another is carried out and that you state the reasons that you are dissatisfied with the response received. Before we can accept complaints for further investigation, we require that public authorities are given the opportunity to review their response, especially when exemptions under FOIA have been quoted.
I will write to the Council and remind it that it should advise people making requests that they have the right to ask for a response to be reviewed."

So, I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire Council's handling and refusal of my FOI request 'Llanelli Wellness Village investigation' on the following grounds;

The council have used Section 40 Data Protection exemptions, including Article 6(1)(f) of UKGDPR which provides for the processing and disclosure of personal data without the data subjects consent where it is “necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by the third party..."

I believe that there is a strong legitimate public interest for the requested information to be disclosed.
The request asked for information relating to an investigation regarding a proposed development, the 'Wellness Village', led by the council.
Public funds from the council, the Welsh Government and the Swansea Bay City Deal are being used for the development. Considerable expenditure has already been made, prior and during the police investigation. Governance, audit, oversight and scrutiny were also led by a democratically elected body, Carmarthenshire Council, at the time.

The main focus of the investigation centred around allegations of fraud and corruption concerning the initial tender, again led by the council, in 2018. The investigation concluded in March 2021.
In July 2019 the police executed search warrants at County Hall, the home of the then retired Chief Executive Mark James and the home of former council leader Meryl Gravell. Electronic equipment and documents were seized as part of the investigation. The two individuals were both in post at the time of the alleged offences.

The review response states that the information the council holds includes;
Emails between council officers
Emails between council officers and the police
Court and other Legal documents provided to the Council by the police
Email and other correspondence between council officers and third parties

It is not clear what other information/material the council holds other than what is included above, which was not particularly helpful.
However, the response states that;
"I do not believe that the Council has any legitimate interests which make in necessary for it to process the personal data of these data subjects in this way
"I do not believe that you have a legitimate interest in respect of which it is necessary for this disclosure to be made. In particular you were not a victim of any alleged criminal conduct which was being investigated as part of Operation Koel. "

I believe that the council, as an elected body, clearly does have a legitimate interest. The police concluded that there was evidence of potential criminal conduct. The council must be accountable to itself, and the public, over the events which occurred, and the actions and words of specific individuals, whether they were under investigation or assisting the police with their enquiries.

The public must have confidence that this will not happen again, therefore full disclosure will benefit the public to this end.

I am, as a taxpayer and elector living in Carmarthenshire, a victim. As is the rest of the population. We put our trust in the council to ensure that tenders, relationships with developers, and of course the dialogue between the police, investigators, courts, council officers, third parties, and other senior council figures is above board and transparent.

Clearly, in this case, things were not above board, far from it. Furthermore, no internal investigation has been undertaken by the council, or a report issued. Full disclosure of the requested information is the only option which would provide reassurance, clarity, and be of obvious benefit to the residents of the county.
If the council agree to disclose the information but with minor redactions, I would be willing to consider whether or not this is acceptable.

I also raised this comment from yourself as a complaint with ICO;
“I consider that there are other exemptions applicable to your request. It is unnecessary for me to consider these in detail given the decision above, but I reserve the right to do so in the event of an appeal to the Information Commissioner.”

I found this remark to be pointless and unhelpful, and appeared to be said as a deterrent not to take the matter to the Information Commissioner. If the council does have further exemptions in mind the they should have at least listed them, or not made the remark at all.

Thank you,
Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Diolch am eich gohebiaeth.

Os ydych yn gwneud cais am wybodaeth, bydd y cyfnodau isod yn berthnasol:

Deddf Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 2000 (DRhG) a’r Rheoliadau Gwybodaeth
Amgylcheddol 2004 (RhGA) - 20 diwrnod gwaith, oni bai bod angen eglurhad
arnom ynghylch y wybodaeth yr ydych yn gofyn amdano. 

O ganlyniad i’r sefyllfa bresennol gyda'r firws COVID-19 a'r effaith ar
rai o wasanaethau'r Cyngor, gall fod angen i flaenoriaethu ceisiadau DRhG
a RhGA, yn dibynnu ar y wybodaeth y gofynnir amdani. Ymddiheurwn am hyn.

Deddf Diogelu Data 2018 a’r GDPR (ceisiadau am ddata personol) – un mis ar
ôl derbyn y cais.

Os bydd angen eglurhad arnom ar unrhyw agwedd o’ch cais, byddwn yn
cysylltu â chi mor gynted ag y bo modd.

 

 

Tîm Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

 

show quoted sections

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

I write further to my email below. I am informed that you have made an
appeal to the Information Commissioner. The ICO have advised that the
council should however conduct a further internal review and that they see
no reason why it should not be myself who does that.

 

I have therefore contacted both South Wales police and Dyfed-Powys Police
and asked them to review their original responses to me. I will then
revisit my original decision once I hear from them.

 

As I cannot predicted when I will hear back from the police I will give
you a progress update in 2 weeks time

 

Regards

Robert Edgecombe

 

From: Robert Edgecombe
Sent: 21 December 2021 14:28
To: [FOI #777250 email]
Subject: CCFO-507 FOIA Request - Operation KOEL

 

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Please find enclosed a response to your request for an internal review in
this matter. I apologise for the delay in getting it to you.

 

Regards

 

Robert Edgecombe

Daniel Morris left an annotation ()

Mr Edgecombe said he would be on leave during this week and unable to attend to other FOI.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...

Favouritism?

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Further to my email below, please find enclose the 2^nd review response.

 

Yours sincerely

Robert Edgecombe

 

From: Robert Edgecombe
Sent: 21 February 2022 10:04
To: '[FOI #777250 email]'
<[FOI #777250 email]>
Subject: RE: CCFO-507 FOIA Request - Operation KOEL

 

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

I write further to my email below. I am informed that you have made an
appeal to the Information Commissioner. The ICO have advised that the
council should however conduct a further internal review and that they see
no reason why it should not be myself who does that.

 

I have therefore contacted both South Wales police and Dyfed-Powys Police
and asked them to review their original responses to me. I will then
revisit my original decision once I hear from them.

 

As I cannot predicted when I will hear back from the police I will give
you a progress update in 2 weeks time

 

Regards

Robert Edgecombe

 

From: Robert Edgecombe
Sent: 21 December 2021 14:28
To: [1][FOI #777250 email]
Subject: CCFO-507 FOIA Request - Operation KOEL

 

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

Please find enclosed a response to your request for an internal review in
this matter. I apologise for the delay in getting it to you.

 

Regards

 

Robert Edgecombe

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #777250 email]