Lord Bethells Mobile Phone Correspondence

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Health and Social Care of their handling of this request.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

noting that it is a criminal offence to deliberately conceal information relating to an FoIA request, please could you disclose to me all Lord Bethell's SMS/WhatsApp correspondence for the period August-October 2020?

He clearly still has access to that correspondence given recent social media statements, and despite claims to have "lost" his mobile devices.

Please could you also disclose to me the date on which that correspondence was furnished to the NCA?

Yours faithfully,
P John

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Your correspondence is being handled by the appropriate team. 

If you have made an FOI request, DHSC is required under section 10(1) of
the FOIA to provide you with a response within 20 working days. If DHSC is
unable to do this, we will contact you nearer the time.

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

Department of Health and Social Care

Dear P John,

We apologise for the delay in you receiving a response to your FOI
request (our ref: FOI-1486848).

The Department of Health and Social Care is still considering your request
and we will respond as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely, 

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

before I file a complaint to the ICO, please could you provide me with an explanation for the on-going delay to the release of the information I requested from you in December last year? I will then attach that to the complaint if necessary.

Noting that it is a criminal offence to deliberately conceal information relating to an FoIA request, I am concerned that you have not responded promptly to disclose the requested information, and even - when presented with good evidence that this data exists - appear to be deliberately & knowingly concealing it.

Which would be a crime.

Yours faithfully,

P. John

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr John,

Thank you for your email.

We apologise for the length of time it has taken to process your FOI request. Unfortunately, the department’s response is not yet complete. We will issue our response as soon as possible.

Please accept our apologies for the delay.


Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear Dear Department of Health and Social Care,,
for information, a complaint concerning your handling of this request is now in the hands of the ICO.
"Thank you, we have received your complaint. You will get an automated email from us confirming we have received it in the next 24 hours. What happens next? We will contact you within no more than 30 working day to provide you with a case reference number. We'll assign your complaint to a case officer as soon as we can."
Yours sincerely,
P. John

P. John left an annotation ()

Example of a supposedly deleted message...

https://twitter.com/JimBethell/status/17...

"4 Oct 2020 at 15:17

Hi James,

it was great speaking to you..."

Good morning FreedomofInformation Team,

please could you update me on the status of my FoIA request below, which is presently overdue & subject to an ICO complaint;-

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

Noting, as ever, that it remains a criminal offence to deliberately conceal information relating to an FoIA request.

Yours sincerely,

P. John

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr John,

Thank you for your request of 19 December under the Freedom of Information Act (our ref: FOI-1486848) and your email of 8 April following up on the response.

We are writing to inform you that the Department’s response to your request is not yet complete and requires further time to complete.

We therefore aim to respond fully to your request as soon as possible.

Please accept our sincere apologies for this continued delay to our response.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear FreedomofInformation,
so am I to understand, you are still unable to supply the information I first requested from you in December last year?
Then let me help you to locate it. On December 18, 2023, Lord Bethell (in a dialog with Michelle Mone) wrote the following message on twitter;
//@MichelleMone wasn’t “honest” about her financial interest to me. She didn’t explain “from the very beginning” about her financial “involvement” - her message below was typical. It wasn’t in her Register of Interests, as you’d expect it.
@RishiSunak is right to take this “very seriously”.//

He then quoted an example message in full from Michelle Mone dated October 4, 2020:
//4 Oct 2020 at 15:17
Hi James, It was great speaking to you yesterday. As you know every Country has different requirements. The team at PPE Medpro have asked for information on what the criteria is for the UK COVID test kits in terms of safety & quality. They will then email you the relevant
documentation along with the certificates. Their manufacturing capacity at the moment is 15 million kits per day.
Best,
Michelle//

The reason that message is remarkable is because Lord Bethel had previously claimed these messages were unavailable because the phone concerned was lost, then broken, then gifted to another family member.

This is in the context of a National Crime Agency investigation opened in May 2021, looking into “suspected criminal offences committed in the procurement of PPE contracts by PPE Medpro”.

So, at the risk of being repetitive, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that deliberately concealing information from an FOIA request is a criminal offence. You see, presently, you appear to be concealing information that should be disclosed in response to an FOIA request.

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Dear FreedomofInformation,

I'm sure you will have received the same message from the ICO, but just to record the same;-

"Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
Your complaint about: Department of Health and Social Care
(“DHSC”)
Their reference: FOI-1486848
ICO case reference: IC-297974-N4R6
Thank you for your complaint of 31 March 2024 about the DHSC’s delay in responding to your request for information dated 19 December 2023.... I have contacted the DHSC and asked it to respond to your request within 10 working days."

Should you again fail to meet the deadline set by the ICO, I will then make a section 77 criminal complaint that the requested information - which I am fully entitled to receive - is being deliberately and unlawfully concealed by your staff and/or Lord Bethell.

Again, to quote from the ICO;

"What are the consequences of deliberately preventing disclosure?
You should ensure that staff are aware that under section 77 of FOIA it is a criminal offence to deliberately conceal, tamper with or destroy information after it has already been requested. In the rare cases of this happening then individuals may face criminal prosecution."

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Dear Freedom of Information Team/Department of Health and Social Care,

You were instructed by the ICO to respond to my FoIA request within 10 working days of their decision.

See; https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

You have failed to comply with my original request lawfully, and disregarded the ICO's subsequent instructions & deadline (and provided no good reason for failing to do so).

As promised, I will now make a section 77 criminal complaint that the requested information - which I am fully entitled to receive - is being deliberately and unlawfully concealed by your staff and/or Lord Bethell.

Yours sincerely,

P. John

Dear Freedom of Information Team/Department of Health and Social Care,
to confirm, a formal section 77 complaint (for the offence of deliberately blocking & concealing information that should be disclosed in response to an FoIA request) has this afternoon been sent to Alex Wheeler in the ICO FoIA complaints team.
Yours sincerely,
P. John

Dear Freedom of Information Team, Department of Health and Social Care

you will now be in receipt of an ICO Decision Notice "IC-297974-N4R6" which upholds my complaint concerning your illegal misconduct, and instructs you to disclose the information I have requested from you.

To that end, please also be assured I will continue to press the ICO to commence a criminal prosecution under S.77 FoIA. I believe you are intentionally & deliberately concealing information which is readily accessible to Lord Bethell, and DHSC staff.

Please review the instructions of the ICO with care;-
"Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court
pursuant to section 54 of FOIA and may be dealt with as a contempt of court."

It would seem to be in your interest, and indeed the public interest, for you to disclose the requested information immediately, as you are required by law.

Yours sincerely,

P. John

P. John left an annotation ()

Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Mr P John,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your FOI request (our ref: FOI-1486848).

Yours sincerely, 

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

thank you for your (long overdue) response to my FoIA request. Please can I now request an internal review into your handling of this request, with the absolutely assurance that should you fail to respond in due, time a further complaint to the ICO will follow immediately.

I am grateful that you confirm the information requested exists, and in such volumes you are unable to process it all within reasonable cost limits. That in itself is remarkable given Lord Bethell has claimed it was variously lost. I am relieved you have found it. You could have advised me of its existence when I first made the request last year, but you didn't.

Your response indicated that providing the information I asked for in my original request would exceed the cost limit.
I have therefore reduced my request in scope, to a token period as follows.

Please could you disclose to me all Lord Bethell's SMS/WhatsApp correspondence for the dates 3 -5 Oct 2020?

Finally, you ignored one important aspect of my request. I asked you to please disclose to me the date on which that correspondence was furnished to the NCA.

Yours faithfully,

P. John

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Your correspondence is being handled by the appropriate team. 

If you have made an FOI request, DHSC is required under section 10(1) of
the FOIA to provide you with a response within 20 working days. If DHSC is
unable to do this, we will contact you nearer the time.

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear P John,

 

We apologise that we have been unable to provide a response to your recent
FOI request (our ref:FOI-1515546 ). Unfortunately, the Department’s
response is not yet complete, but we will be issuing the response
imminently.

 

Please accept our apologies for this delay.

 

Yours sincerely, 

 

Freedom of Information Team

Department of Health and Social Care

 

 

 

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear P John,

 

We apologise for the length of time it has taken to process your FOI
request and we would like to assure you that we will issue our response as
soon as possible.

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Freedom of Information Team

Department of Health and Social Care

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

Dear FreedomofInformation,
given it is now over a month since I asked you to conduct an internal review, and 7 months since I originally asked you for this information to be disclosed... please could you be more specific about the date & time I can expect to receive the product from your internal review, and more particularly the information I originally asked you to provide to me late last year?
If "imminently" does not mean "tomorrow", what do you suppose I should I conclude?
Recalling once again that deliberately concealing information that should be disclosed in response to an FoIA request is a s77 criminal offence. And/or the ICO's apparent preference for Contempt of Court proceedings... "imminently" without supply of corresponding information does not appear to be prompt disclosure or willing compliance.
So, I look forward to your response by return. Or complaining to the ICO again. Whichever path you prefer.
Yours sincerely,
P. John
PS. I do not expect to read anywhere in your response that this information does not exist; both Lord Bethell's publications on social media, and your earlier responses to me confirmed that the information asked for exists. Given the presumption in favour of disclosure, I would instead expect you would have disclosed this information promptly as required by law.