Meeting between party leaders and Anna Klonowski

Waiting for an internal review by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Wirral Borough Council,

The following link to an article in the Liverpool Echo refers to a meeting to be held today (12th October 2011) between these persons:

Anna Klonowski
All party leaders of Wirral Borough Council

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool...

Regardless of what day the meeting actually took place, please provide copies of the full, unredacted minutes of what was discussed at this meeting.

Given recent events, and the exposure of failed corporate governance, I believe there is a strong and legitimate public interest in these matters. I would hope that all dialogue has been fully recorded and correctly minuted. I also expect that the openness and transparency, often trumpeted by party leaders comes fully into play with regard to this FoI request.

Alternatively, if there is another means, such as a webpage or link where this information will be posted, please provide details of that,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Lyon, Rosemary A., Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

 

I refer to your request for information contained in your email of 12
October 2011. You provided a link to an article in the Liverpool Echo
dated 12 October 2011 and asked for the following information to be
provided :-

 

Copies of the full, unredacted minutes of what was discussed at this
meeting

 

Section 84 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 defines “information” as
meaning “information recorded in any form”. Having made  inquiries , I
must inform you that the Council does not hold any recorded information in
respect of the meeting you refer to, ie, between Council party leaders and
Anna Klanowski ,which was an  informal discussion, and therefore I
consider that there is no duty of disclosure in relation to the
information sought.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Rosemary Lyon,

Solicitor,

Wirral Borough Council

 

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Pete Sheffield left an annotation ()

Disappointing but unsurprising.

Dear Lyon, Rosemary A,

I'm afraid, given your unsatisfactory response, my suspicions about the Council's true committment to complying fully with the Freedom of Information Act are once again aroused.

In keeping with my previous Wirral Freedom of Information requests, once again IMPORTANT information is being withheld regarding what looked like a very IMPORTANT official meeting. This was after all, a discussion between the local government consultant who exposed abuse and a lot more, and those who should be accountable for over a decade of failure.

Your poor response, which mistakenly describes the meeting as 'informal' could also be in keeping with a tendency to 'drag things out'. I say this because your response, such as it is, arrived on the last working day possible, day 20.

I'm afraid it's been my depressing experiences with this learning disability abusing council, see point 7.1 here:

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgConvert...

....and not simply any notion of "mistrust" that informs this viewpoint.

The following questions are purely rhetorical (you don't have to answer them. They are not in addition to, neither do they modify my original request):

1. How did the Liverpool Echo come to know about this meeting, if it was simply an informal gathering, presumably where informal issues were to be discussed, and it seems no notes were taken? Did your press office or another party make them aware of the "informal" gathering beforehand? If so, what was the need?

2. The public, upon reading such an article in the most prominent local Merseyside newspaper, would assume that since a massive failure in corporate government had been exposed, Wirral Council would be at pains to ensure that openness, transparency and a commitment to creating a fully checkable audit trail of meetings, and the subjects discussed at those meetings would come into play.

3. The legitimate public interest demands that you finally "get your act together". Failure has been heaped upon failure at this council; you appear not to have "learned lessons" and are repeating the same mistakes all over again.

4. If no information was recorded at this informal meeting (my assumption), and the participants appear to be reliant on what can be retained between their ears, how can the Wirral public be confident that such an amateurish approach will effectively drive out deplorable disability discrimination and disabled abuse from the top levels of the council?

My sad conclusion is that you are in the act of "drawing a veil" over the issues, apparently for reasons of self-interest, and through a need to conceal them from the Council Tax paying public.

Your behaviour keys in with the concealing tactics of the former Chair of the Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee, now current Mayor Moira McLaughlin, during the time of the proven abuse - when she refused to accept a letter detailing the findings of the chair of the Disabilities Committee of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Mike Smith, detailing disability discrimination.

This behaviour is not helping to remove the threat of further abuse in the future from the disabled, who rely upon your honesty, integrity and empathy.

Please conduct a full and comprehensive internal review.

Please conduct the review immediately. Abuse may be continuing as it has not been addressed and nobody has been made accountable.

Please provide me with the contact details of the senior officer appointed to conduct this full and comprehensive internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear Wirral Borough Council,

Please provide me with the name and contact details of the senior officer appointed to conduct this internal review,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
The Officer is Mr. Surjit Tour, Head of Legal and Member Services,
Department of Law, HR and Asset Management, Town Hall, Brighton Street,
Wallasey , CH44 8ED email [email address]

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Wirral Council

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Please reassure me that this internal review is currently being worked on, and that it will be provided before Christmas,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Stefan Ellis left an annotation ()

Mr. Surjit Tour eh?...sounds like the police investigating the police!!

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

It's now February 2012 and I have yet to hear from you following my request for an internal review.

This is in keeping with Wirral's general tardiness when given requests for potentially controversial subjects.

You are way past the deadline for responding to the internal review, however I will give you until the end of next week i.e. 10th February to respond in full.

If you fail to respond in full by 10th February I will be forced to appeal to the Information Commissioner,

regards,

Paul Csrdin

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Pete Sheffield left an annotation ()

It may be useful to ask them to pass this on to Ian Coleman as another fail. In their action plan for the AKA report point 14 states:

14. Whilst recognising that progress has
been made in records management since its
consolidation under the Director of Finance,
there is scope for further improvement. The
Director of Finance should be required to report
to the Cabinet the performance of each of the
Council’s departments in this area, which would
include as a minimum:
A. The length of time taken for each department
to respond to a Freedom of Information request
(measuring the date the FoI request was
received and the date the response was sent)
B. The number of the issues/follow-up requests
raised
C. The number of Information Commissioner
concerns raised and/or interventions

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Appealed to Information Commissioner on 2nd March 2012

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

The following is a letter sent from the Information Commissioner to Wirral Council asking why they haven't carried out the Internal Review (originally requested almost six months ago):

www.easyvirtualassistance.co.uk/wirral12...

Wirral described this initial meeting between all party leaders and Anna Klonowski as an 'informal' meeting, however, the Liverpool Echo were notified by Wirral's media section, and it was reported upon by the Liverpool Echo under the headline "Council Leadership hangs in the balance", describing a crucially important first meeting aimed at resolving a crisis which had engulfed the council.

Indeed, it went on to state, 'the briefing by Ms Klonowski could be a “make or break moment”.'

In other words, this meeting was hardly "informal".

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool...

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

The data controller is still acting in defiance of the FOIA and no internal review has been carried out. I get the impression that abusive Wirral Council, see clause 7.1 here...

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgConvert...

...are content to issue bland and empty references to openness and transparency, whilst in reality erecting a wall of silence on controversial issues in the legitimate public interest.

This ongoing behaviour doesn't fit with the new image which has been trumpeting a determination to make people accountable and clean up disabled abuse from the corridors of power at Wirral Council.

Correspondence has been sent to the Information Commissioner this morning reopening the complaint and progressing it to the next stage.

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Another Christmas is approaching, and still you have not carried out the internal review I requested a long time ago.

Please acknowledge receipt of this message and reassure me that you will be carrying out the internal review,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your enquiry below. I apologise on behalf of the Council
that your review has not yet been completed. I have passed your enquiry
on to legal and member services and will speak to my colleague regarding
a review of your request.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Wirral MBC

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thanks for the response. The review was first requested 10 months ago in November 2011 and passed to Surjit Tour, but never carried out.

Please forward the name of the public servant (with contact details), who is supposed to be carrying out the review this time,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your enquiry below. Your request for a review has been
passed to Michael Rowan, Assistant Head of Legal and Member Services.

Email contact details are [email address]
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Wirral Council

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Dear Jane Corrin,

You failed to provide contact details, despite a clear request for them (not for the first time).

Luckily, your colleague Tracy O'Hare provided public servant Michael Rowan's direct phone number to me yesterday, which is 0151-691-8611. She also provided a contact number for somebody else who was quote "prepared to speak to the public". His name is Brian Gibson and his contact number is 0151-691-8568.

Please pass my thanks on to Tracy O'Hare,

best regards,

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Here is a link to an article, setting out what I feel is the background and true motivation behind Wirral Council's very poor response times.

Notably, there are just 2 people dedicated to Freedom of Information and Data at this council (one professional and one admin assistant) - which says it all really.

http://easyvirtualassistance.wordpress.c...

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

One year and three months on, at long last here come the ICO, riding in with their valuable contribution, which will probably get Wirral Council off the hook.

And the regulator is also "kindly" offering to facilitate the closing down of my request:

29 January 2013

Reference FS50438501

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the delay in writing to you regarding this complaint. I have been trying to find out more information from Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (the council) regarding whether it had made any further responses to you.

You requested the following on 12 October 2011:

"Dear Wirral Borough Council,

The following link to an article in the Liverpool Echo refers to a
meeting to be held today (12th October 2011) between these persons:

Anna Klonowski
All party leaders of Wirral Borough Council

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool...

Regardless of what day the meeting actually took place, please
provide copies of the full, unredacted minutes of what was
discussed at this meeting.

Given recent events, and the exposure of failed corporate
governance, I believe there is a strong and legitimate public
interest in these matters. I would hope that all dialogue has been
fully recorded and correctly minuted. I also expect that the
openness and transparency, often trumpeted by party leaders comes
fully into play with regard to this FoI request..."

The council responded by stating that it held no information as the meeting had been informal and no record had been kept. You subsequently asked for an internal review and asked a series of further questions, though you stressed that these did not have to be answered and that they did not modify your original request. Though you were promised an internal review, none appears to have taken place.

I have been endeavouring to ascertain whether the council has ever conducted an internal review. However, there is a fundamental problem with your original request. It appears that you asked for information about a meeting in advance of that meeting actually taking place. Technically this means that your request was not valid under the FOIA. Therefore, although the council responded by stating that the information was not held, it could have pointed out the invalidity of the request.

I have been unable to ascertain from the council whether it has done, or still intends to conduct an internal review. However, if it was to do so, the original invalidity of the request might well prove problematic. This is why the Commissioner cannot press the council to take this matter further.

For the above reasons I would like to know if you are prepared to withdraw your complaint. I would be grateful for your response within 10 working days, in other words by 12 February 2012. Should I not hear from you by this date, I will close this complaint. If you wish to continue with this complaint, I will need your arguments as to why you think the request was valid.

Yours sincerely