Merseyside ACF: Walton Vale Meeting

Peter Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Defence

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The request was successful.

Dear Ministry of Defence,

I am making this request for information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Allegations of misconduct within Merseyside ACF were recently published in the Liverpool Echo. The article, entitled "Three sacked in disturbing Merseyside army cadet cruelty probe", was published on the newspaper's website on 12 October 2012. The article explained how three Merseyside ACF CFAVs had been dismissed as a result of the allegations, with three more facing less punitive disciplinary action.

As a result of my investigations into this case, I am aware that certain CFAV members of Merseyside ACF attended a meeting at Walton Vale ACF Detachment on 12 September 2012. These CFAVs were not implicated in the cruelty allegations, but attended the meeting for an update on the progress of Merseyside ACF’s investigation. Two senior CFAVs were subsequently, and unexpectedly, dismissed from Merseyside ACF on the basis of comments made at this meeting, which were subsequently reported second-hand to the Commandant of Merseyside ACF. At the time of their dismissal it came to light that Merseyside ACF held a transcript of the meeting of 12 September 2012. The Commandant of Merseyside ACF actually read from this transcript in the presence of the CEO and these two CFAVs as he was dismissing them.

Under the terms of the 2000 Act, please now provide the following information:

1. A copy of the transcript of the Walton Vale meeting of 12 September 2012. As I have indicated above, there is no doubt that this information is held by Merseyside ACF.
2. A copy of all information held by Merseyside ACF that relates to the Walton Vale meeting of 12 September 2012. This includes all Merseyside ACF produced/held documents, including emails that refer to the meeting.

Please anonymise the transcript in such a manner that it can still be understood which comments are attributable to each individual attending the meeting.

As Merseyside ACF will undoubtedly be reluctant to release this information, I should highlight the valid public interest in disclosure. In particular, the parents of Merseyside will be rightly concerned if it is the case that Merseyside ACF has disciplined CFAVs for voicing concerns at this meeting. There is also a growing feeling that Merseyside ACF’s handling of their investigation, which has clearly fallen short of the requirements set out in the ACF Manual 2005, is nothing short of farcical.

I look forward to a timely and concise response, in accordance with the spirit of the Act.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Jones

C Griffith left an annotation ()

I would like to point out that this "transcript" has only sound bites extracted from the meeting. This has been done by MACF in their attempt to implicate individuals in an insurrection charge which was the basis of their dismissal, there is no full transcript available to my knowledge, otherwise that would show that some very serious concerns about the Commandant and the CEO were raised. I would like to know how valid the recording of the meeting is, considering it was collected by a member of staff covertly and taken in the interests of the hierarchy and probably at their behest. This I feel is a very interesting case.

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

Greetings C Griffith and welcome to WhatDoTheyKnow.com
We'll see whether they have a full transcript or not, but as I said (and you know) there is no doubt that some sort of transcript exists.

Might be a good idea for a few people from MACF to take early retirement, as this story still has considerable mileage!

C Griffith left an annotation ()

If this recording and the transcript were used in a disciplinary case, are they not obliged to retain these in case of an appeal?

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

Good housekeeping would dictate, you would expect, that they would retain the information for a while. Alas, it would appear that they aren't that good at housekeeping. It appears that some people might be under the impression that MACF is a "private little empire" that can do its own thing. It's an Army thing!

LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Please find attached an acknowledge letter for your FOI request.

 

Army Secretariat

 

 

Dear LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

Please note that 20 working days have now passed since I made my FOIA request "Merseyside ACF: Walton Vale Meeting", case no: 04-02-2013-094835-003.

I have not received a response or a valid refusal notice, so consequently the MOD is in breach of the Act.

Please issue either a response or valid refusal notice at the earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

I see a member of the ARRSE forum has linked to this request under the humorous anchor text "Kangaroo Court": http://www.arrse.co.uk/groups/merseyside...
There's no ignoring the elephant in the room.

LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

Dear Mr Jones,

Please accept our apologies for the delay in the processing of this request. Our response should be with you early next week.

Yours Sincerely,

Army Secretariat

show quoted sections

Dear LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

I have still not received a response to my FOIA request "Merseyside ACF: Walton Vale Meeting", case no:
04-02-2013-094835-003.

Your indicated response time of "early next week" has now been and gone by my reckoning.

As you're aware, the MOD is now in breach of the Act. Please provide either a response or valid refusal notice at the earliest opportunity, in accordance with the law.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

C Griffith left an annotation ()

I wonder why there has been such a delay, I have already received 2 copies of this transcript, one was handed to me during a meeting that turned out to be a dismissal hearing and the other was delivered along with my dismissal papers via post, I hope this request has,nt got lost in the post or maybe the keys to the cupboard are lost, Either way, however, this document exists and is the basis of evidence for the dismissal of 2 individuals, I doubt very much if the recording is still available though. if it does not then that pretty much nullifies the transcript I suspect

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

I would expect them to disclose the information. The whole balance of the Act is tipped towards disclosure - that's the way the legislation is designed. We know beyond all doubt that the information exists. They can very easily redact it to remove personal information, so that shouldn't be a barrier to disclosure. The investigation, as far as they're concerned, is over, so they can't hide behind that excuse either.

They will disclose it, but they're just flexing their muscles before they inevitably have to bite the bullet and press send. Big corporations like to make the little people wait!

LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request, please accept our
apologises for the delay.

 

Army Secretariat

 

LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER),

5 Attachments

 

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: LF-Sec-&Group (MULTIUSER)
Sent: 15 March 2013 17:20
To: '[FOI #148313 email]'
Subject: Release-Authorised:20130315-FOI 094835-U

 

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request, please accept our
apologises for the delay.

 

Army Secretariat

 

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

Told you.
That last disclosure document must make particularly cringeworthy reading to the CEO and Commandant.
Oh dear.

royalblue left an annotation ()

I love the use of the term investigation in all this! It makes a pretty amateur job look good!Keep digging guys, the A.C.F hole is deeper than people think!!!