Minutes of Standards Working Group held on 10th December 2012

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough 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 refused by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please see the following link to the printed minutes of a Standards Committee Meeting held on 19th November 2012:

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

Mention is made in the following terms of a "Standards Working Group" meeting which was held later on 10th December 2012:

"It was noted that the next meeting of the Working Group was scheduled for 4pm on Monday, 10 December 2012 in Committee Room 2 of the Town Hall, Wallasey. The Committee agreed that it wished to be as transparent as possible... etc."

Despite widely trumpeted claims to a new openness, I cannot find ANY record of this 10th December meeting on the council's website, and if minutes are to be created for this meeting, the public don't know how to publicly access them.

This is troubling for the following reasons:

Lack of openness.
Lack of transparency.
Due to vagueness and a lack of detail, the subject matter is not directly apparent, but it appears that the meeting was called to discuss THE ANNA KLONOWSKI report and potentially to look at suppressing it and preventing further consideration of its findings in the future.

Another troubling development is that the following statement can be found within the Standards Group - Terms of Reference document held at the following link:

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

"Meetings of the Working Group shall be held in private and the provisions relating to access to Information shall not apply."

This council is currently being monitored by the Information Commissioner's Office for 'poor timeliness'.

I will be taking steps to inform the ICO that this council appears to be circumventing Statutory Law by deliberately applying its own ultra vires, regressive and completely undemocratic controls over public information.

There appears to be a very real danger that the KLONOWSKI REPORT may be 'buried permanently' and the public will never have the names of the senior abusers (see Chief Executive Officer admission to abuse at this link (paragraph 7.1)):

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

.....identified and published in the interests of openness, transparency and ultimate accountability.

Please provide the minutes of the "Standards Working Group" meeting of 10th December 2012

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

There is more explanatory information for interested members of the public at the following link:

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

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Latest ICO list of bodies requiring monitoring:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/latest_news/2...

...includes Wirral Council, the only council in the land to be monitored. It's also the SECOND time this has occurred recently

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

 

Thank you for your request below, Wirral Council is unable to provide
minutes of this meeting as this meeting did not take place on the 10^th
December 2012, this meeting is being re-arranged for a future date.

 

Thank you for your enquiry, kind regards

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

The public still don't know when this meeting will be held, as you've been operating in secret. Whether this is through lack of resources, incompetence or is a deliberate tactic, we can't be sure.

Whatever the reason for the postponement and your refusal, it's down to the council's failure to operate under democratic scrutiny. You didn't provide the information or an adequate reason not to provide it, so this request still stands in a modified form:

"Please provide the details around the future scheduling of the "Standards Working Group" meeting originally arranged for 10th December 2012 but postponed without informing the public what was the rearranged date. Once the meeting has taken place, please provide the minutes."

I'm pretty sure you will be informing the meeting's attendees when and where - you may possibly already have done this.

Why not include your paymasters the general public into the deal?

Please dig out the information and also be courteous to your public and do us a favour. Update the website. Check out my original request and act on the advice therein, by updating the public's information and making it as comprehensive as possible.

You hold, maintain and manipulate this information on our behalf.

I was reassured by a senior officer months ago that there was a new policy to be rolled out.... updating the public domain in advance - in order to pre-empt and fend off the allegedly 'disproportionate' number of FoI requests coming in.

Can I remind you that the subject matter of this 'working group' appears to be suppression of e.g. the Anna Klonowski Report into horrendous failings in governance and the Martin Smith Report into the bullying and alleged mobbing of whistleblower Martin Morton, who was later proven to be correct in every single one of his allegations?

Please quickly acknowledge receipt of this modified request and also provide contact information (names, email addresses, direct telephone numbers) for the officers assigned to deal with it.

Please provide this contact information in accordance with the legal requirements set out in ICO Decision Notice FS50460634 (see point 23 in particular) held at the following link:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

The above is a legal document under which you are compelled to act.

Please send the details without unreasonable delay. The information will be to hand and should be provided within the next few days, in order to ‘facilitate ease of contact’ and ‘to provide the contact details of individuals in order to simplify the process of communicating with the correct individual.’

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

A month has gone by and even though Wirral Council are under an ICO monitoring process, they've ignored this one.... and won't even acknowledge receipt, which was clearly requested.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Minutes of Standards Working Group held on 10th December 2012'.

Due to the meeting being postponed, I modified the original request in my second email, however, despite making my request very clear and explaining the situation in detail - AND - requesting an acknowledgment and some contact details... Wirral Council, despite currently being under an ICO imposed monitoring process [for 'timeliness'], have failed to respond within the required 20 working days.

Please ask a senior officer to deal with this request, which is not vexatious in any regard and meets all the requirements of the FOIA.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mi...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
Thank you for your email below. I would like to take this opportunity
to apologise to you on behalf of the council.

I have checked with Committee Services and the Standards Working Group
Meeting took place on February 4th 2013; the minutes are being drafted
but have not been finalized as yet.
I hope this information is useful to you.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Wirral Council

show quoted sections

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thank you for your response, your apology, and for letting me know that the meeting has already occurred.

None of the issues I have raised sound like they're going to be addressed, and you have given me no assurances whatsoever - including whether you are going to send a copy of the minutes when they're ready - so no, your response is not very helpful.

I still don't know how or where to find details of this shadowy group on your incomplete internet pages.

Not a great deal has changed or been addressed.

Therefore, please ask a senior officer to carry out the internal review as requested, provide their contact details, keep in contact in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and send a response to acknowledge receipt of this email,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Email receipt thank you

show quoted sections

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

In fact if you DO plan to furnish these minutes, and this warning caveat to the watching public holds fast:

"Meetings of the Working Group shall be held in private and the provisions relating to access to Information shall not apply."

...I'm left wondering how you plan to get hold of them and provide them to me in the teeth of this obvious opposition from your seniors, who seem to be making up their own self-serving rules, in opposition to those set out in the FOIA around the provision of the public's information?

I don't imagine Christopher Graham's lowly opinion of Wirral Council will be improved by such arrogant, outlandish, self-defeating, defensive, anti-democratic conduct,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Morning

 

Thank you for your request, please find attached information in response
to your queries, kind regards.

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

show quoted sections

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

The minutes will probably be included on the Standards Committee agenda (assuming the meeting isn't cancelled), which meets next on the 18th March, so check this link http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDoc... around the 11th March and you should see them.

As to why Wirral Council doesn't ask the officer to type up the notes and send you a copy of the draft minutes I'm really not sure!

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Whatever.... not much to work with there... is there?

You still haven't responded correctly to my FoI request. When I have finally received a copy of the minutes of this "Standards Working Group", as requested, you will finally have complied with the law.

As it stands, you haven't. I will give you another three further weeks to comply - which, given your blackened, disgraceful record on FoI, is very generous,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
With regard to your email below. The Council is unable to supply documentation which has not as yet been produced.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager

show quoted sections

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

I'm fully aware of that.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

It's been published on their website at http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents... .

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

 

In relation to this Internal Review, the minutes are now available at
www.wirral.gov.uk:

 

[1]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDoc...

 

Thank you for your enquiry.

 

Kind regards

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDoc...