Minutes of various panels, statutory committees, advisory committees and working parties

ScarletPimpernel 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 partially successful.

ScarletPimpernel

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please could you provide minutes of the previous meetings of the following committees. If minutes whether in draft form or not are not available of the previous meeting, please provide the minutes of the meeting directly before. I have given each of the committees a number in order which can be used in future communications to avoid misunderstandings.

If minutes for any of these committees are not available in electronic form and to provide them in digital form would exceed the 18.5 hours rule then I am happy to collect paper copies from Wallasey Town Hall instead.

1. Complaints Panel (School Curriculum and Related Matters)
2. Education Staff Panel
3. Headteacher Appointments Panel
4. School Appeals Panel
5. Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)
6. Wirral Schools Forum (Funding Consultative Group)
7. School Admissions Forum
8. Adoption / Fostering Panels
9. Housing Review Panel
10. Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board
11. Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental Health Act 1983 Panel
12. Independent Remuneration Panel
13. Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee
14. Corporate Parenting Group (formerly known as Virtual School Governing Body)
15. Headteachers and Teachers JCC
16. SEN Advisory Committee
17. Wirral Schools' Music Service Consultative Committee
18. Members’ Training Steering Group
19. Members’ Equipment Steering Group
20. Birkenhead Park Advisory Committee
21. Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee
22. Wirral Climate Change Group
23. Anti-Social Behaviour Partnership Body
24. Birkenhead Town Centre Consultative Group
25. Wirral Trade Centre Working Party
26. Safeguarding Reference Group

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

ScarletPimpernel

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

You have had twenty working days since my original FOI request (repeated below), but I have not received a response. I therefore request an internal review on the grounds that you have neither replied to the request nor provided the information requested.

Please could you provide minutes of the previous meetings of the following committees. If minutes whether in draft form or not are not available of the previous meeting, please provide the minutes
of the meeting directly before. I have given each of the committees a number in order which can be used in future communications to avoid misunderstandings.

If minutes for any of these committees are not available in electronic form and to provide them in digital form would exceed the 18.5 hours rule then I am happy to collect paper copies from Wallasey Town Hall instead.

1. Complaints Panel (School Curriculum and Related Matters)
2. Education Staff Panel
3. Headteacher Appointments Panel
4. School Appeals Panel
5. Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)
6. Wirral Schools Forum (Funding Consultative Group)
7. School Admissions Forum
8. Adoption / Fostering Panels
9. Housing Review Panel
10. Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board
11. Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental
Health Act 1983 Panel
12. Independent Remuneration Panel
13. Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee
14. Corporate Parenting Group (formerly known as Virtual School
Governing Body)
15. Headteachers and Teachers JCC
16. SEN Advisory Committee
17. Wirral Schools' Music Service Consultative Committee
18. Members’ Training Steering Group
19. Members’ Equipment Steering Group
20. Birkenhead Park Advisory Committee
21. Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee
22. Wirral Climate Change Group
23. Anti-Social Behaviour Partnership Body
24. Birkenhead Town Centre Consultative Group
25. Wirral Trade Centre Working Party
26. Safeguarding Reference Group

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
With regard to your request for an internal review. Please see text
below as our reply and I apologise on behalf of the Council for not
responding to your original enquiry in a timely fashion.

The Council is refusing your request and is relying on section 12 (1) to
do so. More detail on this exemption is below:-

"Where an authority is not obliged to comply with a request for
information because, under section 12(1) and regulations made under
section 12, the cost of complying would exceed the "appropriate limit"
(i.e. cost threshold) the authority should consider providing an
indication of what, if any, information could be provided within the
cost ceiling. The authority should also consider advising the applicant
that by reforming or re-focusing their request, information may be able
to be supplied for a lower, or no, fee."

The reason for the application of the exemption includes, but is not
limited to the following key factors below:-

The very broad scope of your request, 26 varying panels, groups or
committees are included
The fact that many of the committees you mention are not administered
centrally but departmentally and information is not held in a central
repository
The huge volume of School Appeals each year, running into the hundreds;
including a great deal of Personal Data and Sensitive Data, which would
have to be reviewed and redacted were applicable.


To advise you further, these is some information which can be provided
to do, if you would advise me if you would like me to supply these to
you?

Members Equipment Steering Group - Action notes since 17 July 2012 only;

Safeguarding Reference Group.

In addition, Independent Remuneration Panel Reports (Minutes are not
taken notes are made and then written up in report format) which are
already in the public domain and available on the Council's website;

Further advice would be, if you could reduce the scope and breadth of
your enquiry and also give some time frames in your enquiry, then
Officers can review it further.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, please
see contact details below for the ICO, should you wish to complain:-

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45
Fax: 01625 524510 www.ico.gov.uk <http://www.ico.gov.uk/>
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
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

Dear Corrin, Jane,

As specified in my original request, this request is for the minutes of the previous meeting of these groups only (not for a years worth of meetings which is implied when you state "The huge volume of School Appeals each year, running into the hundreds; including a great deal of Personal Data and Sensitive Data, which would have to be reviewed and redacted were applicable).

"Further advice would be, if you could reduce the scope and breadth of your enquiry and also give some time frames in your enquiry, then Officers can review it further."

The timeframe was specified in the original request. As I do not know when these groups have met I am unable to give specific dates, which is why I stated the previous meeting only.

You have not provided me with enough detail as to why the 18.5 hour rule would be exceeded, assuming the Independent Renumeration Panel is already published on your website is now outside the scope of this request, that would suggest at least 45 minutes per a set of minutes, which seems more ample time for an officer to retrieve the document, black out any relevant sections, scan it in and email it to you.

As your latest response was the first response to my request, I am requesting an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon,

Apologies for the delay in responding to your request for an internal
review.  Please see attachment which is Council’s response.

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information Manager

Transformation and Resources

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 ()

Appealed to Information Commissioner on 14th August 2013 on following grounds. Caselaw used:-

Refusal on s.12 grounds
The Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police v The Information Commissioner (EA/2009/0029)
http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

"37. For all these reasons, we find a public authority cannot include the time cost of redaction when estimating its costs under regulation 4(3)(d). "

Also Regulation 4(3)(a to d) of The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...

Refusal using s.14 exemption
Conway v Information Commissioner (EA/2011/0224)
http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

Paragraph 17:
“In respect of paragraph 0 above, whether the request creates a “strain on resources”, that is not relevant to the question of whether it is vexatious. If the Council wished to argue that they ought not to be required to comply with the request on this basis, then it ought to have relied on section 12 FOIA. It did not do so. “

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Appealed to Information Commissioner on 14th August 2013 on following grounds. Caselaw used:-

Refusal on s.12 grounds
The Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police v The Information Commissioner (EA/2009/0029)
http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

"37. For all these reasons, we find a public authority cannot include the time cost of redaction when estimating its costs under regulation 4(3)(d). "

Also Regulation 4(3)(a to d) of The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...

Refusal using s.14 exemption
Conway v Information Commissioner (EA/2011/0224)
http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

Paragraph 17:
“In respect of paragraph 0 above, whether the request creates a “strain on resources”, that is not relevant to the question of whether it is vexatious. If the Council wished to argue that they ought not to be required to comply with the request on this basis, then it ought to have relied on section 12 FOIA. It did not do so. “

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Shortened link to first bit of case law:

The Chief Constable of Yorkshire Police v The Information Commissioner (EA/2009/0029)
http://bit.ly/qjHBgZ

Lyon, Rosemary A., Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Brace,

 

I refer to your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office in
respect of your request for information dated 29 March 2013. The Council
has decided to amend its response given on 30 July 2013, in respect of
your request for an internal review. The Council considers that it is
still entitled to rely on Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (“ FOIA”) in respect of those requests for information which come
within the FOIA regime. The Council also considers that some of your
requests for information are environmental information which comes under
the separate regime of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and
that it would be manifestly unreasonable under Regulation 12 (4) (b) of
the 2004 Regulations to comply with your request for information.

 

Your request for information was as follows:-

 

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please could you provide minutes of the previous meetings of the
following committees. If minutes whether in draft form or not are
not available of the previous meeting, please provide the minutes
of the meeting directly before. I have given each of the committees
a number in order which can be used in future communications to
avoid misunderstandings.

If minutes for any of these committees are not available in
electronic form and to provide them in digital form would exceed
the 18.5 hours rule then I am happy to collect paper copies from
Wallasey Town Hall instead.

1. Complaints Panel (School Curriculum and Related Matters)
2. Education Staff Panel
3. Headteacher Appointments Panel
4. School Appeals Panel
5. Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)
6. Wirral Schools Forum (Funding Consultative Group)
7. School Admissions Forum
8. Adoption / Fostering Panels
9. Housing Review Panel
10. Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board
11. Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental
Health Act 1983 Panel
12. Independent Remuneration Panel
13. Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee
14. Corporate Parenting Group (formerly known as Virtual School
Governing Body)
15. Headteachers and Teachers JCC
16. SEN Advisory Committee
17. Wirral Schools' Music Service Consultative Committee
18. Members’ Training Steering Group
19. Members’ Equipment Steering Group
20. Birkenhead Park Advisory Committee
21. Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee
22. Wirral Climate Change Group
23. Anti-Social Behaviour Partnership Body
24. Birkenhead Town Centre Consultative Group
25. Wirral Trade Centre Working Party
26. Safeguarding Reference Group

 

You clarified on 29 April 2013 that you were seeking minutes of the
previous meetings, (meaning the minutes of the previous meetings of these
groups only ). In its initial response given on 30 April 2013, the Council
sought to rely on Section 12 of FOIA. You requested an internal review on
30 April 2013.The Council responded on 30 July 2013. The reviewing officer
considered that your request should have been refused under Section 14 of
FOIA as imposing a gross burden on Council officers in retrieval
consideration and redaction.

 

As  indicated above, the Council has revisited its response, and decided
to rely on Section 12 of FOIA and Regulation 12 (4) (b) of the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

 Section 12 of FOIA provides as follows:-

This sectionnoteType=Explanatory Notes has no associated

(1)Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

(2)Subsection (1) does not exempt the public authority from its obligation
to comply with paragraph (a) of section 1(1) unless the estimated cost of
complying with that paragraph alone would exceed the appropriate limit.

(3)In subsections (1) and (2) “the appropriate limit” means such amount as
may be prescribed, and different amounts may be prescribed in relation to
different cases.

(4)The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more requests for
information are made to a public authority—

(a)by one person, or

(b)by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting in
concert or in pursuance of a campaign,

the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.

(5)The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the
purposes of this section as to the costs to be estimated and as to the
manner in which they are to be estimated.

 

The Council has had regard to the provisions contained in the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection Regulations (Appropriate Limit and Fees )
Regulations 2004 in revisiting its decision. The Council has also had
regard to the following guidance issued by the ICO:-

 

Requests where the cost of compliance with a request exceeds the
appropriate limit –Version 1.1

Calculating costs where a request spans different access regimes –Version
1.1

 

Paragraphs 41 and  42 of the first guidance referred to above provides:-

 

41.- Public authorities can aggregate two or more separate requests

42-They should also note that multiple requests within a single item of
correspondence are separate requests for the purpose of Section 12.This
was confirmed by the Information Tribunal in the case of Ian Fitzsimmons
v. ICO & Department for Culture, Media and Sport (EA/2007/0124, 17 June
2008)

 

I consider that you have made multiple requests within a single item of
correspondence, namely your request dated 29 March 2013. Some of these
multiple requests may be mixed information, namely information requested
under FOIA and environmental information under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004. The second guidance issued by the ICO, Page
6, provides that “public authorities can take into account the costs of
collating all the information falling within the scope of the request as
doing so is a necessary first step because they cannot otherwise isolate
the environmental information.”

 

You have made 26 separate requests for information in your email of 29
March 2013. The Council considers that the cost of determining whether it
holds the information , can locate  the information and retrieve it  as
provided in Regulation 4 (3) (a) (b) and (c) of  the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection Regulations (Appropriate Limit and Fees )
Regulations 2004 will exceed the appropriate limit of £450. The Council
has excluded any cost of redacting any of the information. Without
actually retrieving the minutes it is difficult for the Council to
determine for many of the multiple requests, which regime the request will
fall under, whether FOIA or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
or whether the information is mixed. Your request for information covers a
wide range of panels and boards, many of which are advisory in nature and
therefore are not subject to the access to information legislation and
electronically available under the Council’s Committee system. In
estimating the cost of complying with your separate requests for
information, Regulation 5 (1) (a) provides that the estimated cost of
complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the total costs
which the may be taken into account by the authority under Regulation 4,
of complying with all of them. I consider that the time spent on the
permitted activities , considering 26  separate requests for information
,at the flat rate of £25 per hour will exceed 18 hours work for the
Council.

 

Although several of the requests might be considered to contain
environmental information, as defined by the Environmental Regulations
2004, it is difficult to determine whether the information requested is
entirely environmental information without actually locating and
retrieving the information itself. I therefore consider that the Council
would have to collate all the information before it can go on to isolate
the environmental information. The second ICO guidance referred to above
states “ In this situation, a public authority may include the additional
costs of separating out the environmental information and take these costs
into account when refusing a request  under the manifestly unreasonable
exception at Regulation 12 (4) (b).

 

I am therefore refusing your requests for information contained in your
email of 29 March 2013 on the basis that the cost of compliance with your
requests exceeds the appropriate limit  under Section 12 of FOIA   and
that  in respect of any environmental information contained in your
request, that it is manifestly unreasonable to comply with your request
under Regulation 12 (4) (b) of the Environmental Information Regulations
2004, because of the additional cost involved in separating out the
environmental information from information covered by FOIA. From
information covered by FOIA. As this is an amended response I consider
that you have a further right to ask for an internal review, which should
be addressed to Jane Corrin, Legal and Member Services, Town Hall,
Brighton Street, Wallasey,CH44 8ED, [1][email address].

 I have copied this amended response to the Information Commissioner.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 Rosemary Lyon,

Solicitor,

Legal and Member Services,

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Borough Council

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Links to legislation in Wirral Council's reply:

s.12 Freedom of Information Act 2000 c.36
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Regulation 12 The Environmental Information Regulations 2004
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...

Freedom of Information and Data Protection Regulations (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

On the 8th September 2014 ICO issued a decision notice in this matter (reference FS50509081).

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

7 Attachments

Dear Mr. Perry

 

Case Reference Number FS50509081 - Complainant Mr John Brace.

I refer to your decision notice dated 8 September 2014.  You have
specifically asked us to take the following steps to ensure we are
complying with the legislation:

1.         Issue a response to the complainant’s request that does not
rely upon section 12 (1) of the FOIA or regulation 12 (4)(b) of the EIR.

 

2.         Provide advice and assistance to the complainant about which of
the requested information is held by the Council, and therefore falls
under the terms of the FOIA or EIR.

 

The Council is no longer seeking to rely on the exemption contained within
Section 12 (1) and the detailed information relating to the various
panels, committees and forums is listed below, alongside Mr. Brace’s
original enquiry.

 

I have also copied this response to Mr. Brace, as Council’s full reply to
his enquiry.

 

 

 

Original enquiry and clarification was received on 29 April 2013 that Mr.
Brace was seeking minutes of the previous meetings, (meaning the minutes
of the previous meetings of these groups only)

 

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please could you provide minutes of the previous meetings of the following
committees. If minutes whether in draft form or not are not available of
the previous meeting, please provide the minutes of the meeting directly
before. I have given each of the committees a number in order which can be
used in future communications to avoid misunderstandings.

If minutes for any of these committees are not available in electronic
form and to provide them in digital form would exceed the 18.5 hours rule
then I am happy to collect paper copies from Wallasey Town Hall instead.

1.         Complaints Panel (School Curriculum and Related Matters)

These are held by individual schools and you would have to make a request
to each school for a copy of any minutes.  To assist you I have supplied a
hyperlink below.

[1]https://www.wirral.gov.uk/my-services/ch...

 

2.         Education Staff Panel

The Council does not have this panel and therefore there are no minutes to
supply to you.

3.         Headteacher Appointments Panel

These are held by individual schools and you would have to make a request
to each school for a copy of any minutes.  To assist you I have supplied a
hyperlink below.

[2]https://www.wirral.gov.uk/my-services/ch...

 

 

4.         School Appeals Panel

I consider that the requested information is exempt information under
Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on
individuals, namely parents who are appealing in respect of the school
that has been allocated to their child. The parents would have had a
legitimate expectation that their personal data and that of their child
would remain confidential.

 

I do not consider that any of the conditions in Schedule 2 would be met
and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that the processing would be
unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or
legitimate interests of the data subjects.  I do not consider that such
processing would be necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests
pursued by the Complainant as a third party, being a member of the public.
I have considered whether there is a legitimate public interest in
disclosure and balanced this against the rights of the parents making the
appeals and the individual children, who are the subject of the appeals. I
consider that disclosure of the requested information   would cause an
unwarranted interference with the parents’ and children’s rights, which
outweighs any legitimate interests pursued by the Complainant.  I
consider, as detailed above that the first data protection principle would
be breached if the requested information was disclosed.

 

 

5.         Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)

I consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the second data protection
principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or more
specified and lawful purposes and shall not be further processed in any
manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. Certain
individuals named in the Minutes dated 7 February 2013 (not including
Councillors) would have a legitimate expectation that their personal data
would not be further processed in a manner incompatible with the specified
and lawful purposes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious
Education. I consider that the Complainant’s request for information can
be met by giving him a redacted copy of the minutes dated 7 February 2013,
which redacts the names of certain individuals and these are attached.

 

 

6.         Wirral Schools Forum (Funding Consultative Group)

These are available on our web pages.  To assist you I have supplied a
hyperlink below.

[3]https://www.wirral.gov.uk/my-services/ch...

 

7.         School Admissions Forum

The School Admissions Forum was discontinued by statute in April 2012. I
consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the second data protection
principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or more
specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any
manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. The School
Admissions Forum was discontinued and certain individuals named in the
Minutes dated 24 April 2012 would have a legitimate expectation that their
personal data would not be further processed in a manner incompatible with
the specified and lawful purposes of the Admissions Forum.  I consider
that the Complainant’s request for information can be met by giving him a
redacted copy of the minutes dated 24 April 2012 and these are attached.

 

 

8.         Adoption / Fostering Panels

I consider that the requested information is exempt information under
Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on
individuals, namely potential adopters and foster parents and the
individual children being placed for adoption or fostered.

 

I do not consider that any of the conditions in Schedule 2 would be met
and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that the processing would be
unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or
legitimate interests of the data subjects.  I do not consider that such
processing would be necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests
pursued by the Complainant as a third party, being a member of the public.
I have considered whether there is a legitimate public interest in
disclosure and balanced this against the rights of the individuals in
respect of whom information would be considered by the Adoption and
Fostering Panel. I consider that disclosure of the requested information 
 would cause an unwarranted interference with those individuals’ rights,
which outweighs any legitimate interests pursued by the Complainant.  I
consider, as detailed above that the first data protection principle would
be breached if the requested information was disclosed.

 

The requested information also includes sensitive personal data related to
the physical and mental health of individuals. I consider that none of the
conditions in Schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act 1998 would be met and
that the first data protection principle would be breached if such
sensitive personal data was processed.

 

9.         Housing Review Panel

The Council has no recorded information to supply to you.

 

10.       Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board

Officers are investigating if this Board has ever met/if there are any
minutes available and we will answer this part of your enquiry as soon as
possible.

 

11.       Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental
Health Act 1983 Panel

I consider that the requested information is exempt information under
Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on
individuals, namely those individuals being considered for discharge from
Guardianship under the Mental Health Acts (as amended).I do not consider
that any of the conditions in Schedule 2 would be met and particularly
Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that the processing would be unwarranted by
reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of
the data subjects. 

 

 I do not consider that such processing would be necessary for the
purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the Complainant as a third
party, being a member of the public. I have considered whether there is a
legitimate public interest in disclosure and balanced this against the
rights of the individuals whose discharge from Guardianship is being
considered. I consider that disclosure of the requested information 
 would cause an unwarranted interference with those individuals’ rights,
which outweighs any legitimate interests pursued by the Complainant.  I
consider, as detailed above that the first data protection principle would
be breached if the requested information was disclosed.

 

The requested information also includes sensitive personal data related to
the physical and mental health of individuals. I consider that none of the
conditions in Schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act 1998 would be met and
that the first data protection principle would be breached if such
sensitive personal data was processed.

 

12.       Independent Remuneration Panel

This information is published on our WebPages, to assist you I have
supplied a hyperlink below.

[4]https://www.wirral.gov.uk/search/Indepen...

 

13.       Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee

This information is published on our WebPages, to assist you I have
supplied a hyperlink below.

[5]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListMee...

 

14.       Corporate Parenting Group (formerly known as Virtual School
Governing Body)

I consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the second data protection
principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or more
specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any
manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. Certain
individuals named in the Minutes dated 26 March 2013 (not including
Councillors) would have a legitimate expectation that their personal data
would not be further processed in a manner incompatible with the specified
and lawful purposes of the Corporate Parenting Group.

I consider that the Complainant’s request for information can be met by
giving him a redacted copy of the minutes dated 26 March 2013 and these
are attached. 

 

15.       Headteachers and Teachers JCC

Surjit Tour, as the Monitoring Officer for the Council has prepared the
response below in relation to item 15.

 

 These minutes are from a closed meeting which is attended by Elected
Members, Trade Union Representatives, Teachers Professional Associations
and Officers.  As the Qualified Officer for the Local Authority I have
reviewed the minutes in detail and I consider that the information you
have requested is exempt information under section 36 of the Freedom of
Information Act, 2000. This provides an exemption, if disclosure would or
would be likely to;-

 

(b) inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views;
or

(c) otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs

 

Section 36 requires the qualified person, which for a local Authority is
the Monitoring Officer, to give their reasonable opinion that disclosure
would/would be likely to cause the types of prejudice or inhibition listed
above.

 

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the public
interest test.  As the qualified person, I have had regard to guidance
issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office, “prejudice to the
effective conduct of public affairs (section 36), Version 2, 22 March
2013.  

 

The information contained within these minutes relates to important
matters which require consideration and deliberation.  Subject matters
being debated include comprehensive and fundamental reviews associated
with the education sector.  The current structure and service delivery
models of education, budgetary options and proposals for improvement and
potential change.  All of this requires a “safe space” to do so and it is
my reasonable opinion that if the requested information were to be
disclosed, it would likely have a “chilling effect” that would inhibit the
free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views in respect of
these consultation meetings between Members, Officers and other
representatives.

 

I further believe that any disclosure is likely to undermine the ability
of this group and those advising this group to express themselves in a
frank and open manner.  This would then lead to poorer decision making.

 

I am required to carry out a public interest in connection with the
section 36 exemption and I have given regard to the following:-:

 

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption

 

o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group. 

 

 

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging
views

 

As the qualified officer, I consider that the public interest test in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.  I
consider it is crucial that this group are able to exchange views in an
open and frank manner for the reasons set out above.

 

I am therefore refusing this part of your request for the information and
am relying on the exemption contained within Section 36 of The Freedom of
Information Act 2000 as detailed above.

 

You have the right to request an internal review, which should be
addressed to the Information and Central Services Manager, Wallasey Town
Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey,  CH44 8ED,  email,
[6][email address]. You also have the right to complain to the
Information Commissioner, whose address is the Information Commissioner’s
Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire SK9 5AF

[7]www.ico.gov.uk

 

 

16.       SEN Advisory Committee

The Council does not have a SEN Advisory Committee and we therefore have
no minutes to supply to you.

 

 

17.       Wirral Schools' Music Service Consultative Committee

I consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; this
information being the names of junior members of staff.  This is because
the Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in
respect of which he is not the data subject.  I consider that the
disclosure of the requested information would contravene the second data
protection principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or
more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in
any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. The minutes
from the Wirral School Music Service are from 2008 and the individuals
named in these minutes would have a legitimate expectation that their
personal data would not be further processed in a manner incompatible with
the specified and lawful purposes of the Music Service.  I consider that
the Complainant’s request for information can be met by giving him a
redacted copy of the minutes and these are attached. 

 

18.       Members’ Training Steering Group and 19. Members’ Equipment
Steering Group

Surjit Tour, as the Monitoring Officer for the Council has prepared the
response below in relation to items 18 and 19.

 

These minutes are from a closed meeting which is attended by Elected
Members and Officers of the Council.  As the Qualified Officer for the
Local Authority, I have reviewed the minutes in detail and I consider that
the information you have requested is exempt information under section 36
of the Freedom of Information Act, 2000. This provides an exemption, if
disclosure would or would be likely to;-

 

(b) inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views;
or

(c) otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs

 

Section 36 requires the qualified person, which for a local Authority is
the Monitoring Officer, to give their reasonable opinion that disclosure
would/would be likely to cause the types of prejudice or inhibition listed
above.

 

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the public
interest test.  As the qualified person, I have had regard to guidance
issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office, “prejudice to the
effective conduct of public affairs (section 36), Version 2, 22 March
2013.  

 

The information contained within these minutes relate to important matters
affecting Elected Members, which require consideration and deliberation. 
Matters being debated include Elected Member training, use of electronic
equipment, developing the Council of the Future, spending, service
delivery models and proposals for improvement and potential change.  

This level of debate requires a “safe space” to effectively engage and as
Monitoring Officer, it is my reasonable opinion that if the requested
information were to be disclosed, it would likely have a “chilling effect”
that would inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of
views between Elected Members and Officers.

 

I further believe that any disclosure is likely to undermine the ability
of this steering group and those advising this group to express themselves
in a frank and open manner.  This would then lead to poorer decision
making.

 

I am required to carry out a public interest in connection with the
section 36 exemption and I have given regard to the following:-:

 

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption

 

o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group. 

 

 

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging
views

 

As the qualified officer, I consider that the public interest test in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.  I
consider it is crucial that this group are able to exchange views in an
open and frank manner for the reasons set out above.  I am therefore
refusing this part of your request for the information and am relying on
the exemption contained within Section 36 of The Freedom of Information
Act 2000 as detailed above.

 

You have the right to request an internal review, which should be
addressed to the Information and Central Services Manager, Wallasey Town
Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey,  CH44 8ED,  email,
[8][email address]. You also have the right to complain to the
Information Commissioner, whose address is the Information Commissioner’s
Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire SK9 5AF

[9]www.ico.gov.uk

 

 

20.       Birkenhead Park Advisory Committee

I consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; this
information being the names of junior members of staff.  This is because
the Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in
respect of which he is not the data subject.  I consider that the
disclosure of the requested information would contravene the second data
protection principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or
more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in
any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. The minutes
from the Birkenhead Park Advisory Committee are from 2012 and the
individuals named in these minutes would have a legitimate expectation
that their personal data would not be further processed in a manner
incompatible with the specified and lawful purposes of the Birkenhead Park
Advisory Committee. I consider that the Complainant’s request for
information can be met by giving him a redacted copy of the minutes and
these are attached. 

 

21.       Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee

The Council does not hold any recorded minutes.

 

22.       Wirral Climate Change Group

I consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the second data protection
principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or more
specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any
manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. Certain
individuals named in the Minutes dated 11 December 2012 would have a
legitimate expectation that their personal data would not be further
processed in a manner incompatible with the specified and lawful purposes
of the Wirral Climate Change Group.  I consider that the Complainant’s
request for information can be met by giving him a redacted copy of the
minutes dated 11 December 2012, which redacts the names of certain
individuals.

 

 

23.       Anti-Social Behaviour Partnership Body

I consider that part of the requested information is exempt information
under Section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the second data protection
principle that personal data shall be obtained only for one or more
specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any
manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.

 

Certain individuals named in the Minutes dated (not including Councillors)
would have a legitimate expectation that their personal data would not be
further processed in a manner incompatible with the specified and lawful
purposes of the Anti Social Behaviour Partnership Board.

The requested information also includes sensitive personal data related to
the physical and mental health of individuals. I consider that none of the
conditions in Schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act 1998 would be met and
that the first data protection principle would be breached if such
sensitive personal data was processed.  I consider that the Complainant’s
request for information can be met by giving him a redacted copy of the
minutes dated 24 July 2009, which redacts the names of certain individuals
and these are attached.

 

 

24.       Birkenhead Town Centre Consultative Group

The Council does not hold any recorded minutes.

 

25.       Wirral Trade Centre Working Party

The Council does not hold any recorded minutes.

 

26.       Safeguarding Reference Group

I consider that the requested information is exempt information under
section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in that the
Complainant is asking for information which is personal data, in respect
of which he is not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on
individuals, namely individual children and other family members or
associated persons mentioned in the group minutes. 

 

I do not consider that any of the conditions in Schedule 2 would be met
and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that the processing would be
unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or
legitimate interests of the data subjects.  I do not consider that such
processing would be necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests
pursued by the Complainant as a third party, being a member of the public.
I have considered whether there is a legitimate public interest in
disclosure and balanced this against the rights of the individuals in
respect of whom information would be considered by the Safeguarding
Reference Group. I consider that disclosure of the requested information 
 would cause an unwarranted interference with those individuals’ rights,
which outweighs any legitimate interests pursued by the Complainant.  I
consider, as detailed above that the first data protection principle would
be breached if the requested information was disclosed.

 

The requested information also includes sensitive personal data related to
the physical and mental health of individuals. I consider that none of the
conditions in Schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act 1998 would be met and
that the first data protection principle would be breached if such
sensitive personal data was processed.

 

 

Yours Sincerely

Jane Corrin

Information and Central Services Manager

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

[10][email address]

 

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

 

 

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10. mailto:[email address]

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 various panels, statutory committees, advisory committees and working parties'. I refer to the original numbering used in my request.

4. School Appeals Panel

This is currently being withheld claiming an exemption under s.40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You are correct that the parents would have had a
legitimate expectation that their personal data and that of their child would remain confidential.

Your reply suggests you haven't even asked the parent/s' consent for this information to be provided in response to this request, you are just making assumptions before asking the question.

However as has been provided to other parts of this request, minutes of a school appeals panel can be supplied with the child/s name removed, school/s name removed and other identifying information.

There is also information in the minutes of the School Appeals Panel that has to do with which councillors were present at the meeting.

At least one parent has contacted me about a specific School Appeals Panel meeting. I am happy for the minutes to be provided, leaving out the detail of the child's name and other identifying features such as school.

The parent's views and details about the child/ren have already been shared with those on the School Appeals Panel.

Therefore I am requesting an internal review on the basis that not all information contained within the minutes of one School Appeals Panel meeting falls within a s.40(2) exemption on personal data grounds.

5. Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)

This relates to the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2013.

By statute this meeting meets in public. Another part of statute allows me to request the names and personal addresses of those on the committee. Other local authorities routinely publish the minutes of these SACRE public meetings. They do not redact the information you have.

My internal review on the redactions is then on the basis that:

a) the minutes relate to a meeting held in public
b) because of the above there is no legitimate expectation of privacy

You state "would have a legitimate expectation that their personal data would not be further processed in a manner incompatible with the specified and lawful purposes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education."

I will give more detail as to the lawful purposes of the SACRE referred to in relation to meeting minutes.

Regulation 7 of The Religious Education (Meetings of Local Conferences and Councils) Regulations 1994

"7. (1) After a meeting the following documents shall be available for inspection by members of the public at the offices of the authority until the expiration of six years beginning with the date of the meeting, namely,—

(a) a copy of the agenda for the meeting;
(b) a copy of so much of any report for the meeting as relates to any item during which the meeting was open to members of the public; and
(c) a copy of so much of the minutes of the meeting as relates to any such item."

The minutes of the meeting have been held in the last 6 years. Therefore I have an existing right of inspection to a copy of the minutes in unredacted form. Therefore the names of people in the minutes cannot have the private and personal nature that you ascribe to this information.

Secondly in addition to the names, the Group (ranging from A to C) of the individuals present has also been removed. Unless there s only one representative from that group, merely the group letter cannot be used to identify an individual.

Therefore I am asking for an internal review based of the information that has been withheld not being provided.

8. Adoption / Fostering Panels

You have stated "I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on individuals, namely potential adopters and foster parents and the individual children being placed for adoption or fostered." and "The requested information also includes sensitive personal data related to the physical and mental health of individuals."

This only applies to some of the minutes of the adoption/fostering panel however, not the whole minutes.

There will be information for example as to the date of the meeting, location of the meeting, time of the meeting et cetera that does not fall under the exemption you refer to. Therefore this request for internal review is for the information in the minutes that does not fall under the personal data exemption.

10. Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board

I am requesting an internal review on the basis of:

a) you have not stated whether you hold this information
b) if you do hold this information you have not stated whether an exemption applies to its non-disclosure in response to this FOI request
c) you have exceeded the time limits in the decision notice

11. Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental Health Act 1983 Panel

Although the minutes may "include sensitive personal data related to the physical and mental health of individuals." it is possible to provide the minutes in a redacted form removing such information. Therefore this internal review is on the basis that the section 40(2) exemption only applies to some of the information.

15. Headteachers and Teachers JCC

Section 36 is a qualified exemption subject to the public interest test.

This internal review of a s.36 exemption therefore has to be decided by the Chief Executive of Wirral Council.

The following public interest matters have been considered:

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption

o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of this group.

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging views

The "comprehensive and fundamental reviews associated
with the education sector" are largely driven by changes to legislation. The current structure and service delivery
models of education are already made public. So are budgetary options and proposals for improvement and potential change.

The seniority of headteachers have to be considered as factors in favour of disclosure in holding them to account.

I disagree with the three public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption:

a) Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.

The meeting has already happened. Therefore releasing minutes of it when so much time has passed, means its disclosure has a very limited effect on the free and frank exchange of views now. In fact some of the individuals involved then might have retired or not be in the same roles.

b) Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.

This is not entirely clear as to which group you are referring to. Certainly poor industrial relations has an effect on the public through for example strike action (which is known by the public). Many of the matters advised and given guidance on relate to the usage of public money. It has not been evidenced why disclosing the minutes of one meeting would do this.

c) Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of this group.

In order to suggest that, the group would have to know about the disclosure and be influenced by it. Surely the issues from the minutes of the meeting referred to are different then to now?

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure that have been not been considered

* greater transparency about the relationship between Wirral Council and trade unions
* greater transparency about the views of officers
* greater transparency about the views of councillors
* greater transparency about the views of headteachers
* greater transparency about the views of teachers
* greater transparency about the workings of the Headteachers and Teachers JCC
* greater transparency to trade union members about current issues
*greater transparency about trade Union Representatives and Teachers Professional Associations
*Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging views

Therefore on balance, for the reasons above I consider the public interest test result should be in favour of disclosure.

18. Members’ Training Steering Group and 19. Members’ Equipment Steering Group

* Note Elected Members means councillors

Any information in minutes can be deemed to be "important matters affecting Elected Members, which require consideration and deliberation."

What is or isn't important is subjective.

The decisions involving Elected Member Training often result in public decisions made by the Cabinet Member agreeing to the attendance by a named councillor/s at a specific conference or training event.

Therefore in essence, the minutes of the Training Steering Group in part are background papers for decision published and made in public. It would aid understanding of such decision making if the minutes relating to them were disclosed.

A joint decision has been made about 18 Members’ Training Steering Group and 19. Members’ Equipment
Steering Group however I disagree with the following public interest arguments against disclosure:

Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of this group.

This is because in relation to both groups considerable information is already in the public domain, such as the decisions as to which councillor/s go to conferences, details of the iPad trial, details of the training courses that councillors are invited to, details of which councillors attend which training sessions.

A Section 36 exemption would not apply to the minutes of the whole meeting or the agenda. For example the date of the meeting, location, people present et cetera. The names of the councillors on both these committees are already published.

I disagree that it would have the effects of restricting the free and frank exchanges of views, inhibiting the giving of advice and guidance and that disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of this group.

Further public interest factors in favour have not been considered such as:

* That councillors are accountable to the public, therefore greater transparency is required of their views and decision making
* That decisions made by both these committees can result in recommendations for public expenditure
* That other councillors would have a better understanding of the groups and what they do
* the request only relates to minutes of the meeting of these two committees prior to 29th March 2013. Therefore many of the matters discussed have already been decided.

26. Safeguarding Reference Group

I appeal this on the basis that only some of the information requested would fall under a s.40 exemption such as individual children and other family members or
associated persons mentioned in the group minutes. Redacted minutes could be supplied but haven't been.

I look forward to reading the response to this internal review. Thank you for supplying the information so far.

John Brace

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

Yours faithfully,

John Brace

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Despite this communication from ICO (I've left off the case officer's phone number) Wirral Council still haven't responded to this request for an internal review!

informationmanager@wirral.gov.uk

11 February 2015

Dear Sir/Madam

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’)
Complaint from John Brace
Case reference: FS50569254

The Information Commissioner has received a complaint from Mr Brace. Mr Brace says that he has not received a decision regarding the internal review he requested on 12 November 2014. This was in regard to the information Wirral Council disclosed in response to decision notice FS50509081. A copy of the internal review request is available on the What Do They Know website:

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

Guidance

The Information Commissioner’s Guide to Freedom of Information; http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/free... explains your obligations under the Act, answers many frequently asked questions and gives practical examples to illustrate how to apply the Act in practice.

The Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review, and in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days.

Enforcement

The Commissioner wants to ensure that a complainant has exhausted a public authority’s internal review procedure, but at the same time the complainant should not be unreasonably delayed in having his complaint considered under section 50.

Internal reviews are referred to in the section 45 Code of Practice - http://www.justice.gov.uk/information-ac... and significant or repeated unreasonable delays in dealing with internal reviews will be monitored by the Enforcement team. In some instances regulatory action may be necessary.

More details about the Commissioner’s FOI Regulatory Action Policy are available on our website using the following links:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/taki...

Actions

If it is the case that you have not issued an internal review decision to Mr Brace we recommend that you do so as soon as is practicable and within 20 working days from the date of receipt of this email.

If you have, in fact, already responded to Mr Brace, and believe that your response should already have been received we would recommend you contact them to confirm receipt if you have not already done so.

If you need to contact us about this complaint I can be contacted on the number below (Thursdays and Fridays only). Please quote the new reference number at the top of this email.

Yours faithfully

Cressida Woodall
Case Officer

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Brace,

 

Case Reference FS50569254 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

 

I refer to your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which
has asked the Council to reconsider the way in which it has handled your
request for information. The Council, following the decision at
FS50509081, had responded to your original request for information on 4
November 2014. You asked for an internal review on 12 November 2014. I
have set out below your original request (dated 29 March 2013), which was
as follows:-

 

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please could you provide minutes of the previous meetings of the
following committees. If minutes whether in draft form or not are not
available of the previous meeting, please provide the minutes of the
meeting directly before. I have given each of the committees
a number in order which can be used in future communications to avoid
misunderstandings.

If minutes for any of these committees are not available in electronic
form and to provide them in digital form would exceed the 18.5 hours rule
then I am happy to collect paper copies from Wallasey Town Hall instead.
1. Complaints Panel (School Curriculum and Related Matters)
2. Education Staff Panel
3. Headteacher Appointments Panel
4. School Appeals Panel
5. Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)
6. Wirral Schools Forum (Funding Consultative Group)
7. School Admissions Forum
8. Adoption / Fostering Panels
9. Housing Review Panel
10. Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board
11. Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental
Health Act 1983 Panel
12. Independent Remuneration Panel
13. Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee
14. Corporate Parenting Group (formerly known as Virtual School
Governing Body)
15. Headteachers and Teachers JCC
16. SEN Advisory Committee
17. Wirral Schools' Music Service Consultative Committee
18. Members’ Training Steering Group
19. Members’ Equipment Steering Group
20. Birkenhead Park Advisory Committee
21. Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee
22. Wirral Climate Change Group
23. Anti-Social Behaviour Partnership Body
24. Birkenhead Town Centre Consultative Group
25. Wirral Trade Centre Working Party
26. Safeguarding Reference Group

 

Having revisited the request, the Council now seeks to rely on Section 14
of FOIA, which provides that Section 1(1) of FOIA does not oblige a public
authority to comply with a request for information if the request is
vexatious. I consider that your request is vexatious because the scope and
size of the requested material has imposed a wholly disproportionate
burden on the Council, as a public authority. I refer to the decision of
the Upper Tier Tribunal in McInerney v. Information Commissioner and the
Department for Education [2015} UKUT 0047 (AAC). The First Tier Tribunal
had concluded that the cost involved in retrieving, reading and redacting
personal data from the relevant documents made the request “ vexatious
because the scope and the size of the requested material imposed a wholly
disproportionate burden on the public authority. In our judgment, this is
one of the many forms of request from which Parliament intended to protect
public authorities when enacting Section 14 FOIA”.(Paragraph 9 of the
Upper Tier Tribunal decision). The Upper Tribunal Judge noted that “ The
policy of section 14 is clear: it is to free public authorities from the
obligation that would otherwise exist under section 1 to provide
information in circumstances that would, in the broadest sense be
troublesome. If the section is to be effective in achieving that
objective, it must be interpreted and applied broadly to the substance of
the circumstances rather than the form of the request. The form in which a
request is presented should not dictate how the section is applied. A
series of requests could each be considered vexatious when viewed in the
context of the series as a whole. Likewise, when presented with what on
its face is a single request the public authority should not be obliged to
dissect it to see whether it could be severed. The public authority, and
the First-tier Tribunal on appeal, should take an overall view of the
circumstances as a whole to decide whether what is before it, whether
presented as a series of requests or a single request is vexatious” 
(Paragraph 55)

 

I consider that taking an overall view of the circumstances of your
request, and  having regard to the extent of the  information you have
requested on internal review, that this will impose a wholly
disproportionate burden on the Council as a public authority in retrieving
, and in particular redacting the requested information and will divert
resources . You originally requested information in respect of twenty six
different panels and boards. Initially in responding to your complaint
under decision FS50509081  the Council  sought to rely on Section 12 of
FOIA, which did not permit the Council to take into account the cost of
redacting personal data. I have set out below the details of your request
for an internal review:-

 

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 various panels, statutory
committees, advisory committees and working parties'. I refer to the
original numbering used in my request.

 

4. School Appeals Panel

 

This is currently being withheld claiming an exemption under s.40(2) of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

You are correct that the parents would have had a legitimate expectation
that their personal data and that of their child would remain
confidential.

 

Your reply suggests you haven't even asked the parent/s' consent for this
information to be provided in response to this request, you are just
making assumptions before asking the question.

 

However as has been provided to other parts of this request, minutes of a
school appeals panel can be supplied with the child/s name removed,
school/s name removed and other identifying information.

 

There is also information in the minutes of the School Appeals Panel that
has to do with which councillors were present at the meeting. 

 

At least one parent has contacted me about a specific School Appeals Panel
meeting. I am happy for the minutes to be provided, leaving out the detail
of the child's name and other identifying features such as school.

 

The parent's views and details about the child/ren have already been
shared with those on the School Appeals Panel.

 

Therefore I am requesting an internal review on the basis that not all
information contained within the minutes of one School Appeals Panel
meeting falls within a s.40(2) exemption on personal data grounds.

 

5. Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)

 

This relates to the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2013.

 

By statute this meeting meets in public. Another part of statute allows me
to request the names and personal addresses of those on the committee.
Other local authorities routinely publish the minutes of these SACRE
public meetings. They do not redact the information you have.

 

My internal review on the redactions is then on the basis that:

 

a) the minutes relate to a meeting held in public

b) because of the above there is no legitimate expectation of privacy

 

You state "would have a legitimate expectation that their personal data
would not be further processed in a manner incompatible with the specified
and lawful purposes of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious
Education."

 

I will give more detail as to the lawful purposes of the SACRE referred to
in relation to meeting minutes.

 

Regulation 7 of The Religious Education (Meetings of Local Conferences and
Councils) Regulations 1994

 

"7.  (1)  After a meeting the following documents shall be available for
inspection by members of the public at the offices of the authority until
the expiration of six years beginning with the date of the meeting,
namely,—

 

(a) a copy of the agenda for the meeting;

(b) a copy of so much of any report for the meeting as relates to any item
during which the meeting was open to members of the public; and

(c) a copy of so much of the minutes of the meeting as relates to any such
item."

 

The minutes of the meeting have been held in the last 6 years. Therefore I
have an existing right of inspection to a copy of the minutes in
unredacted form. Therefore the names of people in the minutes cannot have
the private and personal nature that you ascribe to this information.

 

Secondly in addition to the names, the Group (ranging from A to C) of the
individuals present has also been removed. Unless there s only one
representative from that group, merely the group letter cannot be used to
identify an individual.

 

Therefore I am asking for an internal review based of the information that
has been withheld not being provided.

 

8.         Adoption / Fostering Panels

 

You have stated "I consider disclosure of the requested information would
have an unjustified adverse effect on individuals, namely potential
adopters and foster parents and the individual children being placed for
adoption or fostered." and "The requested information also includes
sensitive personal data related to the physical and mental health of
individuals."

 

This only applies to some of the minutes of the adoption/fostering panel
however, not the whole minutes.

 

There will be information for example as to the date of the meeting,
location of the meeting, time of the meeting et cetera that does not fall
under the exemption you refer to. Therefore this request for internal
review is for the information in the minutes that does not fall under the
personal data exemption.

 

10.       Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board

 

I am requesting an internal review on the basis of:

 

a) you have not stated whether you hold this information

b) if you do hold this information you have not stated whether an
exemption applies to its non-disclosure in response to this FOI request

c) you have exceeded the time limits in the decision notice

 

11.    Discharge from Guardianship by Wirral Council under the Mental
Health Act 1983 Panel

 

Although the minutes may "include sensitive personal data related to the
physical and mental health of individuals." it is possible to provide the
minutes in a redacted form removing such information. Therefore this
internal review is on the basis that the section 40(2) exemption only
applies to some of the information.

 

15.       Headteachers and Teachers JCC

 

Section 36 is a qualified exemption subject to the public interest test.

 

This internal review of a s.36 exemption therefore has to be decided by
the Chief Executive of Wirral Council.

 

The following public interest matters have been considered:

 

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption

 

o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.

o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.

o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of this
group.

 

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

 

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging
views

 

The "comprehensive and fundamental reviews associated with the education
sector" are largely driven by changes to legislation. The current
structure and service delivery models of education are already made
public. So are budgetary options and proposals for improvement and
potential change.

 

The seniority of headteachers have to be considered as factors in favour
of disclosure in holding them to account.

 

I disagree with the three public interest factors in favour of maintaining
the exemption:

 

a) Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.

 

The meeting has already happened. Therefore releasing minutes of it when
so much time has passed, means its disclosure has a very limited effect on
the free and frank exchange of views now. In fact some of the individuals
involved then might have retired or not be in the same roles.

 

b) Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.

 

This is not entirely clear as to which group you are referring to.
Certainly poor industrial relations has an effect on the public through
for example strike action (which is known by the public). Many of the
matters advised and given guidance on relate to the usage of public money.
It has not been evidenced why disclosing the minutes of one meeting would
do this.

 

c) Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group.

 

In order to suggest that, the group would have to know about the
disclosure and be influenced by it. Surely the issues from the minutes of
the meeting referred to are different then to now?

 

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure that have been not been
considered

 

* greater transparency about the relationship between Wirral Council and
trade unions

* greater transparency about the views of officers

* greater transparency about the views of councillors

* greater transparency about the views of headteachers

* greater transparency about the views of teachers

* greater transparency about the workings of the Headteachers and Teachers
JCC

* greater transparency to trade union members about current issues
*greater transparency about trade Union Representatives and Teachers
Professional Associations *Transparency in the process of the provision of
advice and exchanging views

 

Therefore on balance, for the reasons above I consider the public interest
test result should be in favour of disclosure.

 

18.       Members’ Training Steering Group and 19. Members’ Equipment
Steering Group

 

* Note Elected Members means councillors

 

Any information in minutes can be deemed to be "important matters
affecting Elected Members, which require consideration and deliberation."

 

What is or isn't important is subjective.

 

The decisions involving Elected Member Training often result in public
decisions made by the Cabinet Member agreeing to the attendance by a named
councillor/s at a specific conference or training event.

 

Therefore in essence, the minutes of the Training Steering Group in part
are background papers for decision published and made in public. It would
aid understanding of such decision making if the minutes relating to them
were disclosed.

 

A joint decision has been made about 18 Members’ Training Steering Group
and 19. Members’ Equipment Steering Group however I disagree with the
following public interest arguments against disclosure:

 

Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.

Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.

Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of this
group.

 

This is because in relation to both groups considerable information is
already in the public domain, such as the decisions as to which
councillor/s go to conferences, details of the iPad trial, details of the
training courses that councillors are invited to, details of which
councillors attend which training sessions.

 

A Section 36 exemption would not apply to the minutes of the whole meeting
or the agenda. For example the date of the meeting, location, people
present et cetera. The names of the councillors on both these committees
are already published.

 

I disagree that it would have the effects of restricting the free and
frank exchanges of views, inhibiting the giving of advice and guidance and
that disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group.

 

Further public interest factors in favour have not been considered such
as:

 

* That councillors are accountable to the public, therefore greater
transparency is required of their views and decision making

* That decisions made by both these committees can result in
recommendations for public expenditure

*  That other councillors would have a better understanding of the groups
and what they do

* the request only relates to minutes of the meeting of these two
committees prior to 29th March 2013. Therefore many of the matters
discussed have already been decided.

 

26.       Safeguarding Reference Group

 

I appeal this on the basis that only some of the information requested
would fall under a s.40 exemption such as  individual children and other
family members or associated persons mentioned in the group minutes. 
Redacted minutes could be supplied but haven't been.

 

The information that you are requesting involves certain panels and
boards, which contain considerable personal data including sensitive
personal data, concerning children and vulnerable adults. I do not
consider it reasonable to ask individuals whether they consent to the
release of their information having regard to the nature of the Panels and
Boards In the  McInerney case, the judge had regard to the effects of
compliance and stated ,” In view of the total impact of compliance the
tribunal was entitled to find on the evidence that compliance would be
troublesome to the Department to the point where the request could
properly be characterised as vexatious.” (Paragraph 48). I consider that
compliance with your request for information, even limited to the
information contained in the request for an internal review would be
troublesome to the Council and in addition would have the effect of
diverting officers from their other duties. The Information Manager has
estimated that in dealing with the response sent to you on 4 November
2014, that this alone occupied 70 hours of their time. It is estimated
that to comply with your request for an internal review would take at
least another 32 hours. Judge Jacobs stated in the McInerney case , that “
whether or not a request is vexatious is not just a matter of the
financial cost of compliance. It depends on the circumstances as a
whole”.(Paragraph 60). Having regard to the circumstances as a whole in
respect of your request for information , I consider it to be vexatious
under Section 14 of FOIA and that therefore the Council is not obliged to
comply with your request for information.I have copied this response to
the Information Commissioner’s Office.

 

Yours sincerely and sent on behalf of,

 

Rosemary Lyon,

Legal and Member Services,

Transformation and Resources,

 

 

show quoted sections

Lyon, Rosemary A., Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Brace

 

Case ref FS50569254

 

I refer to your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office  (ICO)
and to your original request for information. Following recent queries
raised by the ICO, I am amending the Council’s response as set out below.
I should clarify that the Council submits that with respect to those parts
of your request for information contained in your email dated 12 November
2014,apart from that relating to SACRE, that the Council still considers
this vexatious. I have copied this response to the ICO.

 

Part 5

Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)

 

I have reconsidered the Council’s response to this part of your request
for information and enclose a copy of the unredacted minutes of the
Committee dated 7 February 2013. I have submitted to the ICO that the 1994
Regulations preceded the implementation of the Data Protection Act 1998,
and that personal data should not be kept longer than is necessary, but no
longer seek to rely on the exemption contained in Section 40(2) of the
Freedom of Information act 2000.

 

Part 10

Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board

The Council holds no information about this Board apart from its terms of
reference set out below. I understand that following the transfer of the
Council’s Housing Stock which was completed by 2009, this Board has no
longer met.

 

“(ii). Unified Waiting List Management Advisory Board

To consider appeals from applicants who consider they have been unfairly

treated or unfairly excluded from the waiting list, having exhausted the

Steering Group appeals procedure.”

 

 

 

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Part 21

Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee

 

I enclose an extract from an email provided to the Information Management
Team which was as follows:-

“There are no minutes from 2013 the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve
Management Committee as the present Committee was formed in March 2014.”

This is the reason that the council responded to your original request
that it did not hold any information

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Rosemary Lyon,

Solicitor,

Legal and Member Services,

Transformation and Resources,

Wirral Borough Council

 

.

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

ScarletPimpernel

Dear Lyon, Rosemary A.,

Thank you for your response dated 17th July 2015. This request is in relation to this part of your reply:

"Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Part 21

Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee

I enclose an extract from an email provided to the Information Management Team which was as follows:-

“There are no minutes from 2013 the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee as the present Committee was formed in March 2014.”

This is the reason that the council responded to your original request that it did not hold any information"

This FOI request made on the 29th March 2013 (as clarified on the 30th April 2013) asked for "As specified in my original request, this request is for the minutes of the previous meeting of these groups only (not for a years worth of meetings which is implied when you state "The huge volume of School Appeals each year, running into the hundreds; including a great deal of Personal Data and Sensitive Data, which would have to be reviewed and redacted were applicable)."

Just to clarify it was not as specific as minutes of meetings of the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee in 2013.

There are minutes of the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee still published on your website (see the minutes from Friday 13th April 2007 here http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/CeListDoc... ).

I am not sure if the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee met between Friday 13th April 2007 and the date of this request made on the 29th March 2013. The minutes of the meeting held on the 13th April 2007 state that the date and time of the next meeting are "to be arranged". Therefore I suggest it is highly likely there were further meetings of the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee held (the minutes of which are not published on your website), one of which would be the previous meeting to the request made on the 29th March 2013.

It is possible the minutes of the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee (if it didn't meet after 13th April 2007) are what should have been provided in response to this request.

It would be useful if you could clarify when the last meeting of the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee held prior to this request (made on 29th March 2013) was and whether Wirral Council still holds the minutes for that meeting.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

ScarletPimpernel

Dear Lyon, Rosemary A.,

In your reply you state:

"Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Part 21

Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee

I enclose an extract from an email provided to the Information Management Team which was as follows:-

“There are no minutes from 2013 the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee as the present Committee was formed in March 2014.”

This is the reason that the council responded to your original request that it did not hold any information"

I have since asked the following question:

Did the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee exist prior to 2014?

and received the following replies:

Cllr Chris Carubia: From the discussions today I know it has been in existence for over 5 years at least

Cllr Pat Williams: Yes, I was a proud member for a number of years.

Therefore do you wish to amend your response that "There are no minutes from 2013 the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee" as two councillors (including one who was on the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee dispute your claim that it did not exist in 2013.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

ICO have issued a 2nd decision notice for this request, which you can view on ICO's website here https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... (FS50569254).

The decision notice is dated 29th July 2015.

Either party can appeal the decision notice by the 24th August 2015. If neither side appeals the decision notice, then Wirral Council has to respond to it by the 31st August 2015.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Those dates in my earlier annotation should read 26th August 2015 and 2nd September 2015, not 24th August 2015 and 31st August 2015.

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Brace,

 

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Case Reference Number : FS50569254

 

I refer to the decision notice issued by the ICO on 29 July 2015, which
required the Council to disclose the information withheld at parts 15,18,
19 and 26 of your request dated 29 March 2013, or to  issue a fresh
refusal notice, but without relying on Sections 12 or 14 of FOIA. The
Council’s response is set out below and has been copied to the ICO.

 

Part  15

Headteachers and Teachers JCC Minutes

 

These minutes are from a closed meeting which was attended by Elected
Members, Trade Union Representatives, Teachers Professional Associations
and Officers.  As the qualified person for the Council, I have reviewed
the minutes in detail and I consider that the information you have
requested is exempt information under  section 36 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of
the Freedom of Information Act, 2000.(FOIA)

 

This  section provides an exemption, if disclosure would or would be
likely to inhibit-

(b) (i) the free and frank provision of advice or

or  (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation.

Section 36 requires the qualified person to give their reasonable opinion
that disclosure would/would be likely to cause the types of prejudice or
inhibition listed above. Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore
subject to the public interest test. As the qualified person, I have had
regard to guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office,
“prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs (section 36),
Version 3, 19 March 2015.

The information contained within these minutes relates to important
matters which require consideration and deliberation. Subject matters
being debated include comprehensive and fundamental reviews associated
with the education sector. The current structure and service delivery
models of education, budgetary options and proposals for improvement and
potential change. All of this requires a “safe space” to do so and it is
my reasonable opinion that if the requested information were to be
disclosed, it would likely have a “chilling effect” that would inhibit the
free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views in respect of
these consultation meetings between Members, Officers and other
representatives.

I further believe that any disclosure is likely to undermine the ability
of this group and those advising this group to express themselves in a
frank and open manner. This would then lead to poorer decision making.

I am required to carry out a public interest in connection with the
section 36 exemption and I have given regard to the following:-:

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption
o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group.

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging
views

As the qualified person, I consider that the public interest test in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. I
consider it is crucial that this group are able to exchange views in an
open and frank manner for the reasons set out above

I am therefore refusing Part 15 of your request for the information and
relying on the exemption contained within Section 36 (2) (b) of FOIA

Parts 18 and 19

 

Members’ Training Steering Group Minutes and  Members’ Equipment
Steering Group Minutes

These minutes are from a closed meeting which was attended by Elected
Members and Officers of the Council. As the qualified person for the Local
Authority, I have reviewed the minutes in detail and I consider that the
information you have requested is exempt information under section
36(2)(b)(i) and (ii)  of FOIA.

 

This provides an exemption, if disclosure would or would be likely to
inhibit_

(b) (i) the free and frank provision of advice or

or  (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation.

Section 36 requires the qualified person to give their reasonable opinion
that disclosure would/would be likely to cause the types of prejudice or
inhibition listed above. Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore
subject to the public interest test. As the qualified person, I have had
regard to guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office,
“prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs (section 36),
Version 3, 19 March 2015.

 

The information contained within these minutes related to important
matters affecting Elected Members, which require consideration and
deliberation. Matters being debated include Elected Member training, use
of electronic equipment, developing the Council of the Future, spending,
service delivery models and proposals for improvement and potential
change.

This level of debate requires a “safe space” to effectively engage and as
Monitoring Officer, it is my reasonable opinion that if the requested
information were to be disclosed, it would likely have a “chilling effect”
that would inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of
views in future between Elected Members and Officers.I further believe
that any disclosure is likely to undermine the ability of this steering
group and those advising this group to express themselves in a frank and
open manner. This would then lead to poorer decision making.

I am required to carry out a public interest in connection with the
section 36 exemption and I have given regard to the following:-:

 

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption
o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group.

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging
views

As the qualified officer, I consider that the public interest test in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure I
consider it is crucial that this group are able to exchange views in an
open and frank manner for the reasons set out above. I am therefore
refusing this part of your request for the information and am relying on
the exemption contained within Section 36 (2) (b) (i) and (ii)  of  FOIA

 

Part 26

 

Safeguarding Reference Group

These minutes are from a closed meeting which is attended by Elected
Members and Senior Officers of the Council. As the qualified person for
the Local Authority, I have reviewed the minutes in detail and I consider
that the information you have requested is exempt information under
section 36(2)(b)(i) and (ii)  of FOIA.

 

This provides an exemption, if disclosure would or would be likely to
inhibit_

(b) (i) the free and frank provision of advice or

or  (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation.

Section 36 requires the qualified person to give their reasonable opinion
that disclosure would/would be likely to cause the types of prejudice or
inhibition listed above. Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore
subject to the public interest test. As the qualified person, I have had
regard to guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office,
“prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs (section 36),
Version 3, 19 March 2015.

The information contained within these minutes relate to strategic matters
concerning the safeguarding of both Childrens and Adults.  This level of
debate requires a “safe space” to effectively engage , and it is my
reasonable opinion that if the requested information were to be disclosed,
it would  have a “chilling effect” that would inhibit the free and frank
provision of advice or exchange of views between Elected Members and
Senior Officers. I further believe that any disclosure is likely to
undermine the ability of this safeguarding reference group and those
advising this group to express themselves in a frank and open manner. This
would then lead to poorer decision making.

 

I am required to carry out a public interest in connection with the
section 36 exemption and I have given regard to the following:-:

 

Public interest factors in favour of maintaining the exemption
o Disclosure would restrict the free and frank exchanges of views.
o Disclosure would inhibit the giving of advice and guidance.
o Disclosure would have a potential detrimental effect on the work of
this group.

Public interest factors in favour of disclosure

o Transparency in the process of the provision of advice and exchanging
views

As the qualified person, I consider that the public interest test in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure I
consider it is crucial that this group are able to exchange views in an
open and frank manner for the reasons set out above. I am therefore
refusing this part of your request for the information and am relying on
the exemption contained within Section 36 (2) (b) (i) and (ii)  of  FOIA.

 

I also consider that the exemption contained in Section 40 (2) and (3) (a)
(i)  of FOIA , would apply to some of the requested information,in that
you are asking for information which is personal data, in respect of which
you are not the data subject. I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on the
individuals whose personal data is referred to in the Safeguarding
Reference Group Minutes. I do not consider that any of the conditions in
Schedule 2 would be met and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that
the processing would not be necessary for the purposes of legitimate
interests pursued by yourself as a third party being a member of the
public and  unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms
or legitimate interests of the data subjects. 

 

 

Conclusion

I am refusing your request for information in relation to Parts 15, 18, 19
and 26 on the basis that the exemption contained in section 36 (2) (b) (i)
and (ii) of FOIA applies. I am additionally also refusing your request in
relation to Part 26 on the basis that the exemption contained in Section
40 (2) and (3)(a)(i)  of FOIA  applies.

 

If you are dissatisfied with this response to your request for information
, I consider that you also have the right to complain further to the
Information Commissioner,. The address is the Information Commissioner’s
Office,

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire SK9 5AF

[1]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Tel -0303 123 113

 

 

 

Yours sincerely and sent on behalf of

Surjit Tour

Head of Legal & Member Services

and Monitoring Officer

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Department of Transformation and Resources

Town Hall

Brighton Street

Wallasey

Wirral

CH44 8ED

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ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Appealed to ICO 7/9/2015.

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

2 Attachments

<<FS50509081 642872.pdf>>

Dear Mr Brace,

I refer to your enquiry in relation to the decision notice issued by the
ICO on 29 July 2015. 

Further to our correspondence  of 3^rd September 2015 in relation to the
withheld information - Part 26 of your request dated 29 March 2013; the
Council has now issued a new response which is set out below.

Part 26 - Safeguarding Reference Group

I have reviewed the minutes referenced above and consider that the
exemption contained in Section 40 (2) and (3) (a)(i) of FOIA, applies to
part of the requested information.  The exemption can be relied upon as
you are asking for information which is personal data, in respect of which
you are not the data subject.  I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on the
individual(s) whose personal data is referred to in the Safeguarding
Reference Group Minutes. I do not consider that any of the conditions in
Schedule 2 would be met and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that
the processing would not be necessary for the purposes of legitimate
interests pursued by yourself as a third party being a member of the
public and unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms
or legitimate interests of the data subject(s).

I consider that your request in relation to the Safeguarding Reference
Group minutes can be met by disclosing the redacted minutes, which are
attached.

Yours sincerely

Jane Corrin

Records and Information Manager -  Legal and Member Services

0151 691 8645

Wirral Council

Transformation and Resources

Wallasey Town Hall Brighton Street

Wirral

Merseyside

CH44 8ED

      

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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.

[2]www.wirral.gov.uk

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References

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2. http://www.wirral.gov.uk/

Dear Corrin, Jane,

Thank you for supplying the minutes of the Safeguarding Reference Group for its meeting held on the 19th April 2011.

My original request (made on the 29th March 2013) was later clarified to mean the minutes of the meeting held immediately prior to the request being made. The minutes supplied refer to a later meeting of the Safeguarding Reference Group on the 20th July 2011. Reference is also made to a meeting on the 27th October 2010, so therefore I would presume the Safeguarding Reference Group met approximately three times a year.

Can you therefore please confirm that the minutes supplied for the Safeguarding Reference Group dated 19th April 2011 are the most recent minutes that Wirral Council holds for the Safeguarding Reference Group prior to the request being made on the 29th March 2013?

In other words did the Safeguarding Reference Group not meet between the 19th April 2011 and the 29th March 2013?

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Brace,

 

I refer to your enquiry in relation to the decision notice issued by the
ICO on 29 July 2015.

 

Further to our correspondence to you on 11th January 2016, that provided
the redacted minutes regarding Part 26 of your request dated 29 March
2013;

 

Wirral Council can confirm, in response to your correspondence on 13th
January 2016, the Safeguarding Reference Group did not meet between the
19th April 2011 and the 29th March 2013 and you have been provided with
the  recorded information held in respect of Part 26 of your enquiry.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Sent on behalf of

Jane Corrin

Records and Information Manager -  Legal and Member Services

Wirral Council

 

      

[1]cid:image001.png@01D14FAA.ABE39B30

 

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.

 

[2]www.wirral.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

ICO have issued a further decision notice dated 25th January 2016 (FS50596346).

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Decision notice FS50596346 can be read on ICO's website here, https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... .

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Appeal to ICO decision notice FS50596346 from complainant received by General Regulatory Chamber at 8.21am on the 11th February 2016.

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Brace,

I refer to your enquiry in relation to the decision notice issued by the
ICO on 25^th January 2016.

In relation to the withheld information part 18 Members’ Training Steering
Group and part 19 Members’ Equipment Steering Group of your request dated
29 March 2013; the Council has now issued a new response which is set out
below.

Part 18 Members’ Training Steering Group and Part 19 Members’ Equipment
Steering Group

I have reviewed the minutes referenced above and consider that the
exemption contained in Section 40 (2) and (3) (a)(i) of FOIA, applies to
part of the requested information.  The exemption can be relied upon as
you are asking for information which is personal data, in respect of which
you are not the data subject.  I consider that the disclosure of the
requested information would contravene the first data protection
principle, that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and
shall not be processed unless at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2
of the Data Protection Act 1998 is met. I consider disclosure of the
requested information would have an unjustified adverse effect on the
individual(s) whose personal data is referred to in regard to the above
requested minutes.  I do not consider that any of the conditions in
Schedule 2 would be met and particularly Condition 6 of Schedule 2 in that
the processing would not be necessary for the purposes of legitimate
interests pursued by yourself as a third party being a member of the
public and unwarranted by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms
or legitimate interests of the data subject(s).

I consider that your request in relation to the Members’ Training Steering
Group minutes Members’ Equipment Steering Group minutes can be met by
disclosing these redacted minutes, which are attached.

<<FS50596346 - 642782 response 19 Members Equipment Steering Group.pdf>>

<<FS50596346 -642782 response 18 Members Training Steering Group.pdf>>

Yours sincerely,

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management Officer

Legal Services

Wallasey Town Hall

Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED 

Transformation and Resources

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

[2]Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)

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

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1. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Decision Notice FS50596346 appealed to Information Tribunal (Information Rights) part of the General Regulatory Chamber.

Case received 11th February 2016, case reference number EA/2016/0033.

Appellant: John Michael Brace
1st Respondent: Information Commissioner
2nd Respondent: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) Case EA/2016/0033

Appellant: John Michael Brace
Respondents: Information Commissioner
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Hearing date (one day hearing): 16th June 2016 10:00am

Place: Employment Tribunal, 3rd Floor, Civil & Family Court, 35 Vernon Street, Liverpool, L2 2BX

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

A First-Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) hearing was held today in case EA/2016/0033.

Further information was disclosed in advance of the hearing. The name of Welna Bowden (an Associate Tutor at the Local Government Association) in respect of item 18 (Members Training Steering Group).

This conflicts with a FOI to the Local Government Association see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n... who state it is Chas Leslie.

Further information was also disclosed in respect of item 15 (Headteachers and Teachers Joint Consultative Committee).

"On the subject of Acre Lane, David Armstrong is leading an assets review, which include identifying a new location for the services currently provided at Acre Lane."

Further disclosure of information pertaining to item 15 was also made prior to the hearing (Headteachers and Teachers Joint Consultative Committee).

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

I've blogged about the extra information relating to parts 15 (Headteacher's/Teacher's Joint Consultative Committee) and Part 18 (Members Training Steering Group) at this link http://johnbrace.com/2016/06/16/what-wer... .