Misleading the Office of the Schools Adjudicator????

Sheila Oliver made this Freedom of Information request to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

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

Dear Stockport Borough Council,

On 15th February Andrew Webb, Director of Children and Young People's Services at Stockport, wrote to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator with a request to modify the school closure dates in relation to case reference: STP/000301. There is no mention in that letter of the contamination report from October 2009 which states the entire school site to be contaminated. Given the very expensive cost of dealing with contamintion, I would have thought the fact either that contamination investigations were outstanding or that the site had been found to be entirely contaminated would have been a material fact to put before the Officer of the Schools Adjudicator.

I shall be sending a letter of complaint about Andrew Webb to the Schools Adjudicator over this matter and wonder whether the Council would like to clarify whether or not at the time of Mr. Webb's letter to them in October 2009 Stockport Council had received the contamination report.

I assume you will refuse to answer, and that fact will be brought to the attention of the Schools Adjudicator.

There are millions of pounds of taxpayers'/council taxpayers' money being wasted here. We need to unpick what has gone on and who ultimately is responsible.

Kind regards

Yours faithfully,


FOI Officer, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mrs Oliver,

I am writing in response to your request for information below (ref 2965).

As you have previously been informed, all your requests for information
about Harcourt Street are considered to be vexatious under section 14(1)
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and manifestly unreasonable under
Regulation 12(4)(b) Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will
not receive a response. This decision has previously been through the
Council's internal review process and was upheld.

You are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office. To
do so, contact:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane





01625 545 745

Yours sincerely,

Claire Naven

Claire Naven

Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

show quoted sections

Sheila Oliver

Dear Stockport Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Stockport Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Misleading the Office of the Schools Adjudicator????'.

The Council failed to mention this very salient and multi-million pound issue. Why didn't they mention it?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Sheila Oliver

Sheila Oliver (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

A Senior Complaints Officer at the Information Commission stated on 07/01/10:-"Following my detailed discussions with the council, I am pleased to advise it has reconsidered its position on this matter and decided to disclose the information previous (sic) withheld in view of the time which has elapsed since you made your request."

How does that square with the Council continuing to brand my questions vexatious? There may well be defamation issues here. I look forward to hearing from Stockport Council.


Dear FOI Officer,

On 23 June 2010 the Leader of Stockport Council, Dave Goddard, wrote to me stating: "The Council.....is committed to continuing to increase the transparency of its activities."

In the light of this, would the Council please reconsider releasing all the information currently being kept secret on the school on the still gassing toxic waste dump?

Yours sincerely,

Sheila Oliver

Sheila Oliver (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Dear Stockport Council

This is the text of the letter from the Information Commission stating you should be answering questions:-

Information Commissioner's Office
Promoting public access to official information and protecting your personal information
15th February 2010
Case Reference Number RCC0296506 / FS50232537 Stockport Borough Council
Dear Mrs Oliver
Thank you for your letter of 7 February 2010. In your letter you state that since the issuing of the Decision Notice in relation to case FS50232537 on 10 November 2009 further evidence has come to light which you feel no proves you are not vexatious. You also state that since the Decision Notice was issued all your subsequent requests for information made to the Council have been refused on the basis that the requests are vexatious.
The Decision Notice found that at the time of your request, which was 1 December 2008, your request was manifestly unreasonable and therefore Stockport Borough Council were correct to refuse to disclose to you the information you requested by virtue of 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations. All Decision Notice must consider the circumstances at the time the request was made and cannot take into account circumstances that post date the request. If you are unhappy with the findings of the Decision Notice you should appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights). Any appeal should be lodged with the Tribunal within 28 days of the date of the Decision Notice. The contact details for the Tribunal are found at the bottom of the Decision Notice.
In relation to your second point, that the Council are now refusing all your requests for information on the basis that they are vexatious, the Decision Notice relates specifically to the request you made on the 1 December 2008 and does not make any finding regarding future requests. If you have made further requests and these have been refused you should ask the Council to review the requests and if following this review you remain unhappy with their response you can bring a new complaint to the Commissioner.
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF t:0845 630 6060 f:01625 524510 e:mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk w:ico.gov.uk

Sheila Oliver (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

No mention of the contamination then:-

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Mowden Hall
Staindrop Road

Children & Young People's Directorate
Town Mali, Stockport SK1 3XE
Switchboard: 0161-4804949
Fax: 0161-9530012
Direct line: 0161-4743801
Ask for: Donna Sager
Email: donna.sagerstockport.gov.uk
15 October 2009

Dear Sir
Referral Body: Stockport Council, Children & Young People's Directorate Request to Modify Dates in Relation to Determination, Case Reference: STP/000301
Summary of Proposal
Under the powers conferred to the Schools Adjudicator by the School Organisation (Transitional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007, we hereby request approval to modify the agreed implementation date from 1 September 2010 to 1 September 2011.
Original SOC Proposal and Subsequent Determination by Schools Adjudicator: Dr Elizabeth Passmore on 18 February 2008
\ Background
On 5 December 2005, Stockport's School Organisation Committee approved "to close Fir Tree Primary School, North Reddish Infant School and North Reddish Junior School on the 31st of August 2008 and to open an all-through primary school with 12 places for children with severe learning difficulties from the 1st of September 2008 at a new site on Harcourt Street, subject to planning permission. To co-locate in the new building Fir Tree Nursery School, developed as a Children's Centre for North Reddish. These proposals are independent". The expectation of the Committee at that time was that the new school would be accommodated in new buildings to be constructed on a site convenient to both communities.
On 17 December 2007 Stockport Council wrote requesting a modification to the original determination clearly outlining a range of delays in the planning and procurement process that had significantly impacted on the Council's ability to implement the proposal. Dr Passmore visited the three schools and the site of the new school and gained further clarification of the proposals. Her letter of determination noted:
"I am fully persuaded that the quality of education of primary-aged pupils in North Reddish would be enhanced by the provision of the proposed new school. The LA has dealt properly with the various actions and queries put to it, but this has delayed progress towards implementing the proposal. I greatly regret that the losers, while the LA has responded to the issues raised, such as the condition of the Harcourt Street site, have been the children."

Her conclusion was to approve the modification in order to ensure the required preparation would be complete and the new school building would be ready for occupation in September 2010. A copy of the full determination is attached as appendix one.
Regrettably, since that time we have had to endure further significant delays and legal challenges which are detailed in full below in order to provide you with the full context behind the request for modification. We are acutely aware of the need to fully comply and adhere to the relevant legal and planning statutory procedures and this has inevitably impacted on the programme schedule. The delay in implementing this set of proposals is disappointing, but reflects the complexity of issues that we have had to attend to. It does mean however that it would not be possible to comply with the conditions previously agreed by the Schools Adjudicator.
The legal matters we have had to deal with are as follows.
On 4 June 2008 the Council submitted to the DCSF a Compulsory Purchase Order for three pieces of land and only received a response dated 27 August 2009 advising that the CPO had been confirmed. We are delighted that we can now progress the CPO where it will be brought into operation and will issue notice of our intention to use general vesting powers to acquire possession and title to the land contained in the CPO.
An application to add a number of public footpaths to the Definitive Map of public rights of way was received on 27 August 2008. One of the footpaths cut diagonally through the proposed new school building and a second was inside the grounds of the school. In order to fulfil the statutory procedures we have been unable to commence work on site until the claims have been resolved.
In order to progress, the right of way applications were dealt with by the Executive Member as dedicated routes on 26 January 2009 and the Tame Valley Area Committee agreed to divert them. A diversion and stopping up order has been made under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and following the statutory advertising period for the order a number of objections have been received. These have been referred to the Planning Inspectorate and we are preparing for a Public Enquiry which will be held on 6 January 2010 to consider the objections.
An application to register land abutting the proposed school site as a town or village green under the Commons Act 2006 was made initially on 24 June 2008 and later superseded by an amended application on 24 October 2008. This application contains in it one of the CPO plots. The application is currently in the process of being determined but as the CPO has been confirmed and brought into operation, any threat that was imposed by the town green application to the construction of the school has diminished as the Council has CPO powers and, as indicated, is using the CPO powers to obtain title and possession of the land. It is therefore immaterial as to whether the CPO plot is registered as part of a wider town green as such registration would still achieve the same purpose of the CPO, which is to ensure that the land remains undisturbed.
Despite these continued delays Stockport Council remains fully committed to the scheme. As detailed in our previous request for modification, we have secured full planning approval for the site. In addition we have undertaken a thorough tender process commensurate with the value of the Scheme, identified a preferred Contractor, and have commenced initial preparatory design works via the issue of a pre-construction letter of intent. These developers will continue to be a preferred bidder working towards a fixed cost. The total funding for the much needed school is still secure.
Stockport Council Executive Members have been briefed and retain their full support for the scheme. All three schools affected by the closure notice and the temporary governing body have been made aware of the proposed further modification and at their meeting of 5 October 2009 gave unanimous support to this.
Finally, we believe that the requested modification to the implementation date is reasonable and that it will be sufficient for all the proposals that were approved in the earlier Determination to be implemented by the proposed dates and allow for completion of the buildings.
I would be grateful if you could give this matter your early consideration and please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information. We would of course welcome a further visit to Stockport if you felt it necessary.
Yours sincerely

Andrew Webb Corporate Director