Monitoring Officers reports

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to South Norfolk District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by South Norfolk District Council.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide me with the monitoring officers reports that will have been prepared following the Local Government Ombudsman identifying that in their most recent annual letter that two local settlements had been agreed with the LGO and the Council. In particular I wish to have a copy of the Monitoring Officer report in relation to Rushall Road.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke Carruthers

Right2Know, South Norfolk District Council

Thank you for your request which is being considered. You may be aware that we have 20 working days in which to respond to FOI requests and you will therefore hear from me again by 1 October 2008 or earlier if possible.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions, which may prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then some or all of the information may not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including your rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.

There may be a fee payable for ‘reasonable disbursement’ costs such as postage and photocopying. This will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please let me know. If you do contact us again concerning this request, please quote FOI 08-133.

Joanna Kitchener
Scrutiny and Information Rights Manager
South Norfolk Council
Long Stratton, Norwich
NR15 2XE
01508 533602
www.south-norfolk.gov.uk

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Right2Know, South Norfolk District Council

Dear Mr Carruthers

Further to your FOI request detailed below, I am now in a position to
reply.

I should advise you that under section 1 (1) (a) of the Freedom of
Information Act, we must inform you whether we hold the requested
information or not. I should advise you that this Council does not hold
any such reports as Monitoring Officer reports are only prepared if he or
she considers that any proposal, decision or omission would give rise to
unlawfulness or if any decision or omission has given rise to
maladministration. As local settlements are not findings of
maladministration, no such reports would be prepared following local
settlements.

As these reports do not exist, they cannot be provided to you.

Joanna Kitchener
Scrutiny and Information Rights Manager
South Norfolk Council
Long Stratton, Norwich
NR15 2XE
01508 533602
www.south-norfolk.gov.uk

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Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Right2Know,

In my request for information I made no reference to a need for an
Local Government Ombudsman Decision against South Norfolk District Council.

My request relates entirely to the duties of the
Monitoring Officer under the Local Government and Housing Act, 1989
and a need for them to produce a report. It clearly states that any act that constitutes, has given rise to or is likely or would give rise to a contravention of any law, code.. etc... (approved under any enactment.. including it is presumed the Council's own complaints procedure) will give rise to a monitoring officer report.

It states in the annual letters from the LGO in relation to a
number of local settlements that the South norfolk Council has admitted fault, has provided compensation, changed procedures and
apologised. Further it is identified that the South Norfolk council has contravened FoI in responding to the LGO in the LGO's annual letters. The LGO has also identified that a number of complaints fall outside of their jurisdiction.

Your reply fails to answer the questions asked. The Council have
identified and agreed with the LGO that a monitoring officer report
should be produced. This is clearly identified when the relevant
sections of the Local Government and Housing Act are placed next to
the LGO's annual letter to the Council... If the SNDC had rejected the LGO's findings and recommendations an MI report would have been produuced.

The records must exist othewise the Council would have not been
able to reach any agreement with the LGO, and would have disputed
their annual letters.

Please provide the answers and/or any delegation given to the
Council's monitoring officer that they can ignore their duties.

If the Council has identified that the monitoring officer can
ignore their duties records relating to a number of decisions by
different Council's as identified by s2 of the Local Government Act
1972 should be available. I would also point out to the current
monitoring officer that the position is a function (not a person)

Please additionally identify the monitoring officers employed by
the Council's for the last six years, and if they are a solicitor.

Internal Review is requested

Stuart Hardwicke Carruthers

Right2Know, South Norfolk District Council

Dear Mr Carruthers

It would appear that you have misunderstood the purpose of the internal review panel in relation to FOI requests. Perhaps if I explain the situation, this may assist you.

When a request for recorded information is refused using an exemption as laid out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000, then the requester has the right of appeal against that decision. The first stage of that appeal process is to request that the public body refusing the information convenes an independent panel to examine the decision and the reasons behind it. They will then either uphold the decision and refuse to supply the information, or overturn the decision and release the information. If the first course is followed and the information is still not released, then the requester may appeal to the Information Commissioner.

Under the request for information which has been given the identifier FOI 08-133, you have asked for reports which I have advised you do not exist. I have therefore not refused to supply any information to you and thus it is not possible for a internal review to be convened to examine the refusal, as there has been no refusal. No action will therefore be taken on your email.

Should you wish to take this matter further, you will need to contact the Information Commissioner whose details are as follows:

Office of the Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545745
Email: [email address]
Website: http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Joanna Kitchener
Scrutiny and Information Rights Manager
South Norfolk Council
Long Stratton, Norwich
NR15 2XE
01508 533602
www.south-norfolk.gov.uk

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Alex Skene left an annotation ()

Part VI of the FOIA Section 45 Code of Practice [1] is relevant here:

"36. Each public authority should have a procedure in place for dealing with complaints both in relation to its handling of requests for information."

"38. Any written reply from the applicant (including one transmitted by electronic means) expressing dissatisfaction with an authority's response to a request for information should be treated as a complaint"

"39. The complaints procedure should provide a fair and thorough review of handling issues and of decisions taken pursuant to the Act"

[1] http://www.foi.gov.uk/reference/imprep/c...

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

Oops, forgot to add this:

The MoJ describes the complaints procedure of Part VI of the Code of Practice as an Internal Review [1], whereas the text of the Code of Practice itself does not mention these words, hence the possible confusion by the public authority.

[1] http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/foi-p...

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of South Norfolk District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Monitoring Officers reports'.

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

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Right2Know, South Norfolk District Council

Dear Mr Carruthers

I refer to your request for an internal review of South Norfolk Council's handling of your FOI request 'Monitoring Officers reports'.

As you do not give any reasons why you were unhappy with our handling, as I sure you will appreciate, it would difficult for a panel to review the handling of the request. In any event, I intend to follow the latest guidance (version 4) of the Information Commissioner's guidance on vexatious requests which states that,

"You will not need to issue a new refusal notice if you have already given the same person a refusal notice for a previous vexatious or repeated request and it would be unreasonable to issue another one."

As you know, one of your previous FOI requests, FOI 08-103 was deemed to be vexatious, we conducted an internal appeal and you have now appealed, as of course is your right, to the Information Commissioner. In light of that appeal, I consider that a further internal review would not be appropriate and I confirm therefore we will not be holding an internal panel.

If you wish to take this further, you will need to appeal to the Information Commissioner, and I attach the contact details below for your information:

Office of the Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545745
Email: [email address]
Website: http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Joanna Kitchener
Scrutiny and Information Rights Officer
South Norfolk Council
Long Stratton, Norwich
NR15 2XE
01508 533602
www.south-norfolk.gov.uk

show quoted sections

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