Officers of Carmarthenshire County Council: Public Duty

The request was partially successful.

Dear Carmarthenshire County Council,

Reference is made in the s.151 Officer Job Profile (post number 002187) to the Carmarthenshire County Council’s (hereafter "CCC") “moral and legal obligations”, and to the requirement for “public money” to be “used appropriately”.
(Job profile can be found as an attachment to the following FOI Internal Review response: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...)

The CCC document “5.4 Officers’ Code of Conduct” (retrieved at https://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/me...) section 10.1 states that officers “must not allow their private interests to conflict with their public duty. They must not misuse their official position or information acquired in the course of their employment to further their private interests, or the interests of others.”

In the context of this information, kindly answer the following questions:

1) Does reference to “public” in an officer’s “public duty” intend the inhabitants of Carmarthenshire and/or the physical environment of Carmarthenshire?

2) Where is the term “public duty” – as understood and applied by CCC executives, directors and officers – defined?

3) Does this understanding of “public duty” include a duty of care and, if so, what are the limits to this duty of care? Are there ever any exceptions to this duty of care? What are they?

4) Does an officer of CCC have a duty to any wider definition of the “public” – geographically speaking – and, if so, is there a defined limit at which point he/she has no duty to an individual or place, irrespective of whether the latter would be or has been affected by that officer’s actions?

5) CCC is “the administering authority” of the Dyfed Pension Fund. When the s.151 Officer carries out work for the Dyfed Pension Fund as a consequence of his being employed by its “administering authority”, is there any change in the nature of his “public duty” from its nature while he carries out work for CCC? Is there a change in respect of any duty of care by which his CCC work binds him?

6) Does the s.151 Officer’s role with the Dyfed Pension Fund, in respect of his employment with CCC, constitute either a “private interest” or an “interest of others”? Kindly justify your answer.

7) Have the s.151 Officer and other CCC representatives administering the Dyfed Pension Fund been required by CCC to declare their personal holdings and/or any conflicts of interest? In both cases, where may these declarations be found, or - if the following question be applicable - why have they not been made (available)?

Yours faithfully,

james orme

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Diolch am eich gohebiaeth.

Os ydych yn gwneud cais am wybodaeth, bydd y cyfnodau isod yn berthnasol:

 Deddf Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 2000 (DRhG) a’r Rheoliadau Gwybodaeth
Amgylcheddol 2004 (RhGA) - 20 diwrnod gwaith, oni bai bod angen eglurhad
arnom ynghylch y wybodaeth yr ydych yn gofyn amdano.

 Deddf Diogelu Data 2018 a Rheoliad Cyffredinol ar Ddiogelu Data y DU
(ceisiadau ynghylch data personol) – un mis ar ôl derbyn y cais.

Os bydd angen eglurhad arnom ar unrhyw agwedd o’ch cais, byddwn yn
cysylltu â chi mor gynted ag y bo modd.

Thank you for your correspondence.

If you are making a request for information, the following timescales will
apply:

 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) & Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR) - 20 working days, unless we need clarification
regarding the information you are seeking.

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If we do need to clarify any aspect of your request, we will contact you
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Tîm Rheoli Gwybodaeth | Information Governance Team
Gweithrediadau a Llywodraethu TG | ICT Operations & Governance
Adran y Prif Weithredwr | Chief Executive’s Department

Mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg |
You are welcome to contact us in Welsh or English

FOIA, Carmarthenshire County Council

Dear Mr Orme,

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 19th September 2022 and has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

As you will be aware, Section 1 of the FOIA provides a general right of access to information held by public authorities and requires the Council to confirm whether relevant information is held and if so, provide a copy of that information (subject to certain exemptions).

It is important to note, however, that this right of access applies only to information that is recorded and held at the time a request is made. The Council is not required to create new information or personal data in order to respond to a request, nor therefore provide comments, statements or explanations where these do not form part or the whole of an existing record.

This is the case with the points/questions set out in your request. Therefore, we are of the view that we are under no obligation to address/provide answers these questions.

Your right of appeal

If you are unhappy with our response, you have the right to make an appeal in the first instance to:

The Head of Administration & Law
Carmarthenshire County Council
County Hall
Carmarthen
SA31 1JP

Email: [email address]

If you remain unhappy with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely

Tîm Rheoli Gwybodaeth | Information Governance Team
Gweithrediadau a Llywodraethu TG | ICT Operations & Governance
Adran y Prif Weithredwr | Chief Executive’s Department

Mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg |
You are welcome to contact us in Welsh or English

Dear Carmarthenshire County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Officers of Carmarthenshire County Council: Public Duty'.

1) Your response was due by Monday 17th October 2022; you provided it on Tuesday 18th October 2022.

2) You have argued that "Section 1 of the FOIA provides a general right of access to information held by public authorities and requires the Council to confirm whether relevant information is held and if so, provide a copy of that information (subject to certain exemptions)."

You have therefore acknowledged that you are required to confirm whether relevant information is held. This means that a response is required from you which clearly states either that you hold the information, or that you do not hold it.

You have then claimed that to answer each item in this request would necessitate the creation of new information or personal data, or (would require you) to provide comments, statements or explanations where these do not form part or whole of an existing record, and that, on the basis of the foregoing, you are not under any obligation to address/provide answers to items in the present request.
Your argument is acceptable except, by your own admission, in cases where you are required to state whether or not you hold the requested information.

You were asked:
"Where is the term “public duty” – as understood and applied by CCC executives, directors and officers – defined?"

You are required to confirm whether you hold this information. A definition of a term is information. If you do not hold this information, it follows that you do not have a definition of this term. If so, the answer to this query must be "We do not hold any information wherein the term "public duty" - as understood and applied by CCC executives, directors and officers - is defined."

You were asked:
"Have the s.151 Officer and other CCC representatives administering the Dyfed Pension Fund been required by CCC to declare their personal holdings and/or any conflicts of interest?"

You are required to confirm whether you hold this information. A declaration of personal holdings and/or any conflicts of interest constitute information. If you do not hold this information, it follows that you do not have a declaration of personal holdings and/or any conflicts of interest in respect of the s.151 Officer and other CCC representatives administering the Dyfed Pension Fund. If so, the answer to this query must be "We do not hold any declaration of personal holdings and/or any conflicts of interest in respect of the s.151 Officer and other CCC representatives administering the Dyfed Pension Fund."

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

Yours faithfully,

james orme

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Orme,

Your email below seeking an internal review in this matter has been passed to me to deal with.

I will aim to deal with your request within 20 working days of its receipt by the Council, that is 20 working days from the 19th October 2022. By my calculation that gives me until the 16th November 2022.

Yours sincerely
Robert Edgecombe

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Dear Robert Edgecombe,

Many thanks for your acknowledgment and I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

james orme

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Orme,

 

Please find enclosed the outcome of your internal review request in
respect of this matter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robert Edgecombe