Dear Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust,
Press reports, apparently inspired by statements made by the Trust to the press, record that Mr Phil Sowter, who had been suspended by the Chair of the Trust, was reinstated as a Board member in January of this year.
The press reports indicate that he was reinstated by a unanimous resolution of the Board. However the usual process in a Trust would be for a Board member to be "re elected" to the Board by a vote of the members of the Company Limited by Guarentee, voting at a general meeting, as they are ordinarily the body which elected Board members.In the event Mr Sowter was reinstated by means of being re elected in a Company general meeting please state:-
1.The names of the members of the Company on the date the general meeting was called, togther with the dates they joined the Company.
2. The names of the members in attendence at the meeting.
3. The number of days notice at which the General meeting was called, and the time date and location at which it took place.
4. The name of the person who proposed Mr Sowter, and the name of the person who seconded Mr Sowter
5. Was the vote unanimous?
6.Were the members of the Company at the General meeting aware of the contents of the EFA report?
7. What was the name of the person who took the minutes at the meeting?
8. Who chaired the meeting?
Requests under The Freedom of Information Act 2000
Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act requests (“Requests”)
submitted via the “What Do They Know” website on various dates in April
We do not propose to repeat word for word the terms of your requests, but
summarise them below.
Submission dated 15 April 2015 Request 264051
You presented 13 Requests on the topics of Governance of Cuckoo Hall
Academy Trust (“Trust”) and its use of paid advisors. You seek
· All Trustees of the Trust between August 2010 and March 2015,
dates of appointment and cessation of appointments.
· For the same period and requesting the same information, in
relation to Members of the Trust.
· Number of Trust Board meetings that occurred during that period.
· How many of these meetings took place away from Trust premises
and where they happened.
· How many meetings each individual Trustee attended during their
period of office.
· How many times each Trustee visited Trust premises during school
· The identify of lawyers or law firms engaged by the Trust for
the same period.
· Issues on which the Trust sought legal advice.
· Overall expenditure of the Trust for the same period on any
· Total fees paid for lawyers for the same period and sub-total
for each firm.
· Date on which PLMR (PR Agency) was engaged. Total fees paid to
date and issues they dealt with. In addition, any other firms or
consultants engaged for similar purposes and associated costs.
· Hospitality and entertainment expenditure for the same period.
· Staff party expenditure for the same period.
Submission dated 18 April 2015 Request 264447
You presented 7 further requests on the composition of the teaching
workforce. In particular, you are seeking information on:
· Total number of teaching positions at the Trust as at 31
· Teacher positions reasonably expected to be required at the
Trust as of 31 September 2015.
· Total number of teachers, qualified and unqualified, employed at
the Trust as of 31 September 2014.
· Total number of persons employed as unqualified teachers at the
Trust as at 31 September 2014.
· Total number of newly qualified teachers employed at the Trust
as at 31 September 2014.
· Number of teacher resignations received by the Trust as at 31
October 2014, and total number of teacher resignations received by the
Trust as at 28 February 2015.
· Number of NQTs who have left the Trust for any reason during
academic year 2014/15.
Submission dated 25 April 2015 Request 265582
You seek extensive information, comprising 38 requests, relating to Board
meetings at the Trust. You are asking for details regarding:
· Andry Efthymiou’s position as Chair of the Trust Board
(comprising 7 requests).
· Information on the reinstatement of Phill Sowter to the Trust
Board (comprising 8 further requests).
· Reinstatement of Patricia Sowter and Sharon Ahmet (comprising 8
· Events after Andry Efthymiou ceased to be Chair of the Board
(comprising 9 further requests).
· Information on Mr Marino Charalambous’ membership of the Board
(comprising a further 6 requests).
Submission dated 27 April 2015 Request 265746
You presented requests seeking information on public relations work by or
on behalf of The Trust. You seek details of:
· All press releases issued by the Trust.
· All emails and other correspondence with journalists and news
· Correspondence relating to bias and inaccurate media coverage
and any redress sought for this.
· Public relations material or briefings provided on behalf of the
Trust, including videos.
· Circular letters distributed to parents between 1 January 2015
Submission dated 28 April 2015 Request 265885
You presented correspondence requesting information relating to the
reinstatement of Mr Phill Sowter as member of the Trust Board. You
request details of:
· Names of members of the Trust on the date that the meeting was
called, together with dates of them joining the Trust.
· Names of members in attendance at the meeting.
· Number of days’ notice given for the meeting, time, date and
location of the meeting.
· The name of the person who proposed Mr Sowter and the name of
the person who seconded Mr Sowter.
· Whether the vote was unanimous.
· Awareness of the EFA report by members of those that attended
· The minute taker at the meeting.
· The Chair of the meeting.
Having considered the above, I advise you that your requests are
considered to be vexatious under Section 14(1) of the Act. The Trust is
accordingly not obliged to comply with your Requests.
The reason for which the Trust has concluded that your Requests are
vexatious is that they have the potential to cause a disproportionate and
unjustified level of disruption and distress to the Trust. The Trust has
taken into account the context and history of each request as these are
both highly relevant issues. You have submitted a total of 71 Freedom of
Information requests between 15 April 2015 and 29 April 2015. This
amounts to a period of 14 days only. In addition to there being a
significant amount of overlap in the subject matters of your requests, the
Trust considers that their purpose is to create a disproportionate and
unjustified level of disruption and distress. This is contrary to the
spirit of the Act. The Trust considers your series of requests to be an
inappropriate and improper use of the Act.
Furthermore, it would cost more than the “appropriate limit” under the Act
to consider your Requests. The Trust is entitled to aggregate your
requests as they were received within a period of 60 days.
Section 12 of the Act enables the Trust to refuse requests where the cost
of dealing with them would exceed £450.00, being the estimated cost of one
person spending 3.5 working days to determine whether we hold the
information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request (and for the
avoidance of doubt, this response is a response to each individual
submission that you have made via the “What Do They Know” website as
outlined above), you have the right to ask for an internal review.
Internal Review requests should be submitted within two months of the date
of receipt of this response and should be addressed to Emma Breckenridge,
Head Teacher at Enfield Heights Academy, 1-3 Pitfield Way, Enfield, EN3
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Cheshire SK9 5AS
Director of Finance and Operations
Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust
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