Rationalisation of Library Services: emails from official

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Leeds City Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Leeds City Council,

Please supply all emails by or to council officer Catherine Blanchard that relate to the current proposed Leeds Library Services changes and cuts.

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

CS Freedom of Information, Leeds City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. Please find attached acknowledgement letter.

Yours faithfully

Katrina Jenkins

Legal Officer

Property and Finance

Legal, Licensing & Registration

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 2474392

Fax : 0113 2474651

E- mail: [Leeds City Council request email]

www.leeds.gov.uk

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Dear CS Freedom of Information,

The 20 working days are up; please indicate the status of my request.

thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Leeds City Council

2 Attachments

  • Attachment

    attachment.delivery status

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  • Attachment

    RE Freedom of Information request 5326 Rationalisation of Library Services emails from official.bin

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This is a delivery status notification, automatically generated by MTA pdimmg01.leeds.gov.uk on Tue, 12 Apr 2011 00:59:11 +0100
Regarding recipient(s) : [email address]
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MTA Response :N/A
The original message headers are included as attachment.

Dear Leeds City Council,

The 20 working days are up; please indicate the status of my Freedom of Information Request FOI/5326.

thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Dear Leeds City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Leeds City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Rationalisation of Library Services: emails from official'.

I have yet to receive the information, despite the 20 working day legal deadline having passed, and despite my having subsequently enquired as to its status.

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

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr. Paulley,
Please find attached the response to your request for information
regarding the above, received in this office on 11th March 2011.

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Dear Brook, Richard,

Thankyou for the information.

I think the link to "environmental information" is tenuous at best. Here's the ICO's PDF guidance on how to determine what is environmental information:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

It is my understanding that the investigation into / process of rationalisation of library services encompasses a number of different points, of which one is the potential for shutting a number of smaller buildings. Whilst it is (just about) possible to make the case that the future of these buildings might become environmental information, I think it is perhaps disingenuous to suggest that the whole lot of the information I have requested is so.

You have probably guessed that my request has been made in the context of an email published in the Wetherby News, which was accidentally copied to a local resident. This was written by the council officer in question and was very unprofessional in its discussion of local residents. It is very difficult to see how this can be deemed to be "environmental information" - it in no way discusses the future of the buildings; it simply bad-mouths the resident(s).

In these circumstances, it is my view that the majority of the information requested is not environmental information. It does not meet the definition or the intent of the policy as elucidated by the ICO. As such it should be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

I note that in the FOIA there is no directly equivalent exemption to that referring to internal communication in the EIR. I very much hope that Leeds City Council have not intentionally "shoe-horned" my enquiry into the EIR in order to attempt to avoid releasing e-mails that are embarrassing to the Council.

To quote the ICO, "It is the view of the Information Commissioner's office (ICO) that staff acting in a professional capacity must have a reasonable expectation that comments and opinions that they make in the course of their work may fall under a request made ... While the disclosure of comments... may result in embarrassment to the staff concerned and to ... the organisation, the data cannot be withheld unless there is a valid exemption"

"The test for using such an exemption must be a strict one to avoid it being used frivolously or as an excuse to withhold information that a data controller simply does not want to disclose."

I would ask that the Council re-consider the request under the Freedom of Information Act rather than the EIR, particularly where such information - e.g. inappropriately pejorative opinions of local residents - clearly isn't environmental information. Please respond providing the information, or specify legitimate exemptions under the FOIA.

Please note that there is a strong public interest in asserting the professional behaviour or otherwise of the public servants involved. Where qualified exemptions are posited, the presumption should be in favour of releasing the information.

Finally I note that you have taken substantially longer than the statutory 20 working days to respond to my request. I would appreciate an expedited response from now on.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Paulley,

Please find attached acknowledgement of your EIR Appeal.

Regards,

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Dear Brook, Richard,

I am unhappy with the delay in response to my request, which was originally made on 11th March, 47 days ago. I am also unhappy with what I perceive to be an obstructionary attitude to responding to my request, also the lack of communication as to what was happening with my request, and the Council's failure to acknowledge or respond to my request for a review, made several weeks ago. Please investigate my above concerns as a formal complaint. I understand from the council complaints procedure I can expect a response within 15 working days to this complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

Dear Mr. Paulley,

With regard to your email below, I am advised that in order to process your correspondence as a stage 1 complaint, we require a personal address (postal or email), as we would not respond to such a complaint through whatdotheyknow.com. I would, therefore, be greatful if you could provide me with this.

Regards,

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Dear Brook, Richard,

Thank you for your request.

Having gone through the corporate complaints procedure, I can't see anything that indicates you are unable to respond via this medium. It indicates that the acknowledgment should be made through the same medium through which the complaint was made, unless the customer requests otherwise, and that the substantive response can be made by email, letter or by telephone (the latter of which has not been offered to me.)

Whilst I appreciate the Council's potential concerns regarding handling of personal information through this channel, in this case this is not validas all our correspondence in question has been via this medium and there has been no personal information involved.

I therefore suggest there is no valid reason in your procedures or otherwise whereby you can legitimately refuse to respond to this complaint using the @whatdotheyknow email address we are currently using to correspond, and would therefore ask that communication for the purposes of the complaint are completed using this channel.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Paulley,

Please see the attached with regard to your correspondence of 28th April 2011.

Regards

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Dear Brook, Richard,

I am uncertain from where you get the dates of 22nd April or 22nd June.

As you will know from the trail of correspondence at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra... I requested an internal review on 15th April as you had taken too long to respond. Quote, "I am writing to request an internal review of Leeds City Council's
handling of my FOI request 'Rationalisation of Library Services: emails from official'."

As I requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act, and as the EIR are clearly inappropriate in these circumstances, I expect a response within 20 working days of that request. With Good Friday, Easter Monday, the Royal Wedding and Mayday bank holidays, those 20 working days are up on Thursday, 19th May.

You appear to have totally ignored that request. You have taken my subsequent email on the 21st April to have been a review request; which you have dated 22nd April. You then give yourself 40 working days to respond to this under the EIR, which is totally illegitimate given that my concern is that much of the information clearly isn't environmental. It is particularly perverse that you have chosen to review within the extended timescale associated with the EIR when the entire substance of my concern is that the information clearly wasn't environmental in the first place.

You then refused to consider a complaint about the inappropriate nature of this transaction, stating the EIR review - with its 40 working day timescale from the arbitrary date you set - would go ahead.

Your complaints procedure states, "we recognise the need to provide a first class public service, which is responsive to the expressed views of our customers and this is reflected in our core value of “putting customers first”." It is difficult to see how your department is providing me with a "first class public service" or "putting customers first" in this instance, and, quite frankly, I am surprised and disappointed.

Please get it right, and sort it quickly.

I expect a full response to my appeal request by midnight on Thursday (19th May) or I inted to take further action, which may include referral to the ICO, the LGO or legal action.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Leeds City Council,

I wish to complain about the handling of my request for an internal review of your handling of my Freedom of Information enquiry.

I am unhappy about the failure to respond within 20 working days of my request for an internal review. I am also unhappy about the stated intent to deal with my request under the 40 working day deadline of the Environmental Information Regulations instead of the Freedom of Information Act's 20 working days. I'm also unhappy about the arbitrary dates the Council has set for when the review request was made.

Please investigate my complaint in compliance with Leeds city Council's Complaints Procedure. It would be inappropriate to suggest that my concerns regarding the handling of my request for review, should be dealt with in the review itself.

I am also in the process of contacting the Information Commissioner for advice and an assessment as to whether Leeds City Council have complied with their obligations in this regard.

There is a full history of our communication at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra...

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Paulley,

Please see the attached with regard to your correspondence of 14th May 2011.

Regards

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Dear Brook, Richard,

Thank you for your email and attached letter.

As you state, I made my request for an internal review following your delay in responding to my request.

To quote a very recent finding in the Upper Information Tribunal, http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres... ([2011] UKUT 153 (AAC)),

"At the same time, we note that the time limit for compliance with s.1(1) is expressed in s.10(1) in strong terms (“promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day”). Contrary to a common interpretation, the public authority is not given an entitlement to take 20 days to answer the request; the 20 day limit is intended as a long stop. "

You failed to respond promptly. You failed even to respond to my request by the "long stop" of 20 working days. You failed to respond to my follow-up request. You then then failed to acknowledge my request for an internal review. You then failed to respond to the internal review request within the ICO's recommended 20 working days.

The first time you even acknowledged the delay in responding is in your letter of yesterday (20th May.) I don't think this is a reasonable standard of service, or that it treats me with courtesy. I think it treats my information request - and me - with contempt.

I still require you to undertake an independent review into the delay, and I still require you to investigate my complaint (under the corporate complaints procedure) that you have treated my request with such apparent contempt. Please also investigate that you ignored your legal responsibilities to respond promptly and in any event within 20 working days, that you failed to acknowledge this, and that you ignored my request for internal review.

Now, regarding your assertion that as you decided (unilaterally and without any good basis) to respond under the Environmental Information Regulations and so have 40 working days to respond. This is specious.

As you know, the substance of my second request for internal review is entirely based on the well-demonstrated premise that the information should never have been responded under the EIR in the first place.

To give yourselves extra time to conduct the review on the basis that it is subject to the EIR rather than the FOI in these circumstances seems ridiculous. I am unimpressed with this apparent intentional delay and obstructionism. I have therefore asked the ICO for their view on this.

Further, even if you do respond under the EIR, you do not have 40 working days to respond. To quote,

"An authority must review a decision as soon as possible and in any case within 40 working days of receipt of the complaint."

Note: "as soon as possible". You don't have 40 working days - once again, that is only an absolute limit, a "long stop".

All FOI internal reviews should be responded to within 20 working days. I don't think my enquiry is in any way more complicated to deal with than an FOI one.

To quote the statutory Code of Practice for the EIR at http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

"Under Regulation 18, the enforcement and appeal provisions of the FOIA will apply in respect of a complaint made after 1st January 2005."

I think it should be "possible" to complete the review within that timescale, if not faster. I shall not be happy and will consider what action to take if you do, indeed, take 40 working days or even longer.

As regards the classification of the information as environmental:

The "New Chapter" changes to the library service include various initiatives, only some of which are about the use of buildings. It talks about changing the roles of staff, looking at emerging information technologies such as e-book loans and a virtual reference library, extending opening hours of some libraries, making more computers available - including in "direct delivery" services etc. etc. You relied on the sole element of the potential / intended building closures to classify the whole lot as under the remit of the EIR.

Whilst every human activity has an impact on the environment, it is unlikely that the above would be considered sufficiently proximal to engage the remit of the Environmental Information Regulations.

In any case, the extremely unprofessional and insulting email accidentally sent from Catherine Blanchard regarding Parish councillors is in no way environmental information and should not be treated as such. As you will know, it was this email that prompted my FoI request.

To quote the EIR,

"“environmental information” has the same meaning as in Article 2(1) of the Directive, namely any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on –

(a) the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements;

(b) factors, such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the
environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment referred to in (a);

(c) measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;

(d) reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;

(e) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in (c); and

(f) the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built
structures inasmuch as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in (b) and (c)"

Are you seriously telling me that ALL of the information requested fits into the above description? Including the emails that contain (solely) derogatory and unprofessional discussion of (a) parish councillor(s)?

DEFRA guidance on distinguishing EIR from FOI available at http://archive.defra.gov.uk/corporate/po... says:

"In certain circumstances the information held within scope of a request may be made up of both environmental and non-environmental elements. In these circumstances consideration should be given to applying both regimes, where possible identifying the separate information as subject to either the EIRs or FOIA. Where a document divides easily into parts where the subject matter of each part is easily identifiable, this should enable the document to be considered in parts so as to decide which information is caught by each regime. Where this is not the case, the document will need to be reviewed in detail to decide which parts or even paragraphs or sentences are subject to the EIRs or FOIA. "

So you need to consider each individual email, or part of email, to see whether or not it is environmental information. Where it consists, for example, of derogatory comments and suggestions by LCC staff about specific LCC residents or parish councillors, it is difficult to see how this is environmental information. It should be dealt with under the FoI.

To quote an example from DEFRA:

"Authority (x) was asked if the Audit Commission recommended that it close any public toilets. If so, why did it make this recommendation?
...
"In this example an authority would need to consider the information held before it could assess whether it fell under the EIRs or FOIA. If the information relates to financial issues or problems with use of the building as the reasons for closure it is unlikely to be EIRs. This can be checked by looking at the definition of environmental information in Regulation 2. As “built structures”, public toilets fit into Regulation 2(1)(f). In this case neither finances nor problems associated with particular use of the building are elements of the environment as defined in Regulation 2(1)(a). The request should be treated under FOIA. "

This is directly analogous to my request. Finances or usage patterns of the buildings are not elements of the environment as defined in Regulation 2(1)(a) so even the potential closure of some buildings is not environmental information within the meaning of the Act. I’d argue NONE of the information I have requested is subject to the EIRs.

Please reconsider, respond to the two separate internal review requests as a matter of urgency and investigate my complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Brook, Richard,

Having retrieved an archive of the article from the front page of the Wetherby News, March 11th 2011, this quote is apposite.

'AN offensive email referring to controversial library cuts has lead to Leeds City Council issuing an apology to furious members of Scholes Parish Council.

'The email, seen by the Wetherby News, was inadvertently copied to members of Scholes Parish Council after villagers spotted mobile libraries carrying out infrastructure tests in the area.

'In it, council officer Catherine Blanchard describes Scholes residents as "silly sods" and dismisses them as the "bloody eagled eyed public". (sic)

'Referring to a key local library-cut opponent, the officer states that she hoped that the test "winds our friend up".

'Ms Blanchard then laughs off library campaigners' fears by saying "goody" to the prospect of them being frustrated at seeing council chiefs carrying out tests into future mobile library provision.

'She goes on to say that the council should have used dustbin lorries in an effort to deflect attention from their activities.'

I note you have failed to supply this email in your response to my request. I fail to see how this email could be considered in any way "environmental information".

I also fail to see how you can claim that it relates to the proposed changes in libraries as "work in progress", "inchoate, embryonic and hypothetical" "speculation or preliminary thoughts". I suggest that the regulations' intention in allowing staff to "exchange views and 'think' in private" was to allow people to discuss issues, not people in such a manner.

Please, just supply the emails, sooner rather than later.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Brook, Richard,

Please ask the relevant elected officer to take a look at this situation, or the relevant scrutiny panel. I am unhappy at the length of time this is taking.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Brook, Richard,

Please update me as to the current status of the review, also what's happened after I requested the involvement of elected officers.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

Dear Mr. Paulley,

With reference to your email of 7th June, I can confirm that the review of your request is in hand. As with any information appeal the lead member for the service will approve any response as per our procedures.

Regards,

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Dear Brook, Richard,

I assume from the context of this discussion that the council is relying on the exemption under Section 39 of the Freedom of Information Act.

I should point out that this Section is a qualified exemption. That is, when contemplating refusing to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act because you consider it to be environmental information liable under the EIR, you are required to undertake a Public Interest Test. If it is decided to be in the Public Interest to provide the information, you are required to do so under the FOI act.

I have seen no evidence of the Public Interest Test in relation to your refusal under Section 39 of the Act; please supply it forthwith.

You have not supplied a valid Refusal Notice under the Freedom of Information Act specifying exemption under Section 39, please supply that forthwith as well.

My requests for Internal Review clearly relate to failures to comply with timescales and procedures set out in sections 10 and 17 of the Act, and inappropriate claims to exemption under Section 39 of the same Act. It is clear that the internal reviews should be conducted under the Freedom of Information Act. You have failed to do so.

I note the prolonged period I have been waiting for the internal reviews. You have failed in your legal duty to undertake the reviews under the FOI act and its timescales (as soon as possible and in any case not longer than 20 working days.) You have also failed to respond within the timescales set within the EIR, which you erroneously are working to, which also states "as soon as possible". You do not have 40 days to respond, that is an "absolute limit".

This is not acceptable. I ask again that this whole affair is drawn to the attention of the relevant elected officers (not just your drafted response sent out of context.) Please advise the name and position of the elected official so that I can check they have been fully apprised of the situation, and remedy any omissions you have made in informing them.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Brook, Richard,

Further to my recent email, I have just come across the following elucidation which I thought was particularly cogent:

"The Public Interest does not include the protection of individuals, in their capacity as officers of the Council, from embarrassment."

So, when refusing to respond under the Freedom of Information Act on grounds that the information is allegedly liable under the Environmental Information Regulations, you're using Section 39 of the Act.

That requires a valid refusal notice to be supplied "as soon as possible and in any event not longer than 20 working days" from the request.

As it is a qualified exemption, a public interest test must be undertaken. If the public interest in releasing the information under the Act outweighs the public interest in refusing under the Act (thus passing to the EIR) the exemption is invalid and the information must be published under the Act. Either way, the results of the public interest test must be communicated to the requester.

Potential embarrassment of public officials must not be considered in the Public Interest Test.

It is clear there has been substantial maladministration in the Council's handling of this FOI request and the internal requests. Please investigate this as a complaint.

I will also ask the Commissioner for an assessment under the Act.

I would suggest swift action to belatedly remedy the maladministration to minimise the inevitable damage to the Council's reputation caused by this chicanery.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Paulley,

Please find the response to your appeal attached.

Regards,

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

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Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

I wish to make a complaint regarding the following Freedom of
Information Request.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra...

My issues are as follows:

1) they still haven't provided all the information requested. For
example, see the press report I quote at
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra...
. The email quoted in the press report has not been provided in
response to my Freedom of Information Request. I know that one hasn't
been provided; I suspect that many others in a similar line have also
been held back.

2) delays throughout. They didn't respond within the requisite
timescales, neither did they respond to my request to conduct an
internal review into their delays.

3) Inappropriate classification of my request as under the
Environmental Information Regulations, and resultant misuse of the
exemptions in the regulations and of the longer timescales for
responding to independent review requests

4) What I infer from their responses to be an unwillingness to respond
to my request in a timely and comprehensive manner, and failure to
respond to the very legitimate and well-evidenced issues I raised
regarding how they dealt with this issue.

Please conduct an assessment.

For completeness, I attach the complaints form.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

(I sent the email in the last annotation to the Information Commissioner)

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

Blog article discussing this request:

http://sintoblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/fr...

Regards
Alex - WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

The ICO have today allocated a named senior caseworker to my complaint about LCC's response to this request

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

Leeds City Council were asked by the ICO why they hadn't supplied the email quoted in the newspaper report. Here's what they had to say.

"The complainant requested ‘all emails by or to council officer Catherine Blanshard that relate to the current proposed Leeds Library Services changes and cuts.’

We responded by providing all of the requested emails. The email to which the complaint refers did not fall within the scope of the requests as it did not specifically relate to library closures or cuts. The email was intended as a response to an internal issue raised by a colleague but was then sent in error to another party.

We would be happy to supply a copy of the relevant email to the complainant even though the document is already in the public domain having been published previously in various newspapers."

The ICO then said that they found the Council's explanation credible and asked if they could close the investigation. I have refused with the following email.

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

Hello Casework,

Thank you for this.

I think their excuse is specious.

Firstly they told you by phone that the email wasn't supplied due to
human error / inaccurate reporting. Yet they claim in their email to
you that it wasn't supplied as it wasn't caught by my request.

The quoted email clearly does relate to the library service's proposed
changes and cuts and is / was relevant to my request. It was in
response to a local councillor's email raising concerns that Local
Authority mobile library trials he'd seen were pre-empting the results
of their consultation on the issue.

Here's the newspaper article again. Can they seriously suggest that
the email referred to does not relate to "the current proposed Leeds
Library Services changes and cuts"? (

'AN offensive email referring to controversial library cuts has
lead to Leeds City Council issuing an apology to furious members of
Scholes Parish Council.

'The email, seen by the Wetherby News, was inadvertently copied to
members of Scholes Parish Council after villagers spotted mobile
libraries carrying out infrastructure tests in the area.

'In it, council officer Catherine Blanchard describes Scholes
residents as "silly sods" and dismisses them as the "bloody eagled
eyed public". (sic)

'Referring to a key local library-cut opponent, the officer states
that she hoped that the test "winds our friend up".

'Ms Blanchard then laughs off library campaigners' fears by saying
"goody" to the prospect of them being frustrated at seeing council
chiefs carrying out tests into future mobile library provision.

'She goes on to say that the council should have used dustbin
lorries in an effort to deflect attention from their activities.'

Despite their assurance to the contrary, the email referred to is not
in the public domain; to the best of my knowledge, it hasn't been
published in its entirety, with only selected quotes having been
published. So I still haven't seen the whole email.

I cited the relevant email as being the reason I sent my request. I
think that they have at best misinterpreted my request. I can't really
see how I can reword it to be more specific to catch the information I
actually want.

I remain concerned that other emails of a similar ilk have also not
been povided. If they have similarly categorised them as somehow not
being related to the library service cuts, they will presumably have
considered these also not to be caught under my request and will still
have been withheld.

I am also concerned that the issues relating to the handling of my FoI
request remain to be resolved. These include:

:- Failure to respond within 20 working days

:- Inappropriate classification as a request for environmental
information

:- Failure to conduct internal reviews into the delays, inappropriate
use of environmental information regulations, despite specific
requests

:- Failure to provide appropriate assistance to me on how best to
request the information I require

:- Failure to keep me informed

I'd ask you to continue to pursue the matter, to a decision notice if
necessary, on the basis of their "mis-interpretation" of my request
(thus withholding the quoted email and potential others like it), and
on the basis of the above 5 points.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Brook, Richard, Leeds City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Paulley,

I understand that you have expressed a wish to receive a copy of the email referred to in an article in the Wetherby News. Please find this attached.

Regards,

Richard Brook,
Administration Assistant,
Level 4,
Leonardo Building,
(0113 24)76761.

show quoted sections

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

The contents of the email from a senior Libraries member of staff, accidentally copying in a local parish councillor.

"Oh I like it
Keep the pressure on the poor sods
Wind em up then give them a nice surprise at the end
Was it testing carparking or whether the IT worked?!
I knew we should have gone for simple white vans with no pretty art work then they might have thought it was a dustbin lorry

You should have ask if he like the look of it!
B.....eagle eyed public - it would have wound our friend up though - goody

Catherine Blanshard
0113 247 8330
4th Floor South
Leonardo Building
2 Rossington Street
LS2 8HD"

All grammatical etc. errors are original!

Dear Brook, Richard,

Thankyou for this.

It was this email and all others of similar ilk that I wanted to see and that my request was for. Please do ensure you send on any other emails you haven't already sent.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Doug Paulley left an annotation ()

I've received the decision notice, FER0392411, which has yet to appear on the ICO's website.

It supports the Council that on the balance of probabilities there is no further information relevant to my request as the Council have made relevant searches.

It states that my request should have been handled under the Freedom of Information Act, not under the Environmental Information Regulations.

It makes no comment on the fact that the email quoted in the Wetherby News was judged by the council not to be relevant to my request. Neither does it comment on the possibility that the Council might have (erroneously) classified other emails in a similar manner and so also withheld them. Yet these are the issues I was most concerned about and made representations about to the ICO.

On the basis of the latter, I intend to appeal to the Information Tribunal.

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