Dear Rhondda Cynon Taff Council,
I am required by this website, to ensure efficient responses, to issue a focused request, but preceding the request is a preamble which puts the requests in context.
I note from various media reports that there is now considerable public opinion that some Councils are operating business schemes involving threats and punishments for so called littering offences which are not only disproportionately unfair but also deeply upsetting to the good karma which should exist within society.
Obviously serious accusations of bullying or corruption within any Council may be dispelled if the relevent Councils go to great lengths to display accountability and explanation for their actions, but I note from the public information website,whatdotheyknow.com, that requests to Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) Council from someone named M.Davies are, to considerable extents, being blocked as vexatious or too time consuming when, in reality,the Council should be making a massive attempt to undo the negative Public Relations image created by their apparent exploitation of `soft `targets by threatening Court Convictions for what, despite the determined attempts to exagerate the `crime`, are relatively trivial òffences`, and using Council websites to display images of `offenders`who are refusing to comply with the ènforcing `officers`with the intention of the public identifying their fellow citizens.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

The public do not understand that, during the premiership of TONY BLAIR ( 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007) the Environment Protection Act 1990 was modified by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 to extend the powers of Councils, and give them the ability to adjust the level of fines and the ability to allow discount for early payment, but RCT disgracefully not only chose to set the default fine for simple òffences`at £75, which for many normal people ( that is not politicians,Civil Servants, or Peers claiming £300 a day in attendance allowances) is a shockingly disproportionate amount compared to their weekly benefits or earnings, but also do not allow discount for early payment.
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.u...

Co-incidently, the increase in the legal ability to gain revenue by fines for simple offences (2005) was subsequent to the massive National expense incurred by the U.K participating in dubiously justified invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, and again, co-incidently,the enforcement activity within RCT is supplied by 3GS which is a private firm heavily involved in providing èmployment`for ex soldiers in civilian life.

The cynical but fact based analysis of why RCT may be exploiting their population may be mistaken, but it is simply an attempt. in the absence of transparency, to understand why the Council are so merciless,`using `Laws`designed to intimidate the affluent people of England using the private firm of 3GS.
I note from Wikipedia that RCT has a genuine and significant history of toxic waste(PCB) pollution by Monsanto which unfortunately cannot entirely be removed, so although in someways I sympathise with the objectives of the Council I do not agree with their proportionality, and believe the public have the right to be advised of background detail via Freedom of Information.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhondda_Cy...

M.Davies posted an interesting request in February 2016 that realised that RCT Environmental Enforcement is contracted to the private firm 3GS, the contract start date was October 2014 with no expiry date, the contract allows the private firm to keep 55% of each Fixed Penalty Notice, the private firm has no financial incentive to issue FPN`s,and RCT Council still has to pay the Security Company for FPN's issued to people who give false information
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

FOI Q1.Please disclose an actual full copy of the Contract commencing October 2014, made with the private firm 3GS,with minimal redaction except for personal telephone numbers or personal addresses, so that the details of the contract may be reviewed.Please confirm if most Council contracts are for a fixed term and, if this is the case, please advise why the 3GS Contract has no apparent termination date, which is contrary to normal business practices and may be contrary to the best interests of the taxpayers of RCT.If not identified in the Contract disclosure, please confirm if there are any penalty charges implicated if the Council should seek to cancel the Contract with 3GS.Please confirm if 3GS actually receive 55% of each FPN, and how the percentage was agreed upon by the Council.
FOI Q2.If not identified in the response to Q1, please disclose the names of the signatories of the Contract on behalf of RCT Council and 3GS, the details of who drew up the contract on behalf of the Council, and the name of the Council Leader responsible for arranging the contract.
FOI Q3.Please advise if, and when,the arrangement of the Contract was discussed in any Council meeting prior to its granting in 2014, please advise if the Contract was advertised to competitive tender prior to its granting and, if so,please confirm how it was advertised and how many private firms, other than 3GS, submitted tenders.
FOI Q4.Please confirm if 3GS actively approached the Council with their plans, how the approach was made (if any), or confirm if the Council approached 3GS seeking their tender.
FOI Q5.Please advise, since the Contract was commenced in 2014 how many FPN`s, on a yearly or monthly basis, have been referred by 3GS to the Council for reimbursement, with a breakdown of the òffence`category if possible, and the corresponding amount of money paid to them.Please confirm the corresponding amounts for the FPN`s that the Council has gained for the same period.
FOI Q6.Please confirm the individual penalty charge amount for the FPN`s during the time since 2014, the dates of when the charges changed( if any), and confirm if any early payment discount was ever applicable and, if the discount was removed, please confirm when and why it happened, also confirming who was responsible for the change.
FOIQ7.Please clarify the payment process for FPN`s.Are the FPN`s issued by 3GS on behalf of the Council, or issued by the Council?Are any monetary payments taken by the 3GS or by the Council?Does the Council have responsibility for making payments to 3GS, does 3GS have use of any Council facilities for their business activities( please identify, if any) or issue any communications on Council headed material.

End of these FOI requests.
I assure you, this request is not vexatious or trivial, there has been a recent undercover television programme which revealed, in England, that a private enforcement firm was faking FPN`s then threatening people with Court action, which is basically bullying and corruption, also providing a lucrative`bonus`type incentive for their staff, and I was interested to know the policies and standards for a comparative Welsh Authority.

The public have a right to know if they are being dealt with in a fair an open manner, or if dodgy behind the scenes deals are being made, so this is a perfect opportunity to provide clarity.
Thank you in anticipation of your complete reply.

Yours faithfully,
Dennis Fallon

Freedomofinformation, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

Dear Mr Fallon

Thank you for your request for information.

Your request will be processed in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (or Environmental Information Regulations 2004, if it
relates to environmental information).

You should ordinarily expect to receive a response to your request no
later than 20 working days following the date of submission to the
Council. We will contact you should this not be the case.

Yours sincerely

Corporate Governance Team
for Director of Legal & Democratic Services

show quoted sections

Dear Freedomofinformation,
Thank you for your confirmation of receipt of my requests.
In the interests of providing a comprehensive response explaining the public concerns regarding RCT enforcement activities I would like to ammend my initial request by way of an additional question.The public who are being prosecuted have no real understanding about the nature of the legal forces being used against them, and who really benefits from the system of prosecution.
I note that M.Davies is also trying to find out what is going on but is not sure how to direct his/her questions, and is now being classed as vexatious, but prior to being blocked they did receive a reply from Claire Gummer,Corporate Governance Team, explaining that RCT had implemented prosecutions against at least 631 people for non paid FPN`s and RCT were awarded `costs`of £71,453.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...
The public expect the Courts to implement a fair justice system and have no understanding of the money generating aspects of the system, but regarding the request identified above, and in the public interest, I would appreciate posting an additional question.

FOI Q8.Please clarify the information released to M.Davies, on 13th June 2016, regarding Criminal Prosecutions implemented against people for non payment of FPN`s issued using the Environmental Protection Act where apparently 631 people now have criminal records which they will have to declare, and RCT Council were awarded £71,453 in `costs`.
Please clarify, was the £71,453 in costs simply the reimbursement of the legal costs to the lawyers or money that could be used by the Council for the benefit of local people.Please clarify, were the 631 people also issued with fines, presumeably greater than the `costs` and which presumeable also includes the original value of the unpaid FPN, by the Magistrates Courts and,if so, is the money from these fines forwarded to U.K government based in London or the devolved Welsh Government based in Cardiff.

End of FOI Q8.
Thank you in anticipation of receipt of this ammendment.
There appears to be a lot of inappropriate bad karma being generated in response to relatively trivial offences, and I would appreciate knowing who are the real winners and losers as a result.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear Freedomofinformation,
The whatdotheyknow.com website indicates that your response to my FOI request "RCT Anti Karma Litter Enforcement Strategy" is overdue but, as important issues of public interest are involved I am quite happy to wait a few additional days to ensure that your response is comprehensive and correct.
Please advise me when you anticipate to provide completion, or if any particular aspects need further clarification to help you proceed.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Freedomofinformation, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Fallon

We refer to your Freedom of Information Request in respect of litter
enforcement.

Please refer to the attachment for the Authority's response.

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request a review of the Council’s response. If you wish
to exercise this right, please set out in writing your grounds and send
your appeal to Mrs Julie Llewellyn. She may be reached at
[1][email address] or at RCT CBC, The Pavilions, Clydach
Vale, Tonypandy, CF40 2XX.

Additionally you may, if you wish, find out more about the Freedom of
Information Act & Environmental Information Regulations from the
Information Commissioner at [2]http://www.ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely

Corporate Governance Team
for Director of Legal & Democratic Services

show quoted sections

M Davies left an annotation ()

So we are looking at over 500 thousand pounds being taken off the residents of RCT. Must be nearly 1000 people criminalised by this date.
They have also blanked out the clause in the contract that states that 3GS must provide the following.
7.0  
QUALITY ASSURANCE 
 
7.1 
3GS will provide the following to the Council;  
 
•  a  m o n t h l y   report  covering  t h e   number  FPNs  have  been  issued, including the 
type of offence for each and the  locations served 
•  a  q u a r t e r l y   report  covering  number  of  formal  complaints  received,  time  taken 
to respond,  method  of  response,  complaint  outcomes  ( that  must  be  in  compliance 
with clause 13 below)

Dear Rhondda Cynon Taff Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Rhondda Cynon Taff Council's handling of my FOI request 'RCT Anti Karma Litter Enforcement Strategy'.
The purpose of my request was to establish accountability from the people who are supposed to act in the best interests of the residents of RCT but seem, in reality, to be exploiting them with extortionate fines with the majority of the revenue going out of the locality, either to the business 3GS based in Hampshire or the business known as the Crown based in London, whose Welsh representative is known as Prince Charles.
In response to my FOI you provided a redacted copy of the contract with 3GS commencing Friday 1st October 2014, contrary to my request for minimal redactions, and I wish for a proper copy and an explanation as to why you are trying to hide key information from the public.
In your review please advise , reference the Contract, although you confirm that Steve Gammon,of Tonypandy, was the enforcement manager representing RCT, why the address of 3GS, which is based in Hampshire was redacted and why you think it right to conceal it.
The deal with 3GS seems to be primarilary a money making scheme, the details of which you wish to conceal from the public.Please advise why the Summary of Service Aims and Objectives, part 2.0, is completely hidden.Although you confirm the Council provides all the facilites and basic equipment for 3GS to operate, you have totally redacted , in part 5.4, the 3GS responsibilities designated as 1V (nine).Please advise the reason for hiding these responsibilites, and disclose them if possible.
It seems totally disgraceful that you wish to conceal everything in the Contract under parts 6 and 7, namely PROSECUTION POLICY and QUALITY ASSURANCE, I would appreciate disclosure and an explanation as to why you are attempting to conceal these standards.
It seems totally disgraceful that you attempt to hide everything in part 13, FINANCIAL and although you may try to excuse by saying Commercially sensitive this cannot be in the Public Interest as it does not allow an honest Welsh based firm to competitively tender and provide a service appropriate for the local people and their measley weekly incomes.
I note that in Contract part 17.3.2, that RCT can get rid of 3GS by simply giving 28 days notice, but you confirm that RCT have somehow renewed this initial contract for a period of a further 2 yearrs.Please confirm if a new contract was therefore produced and signed, if so please disclose it and, if not, then please disclose the emails or letters which legally allow the contract to continue.
I am sorry to have the suspicion that the Council are doing semi secret with outside agencies which are to the detriment of the poor people of the Rhondda, but I seek to provide full opportunity for transparency and rectification of excessive redaction.
I appreciate, from Council Minutes May 2014 that, due to funding cuts, RCT Council are in a difficult financial situation but that should not justify the Council engaging in bad karma as well as cutbacks, because that makes local people exceptionally hard done by in what otherwise should be spirited community.
http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CY/Council/Coun...

I note that the imposition of draconian unfair penalties is becoming prevalent in Wales but just because àuthorities`think they can get away with it without being personally responsible that, morally, cannot be acceptable if any morals exist.
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/nhs-do...
Personally, I do envy the responsibilities of Council Leader Andrew Morgan but, apart from his financial responsibilities, he has a duty to stop traumatising ordinay people who consider £75 to be more than a trivial amount and cannot claim back on expenses.Your response to my FOI Q5 shows that approximately 5,626 people have been issued fines for dropping litter between October 2014 and June 2017, an average of about 2,000 people per year at £75 yields £150,000 per year, so someone somewhere is doing very well.

Thanking you in anticipation of clearing up the excessive redaction and dispelling the impression of dodgy Council deals.

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

Yours faithfully,

dennis fallon

Dear Freedomofinformation,
Erratum ref my review request.penultimate paragraph should read "personally I do NOT envy the responsibilities of Council Leader Andrew Morgan", and I would like add a review request as to why my additional FOI Q8 posted on 29th May was not addressed.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Dear Freedomofinformation,
This appeal request has been posted on a public website in the interests of transparency.
It simply is NOT good enough for you to have failed to acknowledge receipt of my request, and although you have confirmed that the person who deals with appeals is Mrs JULIE LLEWELLYN you really must treat the appeal request with the respect that it deserves.
The public expect their Council to treat them seriously and with respect, and this includes acknowledging correspondence and providing honest, nonevasive replies.

Thanking you in anticipation of some acknowledgement and action.
Yours sincerely,
dennis fallon

Llewellyn, Julie A,

Dear Mr. Fallon,

 

Thank you for your emails dated 20^th and 24^th July 2017.

 

Your appeal has been referred to Mr Christopher Jones, Director of Legal &
Democratic Services, who will undertake a review of the way your Freedom
of Information request has been handled and you will receive a response
within 20 working days.

 

Kind regards,

Julie Llewellyn

 

Ysgrifenydd i / Secretary to C.B. Jones

Cyfarwyddwr y Gwasanaethau Cyfreithiol a Llywodraethol

Director of Legal & Democratic Services

*        Y Pafiliynau, Parc Hen Lofa'r Cambrian, Cwm Clydach, Tonypandy,
Rhondda Cynon Taf. CF40 2XX

            The Pavilions, Cabrian Park, Clydach Vale, Tonypandy, Rhondda
Cynon Taf. CF40 2XX

'          Ffon/Tel No: 01443 424105

2            Ffacs/Fax No: 01443 424027

8              [1][email address]

P        Meddyliwch am yr amgylchedd cyn i chi argraffu'r e-bost hwn

            Before you print - think about the environment     

      

 

Croesawn ohebu yn Gymraeg a fydd gohebu yn y Gymraeg ddim yn arwain at
oedi. Rhowch wybod inni beth yw'ch dewis iaith e.e. Cymraeg neu'n
ddwyieithog

Mae'r neges ar gyfer y person / pobl enwedig yn unig. Gall gynnwys
gwybodaeth bersonol, sensitif neu gyfrinachol. Os nad chi yw'r person a
enwyd (neu os nad oes gyda chi’r awdurdod i'w derbyn ar ran y person a
enwyd) chewch chi ddim ei chopïo neu’i defnyddio, neu'i datgelu i berson
arall. Os ydych chi wedi derbyn y neges ar gam, rhowch wybod i'r sawl sy
wedi anfon y neges ar unwaith. Mae'n bosibl y bydd holl negeseuon, gan
gynnwys negeseuon GCSX, yn cael eu cofnodi a/neu fonitro unol â’r
ddeddfwriaeth berthnasol. I ddarllen yr ymwadiad llawn, ewch i
[2]http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CY/Help/TermsOf...

We welcome correspondence in Welsh and corresponding with us in Welsh will
not lead to a delay. Let us know your language choice if Welsh or
bilingual

This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may
contain personal, sensitive or confidential material and should be handled
accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive
it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone
else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the
sender immediately. All traffic including GCSx may be subject to recording
and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation For the full
disclaimer please access [3]http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/disclaimer

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/ymwadiad
3. http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/disclaimer

Dear Julie A. Llewellyn,
Thank you for your response confirming that you have forwarded the appeal to Mr Christopher Jones, Director of Legal & Democratic Services who has the responsibility of dealing with appeals within 20 days,
For clarification, please confirm if you forwarded the appeal to him on 20th July when it was sent to you, or if you delayed sending it to him for some reason, because, he will be presuming his 20 day allowance for completion to commence only upon his receipt, and there appears to be some uncertainty about timescales.

Thanking you in anticipation.
Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Jones, Christopher B (Legal),

Dear Mr. Fallon

Thank you for your enquiry.
I confirm that the 20 working days will start on the 21st July.

Kind regards,
Julie Llewellyn

Ysgrifenydd i / Secretary to C.B. Jones
Cyfarwyddwr y Gwasanaethau Cyfreithiol a Llywodraethol
Director of Legal & Democratic Services
D  Y Pafiliynau, Parc Hen Lofa'r Cambrian, Cwm Clydach, Tonypandy, Rhondda
Cynon Taf. CF40 2XX
The Pavilions, Cabrian Park, Clydach Vale, Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
CF40 2XX
   Ffon/Tel No: 01443 424105
/    Ffacs/Fax No: 01443 424027
/  [1][email address]
  Meddyliwch am yr amgylchedd cyn i chi argraffu'r e-bost hwn
Before you print - think about the environment     
      

show quoted sections

Llewellyn, Julie A,

1 Attachment

THIS E-MAIL IS SENT ON BEHALF OF CHRISTOPHER JONES - DIRECTOR OF LEGAL AND
DEMOCRATIC SERVICES

Dear Mr Fallon,

I refer to your email requesting an internal review into the handling of
your freedom of information request submitted in relation to 3GS
Enforcement Services.

As the Director for Legal and Democratic Services it falls to me to
consider such matters.

Having investigated the case and taking your comments into consideration,
I enclose another copy of the Service Level Agreement between RCT Council
and 3GS (UK) Limited, with minimal redaction.

You will see that some aspects of the Agreement have remained redacted
under commercially sensitive and is exempt information under Section 43 of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which deals with prejudice to
commercial interests.

This is a qualified exemption and we have therefore applied the public
interest test. In making this decision we have weighed such factors as the
Council's desire to be open and transparent in all its dealings against
the need to ensure that it is able to contract openly in the market place
and also to protect the commercial interests of those companies and bodies
it deals with.

Accordingly, insofar as this element of your request is concerned and in
accordance with Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act ("the Act")
this email acts as a Refusal Notice.

As you may be aware you may now, if you remain dissatisfied, appeal to the
Information Commissioner. You will find further details of the process on
his website at [1]http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Christopher B. Jones
Director of Legal and Democratic Services

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Mr Christopher Jones,
Thank you for your efforts to comply with my request but before I resort to the Information Commissioner I require clarification as to the nature of the document you claim to be the Contract, as requested,with many redactions removed.
The alleged Contract (Service Level Agreement) you have disclosed is significantly different in format and detail from the original pdf disclosure, which you have seen, which I believed to be the genuine article, and if you now have prepared a similar fabrication instead it causes me concern.
You have obviously seen the Original pdf disclosure and all I required was most of the redactions removed because it appeared to be masked by a person obsessed with secrecy, even hiding the simple but inconvenient fact that 3GS was based in England and, therefore, the profits were not being reinvested in Wales.
The main reasons I consider your disclosure to be a fabrication is that, although it is dated commencing 1st October 2014, the same as the original, the format is different and hence it cannot be a genuine pdf (scan) of the genuine contract.
It appears that, on page 1 of the original, the redactor chose to hide the fact that the contract was for a specific timeframe, redacting the words FOR THE PERIOD AND EXPIRING ON 31ST SEPTEMBER 2015,and chose to hide the business address of 3GS, and chose to hide that the core activity was for an initial pilot period of 12 months.
It appears than on page 3 of the original, the redactor chose to cover up 5.4 point 1X , that 3GS were not supposed to issue FPN`s to any person under the age of 18, but follow the council`s policy.
On page 4 of the original the redactor chose to hide that 3GS were piloting a prosecution service, and chose to completely hide the Quality Assurance requirements relating to FPN reports to the Council and the level of complaints.
Page 5 of the original, PART 13 FINANCIAL, causes me the most concern reference unacceptable fabrication because the heavily redacted area shows a different structure to the fabricated version and indicates that the fee structure was based on a deployment of 5 Officers when, thanks to Mr Davies FOI of 19 September 2016 which you were forced to disclose after Information Commissioner`s intervention, G4S only employed an average of less than 3 officers which means that G4S benefited from the misconstrued fee structure.
Page 7 of the original showed a 14 line heavily redacted area where all the participents to the signing of the contract were concealed, but the fabrication shows 11 lines only with no evidence of any signatures on the alleged signed contract.

The clarification I require is to what is actually going on in your FOI Department.
Please confirm if the Original Contract is sent to the FOI department unredacted, and the FOI department use their judgement to implement redaction.
Please confirm why the Original Contract was not disclosed as requested, with much less redactions, and you chose to produce a completely new document and claim it to be the genuine contract even though it had a different structure to the original and was unsigned.
Please confirm why, as disclosed elsewhere, the percentage of each fine (55%) is not shown on the alleged contract.
Please confirm why you tried to initially hide the temporary initial nature of the contract, the special treatment of young offenders, and the U.K based location of the G4S business H.Q.

I appreciate the clarification, as I requested disclosure of the original contract with minimal redactions and appear to have something else which took a lot more effort to produce with different format throughout.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Jones, Christopher B (Legal),

This E-mail is sent on behalf of Christopher Jones - Director of Legal and
Democratic Services

Dear Mr Fallon

With reference to your email of 6th September 2017, please refer to the
attachment for a copy of the original 3GS Service Level Agreement, with
signatures. The Agreement is redacted by the relevant department before
sending it to the FOI Team.

You will see that some aspects of the Agreement have remained redacted as
the information is classed as commercially sensitive and is exempt
information under Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which
deals with prejudice to commercial interests.

I am also applying the exemption set out under Section 40 (personal
information) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as some of the
redacted information constitutes third party data. Section 40(2) provides
that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the
conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the Act disclosure
of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained
in the Data Protection Act (DPA), where it would be unfair to that person.

As you may be aware you may now, if you remain dissatisfied, appeal to the
Information Commissioner. You will find further details of the process on
his website at [1]http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Christopher B. Jones
Director of Legal and Democratic Services

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org