Record of adherence statement made to SW Guardian

The request was partially successful.

Dear Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire,

The South Wales Guardian of 12 February 2020 reported on its front page a story headlined "3 ex mayors quit in Ammanford Town Council walkout" which had this astonishing and factually inaccurate quote:

A spokesman for the town council said: “Ammanford Town Council endeavours to uphold standards.
“We always ensure that policies and procedures are adhered to.”

1) What recorded information does the Council hold relating to this quote? Please provide a full copy of the information, including the date created and any amendments/iterations made (including those dates).

2) If not directly apparent in the information, please provide the name of the person acting as a spokesman.

3) If these remarks were reviewed and/or approved by more than one person then please identify them, their role in the Council, political party affiliation and the review process.

Yours faithfully,

D Morris

Daniel Morris left an annotation ()

https://exasperatedof.blogspot.com/2020/... has a few examples of why the statement was factually inaccurate (eg CoC application, not responding to nor dealing with complaints, five ongoing PSOW & ICO investigations etc)

Clerk, Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

Dear Mr Morris,

Thank you for your e-mail below, it will receive due consideration and will be responded to in due course.

Yours sincerely,
Duncan Morgan
Town Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer/Clerc Y Dref a Swyddog Cyllid Cyfrifol
Ammanford Town Council/Cyngor Tref Rhydaman
Iscennen Road/Heol Iscennen
Ammanford/Rhydaman
Carmarthenshire/Sir Gaerfyrddyn
SA18 3BE
Email: [Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]
Tel 01269 839570 option 9 followed by 667

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Clerk, Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

Dear Mr Morris

In relation to your email request dated 24th February 2020 Ammanford Town Council's response is as follows:-

a) If you require me to supply you information in connection with your request numbered (1) you will need to specifically identify what information you are seeking. I would invite you to be more specific so that I can identify what information you require.
b) Any response made to the local newspaper is from the Council as a corporate body and not from any named individual.
c) Your request in relation to (3) is a question rather than a specific request for information and as I have already explained any comment made to the press is from the Council as a corporate body and not linked to any specific individual Councillor.

Yours sincerely,
Duncan Morgan
Town Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer/Clerc Y Dref a Swyddog Cyllid Cyfrifol
Ammanford Town Council/Cyngor Tref Rhydaman
Iscennen Road/Heol Iscennen
Ammanford/Rhydaman
Carmarthenshire/Sir Gaerfyrddyn
SA18 3BE
Email: [Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]
Tel 01269 839570 option 9 followed by 667

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Dear Clerk,

a) Per the request, I'd like whatever recorded information you hold in regard to this matter.

Since the South Wales Guardian closed their Ammanford office then I expect that the Council's statement was made via email, letter, facsimile, or an electronic messaging service. The Council is likely to hold copies of any (or all) of these. eg the "Sent" or "Outbox" folder from the Clerk's Mail User Agent (email client) is likely to hold a copy of such information. Furthermore, the email server is likely to retain a copy of outbound email, which would be captured by this request. If the Council did not provide a written statement, then I expect the Council's recently commissioned telephone system will have recorded a copy (which would have been explained during the hand-over/on-boarding process).

b) the ICO can provide you further advice regarding their expectations of disclosure for Senior employees, those in Public facing roles and any Section 40 Exemptions that may be sought (and defended) following a public interest test. Since the Council currently has a FTE employee headcount of 1.0 it would be quite surprising to find the Council suppressing information about responsible office holders. Again, it would be quite proper to identify any elected Councillors if they had performed this function (eg Mayor, Deputy Mayor), and since the Council plays musical-chairs so often (and so recently) then it would be right to identify such contributors.

c) up until now I've been inclined to give the Council the benefit of the doubt - that there has been a simple editing mistake from source to publication (eg local school pupils' "extra-circular activity" from the story of their award-winning research into the young men of the town killed in the first World War, provided by the history department to a local newspaper reporter). I'd hoped to confirm this by checking the source(s). There is a more sinister interpretation, as the Council has an established track-record of cover-up (evidenced in Minutes, cross referencing PSOW investigation report and two ICO Decision Notices encompassing eleven complaints - with the removal of a former Mayor). It would seem prudent for the Council to have a process of balances and checks when making statements to the press, accessing the organisation's collective memory would be sensible. If there is no such process then just say so. Otherwise please provide the information requested in part (3).

Yours sincerely,
D Morris

Clerk, Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire

4 Attachments

Dear Mr. Morris,

See e-mails enclosed.

Yours sincerely,
Duncan Morgan
Town Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer/Clerc Y Dref a Swyddog Cyllid Cyfrifol
Ammanford Town Council/Cyngor Tref Rhydaman
Iscennen Road/Heol Iscennen
Ammanford/Rhydaman
Carmarthenshire/Sir Gaerfyrddyn
SA18 3BE
Email: [Ammanford Town Council, Carmarthenshire request email]
Tel 01269 839570 option 9 followed by 667

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