Report on Councillor Mike Hancock CBE MP by Nigel Pascoe QC

James Haggar made this Freedom of Information request to Portsmouth City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Portsmouth City Council.

Dear Portsmouth City Council,

Please provide me with a copy of the report compiled by Nigel Pascoe QC on Councillor Mike Hancock CBE MP concerning the alleged sexual assaults on a vulnerable constituent. This report was paid for by public money (taxes), and the matter the report deals with is most certainly in the public interest, also Councillor Hancock is a public figure. The reason for this Freedom of Information request is because it has been reported on the BBC South Today programme that a cover up of these events is in progress. If this is the case then it is even more important that this report is made public to protect constituents in Portsmouth South and Fratton Ward from a public figure who may be a sexual predator.

Yours faithfully,

James Haggar

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

1 Attachment

 
 
Customer, Community and Democratic Services                   
Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL
Telephone:      023 9268 8482
 
                                                       
Reference: FOI2013710
 
Dear James Haggar
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 17/09/13.
 
Your request is being considered and, subject to the points made below,
you will receive the information requested as promptly as possible within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.
 
If we need to obtain more information from you in order to understand what
information you require, we will contact you. If this is the case, the 20
day time limit will not commence until your request has been clarified.
 
The Act defines a number of exemptions that may prevent release of certain
information.  The City Council will consider whether any of these
exemptions apply and, where required by the Act, whether it is in the
public interest to release the information.  If we have to make a public
interest test, the 20 day time limit might be extended. We will inform you
if the time scale has to be extended and if any information is withheld
and of your rights of appeal.
 
The City Council would like to make you aware that disclosure of
information obtained through FOIA is a disclosure into the public domain.
 
The City Council’s standard approach is to provide the information in the
form in which we hold it.  If you require alternative formats, e.g. audio,
large print, etc. or a different language, please let me know and we will
provide it if reasonably practicable to do so. If your request is a
question and we do not hold the answer in recorded form we will try and
provide an answer where we are able unless it requires the creation of new
information.
There may be a fee payable for this information request and we will send
you a Fees Notice if this is the case. Any fee must be paid before the
request is provided.  The time between the issue of the Fees Notice and
receipt of payment is excluded from the calculation of the 20 working day
time limit.
 
Any personal information you provide in relation to this request will only
be used for the purposes of processing your request for information.
 
If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Corporate
Information Governance Officer at Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices,
Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2AL, telephone 023 9268 8482,
e-mail [1][email address].
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
 
 
Helen Magri/Peter Harding
Corporate Information Governance Officers.
 
 
 
Shaping the future of Portsmouth: we're planning a new motorway junction
and park & ride at Tipner, boosting regeneration and sustainable
transport.

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Dear FoI (ITS),

You are now out of time for replying to this FOI request. There is no legal reason whatsoever for not providing a reply, as detailed specifically in the original request, if there is, I, and many followers, would be pleased to hear your legal reasoning. It is beginning to appear that Portsmouth City Council is willing to protect an alleged sexual predator against the greater public interest. This is not a political matter but one of protecting the public from an alleged vile sexual predator.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

1 Attachment

[1]logo_engFOI   Customer, Community and Democratic Services

Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL

Telephone:    023 9268 8482

 

 

Our Ref: FOI2013710

 

16 October 2013

 

Dear Mr Haggar

 

FOI INFORMATION REQUEST – INVESTIGATORY REPORT

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 17 September 2013,
which was considered under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

You asked us for:-

 

"…a copy of the report compiled by Nigel Pascoe QC on Councillor Mike
Hancock CBE MP concerning the alleged sexual assaults on a vulnerable
constituent"

 

In accordance with the Act, Portsmouth City Council confirms it holds the
information you are seeking, however, we believe it is exempt from
disclosure.

 

The report constitutes the personal data not only of Councillor Hancock
but of other individuals, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998.We do
not believe it would be any of the individuals' reasonable expectations
that personal data of this nature would be disclosed under the Freedom of
Information Act (and thus deemed to be public information).  As such,
disclosure would cause us to breach the First Principle of the Data
Protection Act, in so far as it would be "unfair" and, in accordance with
Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, we are withholding the
information.

 

The application of this exemption is in line with the following decision
notice issued by the Information Commissioner's Office:-

 

[2]http://www.ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/...

 

In accordance with Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act, this
letter acts as a refusal notice to your request.

 

I am sorry we are unable to comply with your request on this occasion. You
have the right to request an Internal Review of this decision or to
complain about our treatment of your request.  If you wish to do so,
please set out in writing your grounds of complaint and send to the
Corporate Information Governance Officer at Portsmouth City Council, Civic
Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2AL, telephone 023
9268 8482, e-mail

[3][email address].

Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaints decision you
may wish to follow the Portsmouth City Council’s Compliments and
Complaints procedure which can be found on the Portsmouth City Council
website or by contacting the Civic Offices.

 

Once these processes have been exhausted you have a further right of
appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

[4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Helen Magri

Corporate Information Governance Officer

 

Portsmouth City Council

Civic Offices

Guildhall Square

Portsmouth

PO1 2BQ

 

T:  023 9268 8482

E:  [5][email address]

E:  [6][Portsmouth City Council request email]

[7]www.portsmouth.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear FoI (ITS),

I do not agree with your assessment that this is a matter for the Data Protection Act. It may be for the complainant and therefore I am happy for you to redact her name and address and any other data that is pertinent to her private details in the document. However the data about Councillor Hancock is not subject to the Data protection Act as I have already stated, he is a public figure, this is a public document of much interest to the public, specifically as he is dealing with the public on a daily basis and the public needs to be aware of the fact that he may be a dangerous sexual predator. This data therefore must be made available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act and it is the clear duty of Portsmouth City Council to do so.
I therefore ask for an internal review of your refusal with the redactions mentioned above. I will certainly make a complaint to the Information Commissioner if this intransigence and cover up continues, and if he upholds the complaint it will be damning for Portsmouth City Council who will be seen to be covering up for a dangerous sexual predator. This is not a new request but the same one with redactions so a speedy reply is requested.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

Thank you for your e-mail however I am out of office until June 5th. Please contact the FOI Team on 023 92688459

Thank you
Sue Beresford

show quoted sections

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

1 Attachment

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|[1]logo_engInformation Governance |  |
| | |
|                 Customer, Community and Democratic Service | |
| | |
|  | |
| | |
| Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL | |
| | |
|Telephone:    023 9268 8482 | |
| | |
|   | |
| | |
|                                                   | |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Our Ref: FOI2013710

 

 

Date:17 October 2013

 

 

 

Dear Mr Haggar

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

 

I acknowledge receipt of your e-mail, received today, requesting an
internal review of our recent response.

Portsmouth City Council will convene a panel to investigate your original
request and, in accordance with guidance issued by the Information
Commissioner's Office, a response will be sent to you within 20 working
days of receipt of your appeal. If it includes a decision that information
should be released to you, the information will be provided to you as soon
as possible.

If you are still dissatisfied with the response to your appeal, you can
apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether your
request has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act. The Commissioner will normally require you to
have gone through our internal review process first before he considers
your appeal. If the Commissioner finds in your favour, the Commissioner
can require Portsmouth City Council to release the information to you.

The Commissioner can be contacted at the following address:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
United Kingdom

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

[2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Corporate
Information Governance Officer at Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices,
Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2AL, telephone 023 9268 8482,
e-mail [email address].

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Helen Magri

Corporate Information Governance Officer

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear FoI (ITS),

Thank you for your reply. When you provide the internal review, please also indicate the names and responsible titles of those involved in carrying it out, as part of this FOI request.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

1 Attachment

           

 

 

[1]logo_engFOI Customer, Community and Democratic Services         

Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL

Telephone:    023 9268 8482

Fax:              023 9284 1327

 

Our Ref: FOI2013710

Date:14 November 2013  

 

 

Dear Mr Haggar

 

FOI REQUEST – Outcome of Internal Review

 

I write to communicate the outcome of the internal review of the response,
provided by Portsmouth City Council, to your recent request for
information.

 

The appeal was conducted in accordance with Portsmouth City Council’s
procedure outlined on its website at the following web address:  

[2]http://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/yourcouncil...

 

In your original request, you asked for:-

 

"…a copy of the report compiled by Nigel Pascoe QC on Councillor Mike
Hancock CBE MP concerning the alleged sexual assaults on a vulnerable
constituent."

 

The original response was provided 16 October 2013, stating that, as the
report constituted the personal data of both Councillor Hancock and other
individuals (and it was felt disclosure would cause Portsmouth City
Council to breach the First Principle of the Data Protection Act), Section
40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act was engaged and the information
was exempt from disclosure.

 

The panel considered this response and agreed the information contained in
the report was indeed the personal data of Councillor Hancock and other
individual(s). The panel then went on to consider whether the information
could be anonymised to prevent the individual(s) from being identified.
With reference to the code of practice issued by the Information
Commissioner's Office on Anonymisation, "taking account of all the means
likely reasonably to be used", the panel felt even if the names of the
individuals were removed, they could still be identified.

 

The panel acknowledged the Public Interest in this matter, however,
believed the individuals' right to privacy outweighed this at this time.

 

I therefore confirm the panel agreed with the application of the Section
40(2) exemption in this case and the original decision to withhold the
report was upheld.

 

It should be noted that the report in question has since been handed to
the Police who are considering whether to pursue a criminal case against
Councillor Hancock.  Having taken advice from the Information
Commissioner's Office on this matter, we believe disclosure at this time
could prejudice the Police investigation and it is therefore also exempt
from disclosure in accordance with Section 31 (Law Enforcement).

 

I appreciate this outcome will be disappointing to you but trust the
explanation provided will enable you to understand our reasons for
withholding the information.  If, however, you remain dissatisfied, you
have the right to contact the Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address:-

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

[3]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Helen Magri

Corporate Information Governance Officer.

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear FoI (ITS),
I also asked, under this FOI request for you to name the individuals and their positions on the Council who conducted the internal review. You have not provided this information, please do so. There is precedence for this and I have asked for this information from you before, and you have provided it. Please provide this information a.s.a.p.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

Dear FoI (ITS),
Further to your decision, and my earlier communication today I would like you to further explain how you can make your argument of the victim's anonymity when you have already published her name as the victim, on the Council's own website, a fact that has been widely publicised. Bearing in mind your reasons for refusal, you do not have a leg to stand on for your refusal. Your argument for the protection of the victim's identity therefore does not stand up (even though I have said her personal details can be redacted) , nor does that for Councillor Hancock, who is a public figure, Nigel Pascoe QC's report has been paid for with taxpayer's money and the fact that Portsmouth City Council seems to be protecting a public figure who may be a sexual predator, against rules of anonymity, is clearly not in the interests of either the public or the Freedom of Information Act. There is clearly a cover up underway, and I will certainly make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner on these matters. In the meantime provide me with the names and titles of those on the Council who made this decision. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

Dear Mr Haggar
The internal review was conducted by Michael Lawther & David Williams, having consulted with the Information Commissioner's Office.
The exemption at Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act relates to all personal data (not just their names) which is defined as "data which relates to a living individual who can be identified." The fact that the individuals' names may already be known we believe further supports our application of the exemption.
With regard to your accusation of a "cover-up", as I stated in my response to you, the report has been handed to the Police.
You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner and should you wish to do so, please see my previous response for contact details.

Yours sincerely

Helen Magri
Corporate Information Governance Officer

Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices
Guildhall Square
Portsmouth
PO1 2BQ

T:  023 9268 8482
E:  [email address]
E:  [Portsmouth City Council request email]
www.portsmouth.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear FoI (ITS),
Thank you, now it has become obvious, having identified the two people involved in the decision, that a cover up is indeed in progress. I will be making a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

Dear FoI (ITS),

You have still failed to provide the titles of the two officers who carried out the internal review as requested, so I will fill the blanks in. David Williams is the Chief Executive and Michael Lawther the Monitoring Officer (City Solicitor) both brother Freemaons of Hancock, who it would seem are more inclined to protect their overinflated salaries, specifically arranged for them by Hancock, for an eventuality such as this, rather than protect the public of the city, they are supposed to be in charge of, from a sexual predator. Shameful!

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

Dear FoI (ITS),
As the police are no longer to investigate this matter, please reconsider your refusal of this FOI request and, if you continue to refuse to publish this document, the reasons why in light of this new information.

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/p...

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

Dear Mr Haggar,

Thank you for the enquiry to which Mrs Magri will respond on her return to work Wednesday December 4th

Kind Regards
Information Governance
CCDS Floor 3
Civic Offices
Portsmouth
PO1 2AL

show quoted sections

FoI (ITS), Portsmouth City Council

Dear Mr Haggar
Portsmouth City Council maintains this information is exempt under Section 40(2) of the freedom of information. I have received confirmation from the Information Commissioner's Office that they will be looking into your complaint about our handling of this case (under Case Reference Number FS50520796) which is your next course of action.

Yours sincerely

Helen Magri
Corporate Information Governance Officer

Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices
Guildhall Square
Portsmouth
PO1 2BQ

T:  023 9268 8482
E:  [email address]
E:  [Portsmouth City Council request email]
www.portsmouth.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear FoI (ITS),
Please now consider your response to this FOI report as the Pascoe report has been leaked to the media and is now available on the internet.

Yours sincerely,

James Haggar

Magri, Helen, Portsmouth City Council

Dear Mr Haggar
Portsmouth City Council maintains its position that the information contained within the report is the personal data of those individuals and is exempt in accordance with Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please be advised we still await further correspondence on the matter from the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely

Helen Magri
Corporate Information Governance Officer

Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices
Guildhall Square
Portsmouth
PO1 2BQ

T:  023 9268 8482
E:  [email address]
E:  [Portsmouth City Council request email]
www.portsmouth.gov.uk

show quoted sections