Richborough planning application for houses in Raglan

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

Dear Monmouthshire Council,

Request Title/summary within scope.



I am writing to make an open government request for all the 
information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information 
Act 2000.

Please send me original recorded information, which includes information held on computers, in emails and in printed or handwritten documents as well as images, video and audio recordings.

If this request is too wide or unclear, and you require a 
clarification, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I 
understand that under the Act, you are required, as a duty,  to advise and assist requesters.(Section 16 / Regulation 9).

ICO guidance: 

Public authorities have a duty to provide advice and assistance to individuals making requests for information under FOIA.
Public authorities should provide advice and assistance to an applicant in the following circumstances:

1. to clarify unclear requests;

2. to help to provide the information requested in an
acceptable format;

3. to narrow responses which exceed the cost limit (section
12);

4. when they have refused to provide the information
because it is accessible by other means (section 21) or there is an intention to publish it in the future (section 22); and

5. when their request is transferred to another public authority because the information is held by it, and not by the public authority it was addressed to.


https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...


If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify 
all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. 

I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve 
the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to 
charge excessive fees.

If any of this information is already in the public domain, please 
can you direct me to it, with page references and URLs if 
necessary.

Please confirm or deny whether the requested information is held ( section (Section 1(1)(a) and consider whether information should be provided under section 1(1)(b), or whether it is subject to an exemption in Part II of the Act. 

If the release of any of this information is prohibited on the 
grounds of breach of confidence, I ask that you supply me with 
copies of the confidentiality agreement and remind you that 
information should not be treated as confidential if such an 
agreement has not been signed.

I request that the response  be provided to me as electronic copies, via WDTK. 

The information should be immediately readable - and, as a freedom of Information request,  not put in a PDF or any closed form, which some readers may not be able to access.



I understand that you are required to respond to my request within 
the 20 working days after you receive this letter. I would be 
grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received 
this request.

::::::::

Please consider  the ICO's Decision on the provision original documents on file, rather than newly written letters of response.
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

50. However, if the requester expresses a preference to inspect the original documents (or copies of those documents) then we would expect the authority to provide them with a reasonable opportunity to view the originals (or copies), where practicable. 

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
Nb This request does not require a letter, drafted by the External Affairs department, or any other written input by reputational defence employees - and purporting to be the response to a FOIA request.

::


Please note: 
Section 77 FOIA 

77.—(1) Where—
(a) a request for information has been made to a public
authority, and
(b) under section 1 of this Act or section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998, the applicant would have been entitled (subject to payment of any fee) to communication of any information in accordance with that section,
any person to whom this subsection applies is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to the communication of which the applicant would have been entitled.
(2) Subsection (1) applies to the public authority and to any person who is employed by, is an officer of, or is subject to the direction of, the public authority. 

::::

The request -

Please provide all data concerning the application of Richborough Estates Ltd, to build houses in Raglan.

Your reference:
DM/2018/01050 (As given to me by planning staff).

An internet link is not appropriate- as it has failed to work on my iPad, even though I can access Herefordshire and Cardiff Council website planning applications, which I did easily - as a check.

A search on MCC’s main site for Richborough and reference has also failed to bring up the application.

Please read the paragraph in this request of not replying with a newly written letter., instead of supplying data

To be absolutely clear : I am requesting all data on this planning application already on record.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Freedom of Information, Monmouthshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Jt Oakley,

 

I refer to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

Please see copy of Officer Report attached as well as link below to
application page on the MCC website which contains all documents on the
pubic record of the application:

 

[1]http://idox.monmouthshire.gov.uk/WAM/sho...

 

 

Should you need anything further please let us know.

 

If you are having difficulties in viewing this information please another
option would be to call in at one of our local one stop shops/Hubs  – if
you would like to call into the office the staff would be able to find all
the details of the application for you to view online.

 One of our Planning Officers would be happy to assist you on 01633 644821

 

 

If you are dissatisfied with the way the Council has handled your request
for information, you can request a review by e-mail to
[2]mailto:[email address] or by writing to:

 

Paul Matthews

Chief Executive

PO Box 106

Caldicot

NP26 9AN 

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

2nd Floor

Churchill House

Churchill Way

Cardiff

CF10 2HH

 

Telephone: 02920 678400

Email: [3][email address]

Fax: 02920 678399

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Kind regards,

 

Rachel

 

Rachel Trusler

FOI & Data Protection Support Officer

 

You can find out more about how MCC processes and protects your personal
information by visiting/

Mae mwy o wybodaeth am sut mae Cyngor Sir Fynwy yn prosesu a diogelu eich
data personol ar gael yn:

[4]www.monmouthshire.gov.uk

 

show quoted sections

Dear Monmouthshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Monmouthshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'Richborough planning application for houses in Raglan?

Dear Monmouthshire Council,

REVIEW

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Monmouthshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'Richborough planning application for houses in Raglan'.

As this speedy request seems to have had only a cursory reading, I won’t be sending this to the Information Commissioner’s Office ....as you suggested.

This will give you a chance to reread the EIR regulations ....and provide a properly considered response.

==

I am glad to see the request is speedily answered.

I can read the HDML.

==

The grounds -

You haven’t supplied all the data as I requested - under Environmental Information Regulations.

- The Regulations give people a right of access to information about the activities of public authorities that relate to or affect the environment, unless there is good reason for them not to have the information. This is sometimes referred to as a presumption in favour of disclosure.
This means that:
* everybody has a right to access environmental information. Disclosure of information should be the default – in other words, information should be kept private only when there is a good reason and the Regulations allow it;
* an applicant (requester) does not need to give a reason for wanting the information. On the contrary, you must justify refusing them information;
* you must treat all requests for information equally;
* you should treat any information you release under the Regulations as if it were being released to the world at large.
This does not prevent you voluntarily giving information to people outside the provisions of the Regulations.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

You will already know that ALL data on record includes letters to Richborough etc, hand written notes - down to taped calls, or you have to provide legal exclusions.

- When is information covered by the Environmental Information Regulations?
The Regulations will cover any recorded information you hold that falls within the definition of ‘environmental information’.

It is not limited to official documents or information you create – it can cover, for example, drafts, emails, notes, recordings of telephone conversations and CCTV recordings.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

==

In the absence of any Reg 9 help and assistance - to help refine my request, I cannot guess which data might be missing from your response.

However, some general,areas are obviously missing.

FYI

. (1) A public authority shall provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to applicants and prospective applicants.
(2) Where a public authority decides that an applicant has formulated a request in too general a manner, it shall—
(a) ask the applicant as soon as possible and in any event no later than 20 working days after the date of receipt of the request, to provide more particulars in relation to the request; and
(b) assist the applicant in providing those particulars.
(3) Where a code of practice has been made under regulation 16, and to the extent that a public authority conforms to that code in relation to the provision of advice and assistance in a particular case, it shall be taken to have complied with paragraph (1) in relation to that case.
(4) Where paragraph (2) applies, in respect of the provisions in paragraph (5), the date on which the further particulars are received by the public authority shall be treated as the date after which the period of 20 working days referred to in those provisions shall be calculated.
(5) The provisions referred to in paragraph (4) are— (a) regulation 5(2);
(b) regulation 6(2)(a); and
(c) regulation 14(2).

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

==

Areas which seem to be missing from the reply:

1 All correspondence between officers and Richborough.

2 Public agreements/ objections to the plans.

3 There are no internal notes, written or other communications.

4 Other data which is seemingly withheld, without explanation.

- And which I cannot guess at - without any Reg 9 help and assistance to understand exactly what data is on file.

Please also reread the request for the provision of ORIGINAL data.

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,

Jt Oakley

Freedom of Information, Monmouthshire County Council

Dear Jt Oakley,

Thank you for your email regarding your recent FOI request reference 180649.
I can confirm that your request has been reopened and passed onto the relevant Officer(s) for internal review. We shall look to get back to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Rachel

Rachel Trusler
FOI & Data Protection Support Officer

You can find out more about how MCC processes and protects your personal information by visiting/
Mae mwy o wybodaeth am sut mae Cyngor Sir Fynwy yn prosesu a diogelu eich data personol ar gael yn:
www.monmouthshire.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

By law, MCC should have replied to this request within the legal time frame.

Please respond, or I shall have to refer to the Information Commissioner’s Office .

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Referred to Information Commissioner’s Office

December 2 2018

EIR request

1. Details of the organisation your concern is about
Organisation:   Monmouthshire County Council  
Contact name:   Rachel Trusler
FOI & Data Protection Support Officer

Address:
PO Box 106

Caldicot

Postcode:   NP26 9AN  

Telephone:   01633 644644
  
Email:  no email address given

https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/contact...
    
2. Your relationship with the organisation
     
Member of the public
3. What is your concern?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

1. The council has not provided the internal data in the exchanges between employees of the council.

2.ALL data on record includes letters to Richborough etc, ‘hand written notes - down to taped calls’ , or you have to provide legal exclusions.

- When is information covered by the Environmental Information Regulations?

The Regulations will cover any recorded information you hold that falls within the definition of ‘environmental information’.

It is not limited to official documents or information you create – it can cover, for example, drafts, emails, notes, recordings of telephone conversations and CCTV recordings.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

==

‘In the absence of any Reg 9 help and assistance - to help refine my request, I cannot guess which data might be missing from your response’.

3. Wdtk tells me that the council is out of time.

Something else. Please give details.
     
Please send us copies of relevant documents that support your concern.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

4. What have you done to raise your concern with the organisation?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...
     
Please send copies of any documents you have showing how you raised your concern with the organisation.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...
5. What did the organisation say?

It gave links to the publically accessible website. I had already read this.

I am asking for all data not placed on the website as the planning permission was being considered and would fall within the:

‘drafts,emails, notes, recordings of telephone conversations and CCTV recordings’.

criteria, as set down by the Act.

Nb :

As the planning decision has been made, MCC can now release the data, formerly not made public, including that of communications between :

employees/ employees

employees /Richborough.

Employees/ other interested parties

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...
     
Please send copies of any documents you have showing the organisation’s response to your concern.
6. Reference number

FOI request reference 180649.

Dear Freedom of Information,

Found this on different link.. October 31.

Plresse reply on this link only.

Thank you

Dear Jt Oakley,

Thank you for your email regarding your recent FOI request reference 180649.
I can confirm that your request has been reopened and passed onto the relevant Officer(s) for internal review. We shall look to get back to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Rachel

Rachel Trusler
FOI & Data Protection Support Officer

You can find out more about how MCC processes and protects your personal information by visiting/
Mae mwy o wybodaeth am sut mae Cyngor Sir Fynwy yn prosesu a diogelu eich data personol ar gael yn:
www.monmouthshire.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

Freedom of Information, Monmouthshire County Council

15 Attachments

Good Afternoon,

I have been asked by Paul Matthews, Chief Executive to pass on the following:

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. I have spoken to all the parties concerned and I am aware that we offered to make arrangements for you to view the materials at one of our Hubs. I am also informed that we have sent you copies via email of some of the documents you requested in addition to a link to our online planning document portal where the material is publicly available.

I have attached everything that we have in relation to the Richborough planning application. I hope that this has answered any query you may have

Kind Regards,

James Iles
Data Protection and Information Manager
Email / Ebost: [email address]
Tel / Ffôn: 01633 644644

You can find out more about how MCC processes and protects your personal information by visiting/
Mae mwy o wybodaeth am sut mae Cyngor Sir Fynwy yn prosesu a diogelu eich data personol ar gael yn:
www.monmouthshire.gov.uk

Mae’r neges e-bost yma a’r ffeiliau a anfonir gyda hi yn gyfrinachol ac fe’i bwriedir ar gyfer yr unigolyn neu gorff y’u cyfeiriwyd atynt yn unig. Gall gynnwys gwybodaeth freintiedig a chyfrinachol ac os nad chi yw’r derbynnydd bwriadedig, rhaid i chi beidio copïo, dosbarthu neu gymryd unrhyw gamau yn seiliedig arni. Os cawsoch y neges e-bost yma drwy gamgymeriad hysbyswch ni cyn gynted ag sydd modd os gwelwch yn dda drwy ffonio 01633 644644. Cafodd y neges e-bost yma sgan firws Microsoft Exchange Online Protection.

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. It may contain privileged and confidential information and if you are not the intended recipient, you must not copy, distribute or take any action in reliance on it. If you have received this email in error please notify us as soon as possible by telephone on 01633 644644. This email has been virus scanned by Microsoft Exchange Online Protection.

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg, Saesneg neu yn y ddwy iaith. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn ôl eich dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh or both, and will respond to you according to your preference. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to delay.

Dear Freedom of Information,

You state :

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. I have spoken to all the parties concerned and I am aware that we offered to make arrangements for you to view the materials at one of our Hubs.

Response - This is an FOIA enquiry via wdtk to be read the the public .

( Please read the request).

It specifies response by text.

You state :

I am also informed that we have sent you copies via email of some of the documents you requested in addition to a link to our online planning document portal where the material is publicly available.

Response; To what address? You seem to be using two links already. And what are they?

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

Dear Freedom of Information,

‘ Trust that you are well and good to meet up to discuss the project last week. If you can let me have a copy of the template UU that would be much appreciated’.

==

I cannot find the notes of the meeting described above.

There must be some, as obviously meetings with developers and council staff must be carefully noted to avoid accusations of ‘favouritism’.

And therefore meetings cannot be off record.

Could you please direct me to these notes. Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Ico accepts complaint

Case Reference Number FER0806825

Your ref:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Your information request to Monmouthshire County Council

Thank you for your correspondence of 08/01/19 in support of your complaint about the above public authority’s handling of your request for information.

Your complaint has been accepted as eligible for further consideration and will be allocated to a case officer as soon as possible.

Dear Freedom of Information,

MCC sent the requested information to the date specified.

Yours sincerely,

Jt Oakley

MCC - Freedom of Information, Monmouthshire County Council

Online Form: If you are sending us a new freedom of information request,
next time try using our online form ([1]click here) which makes processing
your request quicker for our team.

 

Helpwch Eich hunain

I rai o’r ceisiadau rhyddid gwybodaeth mwy cyffredin a dderbyniwn, rydym
yn cyhoeddi’r wybodaeth ar y wefan.

o [2]Cyfraddau eiddo busnes – ar y dudalen data agored fe welwch ddolen
i’r ‘Set ddata eiddo busnes’
o [3]Claddedigaethau Iechyd Cyhoeddus – rydym yn cyhoeddi’r wybodaeth
hon ar y dudalen mynwentydd a chladdedigaethau.

Fel arall, efallai y byddai’n werth gwirio ceisiadau blaenorol Rhyddid
Gwybodaeth a gyflwynwyd drwy [4]What Do They Know 

 

Ffurflen Ar-lein: Os ydych yn anfon cais rhyddid gwybodaeth newydd atom, y
tro nesaf ceisiwch ddefnyddio ein ffurflen ar-lein ([5]cliciwch yma) sy'n
gwneud prosesu eich cais yn gyflymach i'n tîm.

 

Awgrym: Cyn parhau i gyflwyno'ch cais am wybodaeth, a ydych chi wedi gweld
manylion ceisiadau Rhyddid Gwybodaeth a wnaed yn flaenorol drwy [6]What Do
They Know

 

Many thanks,

 

Freedom of Information Team

Monmouthshire County Council

Mae’r neges e-bost yma a’r ffeiliau a anfonir gyda hi yn gyfrinachol ac
fe’i bwriedir ar gyfer yr unigolyn neu gorff y’u cyfeiriwyd atynt yn unig.
Gall gynnwys gwybodaeth freintiedig a chyfrinachol ac os nad chi yw’r
derbynnydd bwriadedig, rhaid i chi beidio copïo, dosbarthu neu gymryd
unrhyw gamau yn seiliedig arni. Os cawsoch y neges e-bost yma drwy
gamgymeriad hysbyswch ni cyn gynted ag sydd modd os gwelwch yn dda drwy
ffonio 01633 644644. Cafodd y neges e-bost yma sgan firws Microsoft
Exchange Online Protection.

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
It may contain privileged and confidential information and if you are not
the intended recipient, you must not copy, distribute or take any action
in reliance on it. If you have received this email in error please notify
us as soon as possible by telephone on 01633 644644. This email has been
virus scanned by Microsoft Exchange Online Protection.

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg, Saesneg neu yn y ddwy
iaith. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn ôl eich dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn
Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh or both, and will
respond to you according to your preference. Corresponding in Welsh will
not lead to delay.

References

Visible links
1. https://iweb.itouchvision.com/portal/f?p...
2. https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/cy/data...
3. https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/cy/gwas...
4. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/monm...
5. https://iweb.itouchvision.com/portal/f?p...
6. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/cy/body/c...

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Note how the county council argues..

‘I am aware that we offered to make arrangements for you to view the materials at one of our Hubs...’

.......Because I refuse to send it via wdtk 🙄

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Matthews, 

From the response, you seem totally unaware of the position and the apology given by SH and therefore  I am very disappointed at it.

It makes me wonder if the respondee has actually read the file, so I am somewhat puzzled.

- And the apology was that totally insincere?....

‘Firstly, let me apologise for the responses you have received to date. They have fallen short of the standard I would expect to see, and I’d like to give you some context and reasons for this’.

- Logically,  the next step would not have been to still try wriggle out of giving  me the requested data yet again,  on even more spurious grounds,  in what I can only be described be as the continuance of a stupid game.

Because I was understanding and polite enough to allow an extension, even after MCC had already broken the law.

=

Because you are endlessly stating the same position. 

And defending the indefensible,  according to the law. 

As you state, you have had problems with staff. It appears that you still have.

‘There has been a major change to Data Protection Legislation which has coincided with the resignation of some key, experienced, members of staff and has impacted upon the processing of FOI requests’.

Please note ...

https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/off...

.....And obviously MCC staff cannot be trusted to keep their word- even though granted an extension for the response.

===

Plus: 

Internal emails - which comprise part of the data - are not online.

If so, where’s the link to them?

Please show the evidence that MCC ever provided it.

Because it is not stated within this reply.

Where was the Section 16 help and advice in your responses, when asked if the data could be returned by email? 

The request was made by email.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

I have allowed you to continue on my private address, in the hope of hastening the matter, but your response has been even worse.

==

I would remind MCC  that, having invited me to a specific meeting, it left me completely undated as to the position of the planning application.

It is therefore a justified request.

== 

How would I know that MCC would continue on its secretive course until the last minute?  

I would have then had make an appointment, and then arrange transport to it’s head office. 

You do not have to:
* mention the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, although it may help to do so;
* know whether the information is covered by the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations; or
* say why you want the information.
*
These conditions were met.
* give your real name; and
* give an address to which the authority can reply. This can be a postal or email address.

If the council had an address,  as it must have different me to reply to the request, then it should have replied to that address.

== 

History.

Previously MCC reluctantly supplied me with the data on file before this  request was made on the same topic, ( eventually ).

So knew perfectly well what data I was referring to... as it was a follow on request.

It was a simple request for updated information. And as the time period was short, could not meant have a great deal of work.

The ‘cost limit’  defence is laughable and no cost calculations were provided.

Therefore,  it has been a waste of both mine ....and the Information Commissioner’s Office ‘s time. 

===
Nb.

1. I asked a long  time ago if the data could be sent to me via email and the response  was no.

 2. I asked if it could be sent by post and the  response was no.

Thank is is not Freedom  of information.  

It is the deliberate abuse of it, down to the last date promise ...when I kindly granted an extension. Which clearly was not appreciated.

MCC has admitted withholding information of information due to  the fact that there were admitted staff shortages.

On top of ignoring  pleas for both emails and post, MCC has been completely unhelpful in the matter.

- And since you have deliberately responded to my email via my home  address, which, again, I have kindly allowed, your reply will also be placed on wdtk internet website. 

To demonstrate just how unhelpful MCC is.

As well as being returned to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a Decision.

JTO

Emails ...etc 

:::
July 2 

 
SH has asked me to send you this email in her absence.
 
 
I understand that you wrote to Mr Paul Matthews on 5th June making a formal complaint regarding your FOI request for information on Richborough planning application at Raglan. Mr Matthews forwarded this complaint to AE and it was then passed to me on 10th June to undertake an Internal Review of the response.
 
Firstly, let me apologise for the responses you have received to date. They have fallen short of the standard I would expect to see, and I’d like to give you some context and reasons for this. There has been a major change to Data Protection Legislation which has coincided with the resignation of some key, experienced, members of staff and has impacted upon the processing of FOI requests. This in turn has resulted in temporary backlogs. I have appointed additional resources to reduce the backlogs at the same time as reviewing the service and automating some of  the processes. These changes are new and will take some time to settle in. I know this is of little consolation to you but I hope it explains some of the difficulties in delivering the service at present.
 
Due to the backlogs in the service plus the fact that I am taking a period of leave I would be grateful if you could allow me some extra time to respond to the internal review? It should be completed within 20 working days but though I have started the review, I won’t be able to complete it until I return on 15th July. I would therefore request an extension to the  response which will be provided in full by 29th July.
 
I am writing to you at the email address you provided to Mr Matthews.
 
Kind regards / Cofion gorau
 
SH
 
 ==
 
From Customer Relations Managerm] 
Sent: 18 June 2019 10:06
To: Evans, Annette <AnnetteEvans@monmouthshire.gov.uk>
Cc: Matthews, Paul <PaulMatthews@monmouthshire.gov.uk>
Subject: Re: Richborough data - FORMAL COMPLAINT
 
Dear AE
 
Thank you.
 
....And for not insisting that I try to read your email - via Egress. 
 
But please be clear..
 
1. My complaint is a formal complaint about..
Logically, a HR matter.  
 
After conspicuously having failed to read the request, she is simply not doing her job, according to FOIA. 
 
It is a legal act and she has to conform to it.
 
Not hold the requester in contempt - for not having her specific choice of platform.
 
 
2. I would still like the requested information, which I gather that SH will be investigating.
 
If I do not receive it, after all this time, I will refer to the Information Commissioner’s Office .
 
 
Please confirm that you understand the two issues ...and not just one.
 
Best Wishes
 
 
JTO

On 18 Jun 2019, at 09:43, wrote:
Dear
 
I’m writing to let you know that your complaint is being dealt with via an internal review under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  This is being conducted by Sian Hayward head of Digital services.  She will be responding to you regarding the matter in due course.
 
Regards,
 
 
Customer Relations Manager
Monmouthshire County Council / Cyngor Sir Fynwy

From: Matthews, Paul 
Sent: 08 June 2019 06:20

Subject: Fwd: Richborough data - FORMAL COMPLAINT
 
 
Get Outlook for iOS

It was justifiable to ask about the latest data on Richborough,  as MCC had informed me of the meeting - in case I wished to attend.
 
I could not read it off the MCC site and no one would send me the info, so had to make a wdtk request. 
 
I can read the responses on that.
 
 
 
==
 
The MCC response was unreasonable.
 
 
 
 There are apparently three ways to respond
 
1.Egress
 
2. Open emails...after permission has been given by the requester, which other organisation do, including the Information Commissioner’s Office .
 
 
3. Post.
 
=
 
The S16 onus is on the organisation to be helpful.
 
To simply dismiss the request,  simply because the person does not have Egress,  is not only arrogant but petulant. And did not come with any quoted FOIA Section. 
 
What about people who do not possess a computer? 
 
Does  the same criteria apply to them?
 
Or is it just personal? 
 
Seemingly so...as it is my choice of what apps,  or systems,  I put on my own computer.
 
== 
 
The S16 response is missing: 
 
 16.—(1) It shall be the duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it.
 
https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
 
==
 
In addition, the MCC respondent seemed to have no idea what the request was. She failed to both read it and understand it. 
 
Then quoted reams of work... just to avoid giving me the information. 
 
Which she had to do with in the legal time limit.
 
This is  just sheer incompetency. 
 
 She has to evaluate the request in legal terms. 
 
 How can she possibly do so ...without reading it?
 
== 
 
Nb My request was received by MCC. 
 
Provably -  as wdtk tracks all request destinations.
 
==
 
She also wrote to my private address to avoid replying on wdtk.
 
The address has to be the one attached to the request, which is why it’s initially demanded.
 
- In case the respondent gets it wrong  by picking out someone with a similar name and divulges personal information to the wrong person.
 
==
 
It is one of the worst FOIA responses that I have ever received.
 
There is S16 duty on Public Authorities to assist members of the public in formulating and processing their requests.
 
 
 

On 5 Jun 2019, at 15:21, Matthews, Paul <PaulMatthews@monmouthshire.gov.uk> wrote:
Ms Jto
 
Thanks for your additional comments. I have picked out that you now wish to elevate this to a formal complaint. I will therefore pass this along to my colleague ... who will contact you directly.
 
Best wishes
 
paul
 
From Jto 
Sent: 05 June 2019 15:08
To: Matthews, Paul <PaulMatthews@monmouthshire.gov.uk>
Subject: Re: Richborough data - FORMAL COMPLAINT 
 
 
Dear Mr Matthews, 
 
It’s displayed publically on wdtk. 
 
Therefore ‘Crossed wires’  doesn’t work..as you well know.
 
Incompetence and arrogance does.
 
I would suggest that you employ someone  who is less intent in misinterpreting the Act inpersonal ways and playing silly games,   rather than in legal ones and tries  to be helpful. 
 
I saw no evidence of that. 
 
And, as you will know, organisations  have to give requesters S16 help. 

Where is that exactly?  Because I can’t find any.
 
== 
 
- This isn’t a competition to see who knows more about FOIA.
 
But it’s probably the worst and arrogant response I’ve had for a couple of years.. just wasting my time.
 

 
First question:  Where is the S16 help and advice? 
 
Courts don’t take kindly to organisations wasting their expensive  time by not applying the ICO guidance. 
 
I would suggest that she undertakes a basic course in FOIA. 
 
 
She could of chosen to apologise..she didn’t.
 

On 5 Jun 2019, at 14:11, Matthews, Paul <PaulMatthews@monmouthshire.gov.uk> wrote:
Hello
 
I’ve asked my colleague to take another look. I suspect (no evidence for this) some crossed wires that I hope we can straighten out.
 
Best wishes
 
paul
 
From: Jto 
Sent: 05 June 2019 11:37
To: Matthews, Paul <PaulMatthews@monmouthshire.gov.uk>
Subject: Richborough data
 
 
Dear Mr Matthews,  
 
 
Please could you have a word and sort this out.
 
 
It's a  ridiculous response throughout. 
 
 
And clearly continually obstructive, since I had to go to WDTK to have any hope of receiving this information.
 
 
 
And why is your employee using my private address? 
 
 
Since all FOIA requests are for the public, it just looks like MCC has something to hide.
 
 It looks like MCC doesn’t know what it is doing… and in public too.
 

 
thanks
 
JTO 
 
 
 
Richborough planning application for houses in Raglan/2
Jt Oakley made this Freedom of Information request to Monmouthshire County Council
·        Actions
Currently waiting for a response from Monmouthshire County Council, they should respond promptly and normally no later than 5 June 2019 (details).
7 May 2019
Delivered
 
Dear Monmouthshire County Council,
Please could you send me all DaTA in file on Richborough planning application for houses in Raglan, - following in from my last request in December.
MCC have written to me to about a forthcoming meeting on June 5 , yet refuse to supply me with up to date information for the meeting, I would appreciate it if you could reply before June 1, so I can read any new data which might be under discussion.
Please note - I would happily read any data on file via MCC’s website.
But apparently it is not accessible by those with Apple equipment, owning to MCC not ‘providing suitable links’.. 
Yours faithfully,
Jt Oakley
 
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r... thisReport
MCC - Freedom of Information, Monmouthshire County Council 7 May 2019
 

 
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r... thisReport
left an annotation ( 5 June 2019)
MCC refuses to reply via wdtk and has sent this to my personal address 

The MCC response: 1 

You made a freedom of information request to our planning department. 

You were offered the information in a format that was readily available and we have refused to supply you the information in another form as it was not reasonable or practicable to provide the information. 

Kind regards
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r... thisReport
Jt Oakley left an annotation ( 5 June 2019)
Reply 2 - to my private address. 

Further to your email if you require the information by post and not in the format that is readily available, I will liaise with the service area to discuss the cost of printing and posting to you. 

It’s my understanding from our discussion that it would exceed the cost limit we can refuse a request if we estimate that the cost of compliance would exceed this limit. This provision is found at section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. 

We can refuse a request if deciding whether we hold the information would mean we exceed the cost limit. We do hold the information in a readily available format and I understand the teams have invited you to our offices to help you view the information. 

When calculating the costs of complying with the request we can total the costs of all related requests you receive within 60 working days from the same person. We can calculate staff time which we rate at £25 per person per hour, regardless of who does the printing. 

I have copied my planning colleagues so that they can investigate the cost and we can either refuse this request or do the work at and extra charge.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r... thisReport

=

Still no link to the data and internal documents...

On 2 Aug 2019, at 16:12, Matthews, Paul <PaulMatthews@monmouthshire.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear jto
 
Please find attached the Internal Review document undertaken at your request. I understand that an extension was requested and that this has been exceeded by several days.
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
2nd Floor
Churchill House
Churchill Way
Cardiff
CF10 2HH
Telephone: ‪02920 678400‬
Email: wales@ico.org.uk
Fax: ‪02920 678399‬
There is no charge for making an appeal.

Internal Review of the response given to JTOfollowing a Freedom of Information Request
1. Following a request for information under the EIR and FOI regulations the requestor, Jto has made a formal complaint that –
 
a) JTO is unable to access the publicly available information online and the council has refused to supply printed copies of the information requested
b) A request made under the environmental provisions was incorrectly treated in accordance with the FOI legislation
c) The councils response lacks specific information required by the legislation guidance in that it has failed to-
i. explain what provision of the Act you are relying on to refuse the request and why; 
ii. give details of any internal review (complaints) procedure you offer or state that you do not have one
iii. explain the requester’s right to complain to the ICO, including contact details for this
iiii. specify which exemptions you were relying on and why
d) Information on the planning portal is not accessible using an Apple device so jto wishes to have the information printed.
e) The responses to FOI / EIR requests lack consistency in the way they are treated, with some responses being made in print and some being refused without adequate reason.
 
2. The review consisted of –
 
a) An analysis of the FOI process itself to implement improvements for accuracy, speed and efficiency
b) Discussions with members of staff in the Planning Department, the FOI Team and the ICO online help service to find out if the correct procedures were followed
 
3. The findings of the review were as follows –
Finding 1a) The ICO recognises that there is a considerable cost and human resource pressure on Local Authorities to supply information under the Freedom of Information Act. This is why the guidance allows us to signpost people to the information if it is reasonably accessible in order to avoid the costs of staff time and print consumables.
The ICO has provided the Council with clarification as follows - “If the information is reasonably accessible an exemption can be applied. You could apply this if you know that the requester already has the information, or if it is already in the public domain. For this exemption, you will need to take into account any information the requester gives you about their circumstances. For example, if information is available to view in a public library in Southampton, it may be reasonably accessible to a local resident but not to somebody living in Glasgow. Similarly, an elderly or infirm requester may not have access to the internet at home and find it difficult to go to their local library, so information available only over the internet would not be reasonably accessible to them."
 
Based on this information, I uphold the advice of the Head of Planning and Housing that the information is readily available via the internet, at our Hubs or a visit to County Hall. The Planning Team have offered assistance to view the data but these offers have yet to be taken up. The request for printed data has therefore been turned down by the Council.

- Q And EMAIL too. Why would emailing it take any longer than an MCC official searching and collecting all files and bringing them to a member of the public at County Hall?

It only adds to costed employee time.

Finding 1b) The Internal Review has identified that there is a knowledge gap in the application of the Environmental Information Regulations due to a recent high turnover of staff in the service. However, the information contained in the Councils Electronic Planning public access system contains all of the information pertinent to the EIR’s. The Council does not hold any separate EIR information.  

- Since more WAS to be had on the previous request after chasing it, then I cannot take the council’s word on this.

Finding 1c)
i. The provision of the Act that the Council is using to refuse the request is S21 of the Freedom of Information Act. There is a requirement for the Council to make all Environmental Information available for the public. The council has not withheld any information pertinent to this request and it is all publicly available via the electronic system. The Council hasn’t applied any exemptions under the EIR, the information is publicly available and so the Council is conforming to the regulations
ii. Responses to EIR and FOI requests routinely give details of the internal review process. However, some responses to JTO omitted to supply this information.

- Because no section 16 help and advice was given. How is a person unfamiliar with council files expected to guess what is available without help?

The requirement to do this has now been re-enforced with staff as a result of this internal review.
iii. The Same as i. above
iiii. Same as i. above

Finding 1d) The planning portal does not work on Apple devices.
I have confirmed with the Councils technical staff that the public access system for viewing planning applications has been configured to work with all operating platforms, including Apple, and this is routinely tested by the Planning Team. I have successfully accessed the council’s public access system for viewing planning applications on my own apple and Android devices.

- So where’s the link to it?
-
- And I’ve received an apology that it doesn’t work on some devices. Mine is safeguarded from tracking blockers , and that seems to be the problem.
-
Is the council informing the public about trackers and stating exactly why the collection of data is needed?

Finding 1e) there have been inconsistencies in the way FOI requests have been treated with regard to the printing of information.
I can confirm that there have been inconsistencies in the way exemptions have been applied in the past, with some documents being issued in print format as a goodwill gesture even though they are publicly available online.

- All I asked for was an email,as wdtk CANNOT provide postal returns.

- My mistake was answering a personal email, in order that I get to read the data available ...before attending the meeting that I was invited to - by MCC.

For this particular enquiry the information requested by JTO is readily available online, though JTO says she has not been able to access it using her Apple device. Several other solutions have been offered to JTO by members of the Planning Team, though JTO has not taken up the offers.

- An MCC employee told me that I could not access it because MCC did not pay for a special Apple link. I have no idea whether this is true.
- There is a suspicion that my device is picking up MCC trackers, as I have no problem in accessing any other council’s files.

4. Conclusions –
As a result of the internal review the following conclusions have been made and remedial actions put in place-
1. The Planning Team have offered some options to view the data which have yet to be accepted. The offer still stands.

- Just an emails via wdtk will do thanks.
-
- As stated several months ago.

2. JTO can confirm the specific documents she has not been able to access I can arrange for a further test to be undertaken on these specific documents, to ensure that any hyperlinks are not broken and rectify any errors.

- Er how? The request is clear.
-
- I have no access to MCC files to know what to ask for in addition.

3. Should JTO,specify which documents she is having difficulty in accessing we will test the functionality of the electronic planning application system and will rectify any errors with hyperlinks etc. The Head of Planning and Housing as confirmed that member’s staff can assist JTO to gain access to the system at County Hall in Usk or make arrangements for access at one of our community hubs. If she wishes to bring in her own device we may be able to assist with access there too.

- The meeting, which MCC invited me to attend, has led me been held.
-
- Again, it would be cheaper to send by email as forcing requesters to travel by car ....and return home... isn’t exactly climate friendly. Think Green.
-
- Plus staff costs involved.

- One would presume MCC has so much money, that it is quite happy to waste it.

4. The Internal Review has identified several issues with processing FOI and EIR requests, as well as some knowledge gaps due to staff turnover and recruitment. These are now being rectified.

- No surprise there.

5. For consistency of future requests we will no longer offer a printing facility as a goodwill gesture as the Council can’t sustain this level of resource and costs to do so. In order to ensure consistency for all future FOI requests the Council will operate the following policy –

- Since either responding by email to wdtk, or to a personal address, was out of the question, postal was seemingly the last hope of ever reading the data. Seemingly this was impossible too.

a. It will consider any requestor who has a particular circumstance that might mean they cannot access the portal, visit the HQ Usk or a HUB and will consider the reasonableness of the request on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration any factors that prevent the requestor from accessing the information. Where we determine that the information is freely available to the requestor we will apply the exemption under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or state why we have not made the information publicly available under the EIR

- Then why was the response to the first request by email but not this one? Some continuity and basic logic should have been applied.

b. It will be consistent with the application of the regulations and not offer a printing service as a ‘good will’ gesture

- Having forced me to ask for postal reply stating no emails could be sent, there was certainly no ‘goodwill’ in the response at all.
-
c. Where a requestor wants a document printed or sent by email we will consider the reasonableness of the request and document our decision on this.

- Hooray!
-
- MCC has at last understood that it must be reasonable.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

I never got the data ...which, to me, is more than a tad suspicious.

🔻But as the case was won, the development was turned down, MCC’s tactics ( above) in refusing to supply it can be seem to be exactly what they were.

Sheer embarrassment that another planning application had to replace the first, due to failing to provide the correct stats.
And that more might ‘mistakes’ be found in following data.

As well as spending a lot of public money on fruitless planning applications, anyone reading this Might conclude that MCC does not willingly provide data to those ratepayers - with an interest in applications

https://www.monmouthshirebeacon.co.uk/ar...