Sandwell council's clandestine Canada goose cull

Mr Carroll made this Freedom of Information request to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough 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 partially successful.

Dear Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query
as specifically as possible. If however this request is too wide or
too unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I
understand that under the act, you are required to advise and assist requesters.

Q1 This is a follow up request to
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

In question 1 of this request you stated

“There was no cabinet report regards approval to relocate the geese. A cabinet briefing was presented to the cabinet member – this is not a public document. We do not hold any information regarding the approval of the process; as such approval was given verbally for 2013/14.”

I am seeking some clarification on your response to this question. I am requesting this cabinet briefing document in full and what options appraisal was given within it.

You state that it is NOT "a public document" I am requesting any document that you hold for the purposes of the freedom of information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information regulations. You must state under what caveat you are applying to not release this document and also conduct a public interest test when doing so if you refuse to release it.

Q2 Please provide me with
#the written contract between Sandwell council and pestex, subject to redactions of personal information, which outlines what the council wanted this company to do.
#The risk assessment carried out by the council/company regarding capture and removal of geese from the two parks, including confrontations with members of the public.

Q3 Do you hold any recorded information as to the location of the cull site, and was this Forge Mill Farm? A transcript of a conversation between presenter Mollie Green and Councillor Maria Crompton on a BBC Radio WM interview on 26/8/14 stated

MOLLIE GREEN: “So the adults were killed?”

MARIA CROMPTON “We did take the adults and they were “humanely destroyed”.

MOLIIE GREEN: “How were they destroyed Maria?”

7 second silent pause

MARIA CROMPTON: “I don’t know how they were destroyed, I know that they were taken to one of our farms and erm the company that is erm that took them are fully licensed by Natural England and that is what their job is to “humanely destroy”…. these….these geese.”

MOLLIE GREEN: “And you have no idea how?”

MARIA CROMPTON: “I don’t know how they killed the geese, no.”

Q4 Do you hold any recorded information as to what method was used to kill the birds? These could include gassing, shooting or breaking their necks.Was any officer of Sandwell council present at the site where the birds were taken to and killed, and how if they were not were you able to confirm that they had been killed “humanely”?
I include in this request documents held- emails, briefing notes or any other written communications. If you do not hold any recorded information or evidence as to how the birds were killed then please confirm this.

I understand that under the act, I should be entitled to a response
within 20 working days.
I would be grateful if you could confirm that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future VIA THE WHAT DO THEY KNOW WEBSITE LINK ONLY. PLEASE NOTE THAT REQUESTERS HAVE A RIGHT TO ASK THE AUTHORITY TO RESPOND VIA A METHOD OF THEIR CHOICE.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for contacting Sandwell Council.

Your request has been passed to the relevant service area, who will contact you shortly.

Please quote your reference number INT1-684846785 on all future correspondence.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell

www.sandwell.gov.uk

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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for your enquiry.

I can advise you that this has been logged with the ref-1-684893433.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell
www.sandwell.gov.uk

[THREAD ID:1-BBQN73]

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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached a letter from Sandwell Council in response to your recent contact.

This letter will advise you of the timescales for response and will provide our contact details should you need to get in touch.

If you cannot open the attachment please download the FREE adobe reader that can be found at www.adobe.com
Please do not reply to this e-mail but instead use the contact details found in the letter.

Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

An online petition opposing any further culls of Canada geese by Sandwell council can be signed by anyone at

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/178/547/1...

Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

Once again Sandwell Council and Steve Handley have chosen to respond to this request via my home address DESPITE CLEAR COMMUNICATION THAT IT SHOULD BE SENT TO THE WDTK website. This is purely an attempt by this authority to try to not make information freely available. They have also totally ignored question 4 in how the birds were killed.

Dear Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Sandwell council's clandestine Canada goose cull'.

I have received what can be described as a partial answer to this FOI request, with some of the questions answering different points to the ones I actually asked if you held recorded information for. When making this request I clearly stated that it should be sent to the What do they know website address only. You have failed to do this and sent it to my home address. I would request that this is rectified and that you send the response to this website as instructed. This website is a platform whereby requesters can access freedom of information and others can view the information received. This has been done many times by Sandwell council, so why is Steve Handley apparently deliberately not following the protocol?

You have answered question 1 and provided the report to cabinet member Maria Crompton dated April 2013, which was written by John Satchwell, parks manager at Sandwell council.

In question 2 I asked for the written contract between PESTEX and the council, and you have provided me with "a copy of purchase of service agreement which is dated 29th April 2014." In this question I also refer to the written contract and what you asked PESTEX to do in 2013, following the April 2013 briefing by John Satchwell. This has not been provided. Can you therefore provide this? Within the terms of this request, I would also ask for the email discussion referred to in the purchase of service documentation;
"Description To carry out pest control works at Victoria park Tipton as per email discussion February 2014," and "Line description to carry out pest control works at Dartmouth Park as per email discussion February 2014."
PLEASE NOTE IN QUESTION FOUR AND FOR CLARITY IN THIS REQUEST I ASKED FOR
"I include in this request documents held- emails, briefing notes or
any other written communications."

In question 3 I asked "Do you hold any recorded information as to the location of the cull site, and was this Forge Mill Farm?"

You answered " Councillor Crompton was not informed of the location as to where the geese were dispatched to. The geese were dispatched to Forge mill farm."

You fail to answer the question here. WERE THE GEESE CULLED AT FORGE MILL FARM IN BOTH 2013 AND 2014? DO YOU HAVE RECORDED INFORMATION WHICH CONFIRMS THIS?

Q4 Do you hold any recorded information as to what method was used to kill the birds? These could include gassing, shooting or
breaking their necks. Was any officer of Sandwell council present at
the site where the birds were taken to and killed, and how if they
were not were you able to confirm that they had been killed
“humanely”?
I include in this request documents held- emails, briefing notes or
any other written communications. If you do not hold any recorded
information or evidence as to how the birds were killed then please
confirm this.

You have disregarded answering this question at all. WHY? I would like this question answering.

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

ONCE AGAIN I REQUEST THAT THIS INDEPENDENT REVIEW IS SENT TO THE WHAT DO THEY KNOW WEBSITE AND NOT MY HOME ADDRESS, WHICH I SEE AS A CYNICAL AND PETTY ATTEMPT TO AVOID THE ANSWERS TO THIS REQUEST BEING MADE PUBLIC. THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE REGARDS THE WEBSITE AS A VALID CONTACT ADDRESS, REGARDING THE DISSEMINATION OF PUBLIC AUTHORITY INFORMATION.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for contacting Sandwell Council.

Your request has been passed to the relevant service area, who will contact you shortly.

Please quote your reference number INT1-687206425 on all future correspondence.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell

www.sandwell.gov.uk

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Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

Just deliberately trying to not disclose the information publicly. They will be unsuccessful in the end. Not only was the cull clandestine but the handling of request for Freedom of information becomes the same.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for your enquiry.

I can advise you that your concerns have been passed to the relevent team who aim to respond ASAP.

Please quote your reference number 1-687318450 in the subject field on all future correspondence.

Regards

Corporate Contact Centre
Customer Services
Transform Sandwell
www.sandwell.gov.uk

[THREAD ID:1-BD57VJ]

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David Kennedy left an annotation ()

Mr Carroll has every right to be very annoyed at the handling of the outrageous slaughter of hundred of Canada geese. He has just as much right to be very annoyed at the dodging and ducking of the legitimate difficult questions he is posing the council.

Come on Sandwell council .......... post the answers in the right place, have the decency to answer all the questions posed to you, and remember you are legally obliged under the Freedom of information act to provide the answers!

Mr. D. Kennedy

Anouk Wendling, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

4 Attachments

This information has been marked as: IL1: PROTECT

Dear Mr Carroll,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 1st October, which asked for an internal
review of Sandwell MBC's response to your Freedom of Information request
regarding the culling of Canada geese. In your request for a review, you
asked the following:

 

1.      the written contract between Pestex and the Council to carry out
the culling, for both 2013 and 2014;

It has been confirmed that no formal contract was drafted for 2013 or
2014.  

 

2.      the e-mail discussion dated February 2014 regarding the carrying
out of pest control works at Victoria Park and Dartmouth Park (mentioned
in the purchase of service documentation);  

Culling was only undertaken at Victoria Park ,Tipton. Please find below
the e-mail referred to in the purchase order, duly redacted of any
personal data as per Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

 

3.      whether the geese were culled at Forge Mill Farm and any recorded
information confirming this;  

They were dispatched and culled at Forge Mill Farm. I can confirm that
Sandwell Council liaised with PESTEX verbally to confirm the location of
the culling, but that no document is held regarding this matter. Please
note that  there is no requirement to report to Natural England and that
the company follows strict guidelines as stipulated by Natural England.

 

4.      the method used to cull the geese and any documents (e-mails,
briefing notes or any other written communication) held pertaining to
this;

I can confirm that the Council hold no written information pertaining to
the particular method of culling. Nevertheless, Sandwell Council was
provided with documents outlining different options and liaised with
PESTEX verbally at the time of the culling. We can confirm that the
Council was made aware prior to the culling that the birds would be killed
using geese dispatchers which crush their vertebrae and sever the spinal
column, rapidly killing them in accordance with Natural England
Guidelines.

 

5.      whether there was any officer of Sandwell Council present at the
site where the birds were taken to and killed and how, if there were not,
the Council is able to confirm that they had been killed humanely.  

The service area in charge of this matter has confirmed that no officers
of the Council were present on site during the culling, but that the birds
were culled humanely as Natural England Guidelines were followed.  

 

I hope this satisfactorily answers your query; however, if you are not
content with the outcome of an internal review, you have the right to
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Anouk Wendling

Information Governance Officer

Legal and Governance

 

[1]sandwell_mbc

Sandwell Council...working for you

 

Sandwell Council

Oldbury

West Midlands

B69 3DE

W: [2]www.sandwell.gov.uk

 

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Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

Financial figures for the odd "relocation" of geese in 2013, still not revealed. I have blogged about this request below. I would seriously question if breaking an uninjured healthy bird or animal's neck is "humane".

http://www.saveoursandwellcanadageese.or...

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