Secret Reports 2

Waiting for an internal review by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

I apologise for the extended preamable to this request but I need to ensure there is no misunderstanding or ambiguity about what I am requesting.
It also serves as a reminder of how previous requests have been dealt with.

This is a follow up to a previous request on WDTK I made in June 2010 and which was responded to in August 2010 (see below).

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/se...

The previous request on WDTK followed nearly 3 years of Wirral Council failing to disclose reports which I knew existed.

I first requested secret reports commissioned by former Director of Adult Social Services Kevin Miller and written by DASS Service Manager Mark Jones on October 11th 2007.
On the exact same day DASS HR Principal Manager Tom Ryan asked another DASS Manager to shred documents relating to me.
After initially denying this happened Ryan was compelled to admit that he had indeed had these documents shredded when the person who shredded them disclosed to me that she had been asked to do so.

Mr.Ryan was later to claim that the documents that had been shredded were Kevin Millers bundle from my grievance appeal hearing held in July 2007.The documents had been shredded despite Wirral Council's Retention & Destruction of Records Policy stating that documentation relating to grievances between the employer and employees should be destroyed 6 years from termination of employment,which in this particular case would mean April 2014.

I had written to Mr.Ryan in November 2007 stating :
"Furthermore I am deeply disturbed that on the very day (October 11th 2007) I requested access to particular records I am aware that you authorised the shredding of documents relating to myself .
Consequently I am only led to deduce that there are documents relating to myself which a) confirm my allegations b) were concerned with undermining my case and c) undermining my professional standing and position.
Can you therefore advise what information you deemed necessary to destroy prior to my accessing the personnel file and where might I be able to access information that is being held by other Council employees....".

Mr.Ryan responded in December 2007: "In answer to the question in the final paragraph I am unaware of what papers any Officer may hold that is pertinent to your grievance"

Martin Smith records in his Report of an Investigation into the treatment of Martin Morton in relation to this allegations of abuse of power/bullying (March 2011) that in this particular instance Ryan had demonstrated " misplaced guardedness on which he subsequently had to backtrack"!!!.

Thanks for the clarification Mr.Smith I had stupidly made the assumption it was just a lie.

However following ongoing abuse of power,bullying and harassment I was forced to resign in April 2008.
Thereafter a Public Interest Disclosure Report (PIDA) was published in August 2008 which led directly to the commissioning of the investigation undertaken by Martin Smith.

Therefore it became essential that I establish that the Secret Reports commissioned by Mr.Miller and written by Mr.Jones existed as I believed they were an essential component of my case.

However Wirral Council continued to deny these reports existed.

FoI Manager Jane Corrin wrote to me in July 2009 : " Neither DASS nor Corporate Human Resources have any knowledge of said reports".

After making further enquiries (including to Ryan) astonishingly Ms.Corrin wrote to me again in August 2009:
" I must make sure you understand the current situation and I want to be as clear as possible so there is no misunderstanding.Wirral council has no knowledge of these alleged reports ever having existed and we have no copies of them on our systems .As I have stressed previously neither DASS HR or Corporate HR or our Group Solicitor;who were all involved in your grievance/whistleblowing has ever had sight of any such reports.
I understand that this is not the response you wanted,but it is a truthful answer and I have asked all appropriate personnel about the alleged reports".

I even resorted to approaching Mark Jones wife Sheila Finnigan-Jones in The Brass Balance in Argyle St,Birkenhead with copies of the reports in the hope of a "truthful answer"( Please note: the reports had been saved on the Council's main server in May 2007 for everybody to access and so I along with other DASS mebers of staff had always had copies of them).

Needless to say both Sheila Finnigan -Jones and Mark Jones declined to be part of the Smith investigation.

It was only when I made the request on the fantastic Whatdotheyknow website that well ,what do you know, the reports were finally disclosed to me in August 2010.

However when this matter was "investigated" by Mr.Smith there are some frankly disturbing responses which lead Mr.Smith to even more disturbing conclusions.

When Smith asks Miller "if he recognised these reports and/or (who) had commissioned them from Mark Jones he stated he didn't recognise them" (5.330 Page 115).

However Ryan " said that Kevin Miller had asked Mark Jones to prepare these reports but they had not been presented at the appeal hearings.He indicated that,in fact these papers had actually been used as the basis for Kevin Miller's letter to Martin Morton,dated 29th June 2007 " (5.332 Page 115).

This failure to get the stories straight is inexplicably not commented on or explored further by Smith.

When questioned by Smith Ms.Corrin states "Martin (M) seemed to feel that people were deliberately avoiding sending him the information he had requested ......she said it wasn't deliberate and thought her DASS colleagues were trying to be helpful".

Despite Ryan recognizing these reports in previous discussions with Smith, when Corrin requested the reports in August 2010 he stated to her he could not see anything like the report referred to!.
I'm sorry but this doesnt sound like "trying to be helpful" to me.

When Smith spoke to Ryan again about this "he confirmed that he thought that he may have confused the report sent to him by Jane Corrin with a different report prepared by Mark Jones which was in the file handed to him by Jones when he left the Council.He went on to say that ,alternatively ,he may simply have made a mistake when replying to Jane on 12 August 2010".(page 197)

Ah yes !- a different report or a mistake!.

Staggeringly Mr.Smith considers that these secret reports were legitimate management reports ( sample quotes " Martin is always right","Martin knows best", " Everyone despises him" ,"state or imply that MM was abusing sick leave(!) ","this post is not notoriously difficult to (check this in case it is)),he doesn't consider the legitimacy of my line managers husband accessing my confidential medical records and concludes that there was no abuse of power!.

However what has suddenly struck me re-reading the Smith report is that I obviously need to access a copy of the "different report written by Mark Jones which was in the file handed to him by Jones when he left the Council" that so obviously confused Mr.Ryan (Smith having curiously failed to ask for a copy).

Alternatively can you confirm that the report that so confused Mr.Ryan may have been the one that was contained in the unsolicited file that Ms.Corrin sent me on 29th July 2009 which included instructions to DASS senior Managers on how to conduct themselves at the grievance appeal hearing -
"Sad & Angry > Political Dimensions.
Presentation:
. starting point - always - poor isolated member of staff
. dont be flip ,dont be light - very business like

Please note that unfortunately I didn't experience the sad approach - just the angry.

I suppose of course that the documents which so confused Mr.Ryan in 2010 may have been subsequently shredded.

I make this suggestion based on such apparent practices that occurred
6 days after this article appeared in the local press on January 20th 2010:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/486041...

and 816 days after Kevin Miller ceased to be Director of DASS!when I received this email about a sighting of Mr.Miller and his successor John Webb.

" a very white haired Mr.Miller was in Wezzy House today meeting with the Webbmeister;the latter whom I spotted shredding documents!.I think I may be becoming a conspiracy theorist".

Yours faithfully,

Martin Morton

Pete Sheffield left an annotation ()

Good luck!

Dear Wirral 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 Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Secret Reports 2'.

Alternatively I would be satisfied that you could state that you have pursued this request and that the report referred to does not exist.

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

Yours faithfully,

Martin Morton

Peter Harrison left an annotation ()

Sadly I'm not surprised that the thoroughly rotten Wirral Council does not want to answer your perfectly reasonable questions.

I'm awaiting a response on one of my FoI requests which they don't want to answer.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

The meeting on 2nd and 3rd July 2007 of the Appeals SubCommittee was cancelled in June 2007.

However the minutes of the meeting of the 23rd May 2007 (published in June 2007) http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/CeListDoc... refers to it.

Weirdly cancelled Appeals Sub-committee meetings appear on the record, but this one doesn't. Even though the meeting of the 2nd/3rd July 2007 didn't seem to happen, you do have a right of access to the agenda and reports produced for them see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1972... . The same goes for background papers and a summary by a proper officer of any exempt items.

Just to cover all bases, I'd suggest you make a subject access request too (s.7 DPA 1998), as they could turn down this most of this request on grounds it's (mostly) covered by the Data Protection legislation.