Senior Council Officers' Register of Personal and Business Interests

caebrwyn made this Freedom of Information request to Carmarthenshire 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 successful.

Dear Mr Tillman,

I have checked Carmarthenshire County Council's website and am unable to find a published Register of Officer's Interests. I am also unable to find the Register of Members Interests either. However the latter appears to be available for viewing at County Hall, presumably by prior appointment, which is unsatisfactory and does not follow the best practice of transparency as employed by your neighbouring Authorities, namely Pembrokeshire and Swansea Councils.
However, for the purposes of this request I wish to confine myself solely to the public disclosure of Senior Officers interests. According to your Constitution 5.4 Officer's Code of Conduct, (Personal Interests 10.2) such declarations appear entirely voluntary. These senior officers make important decisions and recommendations on the public's behalf on a daily basis. I feel it is very much in the public interest to know precisely the extent of business and other interests these officers possess. These may be ties to individual traders, businesses, shareholdings, charities, religeous and other organisations and associations who may stand to gain from favourable council decisions or conflict with an individual officer's decision making role.
Please forward a full and comprehensive list of the names and interests of senior council officers and also supply each departmental Register of Declarations of Interest and Hospitality and Gifts.

Please include the following;

Chief Executive
Assistant Chief Executive
Head of Administration and Law
The Director of Education and Childrens Services
The Director of Technical Services
The Director of Resources
The Director of Regeneration and Leisure
The Director of Social Care, Health and Housing

Please also include all heads of department wherever possible; Head of Finance, Head of Planning Services etc

Please make the list retrospective for the last 5 years, in order that the public can examine the decisions made, the officers involved and check against the list of interests at that particular time. Any conflict can then be highlighted and acted upon as required, in the public interest.

I would also like to know when this information will be published on your website (along with Members' Interests) and also available at County Hall.

I trust the council recognises the public interest in disclosure despite taking into account Data Protection and Privacy issues. Please quote any relevant exemptions used to withhold relevant information

If my request is not clear please contact me as soon as possible to clarify any problems. If you have any further queries or wish me to re-focus my request in any way please email me through this site.

Many thanks
Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Ms. Thompson

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 16th
August, 2011 and is being dealt with under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. We are therefore required to provide you with a response
within 20 working days, which will be on or before 14th September, 2011.

If we require any clarification or further details, we will contact you
as soon as possible - if this is the case, then the timescale for
response specified above may be subject to change.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to
contact me, remembering to quote the reference number provided above in
any communications.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman

Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data

Adran y Prif Weithredwr

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer

Chief Executive's Department

Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127

Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,

This is a reminder to say that this Freedom of Information request should have been answered by the 14th September

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the delay in responding to your request.

However, we are working to respond to your request as soon as practicably possible.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,

I appreciate your reply but your response is now one week late.
Please could you indicate when exactly you will be responding otherwise I will have no option other than to report this to the ICO

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

I apologise for the ongoing delay in responding to this request. We are in the process of collating declarations from each department and would anticipate being in a position to respond by the end of week commencing 26th September.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,

Please provide me with a revised date for your response, as this is now nearly three weeks late. Please also provide reasons why your response is taking so long.
If I am not satisfied with either the date or your explanations, I shall request an internal review and report the matter to the Information Commissioner.
Please respond by the end of today.
Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the ongoing delay in responding.

As explained below, we have had to retrieve and collate declaration forms from business units across the Authority and this has taken longer than anticipated.

However, I now anticipate being in a position to respond to you shortly, within the current week.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Tillman,

An update please.

Yours sincerely,

Jacqui Thompson

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

Thank you for your email.

A response will be provided before the end of today.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

show quoted sections

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Thompson,

I refer to your request for information, which was received on 16th
August, 2011 and has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

The specific information you requested was as follows:

"Please forward a full and comprehensive list of the names and interests
of senior council officers and also supply each departmental Register of
Declarations of Interest and Hospitality and Gifts.

Please include the following;

Chief Executive
Assistant Chief Executive
Head of Administration and Law
The Director of Education and Childrens Services
The Director of Technical Services
The Director of Resources
The Director of Regeneration and Leisure
The Director of Social Care, Health and Housing

Please also include all heads of department wherever possible; Head of
Finance, Head of Planning Services etc

Please make the list retrospective for the last 5 years."

In response, please find attached a file which contains the requested
information held by the Council.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Os derbyniwch y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar unwaith, dilëwch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gopïau papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i neb arall, na gweithredu ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwyntiau a fynegir, ac nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau meddalwedd neu drwy ryng-gipio'r neges hon neu ymyrryd â hi.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed.
If received in error please notify the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person, nor the contents acted upon.

Any views or opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council.

You should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software viruses or interception/interruption of this mail.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

This amounts to a list of hospitality / gifts ONLY and falls way short of the information you requested.

Furthermore, it fails to go back the required 5 years.

The Bolton Council decision notice on the same subject, which the ICO has recently issued, relates to "an information request received by Bolton Council for a copy of the declarations of interests made by senior council officers. The council's register of interests records the name of the officer and any personal interests they have, such as ownership of property, family associations and membership of organisations that may conflict with their decision-making role in the authority."

Which is basically what you asked for.

Here is a link to that decision notice (FS50359348):

http://tinyurl.com/5rpjyqg

The reviewing officer at the Council should examine your request properly, which doesn't appear to have happened yet, despite the inordinate length of time taken. After reading it closely, and if you provide them with the above link, all the ICO guidance is there on this subject in order to inform their internal review, and to help them with providing a reasoned response this time around.

Dear Carmarthenshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Carmarthenshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'Senior Council Officers' Register of Personal and Business Interests'.

1. The response was nearly a month late

2. You have not answered my request in full which included other interests and to be backdated 5 years. Are you refusing to answer these parts of my request? To assist you please refer to the recent ICO decision concerning Bolton Council (FS50359348)

Please contact me if you require further information.

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,
Jacqui Thompson

Robert Edgecombe, Carmarthenshire Council

Dear Mrs Thompson,

 

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email of the 11^th October 2011
requesting an internal review of your Freedom of Information request in
relation to Senior Council Officers’ Personal and Business Interests.

 

I confirm that I will endeavour to respond fully within 20 working days
that is by the 9^th November 2011.

 

Yours Faithfully

 

Robert Edgecombe

Acting Legal Services Manager.

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Mae'n bosib bod yr
e-bost hefyd yn cynnwys gwybodaeth gyfreithiol freintiedig. Os derbyniwch
y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar
unwaith, dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au
papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i unrhyw un arall, na gweithredu
ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwynt a fynegir, ac
nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu trwy ryng-gipio**r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi. Ni fydd y
Cyngor yn derbyn dogfennau a gyflwynir yn y cyfeiriad e-bost hwn at
ddibenion cyfreithiol, oni chytunir ar hynny yn ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw
gyda'r sawl sy'n eu hanfon.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may also
contain legally privileged information. If received in error please notify
the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy
any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person,
nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions expressed are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council. You
should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We
accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software
viruses or interception/interruption of this mail. The Council will not
accept service of documents at this e-mail address for legal purposes,
unless agreed in advance in writing with the sender.

Hilary Phillips, Carmarthenshire Council

1 Attachment

Sent on behalf of Linda Rees-Jones

<<lpthompson.doc>>

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Mae'n bosib bod yr
e-bost hefyd yn cynnwys gwybodaeth gyfreithiol freintiedig. Os derbyniwch
y neges hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar
unwaith, dil**wch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gop**au
papur ohoni. Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i unrhyw un arall, na gweithredu
ar sail y cynnwys. Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwynt a fynegir, ac
nid ydynt o reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am
firysau eich hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw
atebolrwydd am golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau
meddalwedd neu trwy ryng-gipio**r neges hon neu ymyrryd ** hi. Ni fydd y
Cyngor yn derbyn dogfennau a gyflwynir yn y cyfeiriad e-bost hwn at
ddibenion cyfreithiol, oni chytunir ar hynny yn ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw
gyda'r sawl sy'n eu hanfon.

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may also
contain legally privileged information. If received in error please notify
the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer and destroy
any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed to any other person,
nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions expressed are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Council. You
should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We
accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software
viruses or interception/interruption of this mail. The Council will not
accept service of documents at this e-mail address for legal purposes,
unless agreed in advance in writing with the sender.

caebrwyn left an annotation ()

I have now sent a complaint to the ICO. The response did not fully answer my request and it was also nearly a month late. If you wish to follow this complaint in the future, please see www.carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com

caebrwyn left an annotation ()

As I have recieved some information this is not an outright refusal. However, the response to the Review was a refusal as the initial request was still not answered in full.

FOIA, Carmarthenshire Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mrs Thompson,

I refer to your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
regarding the handling of your request for information on senior officers’
declarations of interests, gifts and hospitality.

We have discussed your complaint with a caseworker at the ICO in Cardiff
and in the course of doing so have also carried out a further review of
the handling of your request.

This has highlighted failings in the searches undertaken when your request
was initially dealt with and during the internal review which followed.

Additional information is in fact held by the Council which falls within
the scope of your request.  Due to an administrative error, a substantial
number of declarations, held electronically, was overlooked by our
Democratic Services Unit and only came to light following your complaint
to the ICO.  This information is attached and we would sincerely apologise
for failing to identify and provide this previously.

<<Declarations from 2005.xls>> <<Declarations of interest at
meetings.doc>>

There are also seven other declarations made by four of the officers
listed in your request which we did not consider were genuine declarations
of interest, as they concerned these officers’ children.  For instance, a
declaration that a daughter was employed in a Council department over
which the officer does not have responsibility.  However, having reviewed
our position, we are of the view that these declarations did in fact fall
within the scope of your request.

Nonetheless, we believe that the correct approach to these declarations
would be to withhold them from disclosure on the basis that they are
personal data that relate to the family members concerned.

As you will probably be aware, under Section 40 (2) of the Act, a public
authority may refuse to release personal data if its disclosure would
breach any of the data protection principles set out in Schedule 1 of the
Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). 

The legal definition of personal information contained in the DPA is
information that relates to a living individual, who can be identified
from the information, or from other information held or likely to come
into the possession of the data controller (in this case the Council). 
This would include names, addresses as well as a very wide range of
information about a person.

The first data protection principle states:

“1. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in
particular, shall not be processed unless—

(a) at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and

b) in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions
in Schedule 3 is also met.”

The term processing includes disclosure to third parties, which must
therefore be fair, lawful and meet one of the relevant conditions set out
in Schedule 2 of the DPA. If the information is classed as sensitive
personal data, an additional condition found in Schedule 3 of the DPA must
also be met before it can be disclosed.

Disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act has the
effect of placing it in the public domain.  I therefore have to disregard
who has asked for the information and am required to consider whether it
would breach the first data protection principle by releasing it to the
public at large.

In considering the disclosure of personal information I have to also take
into account whether this would be within the reasonable expectations of
the individual. 

It is likely that in most, if not all cases, the individuals would be
unaware that the declarations concerning them had been recorded, or of the
content of the declarations.  As such, they could not possibly expect that
this information about them would be released into the public domain.

Despite the reasonable expectations of individuals and the fact that
damage or distress may result from disclosure, there may be cases where
there is an overriding public interest in doing so.   However, I am of the
view that there are no genuine public interest factors which necessitate
disclosure in this case.

As such, I consider that disclosing the information would be unfair and it
is my view that the release of the information being withheld would breach
the first data protection principle.  Section 40 (2) of the Act provides
an absolute exemption where this is the case. 

As I am refusing to provide the declarations in question, please therefore
consider this email as a formal notice of refusal under Section 17 of the
Act.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been handled,
you can request a review by writing to:

The Head of Administration & Law

Carmarthenshire County Council

County Hall

Carmarthen

SA31 1JP

Email: [1][email address]

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

The Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Website: [2]www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely

John Tillman
Swyddog Gwybodaeth a Diogelu Data
Adran y Prif Weithredwr
Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin

Information & Data Protection Officer
Chief Executive's Department
Carmarthenshire County Council

Mewnol/Internal: 4127
Allanol/External: 01267 224127

Mae'r e-bost hwn ac unrhyw atodiadau yn gyfrinachol ac wedi'u bwriadu at
ddefnydd yr unigolyn y'u cyfeiriwyd ato/ati yn unig. Os derbyniwch y neges
hon trwy gamgymeriad, rhowch wybod i'r sawl a'i hanfonodd ar unwaith,
dilëwch y neges o'ch cyfrifiadur a dinistriwch unrhyw gopïau papur ohoni.
Ni ddylech ddangos yr e-bost i neb arall, na gweithredu ar sail y cynnwys.
Eiddo'r awdur yw unrhyw farn neu safbwyntiau a fynegir, ac nid ydynt o
reidrwydd yn cynrychioli safbwynt y Cyngor. Dylech wirio am firysau eich
hunan cyn agor unrhyw atodiad. Nid ydym yn derbyn unrhyw atebolrwydd am
golled neu niwed a all fod wedi'i achosi gan firysau meddalwedd neu drwy
ryng-gipio'r neges hon neu ymyrryd â hi.

 

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. If received in error
please notify the sender immediately, delete the message from your
computer and destroy any hard copies. The e-mail should not be disclosed
to any other person, nor the contents acted upon. Any views or opinions
expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those
of the Council. You should carry out your own virus check before opening
any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be
caused by software viruses or interception/interruption of this mail.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

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