Suspension of Director David Green; procedures and consequences

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral 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.

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

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

The public have now had it confirmed at full council that Director of Technical Services, David Green has been suspended from his job whilst investigations get underway into the now historical letting of a multimillion pound highways maintenance and street lighting contract to the current contract holder, COLAS.

Please provide evidence of any and all contact, whether written or verbal, that has been made between Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council and David Green; or between David Green and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council between the date of his suspension and today's date. This will include the letter / email / memo / document / aide memoir / piece of paper sent to him, which represents the "letter of suspension".

Please also provide details of the policy and the procedure pertaining to such suspensions - this being the policy and procedure that is currently applying to David Green as an employee of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral.

Presumably there will not be a "special" policy or procedure which allows Mr Green to make contact with fellow employees, or council members, thereby allowing him to interfere with or impede, whether intentionally or accidentally, the impartiality of any investigation currently progressing into alleged malpractice. If such a "special" policy does exist and has been applied to David Green, please provide a copy of it,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

By law, you should normally have responded promptly and by 31 May 2012.

Please carry out an internal review, headed by a senior person.

Please also acknowledge receipt of this message,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

 

Thank you for your further correspondence Wirral Council acknowledges your
request which is currently with the department of Law HR&AM.

 

Kind regards

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

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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 'Suspension of Director David Green; procedures and consequences'.

It is now 90 working days since I made this request. You are in breach of the Freedom of Information Act once again. Please carry out a full internal review and advise me of the name and contact details of the senior officer undertaking the review.

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

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

O'Hare, Tracy J., Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon

 

Thank your enquiry, Wirral Council apologies for the delay in responding
to your query and is able to provide the following information:

 

Your freedom of information request has been reviewed and Wirral Council
can confirm that the information requested is personal data under section
40 (2) FOIA and is therefore exempt from disclosure. The reason for this
is that disclosure would be unfair and in breach of the first principle of
the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

The policy being followed by the Council in relation to Mr Green’s
suspension is set out in the employment procedure rules which I attach and
is in line with national Joint Conditions for Local Government employees a
copy of which I attach for disclosure.

 

The person who has reviewed this request is Mr Michal Rowan, Assistant
Head of Legal and Member Services, Department of Law, HR and Asset
Management, Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH44 8ED

 

You do also have the right to complain to the information Commissioner, if
you are dissatisfied with the outcome of any internal review, whose office
is situated at:  Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45

Fax: 01625 524510  www.ico.gov.uk <[1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/>

 

Thank you for your enquiry.

 

Kind regards

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

show quoted sections

Dear O'Hare, Tracy J.,

I'm afraid, even though you've taken 70+ working days longer than allowed (a serious violation of Statutory Law under the Freedom of Information Act 2000) the information you've supplied falls far short of that which was originally requested.

I will be taking this request to the Information Commissioner, where I plan to appeal.

Whilst I appreciate there may be some personal privacy issues here, I believe the legitimate and compelling public interest outweighs these, given the seriousness of events on Wirral - with FOUR directors currently suspended,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

If it helps Paul, you'd better know this. The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) England Regulations 2001 see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/... came into effect on the 7th November 2001. Regulation 6 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/... required Wirral Council to incorporate the new law into its constitution on 17th December 2001. This wasn't done http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx... until 16th July 2012, and this legal failing by Wirral Council is no doubt (part) of what is delaying the process and causing embarrassment to Wirral Council. In fact a clever lawyer could probably use it to argue that the suspensions under Wirral Council's previous constitution were not done legally. Welcome to the wonderful world of Wirral Council. :)

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Thanks Scarlet Pimp. And very good links. It had actually occurred to me, during a particularly unpleasant nightmare, that a relatively £trouble-free exit for all four suspended directors might be secured if due process were, how can I put this?........nobbled?

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Well, if truth be told things seem to have gone even more pear-shaped (or maybe that's just the corporate governance reforms kicking in) since they got suspended which means one (or more) of a few varying scenarios (of varying probability):-

Scenario A) The loss of these Chief Officers for an extended period with their wealth of experience replaced by more junior collegaues "acting up" has meant things slowly unravel like a ball of string. This also sends a message to all officers to toe the Labour party line if they want to have a job come next year.

Scenario B) After Cllr Foulkes' exit in February, the new Labour administration after the elections was under pressure to do something (different), and in Labour's eyes preferably something that involved switching any blame from any councillors who had made decisions to officers.

Scenario C) The Chief Officers stood up to Labour councillors and honestly said they couldn't do what they wanted. Quite what it was we'll never know as it was behind closed doors.

Scenario D) Like a kettle coming to the boil, a whole host of things had been happening at the Coalition government level, that impacted Wirral Council that nobody (whether councillors or officers) could stop. As usual though officers got the blame.

Scenario E) They know full well it was councillors that approved the contracts, so they're trying to spin it to the media and press that it was officers going rogue instead.

Scenario F) The media fallout because of the whistleblower over the HESPE contract put so much pressure on them they had to be "seen" to take some kind of action.

Scenario G) The same people being involved in HESPE and the AKA issue made it look like councillors were protecting Chief Officers and that the Member/Officer relationship at senior level was too cosy.

Party politics as usual at Wirral Council then eh?

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Appealed to the Information Commissioner.

john hardaker left an annotation ()

Paul i really admire your persistence in trying to get at the truth not only on this but all your various other requests under the freedom of information act & being helped somewhat by the pimpernel who seems to be really at the cutting edge as to whats what as far as the rules & regs apply Trying to get answers out of WBC is like trying to get blood out of a stone as the information officers are as slippery as a barrel of ells but never mind keep up the good work

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Confusing email received today from the ICO on this, appearing to introduce an extra stage into the process. Advising me to ask for another review [?]:

PROTECT

26 October 2012

Case Reference Number FS50464042

Dear Mr Cardin

Your Ref: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/su....

Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for your correspondence dated 10 September 2012 in which you complain about Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council‘s decision not to release the information you requested. From the details you have provided, it appears that you have not yet asked the council to review their decision to refuse your request.

I note that you have been through internal review for the handling of the request, however, before accepting complaints, the Commissioner generally expects complainants to allow public authorities the opportunity to respond to any arguments which applicants may make as to why the information they request should be released. We would therefore advise you to first ask the public authority to reconsider its refusal of your request. When doing so, it may be helpful if you respond to any specific reasons given by the public authority for refusing your request.

Your case is closed at this stage, however, please contact us again if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review or if you do not receive a response within 20 working days after your request is received by the council.

We note that the council has not provided you with details of its complaint procedure. We have therefore written to them to advise of this breach of the Act and to recommend they deal with any request for a review from you as soon as possible.

If you need to discuss the matter you can contact me on the number below, quoting the reference number from the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely

[Officer name redacted]
Customer Contact Officer
Access Rights (First Contact)
Telephone number: 01625 545632
Information Commissioner’s Office

From: Paul C
Sent: 26 October 2012 17:50
To: casework
Subject: RE: Response from the Information Commissioner's Office - 26/10/12[Ref. FS50464042]

Dear [Officer name redacted],

Please check the link that you copied into your email.

• I did ask the council to internally review, on 4th September 2012
• They responded on 7th September and I declared to them that I was NOT happy with the review (carried out by Mr Michael Rowan [see council response dated 7th September])
• I responded by informing the council that I was not happy with their response on the same day (7th September) and told them I would be appealing to the ICO which is my right
• The council have not responded to acknowledge this

I am fairly experienced in making these requests and this is the first time I have ever been refused permission to appeal with the ICO. Never before has it been suggested that I will need to ask for a ‘review of a decision to refuse’. What IS a “review of a decision to refuse”?

I believe you are wrong to have closed my case when I have kept within my rights and within the requirements of the Act. I have followed the same procedure that I usually follow. This council appears to be following its customary, very slow course of action, basically aimed at denying and frustrating. Has the law recently changed to allow data controllers more options? Or have the ICO changed their procedures?

Please explain the reasoning behind the introduction of what looks like an extra stage in the process. If I don’t hear from you, I will make some direct enquiries on the background to this with Andrew White,

Many thanks,

Paul Cardin

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

This is Wirral Council, I'm sure ICO are sick of the amount of extra work they have to do because of them, or maybe they're learning how to stonewall from them? :)

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Spoke to Amanda Crilley at the ICO today, who is "putting this case through for a review".

I assume she means she is allowing it as a complaint or appeal. Which is now long overdue.

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

To be honest with you, you're not the only one being stonewalled over this issue by Wirral Council.

You'd think now only two senior officers are suspended (rather than four) it would free up staff time to answer the outstanding FOI requests. *sighs*

ScarletPimpernel left an annotation ()

Well it has passed internal review, so I presume it goes to complaint stage, followed by another ICO notice.

There must be economies of scale now for ICO with Wirral Council though on decision notices. :)

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

People may be interested to note that this is what happens to Wirral Council whistleblowers - they're either bullied out of their jobs, or they have their identity released globally on the Council's internet server:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-mer...

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/2012/07/1...

By stark contrast, a rather different brand of treatment is reserved for senior figures:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-mer...

Here's a link to the report into alleged impropriety indulged in by director David Green, who was eventually welcomed back into the fold with 'no case to answer' after 10 months' suspension:

http://tinyurl.com/cu8mpv3

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Here is a link to an article, setting out what I feel is the background and true motivation behind Wirral Council's very poor response times.

Notably, there are just 2 people dedicated to Freedom of Information and Data at this council (one professional and one admin assistant) - which says it all really.

http://easyvirtualassistance.wordpress.c...

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

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  • Attachment

    634010 FS50464042 Suspension of Director David Green procedures and consequences.doc

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Good Afternoon,

In relation to your request for an internal review, please see details
attached as our response and I hope the information is useful to you.

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information Manager

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge.

 

 

 

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