Dear Welsh Government,
I am writing to make an open government request for all the information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information Act. 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.
I wish to make a Freedom of Information request for all information including documentation held by Welsh Government concerning the above site covering the period June 2014 to the present date. This information should include all relevant minutes, memos, emails, reports, etc.
I wish to make another Freedom of Information request for all information including documentation relating to the Bat Protocol currently in force for Building 45 (P6) at the Rhydymwyn Valley site This information should include all relevant minutes, memos, emails, reports, etc.
I wish to make a final Freedom of Information request for all information including documentation relating to the Bat Protocol currently in force for Building 45 (P6) at the Rhydymwyn Valley site to the Nature Conservation Policy Unit. and this information should include all relevant minutes, memos, emails, reports, etc.
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 in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Barber

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Barber,
Please find attached our acknowledgement of your request for information.
 
Chris Worker
Polisi Natur - Nature Policy
Llywodraeth Cymru - Welsh Government
 Rhodfa Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UR
0300 062 2259
 
 
 

Welsh Government

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Barber,
 
Please find attached our reply to your request for information ATI 11492. 
It is advisable you read the covering letter before the 'Requested
Information' document.
 
 
Kind regards
 
Paul McCullough
Nature Policy Officer – Local Delivery
Llywodraeth Cymru - Welsh Government
Ladywell House, Park Street, Newtown, Powys, SY16 1JB
 
 
 

Welsh Government

Many thanks for this Paul
 
Simon
 
_____________________________________________

Dear Welsh Government,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Welsh Government's handling of my FOI request 'The Former Valley Works at Rhydymwyn'.
On 21st August 2017 I wrote to Welsh Government requesting three things:
1. all information including documentation held by Welsh Government concerning the above site covering the period June 2014 to the present date.
2. all information including documentation relating to the Bat Protocol currently in force for Building 45 (P6) at the Rhydymwyn Valley site.
3. all information including documentation relating to the Bat Protocol currently in force for Building 45 (P6) at the Rhydymwyn Valley site to the Nature Conservation Policy Unit
On 24th August 2017 I received an acknowledgement from Chris Worker which modified the request to “All information held by Welsh Government concerning the former Valley Works at Rhydymwyn covering the period June 2014 to the present date; this would include information held across Welsh Government relating to the Bat Protocol currently in force for Building 45 (P6) at the Rhydymwyn Valley site” which is not the same as my request.
On 19th September 2017 we received a fuller reply dated 15th September 2017 from the same Chris Worker.
It made the point that item 1 on my original request could be interpreted to cover many departments and incur costs which were not covered by FOIA procedures.
We readily accept this and it would be helpful to be given a list of which divisions of WG could be involved.
It then states that “Regarding the Bat protocol in relation to Building 45 a copy of the RELEVANT documents held by this branch is attached” followed by a justification of removing all names and timing linkages from the items which are provided.
The data provided is limited to the period between 7th April 2017 and 21st August 2017 which raises the following issues:
1. Mr Worker represented WG at a secret meeting in Welshpool in 2012 and subsequently was a key advisor in the drafting of the Bat Protocol as reported in ATISN 8537 and a number of others which can be seen by accessing the What Do They Know website.
Other documentation appears to identify him as the key person in WG concerning this protocol over the last six years.
We believe full disclosure has not been given from the period between June 2014 and April 7th 2017 even discounting the items you consider “privileged” legally.
Other documentation received under FOIA clearly identify other WG employees and if you do not wish to reveal the identities may I suggest that you might at least provide the domain part of the email addresses to help with understanding the correspondence; or that the individuals' names be replaced in a consistent manner using "officer 1","officer 2" etc. again to aid with comprehension.
2. Some of the documentation you have provided is just factually incorrect and we need to pursue the source of such inaccuracy.
3. Finally there is a justification of the position of WG not to reveal information concerning Legal Professional Privilege.
The does not seem to address the situation here. We challenged the NRW interpretation of the law concerning bats which had been widely used for many years, they then changed their interpretation and when we challenged that again they said they could not define the reasons because of Public Interest Immunity. They say they were supported by WG in this but when we ask you for information in that area you plead another legal barrier.
We are seeking to have defined your definite position in a sea of shifting sand.
Please can you help?
Finally I would suggest that there is an obligation to help seekers of information and I would ask you to review your reply of 19th September 2017 as I do not believe the reply is as informative as it should be as regards content and presentation.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

Yours faithfully,

Colin Barber

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Please find attached acknowledgement of your email dated 4 November.
 
Regards
 
 
Lynfa Caddy
Uwch Gynorthwy-ydd Gweithredol I Andrew Slade/Senior Executive Assistant
to Andrew Slade
Cyfarwyddwr Arweiniol dros yr Amgylchedd a Materion Gwledig/Lead Director
for the Environment and Rural Affairs
Ffon/Tel: 0300 025 6162 neu/or 07896 811 647
E-Bost/E-Mail:  lynfa.caddy@gov.wales
 
 
Wrth adael Llywodraeth Cymru sganiwyd y neges yma am bob feirws. Mae’n
bosibl y bydd gohebiaeth gyda Llywodraeth Cymru yn cael ei logio, ei
monitro ac/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am resymau cyfreithiol. Rydym yn
croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a
dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at
oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this email was scanned for all known
viruses. Communications with Welsh Government may be automatically logged,
monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes. We welcome receiving
correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be
answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in
responding.

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Barber

 

Please find attached response from Andrew Slade.

 

Lynfa Caddy

Senior Executive Assistant to

Andrew Slade

 

Wrth adael Llywodraeth Cymru sganiwyd y neges yma am bob feirws. Mae’n
bosibl y bydd gohebiaeth gyda Llywodraeth Cymru yn cael ei logio, ei
monitro ac/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am resymau cyfreithiol. Rydym yn
croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a
dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at
oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this email was scanned for all known
viruses. Communications with Welsh Government may be automatically logged,
monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes. We welcome receiving
correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be
answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in
responding.

Dear Welsh Government,
Please could you help me? I do not seem to be able to find the “new version with WG official 1,WG official 2 etc. to provide context” as described in your letter
I am also unable to find the two additional documents from CADW.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Barber

Welsh Government

3 Attachments

 

 

 

Dear Mr Barber,

I understand you have not received certain documents relating to the
above, but have received the letter from Mr Slade.

I have been advised my colleagues experienced considerable difficulty
sending the material you asked for on Friday.  I have re-formatted the
material you say you have not received, which is attached.

 

 

Chris Worker
Polisi Natur - Nature Policy
Llywodraeth Cymru - Welsh Government
 Rhodfa Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UR

 

Wrth adael Llywodraeth Cymru sganiwyd y neges yma am bob feirws. Mae’n
bosibl y bydd gohebiaeth gyda Llywodraeth Cymru yn cael ei logio, ei
monitro ac/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am resymau cyfreithiol. Rydym yn
croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a
dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at
oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this email was scanned for all known
viruses. Communications with Welsh Government may be automatically logged,
monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes. We welcome receiving
correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be
answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in
responding.

Dear Welsh Government,
Thank you for your reply and the attachments which we have now received.
I do however have one other matter to raise. In paragraph 3 of Andrew Slade’s review it states “I have reviewed the information provided and I have concluded that it was unnecessary to redact the names and replace with them “****”. As this seems to be definitive please could you provide the names and complete this exercise.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Barber

Welsh Government

Dear Mr Barber

Thank you for your email.

The response from Mr Slade regarding this point is set out below in full, which explains the approach WG has taken to this element of your complaint.

Your complaint states that the information provided had removed “all names and timing linkages from the items which are provided”. I have reviewed the information provided and I have concluded that it was unnecessary to redact the names and replace with them “****”. . The original information contained in response to your request is reattached in a new version with WG official 1, WG official 2 etc. to provide context.

Best regards

Dr Simon Bilsborough
Polisi Natur / Nature Policy
Cangen Polisi Natur a Defnydd Tir / Nature Policy and Land Use Branch
Is-adran Tir, Natur a Choedwigaeth/Land, Nature and Forestry Division
Ffôn / Tel: 0300 062 8046
Ffôn symudol / [mobile number]

show quoted sections

Dear Welsh Government,
Please could you help me with the following?
In your response dated 15 September 2016 you stated “I have redacted the names of officials who are not in either senior or public-facing roles, from the information I am disclosing under Regulation 13 of the EIR. We consider that the names of these officials clearly fall within the description of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act (DPA)”.
Please could you provide the definition of who are classed as holding “senior or public-facing roles”?
Would two of the officers who have identified themselves in this correspondence, Chris Worker, the Welsh Government Nature Conservation Policy Officer and Dr Simon Bilsborough, the Sustainable Development Policy Officer at Welsh Government, be so classified?
May I also draw your attention to the document Internal review DOC3.pdf which you have recently provided and ask you why you have displayed incorrect personal data about myself and why you have displayed my contact details?

Yours faithfully,

Colin Barber

Welsh Government

 
Dear Mr Barber
 
Thank you for your email dated 12 December 2017
 
In response to your points:
 
On the first point, there is no clearly set out definition of senior or
public-facing roles. Our advise on this, is based upon the Information
Commissioner’s Office guidance at
[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
 
On the second point, our response of 15 September states that “We consider
that the names of these officials clearly fall within the description of
personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act (DPA)”, and I am
afraid that I am unable to provide any further comment.   
 
 
On the final point.

 a. You have not stated which  information is incorrect. If you are able
to provide us details of the inaccurate information, we will correct
this. In our response to you, we have released the information held by
us pertaining to your request.
 b. The contact details released are as they appear on the website of the
Rhydymwyn Valley History Society
([2]https://rhydymwynvalleyhistory.co.uk/abo...). As such this is
freely available to anybody. As the information is freely available,
the s40(2) "personal data" is not engaged by this information. We
believe that the information was provided by the RVHS in connection
with the visit to the Rhydymwyn site by Ken States AM on 22 April
2017.

 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
Dr Simon Bilsborough
Polisi Natur  / Nature Policy
Cangen Polisi Natur a Defnydd Tir / Nature Policy and Land Use Branch
Is-adran Tir, Natur a Choedwigaeth/Land, Nature and Forestry Division
Ffôn / Tel:  0300 062 8046
Ffôn symudol / [mobile number]
 
 
 
 
From: Colin Barber [[3]mailto:[FOI #426330 email]]
Sent: 12 December 2017 15:52
To: Freedom of Information Officer
Subject: Re: FW: FW: ATISN 1142 - Complaint in respect of Request for
Information
 
Dear Welsh Government,
Please could you help me with the following?
In your response dated 15 September 2016 you stated “I have redacted the
names of officials who are not in either senior or public-facing roles,
from the information I am disclosing under Regulation 13 of the EIR. We
consider that the names of these officials clearly fall within the
description of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act (DPA)”.
Please could you provide the definition of who are classed as holding
“senior or public-facing roles”?
Would two of the officers who have identified themselves in this
correspondence, Chris Worker, the Welsh Government Nature Conservation
Policy Officer and Dr Simon Bilsborough, the Sustainable Development
Policy Officer at Welsh Government, be so classified?
May I also draw your attention to the document Internal review DOC3.pdf
which you have recently provided and ask you why you have displayed
incorrect personal data about myself and why you have displayed my contact
details?
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Colin Barber
 
Wrth adael Llywodraeth Cymru sganiwyd y neges yma am bob feirws. Mae’n
bosibl y bydd gohebiaeth gyda Llywodraeth Cymru yn cael ei logio, ei
monitro ac/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am resymau cyfreithiol. Rydym yn
croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a
dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at
oedi. On leaving the Welsh Government this email was scanned for all known
viruses. Communications with Welsh Government may be automatically logged,
monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes. We welcome receiving
correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be
answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in
responding.

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
2. https://rhydymwynvalleyhistory.co.uk/abo...
3. mailto:[FOI #426330 email]

Dear Welsh Government,
I am referring this matter to the Information Commissioner.
I believe that the Welsh Government have an obligation to advise and assist requestors who should not need legal knowledge or advice. The onus is upon them to help in providing information and not obstruct or evade.
I do not believe they have achieved this in the foregoing which is summarised below.
On 21/8/17 I sent an FIR to the Welsh Government asking for response to three separate requests
On 24/8/17 Chris Worker replied acknowledging only one of the three and assigning the identity ATISN 11492
COMMENT- The response truncated the three requests into one modified request.. It was indicated that I could raise queries about this new version of this modified request. I did not raise any query because I thought it was a statement of the information they said they would supply.
On 15/9/17 Chris Worker replied and made some judgements concerning whether the request was for environmental information and said part one of the modified request would be considered under the Freedom of Information Act.
COMMENT. He further split that request into two parts the first part being.
“All information including documentation held by Welsh Government concerning The Former Valley Works at Rhydymwyn covering the period June 2014 to the present date. This information should include all relevant minutes, memos, emails, reports, etc”.
It further went on to state that there were 22 divisions of Welsh Government and implied that the search over such a wide base would exceed the limit of cost for the first request and gave an exemplar of one division (CADW) and seemed to state that the request needed a narrower focus and needed to be refined to bring it into the limit. Therefore there would be no response to this section
COMMENT. The second part had now become: “As the remainder of your request is more specific I have decided that I can answer those questions within the appropriate limit. Regarding the Bat protocol in relation to Building 45 a copy of the relevant documents held by this branch is attached”.
He went on to say that he could respond to other requests on behalf of his division of Nature Policy. The original three requests had now been reduced to part of the modified one but only supplying information from the Nature Policy Unit.
There was an Annex concerning protection of certain messages concerning Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) and names of all officials had been redacted because of Regulation 13 of the EIR.
There were also a bundle of messages annotated Doc 1 ATISN 11492
On 4/11/17 I asked for a Freedom of Information review of the fore-going and raised the following points:
1. We questioned why only information between the period between 7th April 2017 and 21st August 2017. We believe full disclosure has not been given from the period between June 2014 and April 7th 2017 even discounting the items you consider “privileged” legally.
2. It was requested that titles be better defined to aid clarity and comprehension.
3. The accuracy of some messages was questioned.
4. The use of LPP may be an abuse of process.
On 4/12/17 we had a reply from ANDREW SLADE Lead Director Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. Who wrote
1. I note that Chris Worker’s letter to you of 24 August gave you over three weeks object to the interpretation if you believed it was incorrect, prior to the substantive response being issued on 15 September.
COMMENT: See comment on 24/8/17.
2. The third part of your request is already captured within the first and second parts of your request. Chris Worker’s summary therefore covers your request in full.
COMMENT: Where?
3. The 22 divisions of Welsh Government were identified and five were considered to be relevant.
COMMENT: No indication is given if we should make five FIRs to each of these divisions. We thought we were addressing Welsh Government. Surely the budget would have covered more than one division.
Would we need to address them all and what are their contact details?
4 I have reviewed the information provided and I have concluded that it was unnecessary to redact the names and replace with them “****”.
COMMENT: If this is so why do you need to substitute acronyms?
5. Your reply at item 4 is incorrect I accepted that applying to 22 government departments would cost more than the permitted amount I did not accept you would not provide the information requested between June 2014 and April 7th 2017
The additional information is supplied from CADW whom you previously stated would not be providing information.
6. Your reply at item 5 is interesting as the information is written by The Policy Unit.
7. We still believe that the LPP claim in respect of this request is not valid.
On 1/12/17 We wrote Dear Welsh Government, Please could you help me? I do not seem to be able to find the “new version with WG official 1,WG official 2 etc. to provide context” as described in your letter. I am also unable to find the two additional documents from CADW.
On 5/12/17 Chris Worker replied I understand you have not received certain documents relating to the above, but have received the letter from Mr Slade. I have been advised my colleagues experienced considerable difficulty sending the material you asked for on Friday. I have re-formatted the material you say you have not received, which is attached.
On 7/12/17 I wrote. Thank you for your reply and the attachments which we have now received. I do however have one other matter to raise. In paragraph 3 of Andrew Slade’s review it states “I have reviewed the information provided and I have concluded that it was unnecessary to redact the names and replace with them “****”. As this seems to be definitive please could you provide the names and complete this exercise.
On 8/12/17 Dr Simon Bilsborough of Nature Policy replied Thank you for your email. The response from Mr Slade regarding this point is set out below in full, which explains the approach WG has taken to this element of your complaint. Your complaint states that the information provided had removed “all names and timing linkages from the items which are provided”. I have reviewed the information provided and I have concluded that it was unnecessary to redact the names and replace with them “****”. . The original information contained in response to your request is reattached in a new version with WG official 1, WG official 2 etc. to provide context.
On 12/12/17 We wrote Dear Welsh Government, Please could you help me with the following?
In your response dated 15 September 2016 you stated “I have redacted the names of officials who are not in either senior or public-facing roles, from the information I am disclosing under Regulation 13 of the EIR. We consider that the names of these officials clearly fall within the description of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act (DPA)”.
Please could you provide the definition of who are classed as holding “senior or public-facing roles”?
Would two of the officers who have identified themselves in this correspondence, Chris Worker, the Welsh Government Nature Conservation Policy Officer and Dr Simon Bilsborough, the Sustainable Development Policy Officer at Welsh Government, be so classified?
May I also draw your attention to the document Internal review DOC3.pdf which you have recently provided and ask you why you have displayed incorrect personal data about myself and why you have displayed my contact details?
On 15/12 17 Simon Bisborough replied On the first point, there is no clearly set out definition of senior or public-facing roles. Our advise on this, is based upon the Information
Commissioner’s Office guidance at [1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
On the second point, our response of 15 September states that “We consider that the names of these officials clearly fall within the description of personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act (DPA)”, and I am afraid that I am unable to provide any further comment.
On the final point. a. You have not stated which information is incorrect. If you are able
to provide us details of the inaccurate information, we will correct this. In our response to you, we have released the information held by us pertaining to your request.
b. The contact details released are as they appear on the website of the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society ([2]https://rhydymwynvalleyhistory.co.uk/abo.... As such this is freely available to anybody. As the information is freely available, the s40(2) "personal data" is not engaged by this information. We believe that the information was provided by the RVHS in connection with the visit to the Rhydymwyn site by Ken States AM on 22 April 2017.
COMMENT. I did not supply the incorrect personal information you have provided in the briefing note and believe you should not have revealed it and should have withdrawn it. FYI the contact details you have revealed are not shown on the incorrectly addressed RVHS website and I believe you should have withdrawn them also.
SUMMARY
The result of this exercise is that Welsh Gov. have partially addressed half of one of the three original requests.
That appears to be by one department of 22. Is the implication that we need to send 22 FIRs?
That single department has not covered the complete period requested although the request was to the Welsh Government.
In that answer they have claimed legal privilege for many of the identified documents.
They have redacted all names and positions of all parties throughout all documentation and seem to have re-typed the content of emails.
The following and a number of others are identified in Information Request Number ATI-13242a and a number of other Information Requests
Chris Worker, the Welsh Government Nature Conservation Policy Officer
Dr Simon Bilsborough, the Sustainable Development Policy Officer at Welsh Government
So why were their names and positions redacted when they are publicly identified?
My personal details have been disclosed without my knowledge or permission putting me at risk in a number of areas. The details are inaccurate and I am unaware of their provenance but I am asked to correct any inaccuracies and the data is still out there.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Barber

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