Tony Redmond's invitation from the CPA 2005

Ms S Smith made this Freedom of Information request to The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Dear Local Government Ombudsmen,

CPA Australia appear to have no knowledge of having had a National Conference in Melbourne in May 2005. Nor is there any reference to one, that I can find, on the internet.

Please provide

1. a copy of the CPA's invitation to Mr Redmond to speak at their "National Conference" in Melbourne in the week of 15 to 19 May 2005.

2. a copy of Mr Redmond's response to the CPA's invitation.

3. the date on which Mr Redmond gave his presentation.

4. the dates on which the CPA paid for accommodation for Mr and Mrs Redmond.

Yours faithfully,

Ms S Smith

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Dear Ms Smith

Our ref: CS/10/073

This is to acknowledge receipt of your request below received on 15 July. We will respond within the 20 working day target (which would be by 12 August 2010) or, if unable to do so, we will write to you again explaining why.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

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Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

As I understand it a CPA conference took place in December 2004.

"Developing Governance and Leadership Performance in the Public Sector’, Inaugural Public Sector Governance and Accountability Conference, CPA Australia, Brisbane, December 2004"

http://www.law.monash.edu.au/staff/bhorr...

Would they have held a national conference in May 2005 some 5 months after the one above?

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

CPA 2005 annual report

"CPA Australia’s National Public Sector Convention was attended by a wide range of VIPs and politicians including Victorian Treasurer the Hon John Brumby MP, the Victorian Minister for Finance and Consumer Affairs, the Hon John Lenders MLC, the UK Local Government Ombudsman Mr Tony Redmond and the Hon Jeff Kennett (see page 15)."

NOTE Convention NOT conference.

"Leading industry experts and public sector members from Australia and overseas converged at CPA Australia’s Biennial National Public Sector Convention in May to discuss the challenges facing the public sector over the next 30 years."

Tony Redmond attended but is not listed as a keynote speaker.

http://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/cps/rde/x...

Pauline Nunn left an annotation ()

There is no mention of an invitation in the minute that authorised Mr Redmond's taxpayer funded Study Tour of Australia.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/40...

j byrne left an annotation ()

Pauline, see the responses to me, which included this document, which is referred to in the recent "minute"...

STUDY TOUR OF AUSTRALIA BY THE CHAIRMAN

1. The Chairman has been approached by CPA Australia to speak at its national conference in May this year. The subject of the presentation is Governance and Governance in Partnerships.

2. He has accepted this invitation but he is also keen, whilst in Australia, to carry out a limited study tour of State Ombudsmen. Following some initial contact in Canada last year Bruce Barbour, Ombudsman for New South Wales, felt that this would be welcomed as an opportunity, in particular, to share experiences in the development of our different schemes.
3. The Chairman has made further contact recently and the suggested itinerary would include visits to Ombudsman offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. The tour would comprise, probably, presentations to office staff together with a discussion about the respective schemes and what can be learnt from each other.

4. The Conference in Melbourne covers three days and the Chairman would anticipate two to three days being spent at each Ombudsman venue. This would allow for some leisure time. The CPA is paying for his accommodation in Melbourne for three to four days. The question is, therefore, what element of the total cost should be borne by the Commission?

5. With regard to travel he intends travelling “Business Class” consistent with a policy agreed by the previous Chairman of the Commission for exceptionally long journeys given that the Chairman will be undertaking a 25 hour journey. Accommodation and subsistence costs would only be relevant where they directly relate to his Ombudsman activity while in Australia.

6. He would seek to organise hotel accommodation which is reasonable and internal flights which are economy only. There may need to be a cap on such expenditure bearing in mind the budget constraints under which the Commission is currently operating.

7. From the Commission's perspective the trip should be of real value in fact finding and promotional terms. On the assumption that the majority of time will be spent on Commission business it would be reasonable to meet all of the return airfare between the UK and Australian arrival / departure ports. Internal flights would also be reimbursable on the basis of `internal group' flights. The Melbourne element should not be excluded as it is part self-development and part promotional. Any incidental transport is claimable when undertaking the speaking arrangements.

8. In so far as the subsistence is concerned; accommodation costs in the locations where the Chairman is undertaking Ombudsman business is reimbursable at the standard single rate. All meals associated with the stays are also reimbursable. When hospitality during such stays is received, there is an entitlement to exercise discretion over the use of the £25 per stay hospitality, where a saving had arisen and in substitution a gift may be purchased for the host.

9. Where possible the Commission would prefer to meet costs directly but it is appreciated that there will be situations where this is not practicable.

10. The Commission is asked to agree the basis for reimbursing costs as set out in this report.

11. The Finance and Estates Manager has been consulted on this proposal and his comments are below:

The Commission has been a member for many years and pays an annual subscription to the International Ombudsman Institute. Membership of that body provides a source of international practice in similar bodies operating across the globe. Apart from the repository of literature that body enables personal contact to be forged and good practice shared. The trip proposed by the Chairman sits within the overall intention of our membership and I, therefore, feel it is a natural extension of that membership.

The purpose of the visit is principally business but there will be an incidental personal element. Appropriate business travel based on the bonafide nature of the trip ought to be recoverable.

However, I recognise the cost of the visit will be material in the context of other similar types of Commission expenditure on this type of activity. And I am mindful of resource constraints in 2005 / 2006.

All personal expenses shall be excluded and any accommodation related expenditure for any deemed element of private use shall also be excluded. Accommodation used will be suitable for the status, nature and practical purpose of each stay. Any premium or upgrades shall be excluded.

12. Members of the Commission have been consulted on the proposed tour.

Nigel Karney

Deputy Chief Executive and Secretary

8 March 2005

To be noted with approval.

Pauline, note the following amongst others - in no. 2 -the invitation had already been accepted so he was going to be in Australia at own cost - also in no. 2 -"whilst in Australia" - the date - 8 March 2005. Why have a meeting on 8 May 2005?

Anne Hide left an annotation ()

5.3 The CLA shall obtain prior approval from DETR before incurring any expenditure which is novel, unusual or contentious.

http://www.lgo.org.uk/GetAsset.aspx?id=f...

Pauline Nunn left an annotation ()

Hi J Byrne

The document you refer to raises some interesting questions. Question I am sure you have got in hand.

"1. The Chairman has been approached by CPA Australia to speak at its national conference in May this year. The subject of the presentation is Governance and Governance in Partnerships."

It was not a conference, Mr Redmond was invited to, it was a convention and if he had already accepted the CPA convention invitation (As I understand it he is a fellow of the CPA Australia) then only the additional cost of his add on study tour should be paid for by the UK taxpayer. Not the flights to and from Australia.

If he had conducted a study tour then he should have produced a formal presentation of the outcomes of his visit. How else would he transmit the lessons he had learnt in Australia to the others in the Commission. Otherwise what benefit did the Commission receive?

The Commission also suggest that the purpose of the visit was principally business but the original invitation and the main reason for visiting Australia in the first place was not connected to Commission business but to Tony Redmond's personal membership of the CPA.

The report you quote is dated the 8th March 2005 which was a Tuesday. The minutes are dated Tuesday the 8th May 2005. The 8th May was not a Tuesday.

What is more disconcerting to me is Pat Thomas signed the minutes nearly 5 years after she resigned in 2010. As far as I and others are concerned this could have been done to tidy any contentious audit loose ends up. Whatever the explanation what else are the Commission planning to tidy up?

mark price left an annotation ()

And, of course, it would be funny if it wasn't serious. An FOI request is about information held. But instead of giving information held (and requested) Ms Pook responded with a document that couldn't possibly have been held, as it was only fabricated to answer the question! So, as Ms Meeks pointed out, it has no validity, and that is on multiple counts, by the look of it. And the taxpayer is forking out hand over fist for people who can't even get a date right.

Pauline Nunn left an annotation ()

Hi Mark

Excellent point!

"An FOI request is about information held. But instead of giving information held (and requested) Ms Pook responded with a document that couldn't possibly have been held, as it was only fabricated to answer the question!"

I doubt Ms Pook expected anyone to notice.

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

Curious and curiouser

Minutes from their June 2005 meeting state

Australian Study Tour

"Tony Redmond tabled a paper which summarised the main points raised in discussions with other Ombudsmen in his recent study tour. He explained that the discussions had been in confidence to encourage frank exchange, and so the paper would be a confidential record (section 41 FOIA applies). If there was sufficient interest he could provide an open note. The confidential paper was noted by the Commission."

So we have his trip to Australia (mostly paid for by taxpayer) kept secret until it was all over, then all the information he obtained due to the trip also kept confidential. Even going so far as pre-empting any future FOI request by stating that section 41 of the FOI would apply.

mark price left an annotation ()

Hi Trevor. I regard his trip to Australia as being paid for in its entirety by the tax-payer, not "mostly paid for". Even though it shouldn't have been, of course. The only bit he paid for (????) was accommodation and meals for the mere five days leave he took out of the twenty three days. Also... thanks for all of your various annotations in the last couple of days. Very interesting. Hopefully there'll be more??

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Smith

I attach a letter and a document referred to in the letter in response to the request below.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

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Anne Hide left an annotation ()

The Commission's response proves it was a convention not a conference. So why do they keep referring to it as a conference?

Ms S Smith left an annotation ()

From the response. "Finally, you asked on what dates CPA paid for accommodation for Mr and Mrs Redmond. Mr Redmond stayed in Melbourne from 14 to 20 May - six nights in all. CPA paid for four of those nights." So the question wasn't answered.

Dear Ms Pook,

In your response you wrote. "Finally, you asked on what dates CPA paid for accommodation for Mr and Mrs Redmond. Mr Redmond stayed in Melbourne from 14 to 20 May - six nights in all. CPA paid for four of those nights."

You didn't answer the question.

The CPA paid for their accommodation on which dates?

Yours sincerely,

Ms S Smith

Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Dear Ms Smith

I need to consult a colleague on this point and she is on leave at the moment. I will not be able to provide an answer for two weeks.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

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Foi Officer, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Dear Ms Smith

I have now been able to check this - CPA paid for the nights of the 16, 17, 18 and 19 of May. The conference was on 18-20 May and Mr Redmond left Melbourne on 20 May.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

show quoted sections