WBC Legal Advice Dates

Pete Sheffield 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.

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

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please see the following link:

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

In your response on the 30th December 2011 you state:

'I can confirm that the Council sought and received Legal Advice'

This relates to the briefing note 1 dated 21.05.09 where Rick O'Brien, Head of Access and Assessment for DASS implemented policy change under the subject of Financial Authorisations - Revised Authorisation Process for Care Packages.

The effect of which was a possible illegal delay in provision for assessed need without an equality impact assessment or impact assessment to assess the risk faced by vulnerable adults by the policy.

Please disclose:

1. The officer(s) requesting legal advice for this issue
2. The date legal advice was requested for this issue
3. The legal representative(s) or organisation(s) giving the advice
4. The officer, if applicable, giving advice, if within the council's legal department
5. The dates this advice was received and the date the final advice was received
6. The officer(s) who received the final advice
7. The form of the advice
8. Any dates of further advice on the policy from legal representatives detailing the officers and legal representatives.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

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 'WBC Legal Advice Dates'.

Yet again you have failed to disclose information.

I find it increasingly disappointing that such information remains unanswered. Please confirm receipt of the request for internal review.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Receipt for email

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This has been passed to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

The ICO has written to you and asked that you reply by the 30th March 2012.

Due to you failing to respond I have complained further to the ICO

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

Pete Sheffield

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This request still remains outstanding. It may be wondered why would a reasonable local authority fail to disclose this simple information.

Such information would not be difficult to ascertain from the local authorities records. Such information would be recorded by any legal representation and on request would be available.

It could be questioned why an internal review would be needed when the local authority failed to answer in line with the Freedom of Information Act.

It could be questioned why a local authority would fail to answer the internal review by its own timescales.

It could be questioned why a local authority would again fail to listen to the Information Commissioner's Office around disclosing the information.

Further questions could be raised over why a local authority would be so apprehensive about releasing the information.

You may be interested in the following quote on the 27.3.2012 by the leader of Wirral Borough Council Jeff Green from: http://www.leaderofwirral.com/

'As we have seen in the recent disgraceful treatment of vulnerable adults, the automatic response of senior officers appears to be denial followed by legal advice that clouds the whole issue in the hope it will go away.

It is now time for these senior officers to cease their secretive briefings and quiet whispers and to answer for their actions, in public.

My message to all senior council officers is to get with the programme – they are public servants and they are, like councillors, there to serve the public. Every single senior officer will be held accountable for their actions, no matter how senior they are.'

One could wonder if the officers of WBC fail to follow legislation, fail to answer to its own elected members or serve its own residents, then truly it needs The Local Government Association to remind it of its duty.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

The question needs to be asked why a local authority would persist in not answering a freedom of information request, fail to answer an internal review, fail to answer the information commissioner and continue to ignore legislation.

This request is straightforward and related to a policy WBC has denied being in place despite two whistleblowers being ignored.

Following further FOI requests the minutes were released of a BUDGET MEETING explicitly linking the policy of delaying care for 4 weeks to budget decisions.

The leader of the council followed this disclosure with an apology and a hotline set up to capture any others who had been affected by this policy.

From the legal advice given to WBC it seems that Rick O'Brien Head of Branch Assessment ensured the Director of Social Services that there was no blanket policy and the council sought legal advice.

This legal advice is currently being withheld. Although from leaked parts of this advice it seems that Rick O'Brien had assured Weightman's Solicitors that there was no financial link to the delay in care packages being authorised. Since this time minutes from the BUDGET MEETING have been released linking the decision to delay vulnerable adults care due to lack of funding.

Your view of the actual advice is as follows:

'Section 42 is a qualified exemption and a public interest test has therefore been considered to ensure there is a balance between the disclosure of the legal advice against the public interest in maintaining the exemption.'

This will continue to be challenged due to the public interest in this serious issue.

As such the request is that you release the details around the advice without disclosing the advice itself which Section 42 may be argued.

The question could be asked: 'Why, as public servants, would Wirral Borough Council wish to keep such details from the very public who fund their organisation and whom they answer to?'

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

It has taken 6 months for you to disclose nothing. You have failed to answer my request. You have failed to conduct an internal review. You have failed to answer the Information Commissioners office.

This information is not difficult to disclose unless there is a specific policy by officers not to disclose this information due to the information being sensitive to the conduct and capability of the very officers not disclosing this information.

This is very poor. I will be complaining further to the Information Commissioner. This seems to be an issue where information is being deliberately delayed.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This is outstanding since 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

 

Wirral Council acknowledges your email below and apologies for the delay
in response to your enquiry, your freedom of information request received
31.12.2011 is acknowledged and is with the department of Law HR and Asset
Management.

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 InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This request is still outstanding since 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

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...

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This request has now been outstanding for 15 months.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

Pete Sheffield left an annotation ()

Another 5 months has passed.