Welsh Government procedure/s to appoint to investigator James Hamilton

The request was partially successful.

Dear Welsh Government,

Jt Oakley 28 November 2017
Delivered
Dear Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales,

I am writing to make an open government request for all the
information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please send me recorded information, which includes information
held on computers, in emails and in printed or handwritten
documents as well as images, video and audio recordings.

If this request is too wide or unclear, and you require a
clarification, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I
understand that under the Act, you are required to advise and
assist requesters.(Section 16 / Regulation 9).

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify
all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I
will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve
the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to
charge excessive fees.

If any of this information is already in the public domain, please
can you direct me to it, with page references and URLs if
necessary.

Please confirm or deny whether the requested information is held ( section (Section 1(1)(a) and consider whether information should be provided under section 1(1)(b), or whether it is subject to an exemption in Part II of the Act.

If the release of any of this information is prohibited on the
grounds of breach of confidence, I ask that you supply me with
copies of the confidentiality agreement and remind you that
information should not be treated as confidential if such an
agreement has not been signed.

I would like the above information to be provided to me as
electronic copies, via WDTK. The information should be immediately readable - and, as a freedom of Information request, not put in a PDF or any closed form, which some readers may not be able to access.

I understand that you are required to respond to my request within
the 20 working days after you receive this letter. I would be
grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received
this request.

::::::::
Please consider the ICO's Decision on the provision original documents on file, rather than newly written letters of response.
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Nb This request does not require a letter, drafted by the external affairs department after the date of request, or any other written input by reputational defence employees, purporting to be the response to a FOIA request.

===

Request:

Title within scope.

Welsh Government procedure/s to appoint to investigator James Hamilton into WG bullying claims.

I would like to read all data pertaining to the choice of investigators and subsequent decision to appoint the investigator James Hamilton tasked with investigating claims of bullying and subsequent internal investigatory procedures used and applied in the Welsh Government 2014 - 2017.

Background Information : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-polit...

==

FYI

Here is a similar FOIA involving the choice of external investigator for an internal investigation, which I hope will assist a prompt response.

I would expect that the scope of this request would be applied for the choice of James Hamilton for the position of investigator, as a response.

Nb You will note that the choice was not only the selection of one government employee ( as it could be construed to be with Carwyn Jones in this request ) but extends throughout the investigator’s appointment process.

Therefore the response should not be limited to Carwyn Jones’ involvement in the appointment alone.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

==

Please note:
Section 77 FOIA

77.—(1) Where—
(a) a request for information has been made to a public
authority, and
(b) under section 1 of this Act or section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998, the applicant would have been entitled (subject to payment of any fee) to communication of any information in accordance with that section,
any person to whom this subsection applies is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to the communication of which the applicant would have been entitled.
(2) Subsection (1) applies to the public authority and to any person who is employed by, is an officer of, or is subject to the direction of, the public authority.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear J T Oakley ,

Further to your recent request for information, please find attached an acknowledgement letter containing further details of when we will next write to you .

Yours Sincerely

Margaret Lock
Secretariat Manager / Rheolwr Ysgrifenyddiaeth Adran Gwasanaeth Busnes Busnes, Eiddo a Gwasanaethau Proffesiynol (BEGP)/Business, Property and Professional Services Division (BPPS)Swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog a Swyddfa’r Cabinet/Office of the First Minister and Cabinet Office
Llywodraeth Cymru - Welsh Government
Email/Ebost:Margaret.Lock@gov.wales
iShare user / defnyddiwr iShare

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.

My understanding is now that you have read the similar request provided and the scope of response will encompass the whole process used to appoint an investigator, which includes all data on file relating to this appointment.
I accept that alternative candidates names may be redacted.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear JT Oakley
 
Further to your recent request for information, please find attached a
final disclosure letter.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Jamie
Jamie Jenkins
Rheolwr Gwybodaeth/Information Manager
Gwasanaethau Corfforaethol/Corporate Services
Swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog a Swyddfa’r Cabinet/Office of the First Minister
and Cabinet Office
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
 
 
 
 
 
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,

Review.

Thank you.

But my request seems to have been sent to the external communications department by mistake, as the response is not one responding to an FOIA Request.

Therefore please forward the review to someone who normally deals with FOIA requests ....has read the Act and will know that the Act applies to data on file at the time of the request.

.....Not newly written letters, which don’t respond the request.

===

Therefore, at the moment, I would assume that there has been some sort of mix up.
If you temporary staff - due to the Christmas period - and are in any doubt as to what this term pertains, please consult the FOI Act, which is freely available from the ICO.

===

Please note: A review and referral to the ICO with progression, will mean that public money is being wasted - if the terms of the Act are stil being ignored, as they were initially by the PHSO.

FYI - to proceed through to court will cost the taxpayer around £15k and therefore please read the request and provide the data on file promptly, without further unnecessary delay.

===

To assist you....once again:

You will see, by reference to the data I have given you (an example of the appointment of an external investigator by the PHSO) , that your response is far from a proper response to such a FOIA Request. This is the example, supported by ICO advice, that you should attempt to follow:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Please conform to the Act and provide requested the data on file at the time of the request, with regard to this appointment. And not, as I have stated, a newly written letter in response.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear JT Oakley
 
Further to your recent request for an internal review into our original
disclosure under ATISN 11784, please find attached a final response sent
on behalf of Mr Peter Greening.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Jamie
Jamie Jenkins
Rheolwr Gwybodaeth/Information Manager
Gwasanaethau Corfforaethol/Corporate Services
Swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog a Swyddfa’r Cabinet/Office of the First Minister
and Cabinet Office
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
 
 
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 - but this data seems to have no description of the process undertaken before Scottish contact was made.
There is no data on why an investigator from Scotland was chosen and clearly this would be within the scope of the process.

It cannot only be the friendly relationship the First Minister has with Nicola Sturgeon, so there must be reasons for choosing this avenue and reasons for supporting the decision. . For example - an investigator could have been chosen from England,.

Therefore there must have been data - previous to that supplied - on file discussing how this investigation was to be carried out .....and why Scotland was chosen.

Please provide it.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Dear Welsh Government,

Please not this request and it’s outcome.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Dear Welsh Government,

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politic...

Please note. Carwyn Jones’ emails would be covered by this request, if the equipment that he used is paid for by the public purse.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear JT Oakley
 
Further to your recent request for information, please find attached a
final disclosure letter sent on behalf of Mr Peter Greening.
 
Yours sincerely
Jamie
Jamie Jenkins
Rheolwr Gwybodaeth/Information Manager
Gwasanaethau Corfforaethol/Corporate Services
Swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog a Swyddfa’r Cabinet/Office of the First Minister
and Cabinet Office
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
 
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 - but that does not follow the previous decision made by the ICO on the recruitment of an external advisor by the PHSO.

I will therefore take it to the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

To: casework@ico.org.uk

Please only reply by email to save postal visits and the environment.

In any response please include my reference which is:

[Welsh Government procedure/s to appoint to investigator James Hamilton]

Thank you

:::::

1. Details of the organisation your concern is about
Organisation:  Welsh Government    
Contact name:  Jamie Jenkins

Address:  

 Rheolwr Gwybodaeth/Information Manager
Gwasanaethau Corfforaethol/Corporate Services
Swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog a Swyddfa’r Cabinet/Office of the First Minister
and Cabinet Office
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government   

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae

Pencoed

Bridgend

CF35 5LJ

Telephone: 0845 6010987 (local rate)

  
Email:  Email: ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk
    
2. Your relationship with the organisation
     
Member of the public

3. What is your concern?
Failure to provide all the documents requested.
Logically, if a proper process was followed, rather than the First Minster’s Office choosing the investigator, there must be more. Civil service advice on the governmental process must be on record.
And the response already admits data has been withheld.
The initial decision seems to have been made by the First Minister’s office - and by no proper independent process, which was the case in the PHSOmbudsnan investigation.
There must have been some data on file occurring before the data supplied, as well as other data. And it can be assumed that all of it is in the public interest.
===

The PHSO request...and outcome.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

==

WG states :

‘In this context, the civil servants and third parties were liaising with each

other as part of the normal course of business. In doing so, there would be no

expectation that their names or contact details would at any time be placed in

the public domain’.

- They don’t need to be. WG seems not to have considered REDACTION.

There is no explanation as to why this has not been considered in application

to the group of officers concerned. They are unlikely to be below the senior

officer grade.

Especially since they are likely to be the First Minister, senior officers, public

facing officers, or AM’s.

If the officials are not public facing they would be able to keep their anonymity.

Since it would be highly unlikely that the public would be able to identify them.
I would therefore like to read how the process was followed - from start to finish - not just the bits that the WG would like to consider secret.
Section 40(2) therefore does not apply.

===
Plus PUBLIC INTEREST should outweigh the need to withhold part of this process. I cannot see - if the WG is open and transparent - that it would wish to hide why the process to choose independent investigators for such a serious and important matter would be secret.

And why should the Welsh Government expect to retain more processing information than the Ombudsman?

Is it subject to a specific Welsh law?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

==

Something else. Please give details.
     
Please send us copies of relevant documents that support your concern.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

4. What have you done to raise your concern with the organisation?

Pointed out a previous ICO guidance on a similar appointment - an investigation into a public figure, who then resigned. It can be see. From the eventual data provided how the independent process was followed.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
     
Please send copies of any documents you have showing how you raised your concern with the organisation.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

5. What did the organisation say?
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

     
Please send copies of any documents you have showing the organisation’s response to your concern.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
6. Reference number

ATISN 11784 ac

Please tell us any reference number that the organisation has given you, eg account number, policy number etc.

As above.
     

Please only reply by email to save postal visits and the environment.

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Dear JT Oakley
 
Further to your request for information and the subsequent ICO complaint
referral, the original non-disclosure position (in relation to some of the
questions you submitted) has been reconsidered.  The attached refers.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Jamie
Jamie Jenkins
Rheolwr Gwybodaeth/Information Manager
Gwasanaethau Corfforaethol/Corporate Services
 
Grŵp yr Ysgrifennydd Parhaol/Permanent Secretary’s Group
Swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog/Office of the First Minister
 
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
 
 
 
 
Wrth adael Llywodraeth Cymru sganiwyd y neges yma am bob feirws. Mae
Llywodraeth Cymru yn diogelu eich data o ddifrif. Os cysylltwch â
Llywodraeth Cymru Mae ein hysbysiad [1]preifatrwydd esbonio sut rydym yn
defnyddio eich gwybodaeth a ffyrdd yr ydym yn diogelu eich preifatrwydd.
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. The Welsh Government takes the protection of your data
seriously. If you contact the Welsh Government then our [2]Privacy Notice
explains how we use your information and the ways in which we protect your
privacy. 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://gov.wales/about/welsh-government...
2. https://gov.wales/about/welsh-government...

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Carwyn Jones, First Minister
On November 23rd 2017, I announced that the Ministerial Code was to be revised, in order to provide for allegations that the Code has been breached to be referred to an independent adviser as a source of external and independent advice to me.

The Code does not prescribe the scope, format or conduct of any inquiry the Adviser may be asked to undertake. It is for the Adviser to determine how to act upon matters referred by the First Minister.

I agreed with James Hamilton, a current Independent Adviser to the Scottish Government, that he would accept a referral from me in relation to allegations that I breached the Ministerial Code.

On December 5th, I wrote to Mr Hamilton to ask for his advice on the allegation that I breached the Ministerial Code in relation to answers I gave to the National Assembly on November 11th 2014 and November 14th 2017.

Mr Hamilton has now completed his inquiry, and provided his advice to me in the form of a report. I am today laying the full report before the National Assembly without redaction (external link).

The ICO Decision :

17. In terms of the written documentation it has identified, the Welsh Government informed the Commissioner that conversations took place between the First Minister, two Senior Civil Servants and James Hamilton, which confirmed his appointment.

18. In terms of its searches, the Commissioner was informed that they included all Welsh Government mailboxes for each of the two Senior Civil Servants and Welsh Government officers. It added that it was not necessary to search under specific terms as there was so little electronic information available it has all been provided by the four individuals as they were aware of what information they had produced in relation to the request.

19. The Welsh Government has confirmed to the Commissioner that there is no additional information held in relation to this request, all electronic information has been provided with appropriate redactions of personal information.

20. The Welsh Government accepts that the lack of documented information would look suspicious to a requester and provided additional background information in the event of a similar situation arising in the future. It informed the Commissioner that it had announced by way of a Cabinet Statement that it would be undertaking arrangements to establish a panel of independent investigators with the process which commenced in June being on-going at the time.

21. Having considered the arguments put forward by the complainant, the details of the search and the Welsh Government’s rationale behind it, whilst there is less information than one might anticipate, the Commissioner considers the explanation is reasonable based on the unusual situation the Welsh Government found itself in at the time. She

Reference: FS50728247

also acknowledges that where two individuals sit in close proximity they are more likely to discuss arrangements verbally than to conduct a conversation via email. She has therefore concluded that based on the balance of probabilities, no further relevant is held. Consequently the Commissioner is satisfied that the Welsh Government has complied with its obligations in respect of section 1(1) FOIA.

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