Whistleblowing

The request was successful.

Dear Publica Group (Support) Ltd,

Please provide me with a copy of the following information:

1) The number of concerns that have been raised with Publica by whistleblowers during the past 3 calendar years.

For clarity, I am interested in concerns raised by employees or third party contractors.

I would like this information broken down by calendar year if possible, but a breakdown by financial year would also be acceptable.

Yours faithfully,

Helen Cross

Enquiries, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Dear Ms cross

Thank you for your mail.

Can I ask that you please submit your enquiry via our website. The FOI process has recently changed and we have a form that will ask for all the information we need to process this.

Here is the link

https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/about-the-co...

Many Thanks
Andrea

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Andrea,

Thank you for your email.

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires that a request be made in writing, include the requester’s name and an address for correspondence; and describe the information being requested. I believe that my request in its current form satisfies all these requirements.

I have checked with the Information Commissioner's Office this morning, and they told me that whilst a public authority can request that a form is filled in, I am not obliged to do this.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would confirm that you intend to process my request for information.

Many thanks in advance for your assistance,

Helen Cross

Good Morning,

I'm writing to ask for an update on the progress of this request. The 20 working day deadline was reached on 4 May 2022, so I would appreciate it if you could provide a response as soon as possible.

Many thanks in advance,

Helen Cross

Helen Cross left an annotation ()

I have complained to the ICO

Enquiries, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Morning Helen,

Did you fill in the online form as per below?
After you filled in did you get an email response to confirm and did this have an email to be able to respond to?

Kind Regards
Andrea

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Andrea,

Thanks for getting back to me.

As I previously informed you, I took advice from the Information Commissioner's Office who told me that I was not obliged to fill in the webform for my request to be valid, so I did not do so.

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires only that a request be made in writing, include the requester’s name and an address for correspondence; and describe the information being requested. I believe that my request clearly met all of these requirements, and therefore should have been answered.

I would appreciate it if a response could be provided as soon as possible.

Many thanks in advance,

Helen Cross

Enquiries, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Hi Helen,

I'm so sorry, I seem to have missed your last email saying this.
I have forwarded your request to the FOI team and explained the situation.
I have asked if there is any way it can be dealt with quicker.
Someone from their team will be in touch with you.
I do apologise again.

Kind Regards
Andrea

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DoNotReply FOI, Publica Group (Support) Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Helen Cross

Further to your request, please find a response attached.  Please accept
our apologies for the delay in providing this response.

If you are not content with the outcome of the response, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the review procedure
provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information 

 

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Good Afternoon,

Thank you for providing a response to my request. Would you kindly clarify whether or not you have a procedure for conducting an internal review. The message I received mentions "the review procedure provided by the Council" but Publica Group (Support) Ltd is not a Council, so I am unclear as to what my options are

Many thanks in advance for your continued assistance.

Kind Regards,

Helen Cross

Enquiries, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Hi Helen,
I have forwarded this mail to the FOI team dealing with your query
If I can be of any more assistance please do let me know.
Kind Regards
Andrea

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Good Afternoon,

I was wondering if you had heard anything more from the FOI team? They wrote to me using a do not reply email address, so unfortunately it is not possible for me to contact them directly myself. There is a statutory time limit for requesting an internal review, so I do need to know what the procedure is as soon as is practically possible.

In addition, the ICO have asked me to obtain written confirmation as to which public authority has responded to my request. This is due to the fact that, although I made an FOI request to Publica, I was directed to complete a webform belonging to West Oxfordshire District Council, and the response that I was provided with also mentioned a council.

Many thanks in advance for your continued assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Cross

Enquiries, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Hi Helen,

I have forwarded your mail to the FOI team.

Many Thanks
Andrea

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DoNotReply FOI, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Dear Helen Cross

 

Further to your email of the 18 May 2022, Publica is a local authority
owned company who deliver services on behalf of four district councils. 
Most of the requests we receive relate to the councils themselves and the
services we deliver on their behalf and therefore are responded to by the
relevant authority.

 

However, as the body responsible for the employment of staff we are aware
that there are a small number of FOI requests which require a response
directly from Publica.  Requests which relate to employment functions or
to the governance arrangements of Publica can be emailed to:
[1][Publica Group (Support) Limited request email]

 

If upon receipt of a response from Publica you wish to request a review
you can email the Business Manager for Corporate Responsibility:
[2][email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information

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Dear Publica Group (Support) Ltd,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews. I understand that this is the Business Manager for Corporate Responsibility, Claire Hughes.

I am writing to request an internal review of Publica Group (Support) Ltd's handling of my FOI request 'Whistleblowing'. A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

I am dissatisfied because Publica failed to provide a valid response to my request for information within 20 working days of the request being received. In order to comply with Section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, public authorities must respond to requests for information promptly, and by the twentieth working day following the date of receipt of the request.

I am also unhappy that Publica failed to treat my email as containing a valid request for information when it was received. Instead of logging and processing my request, I was directed to complete a web form belonging to another public authority. I have spoken to the Information Commissioner's Office, and they confirmed that whilst a public authority can request that a form is filled in, there is no obligation for a requester to do this.

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires that a request be made in writing, include the requester’s name and an address for correspondence; and describe the information being requested. I believe that my request clearly satisfied all of these requirements, and should have been processed on receipt.

Further, the response I received from Publica did not set out clearly what the authority's internal review procedure was, or indeed, whether Publica had one at all. The use of a "Do not reply" email address by the FOI team made it difficult to quickly obtain further information about this point, as I had to rely on my messages being passed on.

Yours faithfully,

Helen Cross

Enquiries, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Dear Helen,

Your mail has been forwarded to Claire Hughes.

Kind Regards

Andrea

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Claire Hughes, Publica Group (Support) Limited

Dear Helen

Thank you for contacting Publica to request a review of the handling of
your FOI request.

Upon reviewing your request I can see that you clearly made a request to
Publica Group (Support) Limited for information regarding whistleblowing.
 This was sent to the Publica enquiries email address and was picked up by
one of our customer services team.  It was clear that your request was to
Publica and not one of our partner councils and therefore I apologise for
the fact that you were directed to the West Oxfordshire District Council
form.

Despite the issues surrounding the handling of the request I understand
that the information you sought has been provided and as requested I can
confirm that the response was provided by Publica.  However, I further
acknowledge that the internal review procedure was not made clear to you
and again I offer my apologies. I can confirm that this has now been
rectified and relevant staff are aware that any requests for reviews
relating to Publica should be passed directly to myself.

With regards to our use of the form I acknowledge that the council cannot
insist on its use.  However, this process was implemented to improve the
customer experience.  By working through the questions the customer will
often find that the information they seek is already in the public domain
and the form will direct the customer to this, thereby negating the need
to wait up to 20 working days for a response.  Of course we appreciate
that not everyone can, or wants to use the form, and where this is the
case FOI requests can still be made via the customer service teams.

Once again please accept my apologies for the way your request was
handled.

Yours sincerely

Claire Hughes

Claire Hughes
Business Manager - Corporate Responsibility​

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