Wirral councilors allowances including all outside bodies

john hardaker 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,As the end of the financial year was April 2013 I would be grateful if you could give me a full breakdown of all the councilors allowances including all the outside bodies such as transport,fire & rescue,police,NHS board payments Mayoral allowances & any other funds the councilors receive in the way of remuneration from the public purse.In previous years all allowances were shown on a consolidated spread sheet showing all the payments & not separately in obscure PDF files & they were also published in the local newspapers, can you also kindly clarify why the expenditure of public funds has be hidden from the general public who do not have access to computers. As usual I know you have a considerable workload on FOI requests but I assume treasury should have all this information readily to hand.
Thanking you ladies in advance

Yours faithfully,Jonathan Hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

4 Attachments

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your enquiry below.  Please see text below and also
attachments as our response and I trust the information is useful.

 

Regarding the Police and Crime Commissioners Panel, neither of Wirral's
two Councillors has been paid an allowance.  In terms of expenses, the
Panel Arrangements agreed in June 2012 placed an onus on Panel Members to
claim from their own authorities’ expenses schemes.  At the end of the
year, each of the authorities would then be expected to seek reimbursement
from Knowsley – the host authority.  To date Wirral has not received any
claims from our two representatives. 

 Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority's Members’ Allowance Payments for
2012/13 will be considered by the Authority at its AGM on 11^th June 2013
and published as part of that agenda.

The report is in the process of being prepared but please see attached the
list of the payments made to Members appointed from Wirral, which have
been processed by their payroll department.

Also attached are figures from Merseytravel in respect of allowances
received for the last financial year for Wirral Members.

 

If you click on the link below you will also see some allowance
information which may be useful to you.

[1]http://www.wirral.gov.uk/my-services/cou...

 

If people who do not have ready access to the Internet, there is free
provision, advice and guidance from our libraries and also our one stop
shops.  There is also the availability to inspect Council accounts on a
yearly basis and this is publicised through local newspaper adverts.

  

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information Manager

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

[2][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 From: john hardaker [mailto:[FOI #161328 email]]
Sent: 13 May 2013 17:49
To: InfoMgr, FinDMT
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Wirral councilors allowances
including all outside bodies

 

 

     Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,As the end of the

     financial year was April 2013 I would be grateful if you could give

     me a full breakdown of all the councilors allowances including all

     the outside bodies such as transport,fire & rescue,police,NHS board

     payments Mayoral allowances & any other funds the councilors

     receive in the way of remuneration from the public purse.In

     previous years all allowances were shown on a consolidated spread

     sheet showing all the payments & not separately in obscure PDF

     files & they were also published in the local newspapers, can you

     also kindly clarify why the expenditure of public funds has be

     hidden from the general public who do not have access to computers.

     As usual I know you have a considerable workload on FOI requests

     but I assume treasury should have all this information readily to

     hand.

     Thanking you ladies in advance

    

     Yours faithfully,Jonathan Hardaker

    

    

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Dear Corrin, Jane,Thank you so much for you prompt response to my request & I wish for further clarification on a couple of points
A. can you please advise the remuneration for councilors who are on the NHS management board?.
B.Can you please advise the initial of councilor Roberts code number 907501 as it is not clear which member it refers to.
C. In my original request I asked the question as to why the councilors consolidated remuneration packages were no longer published in the local newspapers as was in the past, as the monies these councilors are paid out of the public purse & I feel it is the public interest that the ratepayers of Wirral are entitled to know where their rates are being spent,can you please explain why they are not in the public domain rather than only on the council website.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation kind regards .

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

 Good Morning,

Thank you for your further enquiry below.  Please see text below as our
response and I trust the information is useful.

With regard to the NJS management board, you would have to make an FOI
request to the NHS; who, as a public body are subject to The Freedom of
Information Act 2000. It is not something that is included in the
Council's Scheme of Members' Allowances.

 The only Councillor Roberts we have is Denise Roberts.

Because we publish the amount of Members' Allowances paid on our Council's
website, we are putting the information into the public domain.  This is
the modern way of demonstrating our openness and transparency, making it
easily available on our web pages.  For those people who do not have ready
access to the Internet at home there is free access via our libraries or
our one stop shop staff will be happy to assist customers.  

         

     Kind Regards

     Jane Corrin

     Information Manager

     Transformation and Resources

     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.

   

    

 

From: john hardaker [mailto:[FOI #161328 email]]

Sent: 28 May 2013 11:27

To: Corrin, Jane

Subject: Re: FW: FOI 666894 - Jonathan Hardaker - Wirral councilors
allowances including all outside bodies

 

 

     Dear Corrin, Jane,Thank you so much for you prompt response to my
request & I wish for further clarification on a couple of points

 

A. can you please advise the remuneration for councilors who are on the
NHS management board?.

     B.Can you please advise the initial of councilor Roberts code number
907501 as it is not clear which member it refers to.

     C. In my original request I asked the question as to why the
councilors consolidated remuneration packages were no longer published in
the local newspapers as was in the past, as the monies these councilors
are paid out of the public purse & I feel it is the public interest that
the ratepayers of Wirral are entitled to know where their rates are being
spent,can you please explain why they are not in the public domain rather
than only on the council website.

     Thanking you in advance for your cooperation kind regards .

    

     Yours sincerely,

    

     john hardaker

    

    

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,Dear Jane thank you for the latest tranche of information & I do not agree that disclosure on the councils website is as open & transparent as you seem to indicate.
Going back several years the payments to all councilors was on a consolidated spread sheet showing all the allowances on all the committee's they served on including mayoral expenses & was published in the local press for the whole of the rate paying public to see exactly how much in total each councilor was paid & a grand total of all the allowances.
If the council want to be open & transparent why has the practice of not publishing the figures for all to see? or do I forward with your permission the exchange above to the local press for them to investigate .
I realize that these documents are subject to copyright
& the last thing I want to do would be to infringe this so a simple answer as to why they are not publicly published & why the practice was stopped would be very much appreciated .
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
Thank you for your further enquiry below. The Council has followed the
good practice guide as issued by our Regulator for Freedom of
Information, The Information Commissioner; with regard to how we make
information available.
Please see their text below and I trust the information is useful.


www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/freedom...
n_scheme Does all the information have to be on a website?

No, but if you have a website this is the easiest way for most people to
access the information and will reduce your workload. The scheme
recommends that information should be on a website wherever possible.
However, some information may not suitable for uploading to a website,
such as information that is held only in hard copy or very large files.
The ICO appreciates that some small public authorities will not have the
technical resources to support complex or regularly updated websites.

Where information is not available online, you must still list the
information in your guide to information and give contact details so
people can make a request to see it. You should provide this promptly on
request. You should also make information available in this way for
people who lack access to the internet.

Some information may be available to view in person only, but this
should be reserved for those exceptional circumstances where it is the
only practicable option. For example, a large or fragile historical map
may be difficult to copy. You should provide contact details and
promptly arrange an appointment for the requester to view the
information they have asked for.

The ICO recommends that you give the contact details of post holders who
are responsible for specific types or pieces of information because they
can easily access that information in their normal work and answer any
questions about it. Making defined post holders responsible for specific
pieces of information helps keep the information you publish up to date.

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Transformation and Resources
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.

show quoted sections

Dear Corrin, Jane, thank you so much for your kind explanation to my question & may I refer you to HM revenue & customs notice EMI 65960 Local government councilors & civic dignitaries in England OPDM guidance part one members allowances & in particular section 83 I will not repeat it all but leave you to read the section which clearly states that information given by the remuneration panel on councilors allowances MUST be published in at least one newspaper circulating in the area.
Unless I am mistaken Wirral have not complied with these regulations for some considerable time & I would like you to take this matter further with your Legal & HR department to obtain definitive view on the above captioned HMRC notice & let me have further clarification.
If I have misread the HMRC notice please forgive me but
your further guidance would be very much appreciated,kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your further email, I will raise the matter with our Legal and Member Services section and contact you again shortly with their response.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear Corrin, Jane,Thank you so much for your prompt reply & I look forward to hearing from you once your legal department has had a chance to look at the HMRC notice. Thanks again cheers john hardaker

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Dear Corrin, Jane, good morning Jane the 21 days have now elapsed on my FOI request & with the best will in the world you Legal department should have had time to study the HMRC notice applicable to the publication of councilors allowances & their publication in full in the local press.
I would be grateful if you could chase up my enquiry as a matter of urgency as I would not wish the council to go to the expense of an internal review on this matter.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation kind regards.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
Thank you for your email below, please accept my apologies for not
responding to you within time. I will make enquiries and get back to
you shortly.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear Corrin, Jane,Thank you Jane for your prompt response to my enquiry & let us hope "Legal" have had time to come up with a definitive response, again thanks in advance kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Dear Corrin, Jane,Hi whilst sunning myself in south wales with a well earned holiday silly me took my laptop along to follow the news & I am quite sorry to see that my request of the 9th July has not been answered some 10 working days after my follow up which was well overdue in the first place.
Surely your legal department has had more than enough time to digest the above mentioned HMRC statutory notice & give me a response.
As stated in my previous email I do not wish to put the council to the expense of an internal review nor refer the matter to the ICO so if you could kindly chase up this information for & clarify the rules on the public being informed in the local press of all the councilors
allowances on all bodies I would be obliged.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your email below, I shall make further enquiries regarding
your request and get back to you. Thank you for your patience.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

show quoted sections

Dear Corrin, Jane,My request for information has now been delayed for a further 8 days in addition to the already 31 days I have already waited making a total of 39 without a positive response.
Unless I have a reply by friday of this week I will have no option but request an internal review & complain to the ICO .
I think I have given your legal department enough time to read & digest the HMRC notice regarding the publication in local press of all councilors allowances in accordance with the rules.
Having checked other councils who have complied I wonder what is taking wirral so long to comply
Thanking you in anticipation of your early reply regards John hardaker.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your email below. I will respond to you by Friday this
week and I thank you for your patience in this matter.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

show quoted sections

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

2 Attachments

  • Attachment

    PublicNotice memberallowance.pdf

    19K Download

  • Attachment

    122FEB08 PubNot MemAll27.2.08Globe.pdf

    20K Download

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your request below and apologies for the delay in responding
to you.  When the scheme is amended we are required to publish in at least
one local newspaper as per the HMRC regulations.  Please see attached 2
local newspaper adverts from when the scheme was last amended in 2008.

I hope the information is useful to you and apologies again for the delay.

 Kind regards

Jane Corrin

Information and Central Services Manager

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

 

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

From: john hardaker [mailto:[FOI #161328 email]]

Sent: 31 July 2013 17:35

To: Corrin, Jane

Subject: RE: FW: FOI 666894 - Jonathan Hardaker - Wirral councilors
allowances including all outside bodies

 

Dear Corrin, Jane, My request for information has now been delayed for a
further 8 days in addition to the already 31 days I have already waited
making a total of 39 without a positive response.

Unless I have a reply by friday of this week I will have no option but
request an internal review & complain to the ICO .

I think I have given your legal department enough time to read & digest
the HMRC notice regarding the publication in local press of all councilors
allowances in accordance with the rules.

Having checked other councils who have complied I wonder what is taking
wirral so long to comply 

Thanking you in anticipation of your early reply regards John hardaker.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

john hardaker

 

show quoted sections

Dear Corrin, Jane,Thank you for the information which doe's not satisfy me in any way shape or form.
My question was for the publication of all the councilors allowances for all the committee's the sit on to be published in the local press rather than scant guidelines from several years ago which doe's not show what individual councilor's earn by way of allowances.
You publish these on the council website whereas by HMRC regulations state they should be published in full in the local press at least once a year.
Wirral council claims openness & accountability & i feel your legal/finance departments are trying to hide what councilors earn.
If no definitive response is received I will have no alternative but to ask for an internal review & further refer the matter to the ICO.
I know you are only passing on information from on high but both myself & the general pubic are entitled to know this information by law, other councils are open & above board in publishing this information so why not wirral.
Thanking you in advance in anticipation of your early reply regards john hardaker

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your email below, I shall make enquiries for you and get back to you as soon as possible.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

show quoted sections

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your further email below.  Please see the HMRC extract below
with regard to your enquiry

 

"The regulations require that as soon as reasonably practicable after
receiving a report from their panel which sets out the panels
recommendations, local authorities must ensure that copies of the report
are available for inspection at their principal office at all reasonable
hours. Local authorities must also, as soon as reasonably practicable
after they receive the report publish a notice in at least one newspaper
circulating in their area."

 

The publication in the local newspaper is only when the panel makes a
recommendation, such as a change to the scheme.  The last change to the
Wirral Scheme was in 2008 and the details were published in the local
press, as sent to you yesterday.

 

The Councillors allowances themselves do not have to be published on a
yearly basis in a local newspaper.  They are however published on our
WebPages as previously referenced to you.

 

I hope this information is useful to you.

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information and Central Services Manager

 

Transformation and Resources

Information and Central Services

Wallasey Town Hall

Brighton Street

Wallasey

Wirral

Merseyside

CH44 8ED

[email address]

 

 

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Dear Corrin, Jane,Hi Jane suggest your legal departmen read HMRC notice EIM65960 item 87 which clearly states that councilors allowances must repeat must be published in the press in full,& whilst the council notice in 2008 published a small part in complying with the regulation the council have failed to comply with the rest of HMRC rules since 2008.
Whilst I appreciate you are only being told what to reply officers have failed to make public the true facts as to what councilors are paid.
Can I just say in closing if I do not have a satisfactory answer I will ask for an internal review &
take the matter to the ICO as well as HMRC as the council & its officers are not complying with the law of the land. Kind regards John Hardaker.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your email below. I have copied and pasted the item 87 from the HMRC website which states:

"The final publicity requirement in the regulations is that as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of a year to which a scheme relates, local authorities must make arrangements for the publication in their area of the total sum paid by it to each member in respect of basic, special responsibility, travelling and subsistence, co-optees' and dependants' carers' allowances."

Wirral Council do "make arrangements for the publication in their area" as we interpret this as making the information available via the Internet in our one stop shops and libraries, free of charge.
Obviously it is also available to anyone who has Internet access at home etc.

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central services Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear Corrin, Jane,Thanks for your response & again I repeat that I am not happy with the answer you have been passed down from senior officers ,having reread HMRC notice especially paragraphs 87 & 88 I think the council are trying to dodge the issue of making public councilors allowances & hiding behind the fact that they are on the website & not in the general public domain by way of being read in the local press.
I know from reading the various files what councilors earn & I feel that the council are deliberately trying to hide the facts from the public who through their rates pay these allowances to the councilors.
I propose taking up the matter with HMRC for legal clarification & can I respectfully suggest that your officers do the same,
Wirral council are supposed to be open & transparent & not as in the above case trying to hide the facts how ratepayers money is being spent.
Awaiting your further news on the subject,kind regards
John hardaker

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
Thank you for your further email below.
The Council believes it is complying with its statutory duty in how it
publicises councillors allowances. If HMRC were to contact us with a
conflicting view then we would of course review their advice and correct
our procedures were necessary.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear Corrin, Jane, Good afternoon Jane may I refer to the above exchange & firstly I contacted HMRC for clarification who passed me on the Department for communities & local government who responded to my request under reference HMRC notice EIM65960 yesterday & they have confirmed that your view of the publication of councillors allowances is incorrect & by law these allowances must repeat must be published in their entirety in the local press once a year, that is all their allowances for all the bodies they sit on as well as travelling, carers, subsistence coop-tees allowances in other words all the funds paid by the local authority.
The DGLC are the definitive body who govern all councils & whilst the publication of these figures may not be palatable by the councillors it is the law of the land that they are made public & can I suggest your legal department check the DGLC information in the above mentioned correspondence & confirm that at the end of the financial year the figures are posted in either the Wirral globe &/or the Birkenhead News all editions to comply with DGLC regulations.
Awaiting the favour of your early response as I would not want to involve the DGLC in enforcing the regulations upon you.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

I am away from the office  and unable to pick up emails. If you have an
urgent query please use the contact details below, related to the service
area you require:-

Freedom of Information email  [Wirral Borough Council request email] 
or call 691 8201

GIS enquiries call 606 2026

Records Management enquiries call 606 2923

Archives enquiries call 606 2922

Postal enquiries or Wallasey Based Records call 691 8272

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager

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Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your further email below. Wirral Council stands by the
previous responses it has given in relation to this enquiry. We believe
we are complying with our statutory duty.

As previously stated, if HMRC were to contact us with a conflicting
view, then we would of course review the advice they gave us.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

From: john hardaker [mailto:[FOI #161328 email]]
Sent: 14 November 2013 14:14
To: Corrin, Jane
Subject: RE: FOI 666894 - Jonathan Hardaker - Wirral councilors
allowances including all outside bodies

Dear Corrin, Jane, Good afternoon Jane may I refer to the above exchange
& firstly I contacted HMRC for clarification who passed me on the
Department for communities & local government who responded to my
request under reference HMRC notice EIM65960 yesterday & they have
confirmed that your view of the publication of councillors allowances is
incorrect & by law these allowances must repeat must be published in
their entirety in the local press once a year, that is all their
allowances for all the bodies they sit on as well as travelling, carers,
subsistence coop-tees allowances in other words all the funds paid by
the local authority.
The DGLC are the definitive body who govern all councils & whilst the
publication of these figures may not be palatable by the councillors it
is the law of the land that they are made public & can I suggest your
legal department check the DGLC information in the above mentioned
correspondence & confirm that at the end of the financial year the
figures are posted in either the Wirral globe &/or the Birkenhead News
all editions to comply with DGLC regulations.
Awaiting the favour of your early response as I would not want to
involve the DGLC in enforcing the regulations upon you.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

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Dear Wirralwho 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 'Wirral councilors allowances including all outside bodies'.

Hi Jane thank you for your response & if you would care to read my email again you will see that the information came from the Department of local government who have taken over the governance of the HMRC notice & who you as a council are responsible too, & as such you are to take instruction from them & comply with their instructions & publish the full extent of councillors allowances in the local press in accordance with their edict .
I will be emailing the department of local government stating your refusal to publish the figures & will involve them in my Foi request.
I await the results of my request for an internal review & failing a positive response I will contact the information commissioner for his view on my request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

Yours faithfully,

john hardaker

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your further email below. The Council conducted a full
review of your request before the latest response was sent to you on 22
November 2013. (This review was done even though not specifically
requested by you.)

The review concluded that the Council will stand by the responses it has
given on this subject. If the Council is contacted by HMRC or The
Department for Communities & Local Government in relation to how we are
carrying out our statutory duties in this regard, then we will of course
follow any instruction received directly from them.

If you remain dissatisfied with this response to your request for an
Internal Review then you have the right to complain to the ICO, details
available at this link. https://www.ico.org.uk/Global/contact_us

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT, Hi Jane I have written to DCLG asking them to contact yourselves clarifying the legal obligation under the regulations & I will contact you as soon as I have their response, in the meantime thank you for response.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT, Hi Jane based on my response from the DCLG & their advice I have passed my request on to the information commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

john hardaker