Your Merton Survey - long term access to information

The request was successful.

Dear Merton Borough Council,

Merton Council leader Mark Allison has said the Your Merton survey was “the biggest conversation the council has ever held” and it will “ensure residents’ views shape the decisions the council makes about Merton’s future .” (https://news.merton.gov.uk/2021/11/24/re...)

Yet the Council plans to remove the link to the survey and responses in May 2022.

When the Council Leader is so firm and clear about the importance of the survey and its role in shaping council decision, it is important that the public responses to the survey remain accessible in the long term in the interests of democratic accountability and transparency.

Therefore will Merton Council:

1. Host the full web pages, including responses and this page https://engagingmerton.commonplace.is/ov... and the survey questions and responses at its own web site, for the long term.

2. Provide in response to this request as a .csv file the responses to all the non map-related questions, per question, so that it is possible to relate responses to each question.

3. Provide in response to this request the responses to the “Your places in Merton” question in a way that makes it easy to relate the responses to the locations identified by respondents on the map.

Yours faithfully,

Sandra Vogel

foi, Merton Borough Council

Thank you for your email message. We aim to respond to all requests under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 within 20 working days. More information about the way we
deal with information requests is on our web site at
[1]www.merton.gov.uk/foi
 
Information Governance Team
London Borough of Merton.
020 8545 4634
 
 
 

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References

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1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/foi

foi, Merton Borough Council

2 Attachments

 

 

Dear Sandra Vogel

Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations
2004 Information request

 

We have now considered your information request as set out below. 

 

You asked:

 

1.      Host the full web pages, including responses and this page
[1]https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url...
and the survey questions and responses at its own web site, for the long
term. – This is not possible as the site uses a specific product,
Commonplace, that the Council has a 12 month license to use.
2.      Provide in response to this request as a .csv file the responses
to all the non map-related questions, per question, so that it is possible
to relate responses to each question. This is attached but please note is
does not include responses from those who chose to remain anonymous.

3.      Provide in response to this request the responses to the “Your
places in Merton” question in a way that makes it easy to relate the
responses to the locations identified by respondents on the map. This is
attached but again anonymous responses have been removed.  Locations are
provided in a longitude and latitude format.

 

If you have any queries or concerns about this please contact us.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request or wish to
appeal against the decision to exempt any part of your request, you should
request an Internal Review at [2][Merton Borough Council request email] or write in to Freedom
of Information team, Merton Council, Civic Centre, Morden, SM4 5DX.

 

If you escalate to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) without
following the council’s internal review process, the ICO will refer you
back to the council to enable the correct process to be followed.

 

You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.  Telephone:  0303 123 1113.  Website: [3]www.ico.org.uk

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Governance

Information Team

Merton Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for replying to my request.

The responses to all three of my requests require further attention.

Request 1
It is my understanding from the use of Commonplace by many other local authorities, that URLs remain available and accessible in the long term, and thus that Merton Council can retain the link to the survey results long term. Please confirm, therefore, that you will do this.

Requests 2 and 3
The responses you have provided do not contain any personal details. Therefore they are all anonymous. To take one question as an example, you have provided 276 comments in response to the Life In Your Local Area question, and 283 comments are accessible online at the survey results page. All 283 comments are in the public domain today, and have been since the survey closed. Therefore should be included in your disclosure in response to this request. The same argument pertains to every question in the survey. Please provide all responses to questions 2 and 3.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Vogel

foi, Merton Borough Council

Thank you for your email message. We aim to respond to all requests under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 within 20 working days. More information about the way we
deal with information requests is on our web site at
[1]www.merton.gov.uk/foi
 
Information Governance Team
London Borough of Merton.
020 8545 4634
 
 
 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/foi

foi, Merton Borough Council

Dear Mrs Vogel,

Thank you for your email. I have spoken to the team responsible for providing the response and they have advised that;

Request 1:

The contractor has advised that the page will remain archived meaning people can no longer comment but all previous comments will still be available to view. Merton Council will no longer be able to access the dataset.

Request 2 and 3:

There are 283 comments under the Life In Your Local Area question. The response provided excluded the responses from the respondents who did not agree to their answers being published. Given that an FOI response is a public disclosure these responses were withheld.

If you have any further queries/concerns please let me know.

Kind regards

Michael Cook

Michael Cook
Information Governance Officer
Information Governance Team
Merton Council
www.merton.gov.uk

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Dear foi,

Thank you for your reply.

Request 1
Thank you for confirming what I stated, that all previous comments will be available to view.

What I am asking is that you do not take the link to the survey results down, but in fact keep it live in perpetuity. I understand that this is usual practice for users of Commonplace.

Please confirm that Merton Council will do this, so that public access to the survey responses, in a form which is easily understood and at a place which is easy to find, continues.

Request 2 and 3
Can you clarify that all 283 responses to the Life In Your Local Area question are currently online and viewable to anyone?

If the answer to that is "yes, all 283 responses are currently online" then that is a public disclosure, and all 283 responses should also be shared in response to this request.

Please note that the Life in Your Local Area is used as an example, and the same request to disclose all responses that are already available online should be inferred from my request.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Vogel

foi, Merton Borough Council

Thank you for your email message. We aim to respond to all requests under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 within 20 working days. More information about the way we
deal with information requests is on our web site at
[1]www.merton.gov.uk/foi
 
Information Governance Team
London Borough of Merton.
020 8545 4634
 
 
 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/foi

foi, Merton Borough Council

Dear Mrs Vogel,

Thank you for your email. I have spoken to the officers involved and they have advised that:

The Commonplace site will remain available to view at its current location in its current format. We have provided all the data that is already in the public domain in the spreadsheets previously provided.

Kind regards

Michael Cook

Michael Cook
Information Governance Officer
Information Governance Team
Merton Council
www.merton.gov.uk

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