Spin Me a Dream – WBC and FOI

CHUCKLE-BROTHERS

Now as you know we’ve covered some mindboggling stories about Wirral Council but this latest one can only be described in the words of Eldritch as a “complete clusterfuck”.

This story is concerned with what at first to be a fairly straightforward Freedom of Information request made by a certain I.Sevova on the always informative Whatdotheyknow website.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/martin_morton_gagging_clause_dir#incoming-361696

The original request was made in July 2012 but was eventually refused in it’s entirety by Wirral Council in February 2013, seemingly with a triumphal cry of  :”Oh give over I.Sevova” .

The annotations linked to this request (including from a certain M.Morton esq) are fascinating in themselves. However one part of the request that was refused that is particularly curious is the refusal of a copy of the infamous Martin Smith report into Bullying ,Harassment & Abuse of Power at Wirral Council.

This report has been freely available on Wirral Council’s own website at various times since February 2012 ( itself nearly 12 months after it was completed in April 2011).

So why the refusal? .

We at Leaky Towers think this story is instructive on two counts because not only does it demonstrate that Wirral Council is in dire need of an anatomy lesson as they don’t seem to know their arse from their elbow and secondly it shows exactly who wields power in the Town Hall.

Additionally, dare we suggest it isn’t the wisest move during a time that Wirral Council is the only local authority in the land to be subject to close scrutiny by the Information Commissioners Office because of their woeful response to FOI requests that they choose to mess about with people making requests in the public interest.

Consequently I.Sevova had to appeal to the ICO to get a copy of the Martin Smith report and needless to say Wirral Council caved in –  after the usual comedy of errors played out in all it’s agonising glory here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/refused_martin_smith_report_ico#incoming-371275

However in what seems to be an inadvertent peak into how things work behind the scenes

someone has accidentally leaked the internal bureaucratic machinations leading to the report’s release . The link to which is here :

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/152812/response/370455/attach/4/FW%20604310%20Freedom%20of%20Information%20request%20Refused%20Martin%20Smith%20Report.ICO%20Case%20Reference%20Number%20FS50484498.html

However I think it is useful to print the exchange fully before it disappears and at the same time ask the following questions :

A) Why is the Head of Tourism approving the release of information to the public?

B) Who is this Turgid Wotsit person?

C) Why would anyone in their right mind want a copy of the Martin Smith report ?.There’s black marker pen all over it. Even Lady Justine (who admittedly likes the gee-gees) laughed when Eldritch said ” That report has got more black -type than fucking Frankel’s formbook”

As ever scroll down to the bottom and prepare to be gobsmacked !.

Please send this one out,

Thanks

Matthew Humble, Business & Performance Manager
Wirral Council
Telephone number: 0151 666 4513
e-mail: xxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx
Fax: 0151 666 4338

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk
—–Original Message—–
From: Porter, Julie On Behalf Of Degg, Emma J.
Sent: 15 March 2013 09:28
To: Humble, Matthew; Tour, Surjit
Cc: InfoMgr, FinDMT; Lyon, Rosemary A.
Subject: RE: 604310 Freedom of Information request – Refused Martin Smith Report. ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498

Hi Matthew

Emma has approved this FOI.

Thanks

Julie

Julie Porter
Wirral Council
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED
Tel: 0151 691 8235
Email: xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx
Fax: 0151 691 8188

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

Please save paper and print out only what is necessary

—–Original Message—–
From: Humble, Matthew
Sent: 12 March 2013 16:28
To: Tour, Surjit; Degg, Emma J.
Cc: InfoMgr, FinDMT; Lyon, Rosemary A.
Subject: FW: 604310 Freedom of Information request – Refused Martin Smith Report. ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498

Hello Surjit & Emma,

Please find attached a response to an Internal Review request,

Regards,

Matthew Humble, Business & Performance Manager
Wirral Council
Telephone number: 0151 666 4513
e-mail: xxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx
Fax: 0151 666 4338

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

—–Original Message—–
From: O’Hare, Tracy J. On Behalf Of InfoMgr, FinDMT
Sent: 12 March 2013 14:22
To: Humble, Matthew
Cc: Corrin, Jane; InfoMgr, FinDMT; Lyon, Rosemary A.
Subject: FW: 604310 Freedom of Information request – Refused Martin Smith Report. ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/refused_martin_smith_report_ico – (open on WDTK)
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/martin_morton_gagging_clause_dir#comment-36210 -(Requester has closed as refused on WDTK)

Good Afternoon

Please see request below:
Rosemary has confirmed with ICO – The internal review process is not exhausted regards this request.

Rosemary has asked if you can reply with the redacted M Smith report.

We have not issued this a new CRM number at this time.

Can you let information management, know of a time frame to complete in order for request to be acknowledged.

Many thanks, kind regards

Tracy O’Hare
FOI Co-ordinator
Information Management

TEL: 0151 691 8397
PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Re: ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498 Martin Smith Report

The ICO have advised me that you will conduct another internal
review regarding the following FOI request that was recently
refused, with particular reference to the redacted Martin Smith
report;

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/martin_morton_gagging_clause_dir#comment-36210

Please provide the redacted Smith report as soon as possible and
please bear in mind that I have already waited a very long time.
You appear to have erroneously refused this request as according to
commentators who added annotations, this report has previously been
in the public domain.

As well as the report, please inform me as to the reason WHY this
part of my request was refused? The refusal makes me suspect that
Wirral Council do not always conduct internal reviews with due
rigour.

***Please acknowledge this request and give me an approximate time
frame

Yours faithfully,

I. Sevova

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3 thoughts on “Spin Me a Dream – WBC and FOI

  1. A
    Q) Why is the Head of Tourism approving the release of information to the public?

    Answer: She’s not the “Head of Tourism”, under the new (and old) senior management structure she has the rather longer title of “Head of Communication and Community Engagement”.

  2. Thanks Mr.Brace but why do we get ” Poor little me I’m just the Head of Tourism,I don’t get involved in all that nasty political stuff,honestly” rhetoric when it suits?.

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