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Posted by: John Brace | 26th August 2014

UPDATED: EXCLUSIVE: 90 Incredible Lyndale School Closure Consultation Responses

EXCLUSIVE: 90 Incredible Lyndale School Closure Consultation Responses

                             

Phil Ward (Wirral Council's SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014 (who chaired the consultation meeting at Acre Lane on the 16th June)

Phil Ward (Wirral Council’s SEN Lead) at a later meeting of Wirral Schools Forum 2nd July 2014 (who chaired the consultation meeting at Acre Lane on the 16th June and is referred to in some of the responses)

It’s not often there’s a “stop the presses” moment here or as this is an online publication “stop the electrons” moment. Yesterday I had planned to write about the Hoylake RNLI Open Day today.

Many moons ago (on the 29th June 2014) I made a Freedom of Information Act request for the consultation responses to the consultation about closing Lyndale School. Rather predictably the answer from Wirral Council on 29th July was “no”, we’re going to publish these in the future.

On July 14th, this blog published the Lyndale parents’ response to the consultation, on 30th July a response from some parents of a child at Stanley School and on August 12th Cllr Phil Gilchrist’s response.

The Green Party also published their response on their website.

However this was just four responses out of ninety that were known about. I was always curious about what the other eighty-six were! The following documents should show this. Sadly Wirral Council has taken it upon itself to black out a lot of the detail such as who the responses are from, however the other details can allow you to guess at who some of the names are. Apologies over some parts being hard to read, I think as part of the redaction some quality has been lost and a few are handwritten responses. I’ll try my best to type up some of the harder to read sections.

Wirral Council will be publishing these responses as part of the Cabinet papers by Thursday. UPDATE: Wirral Council will now not be publishing the consultation responses as part of the Cabinet papers. Apologies for this, in previous consultations they had published the consultation responses with the papers for those making the decision and Wirral Council had stated they would publish the responses but seemingly either changed their mind or lied. The responses are split by which category they came from into ten files and provide an interesting insight as to what was going on behind the scenes both during the consultation and as far back as the call in meeting. The way the consultation meetings were conducted comes in for criticism, so does the claim in the consultation documents that staff would be redeployed.

Elleray others (4 pages)

Elleray parents (6 pages)

Lyndale governors (16 pages)

Lyndale others (36 pages)

Lyndale parents (100 pages)

Lyndale staff (22 pages)

Other governors (4 pages)

Others (96 pages)

Stanley others (10 pages)

Stanley parents (10 pages)

UPDATE The text of the handwritten responses (some of which can be hard to read) and one typed response which has poor contrast with the background making it hard to read can be read here.

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Responses

  1. “Open and transparent Wirral Council.”

    Not only do they black out the names of the participants, they black out the existence of 86 genuine responses to their so-called “consultation”.

    Cruel, callous villains.

    • Yes, Wirral Council does aim to be “open and transparent”.

      Earlier this year I made a Freedom of Information Act request to DCLG for the consultation responses to the draft regulations on the filming public meetings law.

      DCLG as Wirral Council has, blacked out a lot of the names, but after an internal review released a number of the names they had previously blacked out (such as the name of a councillor who was Chair of Hampshire Fire Authority).

      Some of the names in the Lyndale Consultation responses to give one example such as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Wirral South are easy enough to find out, the same goes for blacked out names of councillors where the ward and phone number has been helpfully left in!

      However in other cases Wirral Council has decided to even edit out parts of the actual consultation responses (I presume these edits are first names of individual children) which might have enabled the names of the parent writing the response to be known to some who knew the school referred to.

  2. Concealing the existence of 400 pages of consultation responses, made in good faith, for 3 months…

    … ain’t open…

    … ain’t transparent.

    … is callous.

    • Well it’s nearer 300 pages, but I take your point. The properties of those pdf files show they were created using a RICOH Africio MP 6002 machine that retails at ~£7,000 (and which Wirral Council must therefore have). According to its specifications can scan in at a speed of up to 90 black and white pages in a minute.

      I would guess most of the responses went to the special email address they had set up as they are typed, so assuming these were printed off first for redaction and collated with communications received in advance of the consultation officially starting, I can’t see that process (even if there was 300 pages involved) and then scanning it in to ten files taking more than a week (for one officer to do), not three months?

  3. […] to the publication of the ninety responses to the Lyndale School closure consultation on this blog this morning, below is the typed text of the handwritten responses and one text response that is very hard to […]

  4. […] an exclusive for this blog I did publish them on Tuesday, but that’s not really the […]

  5. […] The minion, looking rather worried that his name would be added to the list of five hundred employees that were getting the chop thought very carefully about how to reply to such a question. “Yes we did, it was a marvellous consultation! We asked people’s opinions far and wide and received nearly a hundred replies.” […]


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