EXCLUSIVE: 8 page briefing note leads to Wirral’s councillors agreeing to further FOI discussions behind closed doors
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Councillors discuss Wirral Council’s response to Freedom of Information Act requests at a meeting of the Transformation and Resources Policy and Performance Committee on the 3rd December 2015
Yesterday saw councillors discuss freedom of information requests and how Wirral Council handles them in response to this Lib Dem motion. As a number of the ICO decision notices are in response to my requests, I will declare an interest before writing any further.
Interestingly, the day before the Transformation and Resources Policy and Performance Committee met, Surjit Tour had written an eight page "briefing note" which was referred to by councillors during the debate.
The Conservative amendment to the motion was withdrawn and the Labour amendment to have a task and finish group of councillors meeting to discuss FOI behind closed doors (again) on the subject (in the spirit of openness and transparency of course!) was agreed.
You can watch the video of councillors discussing this item above.
However what will probably make more interesting reading is the briefing note itself which I reproduce below (it’s not published with the papers for the committee or indeed anywhere else). It’s a bit hard to summarise eight pages, but it’s basically eight pages of justification by officers that they’re doing their best they can on FOI (with the promise of improvements) and that it isn’t as bad as the bleak picture as painted by Lib Dem politicians. If the thumbnails are hard to read, they should each link to a more high resolution version of each page.
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16 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: 8 page briefing note leads to Wirral’s councillors agreeing to further FOI discussions behind closed doors”
It was funny though during the meeting seeing Surjit Tour actually say no to a councillor.
At some point (I think it was Cllr Foulkes although please correct me if it wasn’t) requested to know who the people making FOI requests were (I’m not sure why the Labour Party would want to know this).
Surjit Tour basically turned round and said they wouldn’t or couldn’t tell the councillors.
He did however confirm that it wasn’t a bunch of people making a lot of requests that was leading to problems (although Pete Sheffield (was he the one that managed to make about 250 one year) has gone quiet hasn’t he?)
The identity of FOI requesters doesn’t appear on ICO decision notices, but does if it reaches the tribunal stage.
You really are brilliant with your photos.
If that is not the ugliest thing you have ever shown……..
That would scare any child.
They are two of the most revolting and ugly specimens I ……………
John ignorance of accounting is no excuse.
Keep up the great work for our viewing pleasure.
Sadly the viewing figures for Brighton Street – don’t match that of Coronation Street or Eastenders.
I can guarantee that certain members of the public, including you John, know more about FOI than all these so-called ‘champions’ put together, having been on the rough end of the FOI ‘service’ that’s been reluctantly spat onto us from on high by Emma Degg, Surjit Tour, ably backed up by Jane Corrin down the last few years.
When you’re in the service of a corrupted outfit like this and your morale plummets to rock bottom, which will be the case for 90% of Wirral Council staff, including the above champions (the other 10 % being gutter dwelling senior rogues, lackeys or future corrosive, lgreasy pole scaling, bullying do-badders), you take your eye off the ball and find yourself watching the clock every Monday morning, checking if it’s 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon yet.
The above nonsense amounts to another pulling of the wool over already blinded councillors who sit in their chairs, too petrified to raise a hand and make a query because they’ll be blinded by Surjistics and branded a fool.
Emma Degg was one of the few officers involved (albeit in a minor way) in the response to the Anna Klonowski Associates report that stayed at Wirral Council like a limpet clinging to a rock until quite recently.
As I write this on Monday morning it’s not even 9.00am and I’m at work replying to comments then I’ll get on with today’s blog post (or posts).
Is it a rat on speed?
As there are six in the photo who are you referring to?
The lady chairing the meeting used to chat to me on Twitter, before she got her legs under the table at the council. Around about the time Jeff Green was exposing her as some sort of dangerous Trot.
She flattered to deceive, promising me she’d take them all on and inject some left wing cleansing into their Tory hearts. I’d respond stating, ‘It doesn’t work like that. Power abuse and the subversion of democracy dictates you’ll be bullied, browbeaten, made to vote and act the way they want you to.’ But she wouldn’t have it.
But that’s what came to pass. She now appears to be in it not for the public interest or the common good, but for propping up the house of cards; and has morphed into another nodding dog, keeping in line, making up the numbers and carrying out the wishes of the more powerful others. How tragic. For us.
As for this member of the public, I’m now blocked on Twitter.
I think the votes at Council on Lyndale School were the litmus test weren’t they in answer to the question do Labour councillors vote with their party or their conscience/residents?
Labour are bringing a recommendation to the next Council (opposed by the other councillors) to scrap minority reports to call ins to prevent such embarrassing scenes in the future.
To my knowledge only one Wirral councillor has ever blocked me on Twitter (since unblocked) who represents a ward your side of the docks, Cllr Leah Fraser, although she has since unblocked me and follows my account. Interestingly she used to write a blog at this address but it has since been changed to private.
Transformation and Resources Policy and Performance Committee I would have thought, “Broken Promise’s Committee” a better name!
Put it this way, there are two candidates in an election to be councillor. Let’s call them Mr. A and Miss. B.
Miss B tells the residents the truth and is an honest person. Miss B runs a positive campaign about the changes that Miss B has managed to bring about for the local community, how responsive she is to residents bringing up problems and how being a councillor will help her make positive changes and be a strong campaigning voice for residents.
Mr A makes the residents promises he knows he can’t keep after the election, but thinks that the residents will forget this when he’s up for reelection in four years time. He also tells residents not to vote for Miss B because he cherry picks party unpopular policies of her party.
Do people vote for honest Miss B or dishonest Mr A?
Mr A gets elected and spends the next 4 years being told which way to vote by his party. Residents bring up problems with him after the election, but he knows he’s just been reelected so instead goes on a long holiday leaving the other councillors to deal with them. Even those who voted for him say how terrible this is, but as they’ve always voted for Mr A’s party vote the same way next year too.
And ain’t it ironic, of all the things the liar, the tap dancing, far away eyes swine of a man, bloody Blair regrets is the legislation created to produce the Freedom Of Information Act, whereas it’s actually the one really good thing that came tumbling out of his mind that’s helped our ailing society.
I think it was more the experience of FOI legislation in other places (such as America) that led to it here.
Before the FOI legislation there were thousands of regulations and laws (still on the statute books) that basically did the same thing. They gave the public access rights or inspection rights to lots of information held by local councils ranging from councillors’ expenses, the list of litter control notices to the minutes of the Special Advisory Committee on Religious Education!
It was only permitted to help us ‘SO’ much Bob. And I for one appreciate the fact that some crumbs were swept from the high table, whilst the masses below knocked each other out of the way to get at them.
There’s nothing wrong with the legislation per se. But it’s the same old story that’s come to pass in so many other areas: the regulator, who retires in 2016, along with two deputies who are bailing out even sooner, has been in the pockets of government, diluting its effects, doing their bidding, and supplanting the public interest with his own self-interest and the benefit of his broken organisation.
I know peoples’ experience of ICO varies and yes so far ICO have always ruled in my favour (well apart from one recent decision notice FS50569254 when one part of a 26 part request they agreed with Wirral Council and in another bit of that ICO decision notice they agreed with Wirral Council about the minutes of Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee, which according to a recent request are kept by Wirral Council.
I’ve never had reason to appeal a decision notice to the Tribunal, but that’s what the Tribunal is there for so that any mistakes of ICO can be appealed.
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