ICO rule that Wirral Council’s refusal of FOI request based on “commercial interests” is incorrect (FS50585536)

ICO rule that Wirral Council’s refusal of FOI request based on "commercial interests" is incorrect (FS50585536)

ICO rule that Wirral Council’s refusal of FOI request based on "commercial interests" is incorrect (FS50585536)


ICO Information Commissioner's Office logo
ICO Information Commissioner’s Office logo

The Information Commissioner’s Office have issued another decision notice in favour of this blog. You can read it for yourself as I’ve uploaded it to the blog decision notice FS50585536 (although eventually it’ll be published on ICO’s website).

It’s five pages, so I’ll summarise what it states and go into the history.

As a local government elector during the 2013/14 audit I requested various invoices for legal work which I have a legal right to inspect and receive free copies of as a local government elector on the Wirral.

Sadly the invoices that this decision notice refer to were only the first page of a multi-page invoice. I made a FOI request for the rest of the invoices. One was for £48,384 and the other for £2,700 (both from Weightmans).

Wirral Council first refused the request on a quite baseless and ludicrous application of stating that they were covered by legal professional privilege.

Whoever dealt with it at internal review agreed with me that this was incorrect.

However then Wirral Council refused the request giving the reason of "Commercial interests".

The Information Commissioner’s Office was not convinced by Wirral Council’s arguments and has rejected Wirral’s application of withholding the information based on commercial interests.

I am pleased the decision notice doesn’t give Wirral Council the option to "pick another reason" to withhold the information. There’s one request I have to Wirral Council now on its third decision notice because Wirral Council has exploited that loophole in the past.

So Wirral Council have (well had from the date of the decision notice which was 2 days ago) 35 days to supply the information or 28 days to appeal the decision.

Let’s hope Wirral Council stop playing games over freedom of information and do the right thing?

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

19 thoughts on “ICO rule that Wirral Council’s refusal of FOI request based on “commercial interests” is incorrect (FS50585536)”

  1. G’day John

    “The Shyster” must have already bought his ticket on the GRAVY TRAIN to RETIREMENT by now.

    He is just another of the ludicrous jokes that will do just about anything.



    1. Well there are many jokes about lawyers.

      However as I have represented someone in court, it’s harder to do well than you think.

      But then if only people would talk and settle their problems through compromise more the need for courts and lawyers would be less.

      Then again, that’s like saying “nuclear weapons are a bad idea because they kill civillians”.

      People agree with the statement but there are vested interests involved in nuclear weapons being banned not being implemented!

      Last court case I was actively involved in ended in 2012 and involved a Wirral Council councillor on the other side as a defendant.

      Sums it up really about Wirral Council’s attitude towards the law doesn’t it?

      1. G’day John

        “The Shyster” never takes anyone on in court by the looks of it John.

        He just pays off the right people with not his money.

        He never shows any talent other than doing as the bigger bullies tell him very quickly.

        He is just a facade that no one seems to take on and if they do he pays them off.



  2. G’day John

    Gravy Train Ticket for “The Shyster”.

    Dear Mr. Hobro,

    Thank you for your request for information, shown below. From the search
    we have undertaken, the Council is not aware of any correspondence made by Legal and Member Services to the Director or to any regulatory body
    regarding the possibility of a serious breach of The Insolvency Act.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jane Corrin

    Records and Information Manager



    1. It’s the likes of myself (that has nothing to lose career wise) that contacts a regulator about Wirral Council (in this case ICO).

      Strictly speaking though the press isn’t generally supposed to meddle too much in the internal affairs of a government body as it can be seen as crossing the line to activism.

      However since Wirral Council saw fit to try and stop me filming public meetings, they don’t seem to believe in not interfering with how the press does things.

      I’m sure Mr. Tour has a good explanation for this which I would guess is his opinion that no breach of the insolvency act took place.

      1. G’day John

        I wonder how many people around Wirral that thought they had everything to lose and didn’t speak up about the scumbags at Wirral.

        Then they got shafted and lost anyway.



        I suggest they speak now.

  3. G’day John

    Possibly explains why “The Shyster” told “Highbrow” I wouldn’t be getting a job at Wirral.

    Possibly explains why “The Pretend Friend” acted deceitfully to his mate “Highbrow”.

    No it doesn’t “The Pretend Friend” is just as low as you can get, possibly lower than “Ankles”.



    Ps Any chance do you think John of some openness honesty and transparency four and a half years later from the scumbag senior officers and 65 slimy clowncillors?

    1. I could never get myself elected except in the world of student politics (despite trying) on the whole openness/honesty/transparency ticket.

      Voters don’t like the truth!

      There are always plenty of people out there willing to make promises in elections they know they cannot keep so people vote for them.

      As to senior management, and I’m not really aiming this at Wirral Council but the public sector in general, I say to my wife something along the lines of:

      the politicians here aren’t very good at politics whereas the senior managers are the real politicians.

  4. G’day John

    I think you are spot on about senior managers and politicians.

    “The Shyster” is one of the worst politicians I have ever heard mumble.

    Get on that gravy train Sir Git.



    1. Mr. Tour is a solicitor not a politician.

      Solicitors and politicians, well that’s like oil and water. The two approaches don’t mix.

      Here’s an interesting question for you James.

      Would you put describe me as like a solicitor, like a politician or like both if you had to describe me?

      Or is journalist perhaps a better description?

      Or am I just one of a kind? Just like there’s only one James Griffiths (Merseyside being short of irreverent Aussies).

      I wonder what Merseyside’s politicians refer to me as… and whether it can be printed!

  5. G’day John

    You are G E N I U S

    They must hate you at Wirral but as like “Highbrow” must really regard your intellect as a very special thing.



    As for your little camera “Tarrantino” with the swivelling tripod words just escape me.

    Ps Stay on it John until the sludge and slurry that is The Kitchen Cabinet and a few more are gone with the wind and Wirral is viable.

    1. Nah I’m not a G E N I U S.

      Took an IQ test for Mensa years ago, was rejected as I’m only in the top 3% of the population. So nothing unusual.

      I’m just a plodder and get there through a lot of hard work.

      Tarrantino’s films involve a lot more violence and swearing.

      Since I switched to the new camera I notice the women have started wearing makeup! Oh and there’s less swearing and falling asleep during meetings these days.

      However before I started filming at Wirral Council Cllr Foulkes was removed as Leader, which is probably the sort of meeting when the politicians start doing that sort of thing that I’m sure would make compelling television!

      Just to give you a taste he said at the time that removing him wasn’t in the interests of natural justice.

      I never wanted to start a TV channel though. It just happened by accident.

      It’s one thing filming public meetings, persuading people to watch them is another kettle of fish though (unless hundreds turn up).

  6. G’day John

    By the way you will never find out what the councillors at Wirral think they undergo some sort of lobotomy treatment that stops them having original thought and they support evil scumbags like Phil Steve George Adrian Kevin Graham Sir Git regardless.



  7. G’day John

    From the rubbish paper from over Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant Wirral Waters

    Following the meeting Lord Heseltine, who said he is “working closely” with the Communities Secretary Greg Clark on pushing for devolution, told the ECHO: “It was a very constructive meeting, but there are issues that need resolving.” However, he refused to give further details of these.

    If Hessers is talking to Clarkie he must be aware of all the dodgy FOI’s and Wirral’s bullshit award as Most Improved Council in Britain to come out of “Phil the Very Very Deluded Dill’s” chequebook.

    They are hardly going to do business with “The Dill”.



    Keep cleaning them out Ecca me old china plate.

    Surprising they haven’t got Sepp Blatter on the payroll….or have they?

    1. You’ll probably get more sense than the newspaper articles about what’s going on by watching these videos of a public meeting about it that I recorded earlier this week.

      I think the devolution item is the first main agenda item once stuff like minutes and declarations of interest are dealt with.

      Continues at

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIzZ8Epemdg .

    1. Cllr Mike Sullivan.

      Cllr Anita Leech sent her apologies and Cllr John Hale (remember him from the Audit and Risk Management Committee) resigned quite a while back.

      So one out of three ain’t bad eh?

  8. G’day John

    You cheeky little chappie.

    Who will you wind up when I have gone with the Wirral “Funny” Bizz fiasco over?

    Even “The Raving Loony” knows it is a waste of time getting the ferry across Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant Wirral Waters.

    That is why “Phil the Very Very Deluded Dill” is so S T U P I D he thinks he can take on Uncle Joe when Uncle Joe has a spy in the Wirral camp, you know what’s his name Fartin Lobsterpot.



    1. You’re having a laugh right?

      Some stories never end, like the “where shall we put a new fire station?” story etc. Wirral Biz falls into that category as when whistleblowers bring up stuff with Wirral Council they say they fix it, but that’s just PR.

      Far easier to say things are fixed than actually fix them. You know what I mean?

      I can’t be sacked and have a job for life. Who’d seriously want to do my job? So great job security too.

      As to Liverpool politics, I think some of them wonder why things are so quiet on the Wirral, and Wirral wonders why they’re so lively in Liverpool.

      But different cultures completely… lots of fire and passion when it comes to politics in Liverpool, whereas events of the past few years have made Wirral politics somewhat safer for politicians if they aim for competent, dull and don’t get themselves in hot water.

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