Piercing the veil of secrecy: 3 invoices paid by Liverpool City Council for legal work

Piercing the veil of secrecy: 3 invoices paid by Liverpool City Council for legal work


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

Yesterday I read a blog post by well-known Lib Dem councillor and Mayor candidate Cllr Richard Kemp that made me rather cross.

It wasn’t the bit about gagging orders, or how a councillor was asked to resort to making a Freedom of Information request that I got cross about, but this part.

“Interestingly I have tried to involve the local media in this story. I didn’t get the tiniest response from them. It is part of the role of the ‘fourth estate’ to publicly shine a light on the doings and affairs of those in power. This seems to be lamentably missing in Greater Liverpool these days.”

I will point out at this stage that Cllr Richard Kemp hasn’t contacted me or as far as I know anyone to do with this blog! Of course politicians complaining about the press coverage (or in this case lack of press coverage) is nothing new.

Returning to a story on this blog earlier this week Why is Liverpool City Council not complying with ICO decision notice FS50591795?, the response from Liverpool City Council as to why the decision notice hasn’t been complied with has been the somewhat disappointing, “I acknowledge receipt of your e mail [sic] and I am now making enquiries as to the points made”

So, if Liverpool City Council want to do the local government equivalent of sulk because ICO didn’t agree with them and then go and ignore the enforcement notice, well I don’t want their bad habits on freedom of information to be picked up by Wirral Council do I?

Except you know, being the sort of person that believes in the public being informed I might not be withholding as much information as Liverpool City Council would. Please note these documents were not received through the freedom of information process (which seems to be utterly broken at Liverpool City Council).

Let’s start with a £3,000 invoice for the services of the rather scary looking Simon Burrows of Kings Chambers in a case in the Administrative Court (case reference number CO/932/2014 Karl Downey -v- Liverpool City Council). So therefore it was a judicial review. This invoice went to a Mr. Brendan McGrath who is a solicitor employed by Liverpool City Council.

Quite what the case was all about I really don’t know, but the scary looking guy invoiced Liverpool City Council £3,000 for a "Brief on Hearing" which was £2,500 + VAT. You can click on the thumbnail below for an easier to read version.