Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Glasgow, FoI and Equal Pay

While Glasgow front-line workers are out in the wind and the snow looking after their clients and service users, the council's chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell appears to be on something of a 'go slow'.

My FoI request from more than a week ago has still not been acknowledged, nor has my reminder email of 23 February 2018.

Thank goodness other parts of the City Council are not run in this kind of terribly slapdash fashion, otherwise front-line services would grind to a complete halt.

In any event, I'll have much more to say soon.

Because this is a really big issue, given that senior council officials are telling me they have little or no information about their discredited, 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme which sounds incredible to me - quite unbelievable, in fact.

How could that possibly happen in Scotland's largest, best resourced, most 'professional' council? 

23 February 2018

Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council

Dear Ms O'Donnell
FOISA Request

I refer to my email dated 20 February 2018 and would be grateful if you could confirm that my FOISA request is receiving attention.

I have not received the usual acknowledgement from the FoI Team and just want to check that the council's internet security arrangements are not turning my FOISA request into SPAM again!

I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at:
Kind regards
Mark Irvine 

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <>
To: annemarie.odonnell <>
Sent: Tue, Feb 20, 2018 9:02 am
Subject: FOISA Request

20 February 2018

Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council

Dear Ms O'Donnell
FOISA Request

I would like to make the following request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. 

1) Please provide me with a list of all the information held by Glasgow City Council regarding its Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR)? 

2) Please provide me with a list of all the information regarding the WPBR which Glasgow City Council has destroyed since the pay scheme was first introduced in 2007

3) Please explain the basis for destroying information given the Vital Records Policy of Glasgow City Council an extract of which is reproduced below?

'Preserving the Archival and Historic Memory of Glasgow':

"Paragraph 1.4 It cannot be emphasised strongly enough that we do not need to keep every individual record. However, we need to identify and preserve as archives those records which:
  • assist the Council and the public to scrutinise the decisions and activities of the Council and its partner services
  • help satisfy the public interest in the decisions and actions of the Council and its partner services, which affected they lives and those of previous generations or shaped the development of Glasgow and areas of the former Strathclyde
  • allow the community to retain and transfer knowledge, learn from past experience, and protect the interests of citizens collectively and individually 
"Paragraph 6.2 Records Documenting the Actions of Council Officials

"Most records document the actions of the Council. The Archivist seeks to retain that portion containing significant documentation of Council activities and which are essential to understanding and evaluating Council actions. For example, the Archives retains permanently those records that document the basic organisational structure of the Council and its services and major organisational changes over time, policies and procedures that pertain yo a department's core functions, and key decisions and actions.

"Paragraph 7.2 Decision making

"To identify, create and capture records providing the Council and the public with best evidence of the deliberations, decisions and actions of Council and Council institutions relating to key functions, programmes and significant issues.

  • Meeting papers, including records that reveal the background to, and reasoning behind decisions and actions, for:
Council and committees (and predecessor authorities)

Boards and Board Committees of the various partnership organisations

Directors', Senior Management, Service/Function Management meetings, i.e. any meetings which are responsible for key functions, programmes and significant issues."

4) Please confirm the date/s on which specific information regarding the WPBR was destroyed?

5) Please confirm the name and job title of City Council officials who authorised the destruction of information regarding the WPBR?

I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at:
Kind regards
Mark Irvine 


Glasgow - Spam, Spam, Spam (01/02/18)

Image result for spam + images

Regular readers will recall that officials in GCC had the bare-faced cheek to try and blame me recently for the council's internet security arrangements turning an FOI Review Request into 'SPAM'.

I am pleased to say that the Scottish Information Commissioner has decided that the council was wrong to use this ridiculous excuse and has upheld my appeal by finding that Glasgow did not comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

I'll publish the decision later today, but in the meantime here is my recent letter of complaint to Glasgow''s chief executive, Annemarie O'Donnell.


From: Mark Irvine <>
To: annemarie.odonnell <>
Sent: Mon, Dec 11, 2017 9:28 am
Subject: Glasgow City Council - FOI Review Request

Dear Ms O'Donnell

Glasgow City Council - FOI Review Request

I refer to the letter I received from Glasgow City Council dated 8 December 2017, a copy of which is attached for easy reference.

The key section of this letter (from the Council's IT Department) is highlighted below:

"Email received 08/12/17 from the Council’s IT Department
"I’ve had a look into this and I can confirm it was received however, the email was quarantined as spam; normally you would receive a notification for this but as it was sent to a generic mailbox, you wouldn’t have.
"The message is held for a maximum of 14 days and then deleted. I’ve added the mailbox to a group which allows you to receive notification when a quarantined spam email is received; the mailbox will receive a digest at 10am, 1pm and 4pm (if any further quarantined mail has been received).
"This issue occurred due to the way manage their outgoing mail."

The letter confirms that my FOI Review Request was received by Glasgow City Council on 9 November 2017 (i.e. the same day it was sent), but goes on to state that my email was diverted into a 'spam box'.

To be quite frank, the Council's 'spam box' is not my problem and as far as I am concerned my FOI Review Request was properly delivered and received.

I have used the same AOL (Compuserve) account and server for many years. In the recent past I have used this account to send emails to a wide variety of people and organisations, without any incident, including:

1 The Leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Susan Aitken
2 Ministers of the Scottish Government including the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
3 The Lord Provost of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Eva Bolander
4 Elected members of Glasgow City Council
5 The chief executive of Glasgow City Council, Annemarie O'Donnell
6 Glasgow's MSPs and MPs
7 Glasgow's FOI mailbox at the following email address:
8 Glasgow's FOI Review Request mailbox at the following email address: 

I operate a 'spam filter' on my AOL (Compuserve) account and check this regularly, for obvious reasons. I have to say that I find it very odd that the 'spam' arrangements operated by Scotland's largest, best resourced council are so second-rate and clearly inferior to my own.

In any event, I regard my FOI Review Request to have been properly received more than 20 working days ago and the City Council to be in breach of its obligations under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act which required a response by no later than 7 December 2017.

I am not prepared to re-start the process and I now expect the City Council to provide me with the information requested in my FOI Review Request dated 9 November 2017 by return, especially as the 'missing' Minutes of the Corporate Management Team (CMT) ought to have been provided in the response to my original FOI Request.

If you are not prepared to do this, I will submit an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

I also plan to share this correspondence with all Glasgow councillors, MSPs and MPs as a further illustration of the 'shambolic' way that Glasgow City Council is run these days. 

Kind regards

Mark Irvine


Glasgow - Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam (15/12/17)

Image result for spam + images

My latest FOI row with senior officials in Glasgow revolves around the City Council's internet watchdog turning my emails into 'spam'.

Now you've got to laugh at this nonsense because I've used the same email account for many years and never experienced any such problems.

But to celebrate the complete absurdity of it all here's the classic 'Spam sketch' from Monty Python featuring: Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Michael Palin. 


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (8)

Here is the stark and shocking reality of how the 'rules' of the WPBR have been designed by Glasgow City Council to disadvantage female dominated jobs while favouring traditional male jobs.

The most notorious example is the completely invented '37 hour rule' and the accompanying overtime working practices which treat women workers as second class citizens. 
  • 98% of male dominated jobs benefit from the 37 hour rule and O/T practices
  • 2% of female dominated jobs benefit from the 37 hour rule and O/T practices
  • No other work related benefit operates in this way - people don't have to work 37 hours to qualify for holiday pay, sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave etc.
  • Put simply the 'rule' is a blatant example of the gender discrimination on which the whole WPBR is based.
Many Home Carers, for example, work more than 37 hours every week, but they are issued with separate contracts for working these additional hours so they don't qualify for premium, overtime rates.

If you ask me, the double standards built into the WPBR are completely indefensible which is why Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' pay scheme has to go.


New Year Message for Glasgow (01/01/18)

If I were running Glasgow City Council, I would extend an invitation Frans de Waal's to explain the psychology of equal pay to the council's senior officials 

Watch this great excerpt from Ted Talks to see how low paid women workers in Glasgow have been treated for years, as second class citizens, paid in 'cucumbers' while their male colleagues were being rewarded with much juicer and tastier grapes.

But thanks to the long fight for equal pay and powerful backing from the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, the tables have turned.

Glasgow's lowest paid, predominantly female workers now have the confidence to tell City Council bosses to stick their cucumbers where the sun don't shine!