Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Glasgow - FOI and Equal Pay



The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) has been in touch to confirm that my application to SIC has been accepted as valid in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Which means that SIC will use its powers to investigate the Council's failure to respond to my initial FOI Request and my subsequent FOI Review Request within the time limits laid down by FOISA 2002.

Now this is all a terrible waste of people's time and energy if you ask me, and the Council's attitude completely contradicts its stated policy of being a 'world leader' in terms of being open and transparent when it comes to decision making. 

For some reason the Council is desperate not to release a breakdown of the costs incurred in defending the WPBR and in resisting Glasgow's outstanding equal pay claims - even though that information must be readily available.  

So it will be interesting to hear what the Scottish Information Commissioner has to say in the days ahead.

In the meantime, I have written to Annemarie O'Donnell (GCC's chief executive) to complain about the shoddy handling of my FOI requests because Scotland's largest council seems to think it is above the law introduced by the Scottish Parliament.

Glasgow MSPs and Glasgow councillors, please take note.

  



Glasgow - FOI, Senior Officials and Equal Pay (30/04/18)



Here's an application I've made to the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) over Glasgow City Council's failure to answer a freedom of information (FOI) request within the time limits laid down by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Now this request was originally lodged back on 3 January 2018, but at every stage the City Council has dragged its feet and even now Scotland's largest and best resourced council is unable - or unwilling - to confirm when my FOI request will be answered.

Hence my application to SIC for a decision because as things stand the Council is breaking the law by failing to observe the FOISA time limits of 20 working days to answer an FOI request or and FOI Review Request.

In my view, the underlying problem is the arrogant, unprofessional behaviour of senior officials who pay lip service to the Council's policy of 'openness and transparency', and although I am challenging their behaviour with my appeal to SIC I think it's time for Glasgow's political leaders and elected councillors to get involved. 

Glasgow's senior officials must be held accountable for their actions in defending the 'unfit for purpose' WPBR through the courts for years because the council workforce and the wider public are entitled to know the truth.   

 24 April 2018

Daren Fitzhenry
Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS

Dear Mr Fitzhenry

Glasgow City Council (GCC) – FOISA Appeal

I would like to make the following application for an adjudication by the Scottish Information Commissioner in connection with an FOI Request to Glasgow City Council. The background to my application is as follows.
  1. I submitted an FOI Request to Glasgow City Council on 3 January 2018 and received a request for clarification a week later on 10 January 2018.
  2. I responded to this GCC request on the following day, by providing the Council with two further copies of the Table they had trouble reading - one in PDF format and another as a Word document.
  3. The Council acknowlweged receipt the following day and confirmed that the new Table/s were legible. 
  4. I did not receive a response from the Council within the time limits laid down by FOISA and sent a 'chase up' letter to the Council on 27 February 2018.
  5. In the absence of a reply to this letter I submitted an FOI Review Request to the Council on 15 March 2018.
  6. I did not receive a proper response to my Review Request within the time limits laid down by FOISA although the Council did write to me on 13 April 2018 indicating there was a 'delay'.
  7. I queried the reasons for this delay with the Council, asked that they provide me with the information gathered so far and to provide me an indication of when my original FOI Request would be properly answered.
  8. In the absence of a satisfactory answer from the Council and in view of its behaviour in relation to my original request, I am now seeking an order from the Scottish Information Commissioner requiring the Council to answer my original FOI request without further delay.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course and if you require any further details or clarification at this stage, please contact me by e-mail at markirvine@compuserve.com

Kind regards



Mark Irvine 

List of enclosures x 11


  

Enclosure 1 - Initial letter to Glasgow City Council dated 3 January 2018


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine 
To: foi ; annemarie.odonnell 
Sent: Wed, Jan 3, 2018 1:11 pm
Subject: FOISA Request



3 January 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. 

I refer to the following table which details some of the the costs incurred by Glasgow City Council in dealing with ongoing equal pay claims. The figures were originally published by The Sunday Herald newspaper in response to a freedom of information request, I believe.

YEAR
Counsel
External Solicitor
Other professional fees and expenses
Other items
Internal staff costs
Contra award
TOTAL
2007/08

15188




15188
2008/09

46999




46999
2009/10

48122




48122
2010/11
36725
9069




45794
2011/12
276461
70646
9520
450
124776
0
481853
2012/13
345129
156720
44049
26585
124776
0
697259
2013/14
140202
82712
18015
4046
93582
0
338557
2014/15
96289
42681
0
26575
118070
74275
357890
2015/16
54619
14235
0
0
83876
0
152730
2016/17
28340
44853
0
0
83876
0
157069
2017/18
30093
95826
0
0
83876
0
209795
TOTAL
1007858
627051
71584
57656
712832
74275
2551256

Please provide me with the following information:

1) Please provide a breakdown of the 'Other professional fees and expenses' into their component parts?

2) Please provide a breakdown of the 'Internal staff costs' into their component parts?

3) Please provide a breakdown of 'Counsel' fees into those attributed to the 'Scottish bar' and the 'English bar'?

4) Please provide a breakdown of the 'External Solicitor' fees and whether or not these include the solicitor advocate's fees?

5) Please provide a breakdown of the 'Counsel Fees' and 'External Solicitor Fees' in terms of the apportionment of these costs between:

a) Tribunal fees?
b) Court of Session fees?
c) Cots of general advice?

6) Please confirm the day rate or rates charged by 'Counsel' and by the 'External Solicitor' 

I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com




Kind regards




Mark Irvine 





Enclosure 2 - letter from GCC dated 10 January 2018



-----Original Message-----
From: FOI_CCT <FOI_CCT@glasgow.gov.uk>
To: markirvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
Sent: Wed, Jan 10, 2018 4:45 pm
Subject: FOI 6474804 - FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST TO GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL / CLARIFICATION REQUIRED (OFFICIAL)

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Irvine

We refer to the Freedom of Information request you submitted on 3 January 2018, which has been assigned the reference FOI 6474804.

Your e-mail was received by the Council as follows:

3 January 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.

I refer to the following table which details some of the the costs incurred by Glasgow City Council in dealing with ongoing equal pay claims. The figures were originally published by The Sunday Herald newspaper in response to a freedom of information request, I believe.

YEAR
Counsel
External Solicitor
Other professional fees and expenses
Other items
Internal staff costs
Contra award
TOTAL
2007/08
15188
15188
2008/09
46999
46999
2009/10
48122
48122
2010/11
36725
9069
45794
2011/12
276461
70646
9520
450
124776
0
481853
2012/13
345129
156720
44049
26585
124776
0
697259
2013/14
140202
82712
18015
4046
93582
0
338557
2014/15
96289
42681
0
26575
118070
74275
357890
2015/16
54619
14235
0
0
83876
0
152730
2016/17
28340
44853
0
0
83876
0
157069
2017/18
30093
95826
0
0
83876
0
209795
TOTAL
1007858
627051
71584
57656
712832
74275
2551256

Please provide me with the following information:

1) Please provide a breakdown of the 'Other professional fees and expenses' into their component parts?

2) Please provide a breakdown of the 'Internal staff costs' into their component parts?

3) Please provide a breakdown of 'Counsel' fees into those attributed to the 'Scottish bar' and the 'English bar'?

4) Please provide a breakdown of the 'External Solicitor' fees and whether or not these include the solicitor advocate's fees?

5) Please provide a breakdown of the 'Counsel Fees' and 'External Solicitor Fees' in terms of the apportionment of these costs between:

a) Tribunal fees?
b) Court of Session fees?
c) Cots of general advice?

6) Please confirm the day rate or rates charged by 'Counsel' and by the 'External Solicitor'
  
I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Kind regards

Mark Irvine 

To enable us to cross-reference the table to which  you refer, and progress your request, can you please re-submit the table to us in its original form?

Please e-mail your reply to the Freedom of Information team at ‘FOI_CCT@glasgow.gov.uk’, within 4 weeks from today’s date, quoting our reference FOI 6474804 .   Alternatively, you can post a paper copy of the table to us at the following address:


Freedom of Information Team
Discovery Legislation   
Chief Executive’s Department
Glasgow City Council 
40 John Street
GLASGOW
G1 1JL
Please note that your request will be placed on hold until such time as we receive your clarification.
With thanks,
Freedom of Information Team
Chief Executive’s Department 


Enclosure 3 - Letter to GGC dated 11 January 2018 

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine 
To: FOI_CCT 
Sent: Thu, Jan 11, 2018 8:09 am
Subject: Re: FOI 6474804 - FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST TO GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL / CLARIFICATION REQUIRED (OFFICIAL)

Dear FOI Team

Many thanks for your letter dated 10 January 2018.


I  enclose two further versions of my FOISA Request of 3rd January 2018:
  1. As a Word document
  2. In PDF format
I would be grateful if you could confirm that you are now able to read the relevant Table.

Kind regards


Mark Irvine

Enclosures x 2


Enclosure 4 - Letter from GCC dated 12/01/18 ackowledging receipt a legible Table

-----Original Message-----
From: FOI_CCT 
To: Mark Irvine 
Sent: Fri, Jan 12, 2018 11:56 am
Subject: RE: FOI 6474804 - FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST TO GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL / CLARIFICATION REQUIRED (OFFICIAL)

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Irvine

Many thanks for your e-mail.

We can confirm that the table is now legible.

Your request will be progressed as quickly as possible.

Kind regards


Freedom of Information Team
Chief Executive’s Department
Glasgow City Council


Enclosure 5 - Letter to GCC dated 27/02/18 querying lack of response to my original FOI Request

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
To: annemarie.odonnell <annemarie.odonnell@ced.glasgow.gov.uk>; FOI_CCT <FOI_CCT@glasgow.gov.uk>
Sent: Tue, Feb 27, 2018 12:03 pm
Subject: FOISA request - FOI 6474804.


27 February 2018

Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council


Dear Ms O'Donnell

FOISA Request - FOI 647804

I refer to my freedom of information (FoI) request FOI 647804 and would be grateful to know what I have not received a response with the 20 day time limit laid down by FOISA 2002. 

I look forward to your reply by return and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com
Kind regards


Mark Irvine 


Enclosure 6 - FOI Review Request to GCC dated 15 March 2018 

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine 
To: FOIreviews ; carole.forrest 
Sent: Thu, Mar 15, 2018 12:49 pm
Subject: Fwd: FOI Review Request regarding FOISA request - FOI 6474804.

Dear FOI Review Team


 FOI Review Request regarding FOISA request - FOI 6474804.


I would like to submit an FOI Review Request in light of Glasgow City Council's failure to respond to my original FOI request within the time limits laid down by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com
Kind regards


Mark Irvine 


Mobile - 07947 795222

Enclosure 7 - Letter from GCC dated 13 January 2018

-----Original Message-----
From: FOI_CEDReviews <FOI_CEDReviews@glasgow.gov.uk>
To: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
Sent: Fri, Apr 13, 2018 2:08 pm
Subject: TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

OFFICIAL
Dear Mr Irvine,

In reference to your email to Carole Forrest of 15 March 2018.

We write to confirm the response to your request for information is in progress, however, there has been a delay in obtaining some of the information required due to a number of factors, including staff leave.

We write to confirm the response will be issued as soon as possible and apologise for any inconvenience in this matter.

With regards


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION TEAM
Chief Executives Department
Glasgow City Council

Enclosure 8 - Letter from Mark Irvine to GCC dated 17 April 18

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine 
To: FOI_CEDReviews 
Sent: Tue, Apr 17, 2018 10:48 am
Subject: Re: TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

Dear FOI Team


I refer to your letter dated 13 April 2018 and would be grateful if you can confirm when the Council will be in a position to respond to my Review Request?


Kind regards



Mark Irvine

Enclosure 9 - Letter from Mark Irvine to GCC dated 20 March 2018

From: Mark Irvine [mailto:markirvine@compuserve.com]
Sent: 20 April 2018 09:31
To: FOI_CEDReviews <FOI_CEDReviews@glasgow.gov.uk>
Subject: Re: TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

Dear FOI Team

Re: TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

I refer to your letter dated 13 April and my response of 17 April to which, I note, I have still to receive a reply.

I would be grateful if you can send me all of the information gathered to date in response to my request because that would at least represent some progress.

I would also ask that you confirm a date on which all of the outstanding information will finally be provided.

If I do not receive a satisfactory response by 5pm on Monday 23 April 2018, I will pursue the matter to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Kind regards


Mark Irvine 


Enclosure 10 - Letter from GCC to Mark Irvine dated 23 March 2018


-----Original Message-----
From: FOI_CEDReviews <FOI_CEDReviews@glasgow.gov.uk>
To: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
Sent: Mon, Apr 23, 2018 2:23 pm
Subject: TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

OFFICIAL

Dear Mr Irvine,

In reference to your emails of 17 and 20 April 2018.

We write to confirm the response to your request for information is being progressed.   We are unable to provide you with an exact date as to when the response will be issued, however, the request is being dealt with as a priority and a response will be issued as soon as possible.

We apologise for any inconvenience in this matter.

With regards


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION TEAM
Chief Executives Department
Glasgow City Council


Enclosure 11 - letter from Mark Irvine to GCC dated 23 March 2018 
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine 
To: FOI_CEDReviews 
Sent: Mon, Apr 23, 2018 3:06 pm
Subject: Re: TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

Dear FOI Team


TSR FOI Review 6553624 - Regarding FOISA request. (OFFICIAL)

I refer to your letter dated 23 April 2018.

I would take this seriously if you had provided me with all the information gathered so far  in response to my original request, but you have not done so and have simply ignored the point I raised in my letter to you dated 20 April 2018.

So I will now refer this matter to the Scottish Information Commissioner given that:
  1. the Council is already in breach of the FOISA timelines
  2. the Council has not even responded partially to my original FOI Request
  3. the Council cannot provide any indication as to when my FOI Request will be finally and properly answered
Kind regards



Mark Irvine 



ENDS