Thursday, 12 March 2020

Monty Python Meets Glasgow City Council

A reminder from the blog site archive on Glasgow City Council's behaviour in response to one of my previous freedom of information (FoI) requests regarding the council's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme.

Now, for some reason, Scotland's largest council has fought desperately for the past three years to prevent me (and the wider public) from understanding exactly what is contained in these mysterious 'handwritten notes' on the WPBR.

But the Scottish Information Commissioner has ordered the City Council to release the information to me by no later than  20 April 2020. 

I can hardly wait.


Monty Python Meets Glasgow City Council (30/11/18)

The Scottish Information Commissioner has released the following decision in respect of my WPBR appeal which amounts to a well deserved 'boot up the arse' for Glasgow City Council.

Now, as regular readers know, Glasgow has an ambition to become a 'world leader' in terms of openness and transparency, but for some reason senior officials seem to ignore Council policy when it comes to explaining the mysterious arrangements surrounding the procurement, implementation, management and defence of its 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme.

So the Scottish Information Commissioner has told the Council to get its act together, answer my FoI request and apologise to me for 'its failure to respond and for the technical issues surrounding receipt of my emails'.

The thing that makes me laugh is that elected councillors, or some of them at least, insist that senior officials always act under political direction.

In which case who is allowing senior officials to make a mockery of Council policy when it comes to 'openness and transparency' over the WPBR and who is behind the ridiculous argument that my email service provider (AOL) is sending out my own emails already marked as 'Spam'?

Because this doesn't happen with any other emails I send to Glasgow City Council, or anywhere elsewhere for that matter, so I think it's fair to ask just what the hell is going on? 

Meanwhile to lighten the mood here's a sketch of what Scotland's largest council would look like, if the Monty Python team ran things for a few days.

Couldn't be any worse than the present mob, if you ask me.



Glasgow City Council (the Council) was asked for the handwritten notes regarding the planning/implementation of the Workforce Pay and Benefit Review (WPBR) from October 2005 to November 2006. This decision finds that the Council failed to respond to the requirement for review within the timescale allowed by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

The Commissioner has ordered the Council to comply with the requirement for review.

Commissioner’s analysis and findings

1. The Council confirmed that Mr Irvine’s requirement for review had been received. It explained that it had not been responded to because it had been quarantined as “spam” and that such an email is only held for 30 days and then deleted.

2. The Council acknowledged that this had happened before to one of Mr Irvine’s requests, as noted in Decision 012/2018. At that time, the Council’s IT Department took steps to resolve the technical issues relating to the FOI Review Team’s mailbox, to prevent emails being lost in this way.

3. The Council explained that the issue had recurred because of an upgrade applied to the filtering software (during the summer), which affected the measures put in place for the earlier version and meant that the Review Team was no longer getting the notifications it required. The Council confirmed that it had since applied a more specific fix concerning the email address in question, which would no longer be subject to “spam” filtering.

4. The Council confirmed, now that it was aware of Mr Irvine’s requirement for review, that it was being actioned and a response would be sent to him as soon as possible. This had not, however, been done by the date of this decision.

5. Section 21(1) of FOISA gives Scottish public authorities a maximum of 20 working days following the date of receipt of the requirement to comply with a requirement for review. This is subject to qualifications which are not relevant in this case.

6. It is a matter of fact that the Council did not provide a response to Mr Irvine’s requirement for review within 20 working days, so the Commissioner finds that it failed to comply with section 21(1) of FOISA.

7. The remainder of section 21 sets out the requirements to be followed by a Scottish public authority in carrying out a review. As no review has been carried out in this case, the Commissioner finds that the Council failed to discharge these requirements: he now requires a review to be carried out in accordance with section 21.

8. The Commissioner recommends that the Council considers whether it would be appropriate to apologise to Mr Irvine for its failure to respond and the technical issues surrounding receipt of his emails.