Friday, 24 November 2017

Glasgow, FoI and Equal Pay



Here's an FoI Review request I've submitted to Glasgow City Council which I have raised because I am dissatisfied at the way in which senior officials 'answered' my original request for information.

As regular readers know, the City Council refused to answer a previous FoI request on the grounds of cost, but on this occasion they claim the information I requested (CMT minutes) were only produced from 2010 onwards.

Yet in the very first 'Minute' of 5 January 2010 Item 2 records that the 'note' of the previous meeting from 24 November 2009 was 'agreed as an accurate record'

Now I know I'm not stupid and I know that readers of the blog site don't think I'm stupid, but senior officials at Glasgow City Council must think I'm stupid - because why else would they come up with such a dumb response? 

I sent my Review Request letter by email to Carole Forrest on 9 November 2017, but haven't heard a 'cheep' out of the Council since then.

I find that quite astonishing, I have to say, because the council is clearly telling me 'porkies' about the minute-taking practices at GCC while also withholding other documents which should have been provided in response to my original FoI request.  

Is this good local government, is Glasgow really committed to culture of 'openness and transparency' over its pay arrangements?

Not so far, if you ask me.

  

Carole Forrest
Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council
Glasgow City Council




Dear Ms Forrest

FoI Review Request

I refer to the letter from Glasgow City Council dated 8 November 2017 responding to my earlier FoI request dated 12 October 2017.

I am asking for a review of the City Council's initial decision for the following reasons:

1) The City Council states in its letter dated 8 November 2017:

"We would advise you that the Council’s Corporate Management (CMT) minutes were only produced from 2010 to the end of 2015."

However this claim is flatly contradicted by the minute (or 'note') of the Corporate Management Team dated 5 January 2010 which states at Item 2:

"2 NOTE OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

"The note of the previous meeting of 24 November 2009 was agreed as an accurate record. No matters were raised. Agreed"

So according to the Council's own records, minutes or 'notes' of CMT meetings were kept prior to 2010 and documentary evidence clearly exists of a meeting held on 24 November 2009.

I am sure you will understand my concern that Glasgow City Council appears to be deliberately withholding and concealing information relating to my original FOISA  request.  

2) The City Council goes on to state in its letter dated 8 November 2017:

"We would advise you that the Council’s Corporate Management (CMT) minutes were only produced from 2010 to the end of 2015. These minutes were published on the Council’s intranet site but not on our external webpages so we have therefore enclosed hard copies of these documents."

Yet on close inspection of the documents provided by GCC the following minutes (or 'notes') of the Corporate Management Team also appear to be missing

Extended CMT 2 March 2010 - referenced at Item 10 (e) of the CMT minute of 2 February 2010 and at Item 11 (a) of the CMT Minute dated 16 February 2017

Special Extended CMT 5 October 2010 - referenced at Item 6 of the CMT Minute dated 28 September 2010

Extended CMT  7 December 2010 - referenced at Item 7 of the CMT Minute dated 23 November 2010

Core CMT 11 January 2011 - referenced at Item 12 of the CMT minute dated 21 December 2010

Again I am sure you will understand my concern that Glasgow City Council appears to be deliberately withholding and concealing information relating to my original FOISA Request.

In my original FOISA Request I asked for minutes of the CMT (Corporate Management Team) and did not draw any distinction between the Core CMT, Extended CMT or Special Extended CMT.

As such, I would ask you to forward the missing documents without delay and without exhausting the normal times limits associated with the FOI Review process, since it is crystal clear that these CMT minutes could have and should have been provided along with the Council's initial response dated 8 November 2017.

While the Council claims to be fulfilling its duty to provide helpful 'advice and assistance' under FOISA 2002 I do not believe this to be the case.

I would add that my request for missing documents extends to all CMT minutes (Core, Extended, Special Extended etc) including the period prior to 2010 because is now clear that such documents do exist and are being withheld, which I take very seriously and may pursue separately with the Scottish Information Commissioner as an abuse of the FOISA process. 

I look forward to your response and would be grateful if you could reply to me by email at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Kind regards



Mark Irvine