26th June 2014 – UPDATE – Wirral Council have capitulated, and have now withdrawn ALL their ‘vexatious’ refusals targetted against me. Not content with this however, monitoring officer Surjit Tour, head of the legal “team” has made a veiled threat on the WhatDoTheyKnow website.
Bill Norman News….
Some excellent stuff arrived in my inbox today. It was an update from the WhatDoTheyKnow website, telling me that Wirral Council had sent a response to an FoI request I placed 13 long months ago:
This request concerned the secretive, behind closed doors departure of the then Director of Law, Bill Norman, now happily ensconced at Herefordshire Council.
Imagine my delight as I read the contents. Wirral Council, in their own inimitable way were backing down and withdrawing their second hideously misconceived “vexatious request” refusal, the one where they stated the following:
“I consider that in your request you have used intemperate language in connection with the departure of a former
senior officer of the Council, and that the overall tone of your request is offensive , having regard to the haranguing tone of the request…”
Although typically for them, that irresistible desire to conceal got the better of them and they just could not find it in themselves to state openly that they’d backed down, or spell their collapse out in plain language, preferring instead to cave in enigmatically, by prattling on about how they felt the need to protect the memory of their former Director of Law’s personal data and privacy, etc. etc. which of course, I will be appealing against by requesting an internal review.
I have no option because, apart from 2 reports, much of which have been public knowledge since Norman left, once again they’ve swept up absolutely everything in sight, branded it ‘personal data’ and dumped it all behind a heavy, locked door stamped “SECTION 40(2) – DO NOT ENTER”
I’ll lodge my internal review request tomorrow, but for now, let’s relax, put the feet up, take stock, have a coffee and a biscuit and rejoice in the knowledge that I’ve won a second head to head against Surjit Tour, Bill Norman’s highly-paid replacement at Wirral Council.
How do I know it’s the work of the great man? Because I rang them the other day and asked to speak to the person behind my 3 “vexatious” cases.
“Surjit’s in a meeting,” came the frosty response.
Of course, the council’s senior law person is not likely to have enjoyed being exposed to ridicule by a former lowly lighting engineer colleague of his – Not. One. Bit. But hey, that’s life. You need to pick your battles with care, and with an eye for potential ‘trouble’… and, you need to try to gauge the resources, the staying power and the ‘time on the hands’ of your opponents.
It doesn’t matter how many times you say,
- “I have had regard to this…” or
- “Unwarranted by reason of prejudice to that…” or
- “I consider that in the light of this…” or
- “I do not consider that with regard to that…”
…whatever – you may sound like a solicitor speaking, but if your case is full of holes, you won’t have a cat in hell’s chance.
The council have appealed against the ICO decision and are taking this to court i.e. the Information Tribunal. Further developments are explored here…