14th May 2015
I’ve been questioned in the past for being overly-critical and not reporting any positive developments regarding my local council.
Well, let’s put these concerns to bed by publishing the above; a list of the names of all Wirral Council Heads of Service, a description of their positions, their email addresses and most importantly, their direct telephone numbers.
Here’s how I got the information:
— Wirral In It 2gether (@Wirral_In_It) April 23, 2015
Never forget, these people are public servants, and by definition are there to serve you. You pay their salaries.
I was disappointed a few weeks back to be told on the phone by a council officer, “We’re not allowed to give out the phone numbers of senior staff.”
I found this puzzling because senior officers and Heads of Service are the people who make all the important policy decisions which affect us. They should be readily answerable for those decisions should they deserve praise, and if and when they go wrong. They should not be issuing global obstacles to access which enable them to hide away somewhere in the shadows, dodging their paymasters.
Please make good use of these contact numbers and let us know how you get on.
15th May 2015
Here’s what happened when I phoned 0151 606 2004 (what was assumed to be the contact number for Mark Smith, Head of Environment and Regulation) today. Basically, I was hoodwinked, my FOI request was not addressed and I was given shit… or to put it more politely, a long list of ‘options’, none of which was a direct link to Mark Smith.
Thanks go to www.johnbrace.com for pointing this possibility out to me (see comments below).
I’ll now have to use up lots of time going through all the other numbers to see if this has been a calculated move by Wirral Council – to fob the public off and confound them with a generous helping of misrepresentation, deceit and bullshit.
Or maybe it was an innocent ‘mistake’?
We shall see.
18th May 2015
After receiving some advice on the accuracy of the above list of numbers from a very helpful lady at the council, and finding another number was ‘not recognised’ I quickly realised I’d need to go back to the FOI section and get it checked.
Here’s an email I sent on 18th May:
From: Paul C
Sent: 18 May 2015 21:53
To: InfoMgr, FinDMT
Subject: FW: FOI request for direct telephone numbers
Hi Information Manager,
I spoke with a male colleague of yours today, who asked me to send in my copy of names and direct phone numbers that I’d recently received from yourselves.
This is being done for your attention, and in order for somebody to check through the list (as arranged), make changes as required, then verify that the information is correct.
There are already a couple of errors that I’ve spotted, as follows:
Christine Hyams 691 8950 – number not recognised
Mark Smith 606 2004 – not a direct number. This gives a telephone answering message with several irrelevant options, none of which is a direct number to Mark Smith.
I’d be very grateful if you could acknowledge receipt, check the above list and please return an accurate one asap,
A response arrived, availing themselves of another 20 days’ grace, the next day:
From: O’Hare, Tracy J. [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of InfoMgr, FinDMT
Sent: 19 May 2015 09:24
To: Paul C
Cc: InfoMgr, FinDMT
Subject: RE: FOI 921729 – Paul Cardin – FOI request for direct telephone numbers
Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act, which has been received by Wirral Borough Council.
The Council can confirm this request was received by the foi team .
Your enquiry is with the relevant Council department(s) and we will aim to issue a substantive response within the statutory timeframe FOI act (2000), 20 working days from the receipt of your request or as soon as we can before this.
Information and Central Services
Wallasey Town Hall
Tel:0151 691 8397
n.b. Kevin Adderley and Emma Degg have now departed the council.