3rd September 2018
This kind of official dishonesty happened with us once before over 5 years ago, when we made an FOI request of Somerset Council.
The Information Commissioner protected the council’s position when they appealed.
We can’t recall what the excuse was now. Anyway, they received official clemency thanks to the regulator.
This is far more serious because it concerns a compromise agreement issued to a senior officer in August 2013. Take a quick glance at the above picture. It’s a section from the response we received today to this FOI request:
The request was very simple:
“…please supply a full list of totals of compromise agreements drawn up and issued between the period January 2011 to December 2013 inclusive”.
Within our possession we have a copy of a compromise agreement dated 24th August 2013 which was issued to a senior officer of Wirral Council. We are not prepared to name this senior officer.
Anyway, the top and bottom of it is we therefore know – because it wasn’t declared – they are lying. We also know it isn’t a mistake or an oversight because they’ve lied before, when we asked them to clarify the very same information on 11th August 2013, here:
To see the table, click on the link in the original request.
This blog post from November 2013 refers to it and has a copy of the table with the same blank space alongside August 2013.
In our opinion, Wirral Council have breached Section 77, Regulation 19 (Deliberately altering, defacing, blocking, erasing, destroying or concealing a record which is subject to a request, with the intention of preventing the disclosure of information to which the applicant would otherwise be entitled.)
We will be notifying the ICO that Section 77 has been breached, which is a criminal act, and that it was breached previously prior to August 2013 in response to another as yet unknown requester.
We are entitled under the Act to receive this information. Wirral Council have deliberately concealed it twice.
The following email will be sent to the ICO tomorrow morning:
Dear Information Commissioner,
Please find a complaint form attached.
In my opinion, Wirral Council have breached Section 77, Regulation 19 (Deliberately altering, defacing, blocking, erasing, destroying or concealing a record which is subject to a request, with the intention of preventing the disclosure of information to which the applicant would otherwise be entitled.)
Note appended to complaint form:
I requested information for the purposes of checking and clarifying. It became clear upon checking the table of information provided that some of the information contained therein was incorrect . The apparent dishonesty involved became compounded when I discovered that a previously lodged request for identical information had been answered in the same apparently dishonest fashion.
May I stress that I feel myself and the wider public would otherwise be entitled to the missing information?
Relevant website links:
August 2018 FOI request:
August 2013 FOI request:
September 2018 blog post:
November 2013 blog post: