Sheila Oliver's Campaigning Website

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Why Can't the LibDems do Something Right?
We need a new start for our town
Councillor Goddard makes all look a clown
Land Lease has just dumped us
Congestion charge humps us
Can’t someone just turn us around.

We need a new name for our town
Something that won’t make us frown
The LibDems have floundered
There’s chaos around us
Will someone just turn it around

We need a new aim for our town
We need to be heard not let down
False planning betrays us
The Top Dogs erase us
Please somebody turn it around

(Name and address supplied)






http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/food-bank-charity-chelwood-baptist-1335801



food  bank charity made to pay £546 inspection fee by Stockport Council.



I suggest a new motto for Stockport Council helpfully provided to me by H Quintus Horatius Flaccus:-

Si possis recte, si non, quocumque modo rem.
By honest means, if you can, but by any means make money

My motto is:-
Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio.
I struggle to be brief and become obscure - Horace

Email sent by me to Jen Re, Head of FOIA Dept on 17th August 2009 at 06.21

Dear Ms Re

I note in your recent email you state:-

“Regardless of the information we proactively provide to the public and provide to you in response to your FOI requests, you continue to question the Council’s motives and actions and maintain that we are not being open, honest and transparent. You continue to make requests for information you state will uncover ‘financial irregularities’......"
In light ot fhe recent court case (see link below) in which the Council received a lower fine due to its budget deficit - which apparently didn't exist - please give me full details of how this misunderstanding arose including the written instructions given to the Council's barrister on this issue - and what steps Stockport Council took to correct this misunderstanding with the court subsequently. You may claim legal privilege, but there is now no outstanding court case and I shall take this matter to the Information Commission should you fail to comply with this request.

http://www.stockportexpress.co.uk:80/news/s/1111053_council_fined_23000_for_safety_failings_at_pavilion

There will be more to follow in respect of the email you sent me.

Yours

Sheila

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hi Sheila

I saw your email below and the various others that have been flying back and forth, including Coun. Weldon's.
In a couple of weeks' time I am planning to do a story on this, and just wanted you to know that it's on my radar. I have been well aware that there was something strange about this, as I sat in court and heard what both the defence and the judge said - there is no question that that judge thought, and was allowed to think, that the council was in defecit and therefore gave a more lenient fine. And I have the notes to prove it.

However, in order to make the story as strong as possible I am waiting on a couple of comments that won't be available for a couple of weeks. So do keep me posted if you have any more correspondence on this, and I will be in touch.

All the best

XXXX

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear FoI Officer

Councillor Weldon seems jolly cross with me (again) for believing what I read in the Express, which I find a far more reliable source of information than the Council.

Be that as it may, Councillor Weldon has informed me regarding the court case of the Reddish pensioner who might have died because the Council failed to carry out proper maintenance at 62 Council buildings, the Council's barrister misunderstood his brief when he said the Council was in budget deficit. It would seem to me the honest thing for the Council to have done would have been to subsequently contact the court and correct that apparent error. The Council got a large fine but the judge said it would have been larger had the Council not been in deficit, which, of course we now learn, it wasn't.

So, is there any written evidence that the Council contacted the court to correct this misunderstanding? I assume no-one in court from the Council corrected it at the time, or the judge wouldn't have made those comments.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Sheila




Email from me to the Standards Board on 14th August 2009 at 19/09

Dear Ms Wallbank

Please see below from the Executive Councillor, Councillor Weldon at
Stockport Council.

This is regarding a freedom of information request I made. There was a
court case in April 2009 regarding the death of a pensioner. The Council had
failed to carry out necessary maintenance at a council building and 62
others, the lady fell and subsequently died. The Council told the Court
that it had a budget deficit, and although the Council received a large
fine, the judge implied it would have been larger had it not been for the
budget deficit. This is the news story:-

lt http://www.stockportexpress.co.uk/news/s/1111053_council_fined_23000_for_safety_failings_at_pavilion

I asked about this budget deficit under the FOIA, as I attend a lot of
council meetings and I had heard nothing about it - in fact, the Council
had stated it had £5,000,000 put away for a rainy day. The reply came back
that there was no budget deficit. This reply didn't make sense because the
Council had quite clearly been given a smaller court fine purely because of
this deficit. I told the FOI Officer that the head of the relevant council
directorate would know what I was talking about and asked for further
details. I received no reply. I told Councillor Weldon that I wasn't
getting replies to FOI questions such as in this instance, which led to the
ongoing tirade below.

My position is that I was perfectly right to ask about the budget deficit
(apparently the Council's barrister misunderstood his brief - well, maybe we
can suspend disbelief on that one), but I feel I was perfectly entitled to
ask for further clarification. If the Council states in court in a very
serious case regarding the untimely death of a pensioner that it would have
trouble paying the fine because of budget difficulties and that is reported
in our award winning and truthful local newspaper, I think I am perfectly
entitled to believe what was written and question further without being
subjected to abuse as dished out below.

This is how Councillor Weldon speaks to me in public meetings too. Frankly,
I have had enough.

Kind regards

Sheila

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




From: "Cllr Mark Weldon" <cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk
>
To: "Sheila Oliver" <
sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:38 PM
Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request


Dear Mrs Oliver,

Dig as much as you like, it is all in your imagination.

I note that if you get a response that does not fit in with your
assumptions and flatly contradicts your statements you treat it as if it did
not exist. This email is the third response on this request from the FoI
officer and yet you publicised it to many third parties as if you had not
received a response.

To avoid any doubt, I will quote the response;

"I understand that there is no such deficit; therefore no notification was
needed. "

No "blackhole", no, "financial irregularities", just one over heated
imagination. To continue to maintain otherwise is to deliberately foster an
untruth.

Sincerely
Mark Weldon

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Email from me to Chief Executive John Schulz on 14th August 2009 at 06.52

Sir
So, I am yet again subject to a rant from Councillor Weldon for believing what a judge says in a very serious court case, in which the Council was subjected to a large fine and which revolved around the death of a pensioner and in which it would appear the Council's barrister seriously misled the court. It remains to be seen whether the Council took steps to correct this misunderstanding. This was all reported in our award-winning local paper.

And you call me rude and offensive! Back to the Standards Board, no doubt,

Yours

Sheila

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Email sent by me to the FOIA officer on 14th August 2009 at 06.28

Dear FoI Officer

Councillor Weldon seems jolly cross with me (again) for believing what I read in the Express, which I find a far more reliable source of information than the Council.

Be that as it may, Councillor Weldon has informed me regarding the court case of the Reddish pensioner who might have died because the Council failed to carry out proper maintenance at 62 Council buildings, the Council's barrister misunderstood his brief when he said the Council was in budget deficit. It would seem to me the honest thing for the Council to have done would have been to subsequently contact the court and correct that apparent error. The Council got a large fine but the judge said it would have been larger had the Council not been in deficit, which, of course we now learn, it wasn't.

So, is there any written evidence that the Council contacted the court to correct this misunderstanding? I assume no-one in court from the Council corrected it at the time, or the judge wouldn't have made those comments.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Sheila




Email sent by me on 13th August 2009 at 19.38

Dear Councillor Weldon

"The barrister misunderstood his brief, no deficit existed."

How interesting, I assume someone from Stockport Council took the time at that hearing or subsequently to point out this misunderstanding.

I might contact the court; I might not.

Yours

Sheila
----- Original Message -----
From: Cllr Mark Weldon
To:
Sheila Oliver
Cc:
Barry Khan
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 6:29 PM
Subject: FW: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref 1920 - Final email
Mrs Oliver,
Pleas see forwarded email below This is my final email to you. Any reply will be automatically routed to the FoI officer. From now on the council will deal with your emails etc on a weekly basis as outlined in the email previously sent to you .
Sincerely,
Mark Weldon

From: Cllr Mark Weldon
Sent: Thu 13/08/2009 09:14
To: 'Sheila Oliver'
Cc: MICHAEL PARNELL; Gaz Butler; Syd Lloyd;
peter.devine@gmwn.co.uk; STUNELL, Andrew
Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref 1920 - Third copy of response to your request

Mrs Oliver,

I will for a final time explain as plainly as I can the error in your email.

It was a proper response from the FoI officer and so to say it was not is an untruth. Whenever there is a clash between reality and your assumptions then your assumptions are the victors. There is not and there has never been a budget deficit. The barrister misunderstood his brief, no deficit existed. As has been explained repeatedly, if we maintain spending and services in the next financial year as this current financial year, the council will need to reduce its spending from April 2010 by 5.6 million. I do appreciate local government finance can be complex, but I do hope this final confrontation with reality can finally alter your opinion and your propagation of untruths.

This was made apparent to council and the executive after we received the budget settlement for the next financial year from central government. Therefore there is no deficit, no blackhole etc etc. To remind you the response from the FoI was ;

""I understand that there is no such deficit; therefore no notification was needed. "

To carry on misrepresenting the position would be to foster an untruth.

The news story refers to the discovery of asbestos in a number of schools and the subsequent risk assessments that were then required as soon as possible. The staff working on risk assessments were diverted as described in the article. This is an issue for many local authorities not just Stockport.

Mr Webb is a leading member of his profession and we as a council are happy to allow him to work with DCSF and other professional bodies to help maintain the CYPD directorate's leading position within the country. A commitment of less than one day a month is a small price to pay to maintain Stockport's leading position. Indeed he was personally asked by two Cabinet ministers to take on the work as Stockport CYP directorate and the council itself is recognised as a leading local authority. To try to characterise the directorate as failing is to foster a further untruth. Moreover modern communication technologies enable Mr Webb to be always in touch regardless of his physical presence.

Sincerely,
Mark Weldon

-----Original Message-----
From: Sheila Oliver [
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 13 August 2009 07:53
To: Cllr Mark Weldon
Cc: MICHAEL PARNELL; Gaz Butler; Syd Lloyd; peter.devine@gmwn.co.uk; STUNELL, Andrew
Subject: Re: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref 1920 - Third copy of response to your request

Dear Councillor Weldon

This is the news story about which I asked the FoI question.

http://www.stockportexpress.co.uk:80/news/s/1111053_council_fined_23000_for_safety_failings_a t_pavilion

The answer being they don't know what I was talking about. Ask Andew Webb, I
replied, he should remember. It was, of course, only from April 2009. No
further response. I don't think this actually counts as a bone fide FOI
answer, so my contention that the question was not answered is correct in my
opinion.

Also, I attend a lot of council meetings. In April 2009 I was not made aware
of a budget deficit which would lead to Council to receive a more lenient
fine from the judge (please see newspaper article).

Mr Andrew Webb would appear to have some outside, career-enhancing
interests, which take him away from Stockport Council at least 12 working
days a year. His department is failing to meet a high percentage of
performance indicators. I have merely commented that he should concentrate
on the job he is paid a lot of money to do, which would not appear to be the
case at present.

I have received some documents regarding Alison Davies from another source.
It would appear that the Council should have been more helpful to Ms Davies.
Contrast that with the case of Mr. Parnell, also asking for help with
troubled children, who has been arrested, imprisoned and fined for allegedly
sneezing and for using the Council public lavatory in legal cases which may
well amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

I ask a lot of questions mainly because you don't. How sudden was the
discovery of the asbestos in schools problem? (see below quotes from the
court case).

Yours

Sheila

"In mitigation, the council said the sudden discovery of asbestos in
Stockport schools in 2005 meant it had had to divert its resources to
sorting out that problem, so risk assessments at the pavilion and the
council's 62 others were scaled down as a result"

"The council was fined £11,500 and was ordered to pay £11,800 costs. Judge
Lakin said he had taken on board the council's argument that its budget is
currently in deficit and so it should receive a fairly lenient fine."

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cllr Mark Weldon" <cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk>
To: "Sheila Oliver" <sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:38 PM
Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request


Dear Mrs Oliver,

Dig as much as you like, it is all in your imagination.

I note that if you get a response that does not fit in with your
assumptions and flatly contradicts your statements you treat it as if it did
not exist. This email is the third response on this request from the FoI
officer and yet you publicised it to many third parties as if you had not
received a response.

To avoid any doubt, I will quote the response;

"I understand that there is no such deficit; therefore no notification was
needed. "

No "blackhole", no, "financial irregularities", just one over heated
imagination. To continue to maintain otherwise is to deliberately foster an
untruth.

Sincerely
Mark Weldon

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sheila Oliver <sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: 12 August 2009 19:49
To: Cllr Mark Weldon <cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk>
Subject: Re: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request

Digging deeper, Councillor Weldon, digging deeper.

Kind regards

Sheila

----- Original Message -----
From: Cllr Mark Weldon <
mailto:cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk>
To: Sheila Oliver <
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:58 PM
Subject: FW: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request

Mrs Oliver,
Again I note the request was dealt with and answered. To receive a response
you do not like or agree with is different to not receiving a response.
Therefore to say it was not answered is untrue. If the untruth was
deliberate it would be a lie. The code of conduct in my public duties
requires me to assume you just did not understand you had previously
received an answer. Others not constrained by the code could make up their
own minds.
Moreover one of definitions of a vexatious line of questions is that they
are repeated when perfectly adequate responses are given.

________________________________

From: Claire Naven on behalf of FOI Officer
Sent: Wed 12/08/2009 17:53
To: 'Sheila Oliver'
Cc: FOI Officer
Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request



Dear Mrs Oliver,



I am writing in response to your email below and your additional email sent
on the same date about the same subject (attached for reference).



The response to this request has been sent to you twice already; you also
replied to the email which had the second copy of the response attached to
it. All these emails are attached for your information; therefore please
update your records to show that a response to this request has been sent to
you on more than one occasion. In light of this, further emails stating that
this request has not received a response will be placed on file unanswered.



Yours sincerely,



Claire Naven



Claire Naven

Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council



________________________________

From: Sheila Oliver [
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 09 August 2009 07:25
To: FOI Officer
Cc: compliance@ico.gsi.gov.uk; Cllr Mark Weldon
Subject: Fw: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Response



Dear Ms Naven



Could I have a reply to this please. I shall cc this to Councillor Weldon
who believes all FoI requests are answered by the Council and the
Information Commission.



Kind regards



Sheila

----- Original Message -----

From: Sheila Oliver <
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>

To: FOI Officer <
mailto:foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk>

Cc: peter.devine@gmwn.co.uk

Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 5:44 PM

Subject: Re: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Response



Dear Ms Navern



I assume there exists somewhere at the Council a written explanation of why
the maintenance wasn't carried out, which may have led to the death of the
pensioner in Reddish, due to the absestos in schools issue. Please may I
have a copy.



Kind regards



Sheila

----- Original Message -----

From: FOI Officer <
mailto:foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk>

To: Sheila Oliver <
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>

Cc: FOI Officer <
mailto:foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk>

Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:20 PM

Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Response



Dear Mrs Oliver,



I am writing in response to your request for information below (ref 1920).



I understand that there is no such deficit; therefore no notification was
needed.



If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are
entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be carried
out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your original
request. To ask for an internal review, contact foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk
in the first instance.



If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are entitled
to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:



Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF



www.ico.gov.uk <
http://www.ico.gov.uk/>



01625 545 745



Yours sincerely,



Claire Naven





Claire Naven

Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council



________________________________

From: Sheila Oliver [
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 18 June 2009 11:13
To: FOI Officer
Subject: Re: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Acknowledgement



Dear Ms Naven





Again, many thanks.



Kind regards



Sheila

----- Original Message -----

From: FOI Officer <
mailto:foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk>

To: Sheila Oliver <
lt mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>

Cc: FOI Officer <
mailto:foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk>

Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 10:49 AM

Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Acknowledgement



Dear Mrs Oliver,



Thank you for your request for information below which has been given
reference FOI 1920. Please quote this on any correspondence regarding your
request.



Stockport Council will respond to your request within 20 working days. If
there will be a charge for disbursements e.g. photocopying in order to
provide the information, we will inform you as soon as possible to see if
you wish to proceed; however such charges are usually waived if they amount
to less than £10.



Yours sincerely,



Claire Naven



Claire Naven

Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council



________________________________

From: Sheila Oliver [
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 06 June 2009 08:37
To: FOI Officer
Cc: peter.devine@gmwn.co.uk; Andrew Webb; Steve Houston
Subject: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue



Dear FoI Officer



I note from the Council's own Financial Management document that: "Corporate
Directors shall notify the Corporate Director, Business Services, as soon as
possible of any matter within their area of responsibility which may affect
the financial position of the Council."



At what point was the Corporate Director, Business Services, notified of the
£5.6 million deficit in the CYPD budget for dealing with asbestos in
schools, which may have indirectly led to the death of a pensioner? I
certainly noticed no mention of it in any council meeting I have attended,



I am concerned there has been a cover-up over anomalies of several millions
of pounds within this same CYPD on another matter, so these are serious
issues.



I am also concerned that Mr. Andrew Webb has so many other professional
irons in the fire that he is not dedicating the time he should (or that I
pay him a lot of money to do) to his primary employment.



I look forward to hearing from you.



Kind regards





Sheila





Email sent by me 13th August 2009 at 19.28

Dear Councillor Weldon

Thank you for your reply.

Councillor McGee said in an article in the local press that the Council had known about the asbestos in schools issue for quite a long time before action was taken.

The court issued a lower fine because of the budget deficit. Nevertheless, it was quite a substantial fine and we must remember here that someone died in this incident and other people were put at risk in 62 other locations from the same lack of maintenance. I seem to recall the Council stated around that time it was holding back £5 million to cover eventualities. There would appear to be Council failings also involving a death of a young person on the front page of the Times this week.
The performance indicators show CYPD is failing to meet a high proportion of targets. Mr Webb may be in touch wherever he is but he is not concentrating on the very serious problems in Stockport if he is in high profile meetings in London.

Yours

Sheila


Email sent by me 13th August 2009 at 06.52

Dear Councillor Weldon

This is the news story about which I asked the FoI question.

http://www.stockportexpress.co.uk:80/news/s/1111053_council_fined_23000_for_safety_failings_at_pavilion

The answer being they don't know what I was talking about. Ask Andew Webb, I
replied, he should remember. It was, of course, only from April 2009. No
further response. I don't think this actually counts as a bone fide FOI
answer, so my contention that the question was not answered is correct in my
opinion.

Also, I attend a lot of council meetings. In April 2009 I was not made aware
of a budget deficit which would lead to Council to receive a more lenient
fine from the judge (please see newspaper article).

Mr Andrew Webb would appear to have some outside, career-enhancing
interests, which take him away from Stockport Council at least 12 working
days a year. His department is failing to meet a high percentage of
performance indicators. I have merely commented that he should concentrate
on the job he is paid a lot of money to do, which would not appear to be the
case at present.

I have received some documents regarding Alison Davies from another source.
It would appear that the Council should have been more helpful to Ms Davies.
Contrast that with the case of Mr. Parnell, also asking for help with
troubled children, who has been arrested, imprisoned and fined for allegedly
sneezing and for using the Council public lavatory in legal cases which may
well amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

I ask a lot of questions mainly because you don't. How sudden was the
discovery of the asbestos in schools problem? (see below quotes from the
court case).

Yours

Sheila

"In mitigation, the council said the sudden discovery of asbestos in
Stockport schools in 2005 meant it had had to divert its resources to
sorting out that problem, so risk assessments at the pavilion and the
council's 62 others were scaled down as a result"

"The council was fined £11,500 and was ordered to pay £11,800 costs. Judge
Lakin said he had taken on board the council's argument that its budget is
currently in deficit and so it should receive a fairly lenient fine."

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cllr Mark Weldon" <
cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk>
To: "Sheila Oliver" <
sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:38 PM
Subject: RE: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request


Dear Mrs Oliver,

Dig as much as you like, it is all in your imagination.

I note that if you get a response that does not fit in with your
assumptions and flatly contradicts your statements you treat it as if it did
not exist. This email is the third response on this request from the FoI
officer and yet you publicised it to many third parties as if you had not
received a response.

To avoid any doubt, I will quote the response;

"I understand that there is no such deficit; therefore no notification was
needed. "

No "blackhole", no, "financial irregularities", just one over heated
imagination. To continue to maintain otherwise is to deliberately foster an
untruth.

Sincerely
Mark Weldon

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sheila Oliver <
lt sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: 12 August 2009 19:49
To: Cllr Mark Weldon <
cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk>
Subject: Re: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request

Digging deeper, Councillor Weldon, digging deeper.

Kind regards

Sheila

----- Original Message -----
From: Cllr Mark Weldon <
mailto:cllr.mark.weldon@stockport.gov.uk>
To: Sheila Oliver <
mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:58 PM
Subject: FW: £5.6 million black hole - asbestos in schools issue - Ref
1920 - Third copy of response to your request

Mrs Oliver,
Again I note the request was dealt with and answered. To receive a response
you do not like or agree with is different to not receiving a response.
Therefore to say it was not answered is untrue. If the untruth was
deliberate it would be a lie. The code of conduct in my public duties
requires me to assume you just did not understand you had previously
received an answer. Others not constrained by the code could make up their
own minds.
Moreover one of definitions of a vexatious line of questions is that they
are repeated when perfectly adequate responses are given.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





The words of a wise man, no longer with us:-

"The residents of Beech Av are to be congratulated on getting a well deserved residents only parking scheme after battling for so long. As your correspondent says there are consequences for a lot of other people.
The Council have won too. They collect not only about £1000 from the residents permits but, according to residents, the car park in Beech Av will take an extra £17500 a year. That’s how to make money out of peoples’ misery. Cllr Weldon is very pleased about Beech Av. He should be. He and all his Executive Colleagues can now apply for free parking permits for anywhere in Stockport on Council business, of course.

However those in Ripley Av and Gladstone St are not winners. The Council has already written that they must now pay to continue their parking scheme or disband. Even though they decisively voted twice against the scheme. Why does the Council treat their double petition with contempt?  LibDem Cllrs promised they would not allow the Council to railroad any street into anything they don’t want. Why do LibDems not stand by their written commitment? Ripley Av and Gladstone are victims because they don’t slavishly agree with an unnecessary tax. Then 100 more RPS streets, mostly around Edgeley Park Stadium will not win. They will soon be told that they too will have to pay or disband. So 50 houses in Beech Av win and 5000 houses stand to lose what they are happy with. Strange interpretation of democracy.  Finally what about the people who cause the problem.  I doubt most go to the medical centre or the hospital to purposely annoy but because they have to visit for health issues. The LibDem technique of demonising sections of society to support a political objective has a long and dangerous history that I despise.
Can I be the only person in Stockport who refuses to appease with a LibDem policy that is so partisan. It is neither liberal nor socially democratic. It narrowly exploits one set of views against the needs of others and makes money out of that misfortune in the process. No one in Stockport needs nor deserves that approach. There are better more modern solutions proven by other Councils with a more generous and encompassing approach."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Our Ref: JMcM/LW

24th October 2007


Mr  XXXX


Dear Mr XXXX

REQUEST FOR INTERNAL REVIEW OF INITIAL DECISION FOLLOWING REQUEST REFERENCE FOI 578 UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

I refer to your request dated 2nd June 2007 which was received by the Council on the 3rd June 2007 and your subsequent request for an internal review dated 23rd August 2007 of the Council’s handling of your request.

I have outlined your request below:

"It is my interest to get details of correspondence between EEDs staff and Cllr Goddard regarding the publication of the 2nd Stage Report New Resident Parking Scheme."

In response to this request you received e-mail correspondence between Mr Newell and Councilor Goddard the draft report attached to one of the e-mails sent by Mr Newell to Councilor Goddard.

It would seem that Mr Newell conducted a search of his e-mail account and provided you with the information that he found in that search.  Although on reflection under section 16 of the FOIA, Mr Newell should have made you aware that the background papers in relation to the RPS were and still are publicly available.  I believe Mr Newell acted in good faith and provided you with his correspondence with Councilor Goddard in response to your request.  

I have asked the officers with involvement in the RPS to conduct a search of their e-mail accounts in order to establish whether there is any further correspondence between officers and Councilor Goddard in relation to the publication of the 2 nd Stage Report regarding the RPS and there is no further correspondence.

You have now seen the full file in relation to RPS which contained all the drafts in existence and I am aware you have received copies of numerous documents from this file.  To avoid duplicating work if you could specify which documents you would like copies of I will arrange for them to be supplied.

In conclusion I believe that your request could have been handled more efficiently and the Council failed to fully comply with section 16 of the FOIA which relates to advice and assistance.  

However, I do not believe there was any wilful obstruction, just a case that Mr Newell was not fully aware that he was under a duty to inform you of your ability to access the full file as it is a public file.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of my internal review, you may make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.  To do so please contact:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

www.ico.gov.uk

01625 545745

Yours sincerely,



Jim McMahon
Service Director
Transportation and Planning





I noted from the Stockport Express that: "neither Councillor Weldon nor any other Stockport Council Executive member will benefit personally from the Beech Avenue parking scheme".

I have seen a document which stated: " A free permit will be issued to all Cllrs allowing them to park in RPZ (Residents Parking Zones) in their wards, to allow for the carrying out of their responsibilities, Executive members permits will allow them to park in any RPZ in the Borough".

Maybe the LibDem Councillors intended to proceed with this not inconsiderable perk for themselves, but under the beady, watchful eye of Mr. XXXX - a meticulous checker of facts in my experience - they decided they really wouldn't be able to get away with it. Thanks, Mr. XXXX, for your supberb efforts in holding our councillors to account.






Previously, SMBC made a £6.00 admin charge to make photocopies of documents which should have been placed on the Council's website - in this case the bypass environmental impact assessment. I threw a hissy fit about the massive charges to read and copy complex documents and they backed down.



"The new Executive is:
Leader – Sue Derbyshire (also with responsibility for Policy, Reform and Finance)
Deputy Leader – Mark Weldon (also with responsibility for Corporate Customer and Community Services)
Executive member for Lifelong Learning and Achievement - Shan Alexander
Executive member for Communities and Sustainability – Stuart Bodsworth
Executive member for Adult Care Services - Keith Holloway
Executive member for Children and Young People – Wendy Meikle
Executive member for Heath and Wellbeing – John Pantall
Executive member for Economic Development and Regeneration – Iain Roberts
The Public Realm service (parks, road and pavement repairs, refuse collection) comes under Stuart Bodsworth’s portfolio.
Transport policy and strategy including the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road, public transport, cycling, car parking and residents parking come under Iain Roberts’ portfolio."


 
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