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Stockport Council News

Alex Ganotis

Information Commissioner Posted on Sat, September 03, 2016 07:07

Commission Graham and his Board. Any use at all?

Information Commissioner Posted on Sun, October 18, 2015 08:26

Mr Christopher Graham
The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House

12th July 2015

Registered Post

Dear Mr Graham

Re Sheila
Oliver, vexatious branding – mesothelioma lawsuits and defamation issues.

Some years ago I sent
evidence to the ICO about a school being built on a still-gassing, toxic waste
dump site. I sent evidence of the
contaminated nature of the site and was subsequently proved correct by the
ground investigation report I eventually forced Stockport Council to conduct
(evidence available on request). I sent
evidence of the drainage problems, the fact that the school was deliberately
being built too small (an offence under the Fraud Act) and the dangerous
traffic situation that was being created around the school. I said they were £5m short in their funding
and at the last minute an extra £5m had to be borrowed to finance the
development, within one year of it opening the Council admitted the school was
not big enough and talked of re-opening the old school it replaced, and within
weeks of the school opening the police complained about the dangerous traffic
situation. I can prove all I am saying
and I did prove to your employees years ago these problems. I even offered to visit the ICO’s premises to
explain the nature of the evidence face to face. Instead of actually looking at that
evidence, I was branded “vexatious” by the ICO and the school was corruptly
built by Stockport Council. I am in a position
to prove I was never “vexatious”; I sent evidence at the time proving I wasn’t
vexatious, but the ICO ignored it. I
have every letter and email I sent to the ICO.
I am in a position to prove to lawyers that at no time was I ever

In addition, due to corruption at Stockport Council the
necessary money was not spent on drainage – on a former toxic waste dump over
an important aquifer and draining into a fishing pond.

Replacement playing fields were not provided, yet this was a
planning condition set by Sport England.
Why not? I am not allowed to ask
due to the ICO having branded me “vexatious”.
Disabled changing rooms should have been provided. They weren’t. What
happened to the £600k set aside for this?
I am not allowed to ask due to the ICO having falsely branded me as

£6.9m for the development should have come from the sale of
redundant school land. It didn’t – £1.6m
did and the rest had to be borrowed. Why was I not allowed to question this
massive loss of over £5million to the council taxpayer? Because the ICO had falsely (despite all the
excellent documentary evidence I had sent them) branded me vexatious.

£10m plus was wasted on a school which was never going to be
big enough. It is an offence under the
Fraud Act 2006 to act to deliberately cause someone a loss. It is an offence
under the Fraud Act 2006 to block access to documents pertaining to a
fraud. Exactly what happened in this
case. The Council’s legal officer, whom
I have since discovered appears to have no legal qualifications whatsoever,
cheated local people out of their statutory public inquiry for the disposal of
local open space.

So the actions of the ICO have cost the disabled their
changing rooms, local people their replacement playing fields and much needed
local open space and over £5 million.

I enclose a press cutting regarding flooding problems at the
pond next to this site. Over the last
few months corrupt Stockport Council officials have been maintaining that my
drainage questions about this site were “vexatious”. £200k should have been spent on the drainage
at this site – it obviously wasn’t.

But worse, far worse than all that, the new school was built
on unremediated brown asbestos. When I sent corrupt Stockport Council video
evidence that the brown asbestos had not been removed from this primary school
site, they were able to quote your erroneous “vexatious” branding and ignored
it. Hundreds of primary school children
and young babies in the nursery are being educated on a site from which lethal
brown asbestos fibres have not been removed

I don’t know if you are acquainted with the sort of sums
involved with mesothelioma lawsuits – certainly they have been enough in the
past to bankrupt companies such as Turner & Newall. Huge sums have had to be set aside for
victims. How long will it take young
babies on this site to develop lung damage caused by the brown asbestos fibres
or develop mesothelioma? Who knows? I can’t think of a case ever where young
children have been deliberately exposed to this lethal material. All, I assume, because corrupt council
officers and councillors at Stockport wanted their customary planning

There is therefore, the question of the damage that has been
caused to my reputation – I am a national campaigner with successes such as
with Tesco – playing a large part in getting them the £1m Competition
Commission fine. I also helped expose £3
billion of waste at the Highways Agency (evidence available on request).

I could have believed this might have been one rogue, lazy ICO
officer who couldn’t be bothered to look at the evidence submitted were it not
for the fact that I am witnessing with total incredulity the Dransfield
cases. The ICO is firmly on the side of
the corrupt and has no interest in protecting the public purse or safety.

I look forward to your comments on how we now take this matter
forward. I am drawing this matter not
only to your attention but also to the attention of the ICO Board, whom I
assume will be personally liable for any
subsequent massive lawsuits from the damaged and dying children as well as the
more minor case of the damage to my reputation.

Yours sincerely

Sheila Oliver

c.c. Simon Entwisle, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

c.c. David Smith, the Deputy Commissioner

c.c. Graham Smith the Deputy Commissioner

c.c. Ailsa Beaton OBE
Board Member

c.c. Andrew Hind CB
Board Member

c.c. Ian Watmore
Board Member

c.c. Nicola Wood
Board Member

c.c. Lord Goddard, Councillor, Stockport Council

c.c. Sue Derbyshire, Leader, Stockport Council

c.c Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive, Stockport Council

c.c. Parveen Akhtar, Monitoring Officer, Stockport C ouncil

c.c Andrew Webb, Director of CYPD, Stockport Council – lied about questions pertaining to one
primary school project costing £2,400 to

c.c. Donna Sager, Asst Director of CYPD, Stockport Council – who personally lied about the true situation
as project manager of a massively overbudget and being built too small school
and branded questions “vexatious”. Why was the project manager able to block
FOI questions?

c.c. John Hill, Legal Officer, Stockport Council

c.c. Iain Roberts, Deputy Leader, Stockport Council

c.c. Head of FOIA, Stockport Council

c.c Anwar Majothi, Complaints Officer, SMBC – personally lied
to the ICO about this matter.

“An angling
club says it will take legal action unless a council honours an old agreement
to install proper drainage at its pond.

Angling Club agreed to let Stockport Council use Jackson’s Pond as an overflow
for excess water from playing fields at the nearby Vale View Primary School, on
condition that proper drainage was installed.

the club claims the council has not held up its side of the bargain, which it
agreed to in writing, because the drain that has been installed is only half
the agreed size and doesn’t work.

a result, the pond has flooded on numerous occasions since the school opened in

authority says it is aware of the problems and has promised to involve the club
in discussions about how to solve it.

club’s committee has had to spend more than £8,000 of club funds to raise the
pond’s banking by 18 inches and has even had to call the fire service out to pump
away excess water.

carrying out extensive work themselves, they say there are still long periods
of time when the pond is so badly flooded that members can’t use it.

Flooding caused by
poor drainage at Jackson’s Pond, home of Reddish Angling Club

banking manager Stephen Feast said: “The drain they put in is far too small and
is always blocked.

you look in the manholes on the road next to it, they are always bone dry.

just a disgrace. Members have to pay a subscription every year, and most of the
time they can’t even use half the pond. I’ve never seen it so bad.

we want is a meeting with their solicitor and our solicitor. We just want to
talk to them sensibly.

just want them to uphold their end of the bargain, but if they don’t come up
with an offer we will be left with no option but to take them to court.

done everything the council wanted us to do, we’ve upheld our end of the
bargain, and this is how they treat us.”

Stockport Council spokesman said: “Over recent years we have been discussing
the problem of drainage at Jackson’s Pool in Reddish with Reddish Angling Club
and have met with their representatives.

of roots has taken place from the pipe but this hasn’t solved the problem.

council is currently working to find a longer-term solution to the problem and
will involve the angling club in these discussions.”

Will you finally listen, Commissioner Graham

Information Commissioner Posted on Sun, September 27, 2015 07:12

It takes a big, honest man to admit they were wrong and take steps to correct that error. Commissioner Graham is not such a man.

And the delay dragged on and the children were put in danger.

Information Commissioner Posted on Mon, January 12, 2015 11:34

14th July 2009

Case Reference Number FS50247042

Dear Mrs Oliver

Thank you for your correspondence dated 11/07/09, regarding your request for internal review of the Stockport MBC decision not to release the information you requested.

The information you have provided will be retained on our files for information only. Please let me know the outcome of the review as and when it is communicated to you, or confirm in due course that there still has been no response to your request.

Your email dated 03/07/09 regarding Harcourt Street is also acknowledged.

Should you wish us to look into this matter further we would ask you to contact our Helpline on 08456 306060, or 01625 545745 if you would prefer to call a ‘national rate’ number quoting the above reference number. One of our advisors will then be able to discuss the matter with you and explain the options available to you.

Yours sincerely

Jim Dunn

FoI Case Officer

FoI Case Reception Unit

The Information Commissioner’s Office


And this is what the dodgies who run Stockport Council got away with:-

When the ICO struggles with the workload, do they just tick “vexatious”?

Information Commissioner Posted on Mon, January 12, 2015 11:28

This was regarding a 550 pupil primary school and nursery to be built on a still gassing landfill site, directly over the rubbish in-filled claypits, £5m over budget, not big enough and creating a lethal traffic situation for the children. There was no time for any delay. I got nothing else but delay and then a final branding of being “vexatious” by the ICO. All I foretold came true.

9th June 2009

Case Reference Number FS50232537
Stockport Council

Dear Mrs Oliver

Further to previous correspondence I regret to advise that it is still not possible to allocate your complaint to a caseworker.

We are dealing with outstanding complaints as quickly as we can and your complaint is continuing to progress up the queue. We are constantly reviewing our procedures in order to try and identify new ways to speed up complaints handling, thereby further speed up the allocation of complaints. However as the Commissioner has explained in his evidence to the Justice Select committee in January 2009 whilst improvements have been made to reduce the backlog of complaints, continual delays in allocation are largely attributable to a lack of resources. Our current level of funding for FOI will therefore restrict our ability to deliver further significant improvement in the immediate future.

We appreciate you will be disappointed by this continuing delay but we will keep you updated every twelve weeks about the status of your complaint.

Yours Sincerely

FOI Operations – Local Government

Information Commissioner’s Office

The crooks at Stockport Council ignore the ICO over the toxic waste dump school

Information Commissioner Posted on Mon, January 12, 2015 11:25

16th April 2009

Case Reference Number FS50232537

Dear Mrs Oliver

Your information request to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

Thank you for your correspondence dated 15/04/09 in which you confirm that you have not yet received a response to your request for internal review following notification that your request for information had been deemed as vexatious under section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Your case has been allocated to one of our case resolution teams who will contact you as soon as possible to explain how your case will be progressed. Due to the volume of complaints we are receiving at present it may be several months before you hear from us.

The Information Commissioners Office is an independent public body set up to promote public access to official information. We will rule on eligible complaints from people who are unhappy with the way public authorities have handled requests for information under The Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you need to contact us about any aspect of your complaint about Stockport MBC please contact our Freedom of Information Helpline on 08456 306060, or 01625 545745 if you would prefer to call a ‘national rate’ number, being sure to quote the reference number at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Sent on behalf of

Mr Paul Arnold

Head of Front Line Operations

FOI Case Reception Unit

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Jim Dunn of the ICO doing a good job

Information Commissioner Posted on Mon, January 12, 2015 11:23

25th March 2009

Case Reference Number FS50232537

Dear Mrs Oliver

Thank you for your email of 21/03/09, section 50 (1) of the FOIA sets out that ‘Any person (in this section referred to as “the complainant”) may apply to the Commissioner for a decision whether, in any specified respect, a request for information made by the complainant to a public authority has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part 1’ (of the FOIA). You should therefore encourage those individuals responsible for making the request in the first place to communicate with this office if they need to make a complaint. Were you to act for another individual in respect of an application made to the Information Commissioner under section 50 (1) then you would need to provide a suitably signed letter of authority from the person who made the original request for information.

We are required to investigate complaints individually so that we can assess whether there has been non-compliance with the legislation based on the merits of the complaint in question. This allows the Information Commissioner to address non-compliance in the most appropriate way, whether that be by informal or formal advice, published guidance, recommendations as to good practice (under section 48 of the Act) or by issue of an Enforcement Notice (under section 52 of the Act).

I would confirm however that we monitor the complaints we receive for evidence of persistent non-compliance by individual public authorities. This evidence will be then be used to support the proportionate and targeted use of the regulatory tools at our disposal. This may also include face-to-face meetings with the public authority in question to specifically address those issues identified as part of that monitoring activity.

Yours sincerely

Jim Dunn

FoI Case Officer

FoI Case Reception Unit

The Information Commissioner’s Office

The primary school site was entirely contaminated and SMBC knew that.

Information Commissioner Posted on Mon, January 12, 2015 11:16

Ms Naven

Freedom of Information Officer

Stockport Council

Town Hall


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dear Ms Naven

Case Reference Number FS50232537

In reply to your email dated 20/02/09, I shall try to deal with all the points you raise:-

Firstly, I am a very loving person. I habitually sign off with Lots of Love, whether writing to the Editor of the Guardian, leaving a message for my work colleagues, emailing friends or writing to the Council. That is my nature. I am afraid I can’t change it to fit in with some Council concept of how I should behave. However, this might in future make a good newspaper story – counciltaxpayer branded vexatious for saying Lots of Love, so many thanks for that opportunity. Similarly, as a philosophical Taoist, fun is part of everything I do, so again I can’t change my character to please SMBC.

If you would like me to supply witness statements about how LibDem Executive councillors fly off the handle with members of the public, I will gladly do so. That might make a good newspaper story too if I get enough. I am, for example, currently taking Councillor Goddard to the Standards Committee for calling me a liar in Council meetings. Over a three month period he has failed to produce evidence of this. He regularly flies off the handle. I don’t pay him to do that. I think the Stockport Express reporter has repeatedly witnessed how Councillor Weldon has flown off the handle at me.

I said Councillor Foster Grime was attractive and had a brain. And would be far too clever to rant and rave at council taxpayers. Again, as an example of my alleged rudeness I feel it is lacking somewhat.

Are the above the only instances of my rude and offensive behaviour? If so, I don’t think they amount to a hill of beans and certainly do not justify the Chief Executive’s slanderous comments about me in council meetings and to the employees of the Council. I have been asking for examples of my alleged rudeness for years – your recent response gives me ammunition for my defamation case against Mr. Schultz, the Chief Executive. Thanks very much.

Only 159 questions since 2006 over Harcourt Street when I represent over 800 local residents, which I can prove, – I don’t think is too bad. I repeat – would you like me to get the 800 to write in themselves, because I can. How many of those emails are repeat request because the Freedom of Information Officer has not acknowledged receipt of the first email or indeed complied with the law and replied within 20 working days? I shouldn’t have to ask the Council twice or three times for a response, that is illegal.

I decided last Friday to send the Information Commission documentary evidence of what I have uncovered regarding Harcourt Street so far using the FOI. This is just what I came up with within roughly an hour on Friday night. The fact that the contamination investigations are inadequate and do not comply with BS10175, the fact that between October 2005 and May 2006 the cost rose from £5.5 million to £8.2 million, the fact that the traffic arrangements are inadequate and dangerous, the replacement public open space does not even satisfy your own public open space officer, the fact that this school is not even big enough for all the children who need to attend. There are actually many other things I uncovered, such as the Grimley Eve planning consultant suggesting putting political pressure on the planning committee councilors to get the decision he wanted. Totally illegal! You can’t put political pressure on a planning committee; at least you shouldn’t but strange things to on in Stockport with regards to planning. There is also the fact that none of the planned contamination investigations was carried out on the compulsory purchase land. They should have been yet the Council plans to dig it up. At what stage would the Council have done the investigations had I not used the FOIA and uncovered this fact? Never, I suspect. I think I have successfully proved with the evidence provided to the Information Commission that I have been wasting nobody’s time in asking the Harcourt Street questions and if this whole experience teaches Stockport Council to be more open and honest in future, then of course every single question is worthwhile.

May I point out, in passing, that Andrew Webb, Director of Children’s and Young People’s Directorate sent me a letter banning me and anyone else in the entire town, or even the country from asking questions on this issue. So, had the Council had its way, the many pieces of documentary evidence sent to the Information Commission last Friday would have permanently been kept secret from the people of Stockport. Mr. Webb should have had carried out an independent review of his refusal yet I heard nothing for a period of six months. This is unacceptable behaviour. I only overturned this permanent ban by humiliating Stockport Council at Westminster (documentary evidence available on request).

You state in your email:- which is apparently designed to disrupt or prevent the building of the new school on the Harcourt Street site in favour of a site which you consider to be more appropriate.” At the Fir Tree Primary School Consultation with the Governors held on 06/07/05, the Fir Tree Governors expressed concern that families will have difficulty in getting to the proposed new site at Harcourt Street and they felt that outreach work would need to be increased as they felt parents from the school would not walk to the new facilities. The Governors supported the idea of a new school, but would have wished the site to be in the Fir Tree Community. I got information using the Freedom of Information Act! I have knocked on hundreds of doors in the Fir Tree area – those people want and need to keep their school. If you want me to provide evidence from hundreds of people that they consider the Harcourt Street site to be more appropriate, then I shall do that.

Regarding the Audit Commission, auditors have given us the global financial situation we are currently in, so are not the watchdogs we would wish for. I will go back to the Audit Commission when I have finally spannered the rest of the financial information from the Council’s grasp.

Regarding asking questions at Council meetings, we are often told we should engage more in local democracy as members of the general public. Are you saying in your email that you don’t want members of the public to join in? That would make a bit of a mockery of these experimental area committees they have set up at presumably more expense to engage more with members of the public and the State of the Borough debates. I would be grateful if you could confirm that what you are saying is we shouldn’t ask council questions. If I have correctly understood your comments, again this would make a great newspaper story. There is usually just me there. Who else would ask questions?

May I point out that had the Council carried out an honest and not corrupted consultation exercise in the first place – and I can provide witness evidence that it didn’t and indeed under the FOIA I have proved that the Council can provide no evidence of anyone in favour of the Harcourt Street site – then the Council would not have received even one email on this subject because it would have done what was best for the local community and what the local community actually wanted, which it didn’t.

Our reference

Your request title


FOI 1360

Strategic Capital Group report

There are very worrying issues here about your failure to produce a current, relevant document regarding the finances. The cost rose from £5.5 million in October 2005 to £8.2 million in May 2006. It then rose to £10 million. The Council is replacing 5 civic buildings with the state of the art municipal building costing £12 million. The proposed Harcourt Street school was described by the planning committee as a shoddy building with a tin roof. Why then is it costing so much? I have shown in evidence supplied the paucity of the contamination investigations with nothing at all done over the site of the football pitch, which is the site of the school, which is directly over the old rubbish tip. The potential cost of dealing with subsequently found contamination is millions of pounds.

£6.9 million for this school is to come from the sale of redundant school land. I have provided evidence to the Information Commission that the Council is having problems with the sale of redundant school sites. The Council has no justification in deliberately concealing these documents. It there was nothing to hide the Council would release them.


FOI 1380

Harcourt Street

OK, don’t answer it. I have already proved in documents sent to the Information Commission that this school is not big enough for the children who need to attend and the birthrate is rising sharply. The fact is that children from over the nearby border in Tameside will be able to attend, making it even more unlikely for local children from the North Reddish area to get a place is important but if the Council doesn’t want to further embarrass itself on this point, then so be it.


FOI 1385

Professional indemnity for Harcourt Street Project Board

Forget this one then. I have tried. If the Harcourt Street Project Board find themselves personally liable because the professional indemnity insurance won’t cover them as regards to the dangerous situation they are creating for children, then I won’t shed any tears for them.


FOI 1497

CPO land – ownership

“Question – At the last Executive meeting Councillor Hogg stated that a council officer had visited Redrow the building firm to ask whether they owned the Harcourt Street CPO land. Please may I see any written report, handwritten notes, other notes minutes, letters, memos produced as a result of that meeting.”

Again, a very important issue. Although the Council has known for years that Redrow owned the CPO land, they told the Department for Children, Schools and Families that they didn’t know who owned the land. Using the FOIA I obtained a document from the DCSF in which they tell Stockport Council they have not tried hard enough to find the owners of the CPO land. So, what was said in the meeting between the Council official and Redrow about the land? I found out about this meeting by questioning an Executive Councillor at a Council meeting, so my question was not a futile one, was it. If the Council has evidence of the ownership of the land then they should disclose those details.

Of interest maybe is that this land was alleged to be part of a dodgy land deal in the 1980s. I have seen documents from Greater Manchester Council where they castigate Stockport Council for the decision to dispose of this land, which took place in secret with one senior councillor and one senior council officer. We must be open. It is very important that I see any documentary evidence produced as a result of that meeting between Redrow and the council officer with regards to the CPO land.


FOI 1498

Human Rights and planning

“Cllr Baker told me at tonight’s planning meeting that the human rights of local residents were considered regarding Harcourt Street. Department for Children Schools and Families’ lawyers, quite rightly, feel they were ignored. Nothing about the human rights of local people was mentioned at either the Tame Valley or the Planning and Highways Committee meeting – and I can get sworn statements to that effect from people who were present.

Therefore, the issue must have been addressed within the planning documents (and I don’t mean the blanket sheet at the front, I mean properly discussed). Please forward to me the documents in which the human rights of local people regarding the school on the toxic waste dump were raised and considered. These issues would be noise, light pollution, disturbance of landfill ground gases etc, and loss of amenity (the only reference I can remember to that was the providing of a MUGA a mile away, so not that good for little old ladies then.)”

Again, this should be answered. In fact, the DCSF lawyers wanted to know how SMBC had considered the human rights of local people. If you have to tell them, then you can cc me at the same time. There is no effort involved.


FOI 1499

FOI and EIR 2004 request CPO Harcourt Street

“Given that SMBC has told the Department for Schools Children and Families that is doesn’t know who owns the CPO land, I find it astonishing to read the attached document (paragraph beginning Redrow…….) in which the Council admits Redrow owns the land, and that discussions have taken place regarding this. If I didn’t know that Stockport Council was greener, stronger, safer and cleaner, I would suspect this was an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the lawyers at DCSF, who would then face even further grounds for judicial review.

Please may I have copies of all documents held by SMBC, or their arms length companies (only if appropriate), regarding discussions held between SMBC and Redrow or their parent company as regards to who actually owns the CPO land.

For background information, local people believe an iffy deal was struck between SMBC and developers regarding this land in the 1980s. I couldn’t possibly comment on the truth of these allegations, but I have certainly seen documents in SMBC’s own archives in which Greater Manchester Council objected vociferously to the deal that was done apparently in a secret meeting between a former senior councillor and a former senior council officer.”

The reasons for disclosure are as above.


FOI 1500

Harcourt Street press releases

It would appear that the Council was telling the press that the school would be costing £5.5 million when all the time they knew it would be £7.5 or even £8.2 million. I would like to see what the Council told the press regarding the cost of this school. Councillor Millard has told me he assumes the press made up the £5.5 million figure, but if it is in the press releases then I have evidence of what SMBC was telling the press about the cost. Why is this such a difficult request to comply with? These documents must be readily available.

It’s one thing for costs to escalate over the course of the project but to put a cost which it is known is completely false to Councillors, the public and media is virtually fraudulent. If this is what has happened, then it should be exposed. If the Council told the press the true cost of the school and the press accidentally printed a cost of £5.5 million, then that is fine. It is quite simple to arrive at the truth with regards to this issue.


FOI 1501

DCSF – human rights and ownership of CPO land

As above


FOI 1590

Financial anomalies – Harcourt Street

As above


In addition, you have failed to tell me of how I can investigate whether the lady who jumped off the Humber Bridge with her 9-year-old autistic son was having problems with SMBC/was a banned counciltaxpayer. There are other council taxpayers currently being pushed to the brink of suicide by this Council and I am happy to supply the Information Commission with any details regarding this. We shall be obtaining, if possible, the transcript of the trial of the town hall protestor who has been arrested over 50 times and is currently awaiting trial on a charge of assault with a sneeze with intent to inflict a council officer with a cold.

I shall cc this to the Information Commission, and hopefully they will see the serious nature of this issue – how children’s lives are being put in danger regarding the contamination and traffic arrangements at the proposed school, how there is no accountability regarding millions of pounds and how local people are bullied and pilloried when they try to speak out about what is going on here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Mrs Oliver


2nd March 2009

Case Reference Number FS50232537

Dear Mrs Oliver

Information request to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (Stockport MBC).

Thank you for your recent correspondence received in this office over the last week in support of your complaint against Stockport MBC, and in particular their decision to deem your requests for information in respect of Harcourt Street School as vexatious under section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

The right to complain to the Information Commissioner is given under section 50 of the Act. However, a complaint may be deemed ineligible under section 50, if for example:

  • There is an undue delay before bringing a complaint to our attention, or;
  • You have not exhausted any complaints procedure which is provided by the public authority.

Therefore, before accepting complaints, the Commissioner generally expects complainants to allow public authorities the opportunity to respond to their appeal for a review of the handling of or decision regarding their FOI request.

Although there is no statutory time set out in the Act within which public authorities must complete a review, the Commissioner has issued guidance on this matter (Good Practice Guidance 5). The Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review, and in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days.

We have written to Stockport MBC to provide them with a copy of your letter dated 22/02/09 and asked them to treat it as a request for an internal review of their decision. We spoke with their representative last week who confirmed that due to problems with their email system your letter had not been received. We have recommended that they issue you with an internal review decision within 20 working days from the date of receipt of our letter. A copy of our letter is enclosed for your information.

From my letter to Stockport MBC you will see that significant or repeated unreasonable delays in dealing with internal reviews by public authorities are monitored and where appropriate further action may be taken.

This case has now been closed, however if you do not receive a response within 20 working days please contact us quoting the reference number on this letter.

If you remain dissatisfied after having exhausted Stockport MBC’s internal review process and would like us to look into the matter furhter, please contact us quoting the reference number on this letter and provide us with a copy of the internal review decision.

If we can be of any further assistance please contact our Helpline on 08456 306060, or 01625 545745 if you would prefer to call a ‘national rate’ number. Please quote your case reference number. You may also find some useful information on our website at

I have reproduced below a document describing how we deal with Freedom of Information complaints.

Yours sincerely

Jim Dunn

FoI Case Officer

FoI Case Reception Unit

The Information Commissioner’s Office

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