Ingleborough campaigners say council 'dragging its heels' over secret report release

Ingleborough Road memorial field

Ingleborough Road memorial field

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Editor

A COMPLAINT has been made to the UK information watchdog claiming Wirral Council has failed to release a secret report which a judge ordered must be made public.

Last month a tribunal found there was “significant public interest” in seeing the report on the sale of land owned by Tranmere Rovers at Ingleborough Road memorial field.

The tribunal ordered the council to release the document, which the Old Boys association of Birkenhead Institute had been striving to be made public for 16 months.

But the report is still held under wraps - and the association claims the town hall has now passed the time limit set for publication, although the council denies this.

They have sent a written complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office - the independent authority which upholds freedom of information rights.

A spokesman for the Old Boys' group said, “There is no justification for the council to drag its heels, especially when it has given previous assurances to the Information Commissioner that it will improve its performance in dealing with Freedom of Information inquiries."

The spokesman added: "If only the football club would recognise its responsibility to the history of the site and to local feeling by sitting down and talking to us about respect for our fellow Old Boys, something constructive may yet emerge”

The issue centres around a decision in 2012 to give planning permission to build new homes on the field, which was sold to Rovers by the council in the 1990s.

Consent to build on the land was controversial as Ingleborough is a dedicated memorial to 88 former pupils of Birkenhead Institute who lost their lives in the First World War.

The town hall commissioned consultants to carry out a key feasibility study, which was seen by councillors on the planning committee.

But its contents were withheld from public scrutiny - and the Old Boys' association began campaigning for its release.

At the time of tribunal's ruling, the association said Wirral Council “had done everything in its power” to prevent them from seeing the document.

In March, the local authority said it will comply with all legal requirements, and that details of how and when the report will be published were being finalised.

Today, strategic director for transformation and resources Joe Blott said: “We have spoken to the businesses and individuals who are mentioned in the report, to ensure that they are fully informed of its publication.

"We have now completed this process and, in accordance with ICO timescales, the report will be published on Friday.”

Comments (11)

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11:01am Wed 9 Apr 14

ballacrain says...

This sounds about right for this council.There must be something in the report they do not want others to see.
This sounds about right for this council.There must be something in the report they do not want others to see. ballacrain
  • Score: 8

11:45am Wed 9 Apr 14

bigfoot says...

If they are ignoring a judges instruction,are they not in contempt of court?
If they are ignoring a judges instruction,are they not in contempt of court? bigfoot
  • Score: 9

12:37pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Somebodysomeplaceelse says...

A finding of being in contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behaviour, or publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial. A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail for someone found guilty of contempt of court.
A finding of being in contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behaviour, or publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial. A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail for someone found guilty of contempt of court. Somebodysomeplaceelse
  • Score: 10

1:08pm Wed 9 Apr 14

rover600 says...

The Globe has asked the council for a comment this morning and is awaiting its response. - Don't hold your breath for a humble reply as in "we are sorry, we should have complied, we will publish it tomorrow". All you will hear is pontificating, more smoke and mirrors. to coin an old boss of mine "I'm asking you for reasons, all I am hearing are excuses".. time this shambles started acting professionally!
The Globe has asked the council for a comment this morning and is awaiting its response. - Don't hold your breath for a humble reply as in "we are sorry, we should have complied, we will publish it tomorrow". All you will hear is pontificating, more smoke and mirrors. to coin an old boss of mine "I'm asking you for reasons, all I am hearing are excuses".. time this shambles started acting professionally! rover600
  • Score: 5

1:19pm Wed 9 Apr 14

bigfoot says...

This could become 'Uggly'!
This could become 'Uggly'! bigfoot
  • Score: 2

3:56pm Wed 9 Apr 14

water1lily says...

They rarely do anything without lots of kicking and screaming. Proof positive that OPENNESS is still an alien concept in WBC.
They rarely do anything without lots of kicking and screaming. Proof positive that OPENNESS is still an alien concept in WBC. water1lily
  • Score: 4

6:13pm Wed 9 Apr 14

hobroW says...

This report joins others still unpublished!

It might just be incompetent lawyers in WBC giving over-cautious advice as they are unsure of their ground. Mr Blott's comment is interesting as usually all the names of individuals are blotted out ( no pun intended).

Incompetent lawyers used by others in hierarchy who profit from the legal brakes constantly being applied ,,,except of course where Service Providers take advantage of the council
This report joins others still unpublished! It might just be incompetent lawyers in WBC giving over-cautious advice as they are unsure of their ground. Mr Blott's comment is interesting as usually all the names of individuals are blotted out ( no pun intended). Incompetent lawyers used by others in hierarchy who profit from the legal brakes constantly being applied ,,,except of course where Service Providers take advantage of the council hobroW
  • Score: 2

8:32am Fri 11 Apr 14

ordinary personn says...

hobroW wrote:
This report joins others still unpublished!

It might just be incompetent lawyers in WBC giving over-cautious advice as they are unsure of their ground. Mr Blott's comment is interesting as usually all the names of individuals are blotted out ( no pun intended).

Incompetent lawyers used by others in hierarchy who profit from the legal brakes constantly being applied ,,,except of course where Service Providers take advantage of the council
Hmm. I'd say whether the lawyers are incompetent or not is a matter of perspective. If the purpose is to not publish what should be published and cover up what should be open for scrutiny I'd say that they are very competent indeed!
[quote][p][bold]hobroW[/bold] wrote: This report joins others still unpublished! It might just be incompetent lawyers in WBC giving over-cautious advice as they are unsure of their ground. Mr Blott's comment is interesting as usually all the names of individuals are blotted out ( no pun intended). Incompetent lawyers used by others in hierarchy who profit from the legal brakes constantly being applied ,,,except of course where Service Providers take advantage of the council[/p][/quote]Hmm. I'd say whether the lawyers are incompetent or not is a matter of perspective. If the purpose is to not publish what should be published and cover up what should be open for scrutiny I'd say that they are very competent indeed! ordinary personn
  • Score: 0

9:19am Sat 12 Apr 14

hobroW says...

ordinary personn wrote:
hobroW wrote:
This report joins others still unpublished!

It might just be incompetent lawyers in WBC giving over-cautious advice as they are unsure of their ground. Mr Blott's comment is interesting as usually all the names of individuals are blotted out ( no pun intended).

Incompetent lawyers used by others in hierarchy who profit from the legal brakes constantly being applied ,,,except of course where Service Providers take advantage of the council
Hmm. I'd say whether the lawyers are incompetent or not is a matter of perspective. If the purpose is to not publish what should be published and cover up what should be open for scrutiny I'd say that they are very competent indeed!
In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king.

So labrynthine are the workings of local government law that I only know one man , John brace, who can find his way through the maze. For the public we have not the funds to challenge arbritary decisions set buy lawyers in WBC. A recent example has been the Information commissioner who accepted the "word" of WBC officers that a report by Timmins regarding myself and my allegations made no direct reference to myself. Whilst agreeing that it was likely the report contained references to slurs on my character, and that clearly even if referred to as whistleblower1, I was easily identified, the ICO passed back the responsibility to myself to pursue in a civil court at my own expense.

The lawyers at WBC cannot be good when they fail to ensure that major contracts are adhered to, fail to obtain signatures on major contracts, and reply to each FOI with s30 , s31 etc

The legal department at WBC does have access to a subscription service, expensive, of case law which the public does not.

No I dont favour these lawyers with competence just inviolability
[quote][p][bold]ordinary personn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]hobroW[/bold] wrote: This report joins others still unpublished! It might just be incompetent lawyers in WBC giving over-cautious advice as they are unsure of their ground. Mr Blott's comment is interesting as usually all the names of individuals are blotted out ( no pun intended). Incompetent lawyers used by others in hierarchy who profit from the legal brakes constantly being applied ,,,except of course where Service Providers take advantage of the council[/p][/quote]Hmm. I'd say whether the lawyers are incompetent or not is a matter of perspective. If the purpose is to not publish what should be published and cover up what should be open for scrutiny I'd say that they are very competent indeed![/p][/quote]In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king. So labrynthine are the workings of local government law that I only know one man , John brace, who can find his way through the maze. For the public we have not the funds to challenge arbritary decisions set buy lawyers in WBC. A recent example has been the Information commissioner who accepted the "word" of WBC officers that a report by Timmins regarding myself and my allegations made no direct reference to myself. Whilst agreeing that it was likely the report contained references to slurs on my character, and that clearly even if referred to as whistleblower1, I was easily identified, the ICO passed back the responsibility to myself to pursue in a civil court at my own expense. The lawyers at WBC cannot be good when they fail to ensure that major contracts are adhered to, fail to obtain signatures on major contracts, and reply to each FOI with s30 , s31 etc The legal department at WBC does have access to a subscription service, expensive, of case law which the public does not. No I dont favour these lawyers with competence just inviolability hobroW
  • Score: 2

2:36am Tue 15 Apr 14

johnbrace says...

Thank you for the compliment Mr Hobro.

You are right you can get a court order enforcing compliance with a subject access request. Last one I got was in April 2012 (one of the two defendants was a Wirral Council councillor) for a case filed with the court in September 2011. If you want advice on how to do that I'm happy to help. However if I remember correctly if there is no financial loss involved it is decided on the papers only with a hearing only if the failure to respond to the subject access request led to a financial loss by the Claimant.

The court order I got was strangely enough also for an email on Wirral Council's systems. You can search case law for free on sites like bailii.org . Data Protection cases tend to be more about statute and what constitutes personal data (or whether an exemption is justified) rather than case law. There are plenty of books on the subject.
Thank you for the compliment Mr Hobro. You are right you can get a court order enforcing compliance with a subject access request. Last one I got was in April 2012 (one of the two defendants was a Wirral Council councillor) for a case filed with the court in September 2011. If you want advice on how to do that I'm happy to help. However if I remember correctly if there is no financial loss involved it is decided on the papers only with a hearing only if the failure to respond to the subject access request led to a financial loss by the Claimant. The court order I got was strangely enough also for an email on Wirral Council's systems. You can search case law for free on sites like bailii.org . Data Protection cases tend to be more about statute and what constitutes personal data (or whether an exemption is justified) rather than case law. There are plenty of books on the subject. johnbrace
  • Score: 2

2:48pm Tue 15 Apr 14

hobroW says...

John Brace will you help me for free, or will it be at £76k/(250 working days*7 hours)??
John Brace will you help me for free, or will it be at £76k/(250 working days*7 hours)?? hobroW
  • Score: 1

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