More Interesting Questions?

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

My community sources have informed me that Rotherham MBC have recently provided the specific sum of £30,000 to Rotherham United F.C. and which may have enabled the RMBC “One Town One Community” logo to be displayed on the shirts of Rotherham United Football Club.

http://www.themillers.co.uk/page/CommunitySportsTrustDetail/0,,10360~2655198,00.html

Please provide me with further details as to whether this is the case or not, and copies of such documentation as exists in relation to this particular item of advertising expenditure or donations or monies paid or promised to Rotherham United F.C.

Please provide all documentation in electronic format.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

See also: Eight more interesting questions and Has Roger Stone more explaining to do?

Has Roger Stone more explaining to do?

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

As an active and empowered Rotherham citizen who takes an interest in scrutinising the costs and activities of those who perform public functions in a public office I wish to raise the following concerns with you.

For your information I have attached three PDF documents about which I have important questions and to which I require you to provide me with explanations:

Document 1.  2012.02.08_R_of_I_-_Cllr_Stone.pdf

Obtained from the RMBC website – http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/3764/councillor_stone

Document 2.  Appendix_-_Gifts_and_Hospitality_-_Cr._R._Stone.pdf

Obtained from the RMBC website – https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/3830/gifts_and_hospitality-councillor_stone

Document 3.  TR_Dec-Feb_print01.pdf

R.U.F.C. Community Sports Trust
Quarterly Trustees Report, December 2011 – February 2012
Registered Charity No. 1123692  Company No. 6451012

Question 1 – By downloading this PDF document – 2012.02.08_R_of_I_-_Cllr_Stone.pdf – it is apparent that the document was probably created by RMBC on 2012.02.08 which may infer that this document is the most up-to-date RMBC Register of Interests for R. Stone, although the document has been signed by “R. Stone” and “R.Waller” and both dated ”25/07/11″. .

Please confirm whether or not this document is the most up-to-date provided by those named, or whether RMBC has failed to display up-to-date information provided to it by those signatories.

Question 2 – Also confirm whether or not a breach of the Code of Conduct referred to at the bottom of the document has taken place by R. Stone in apparently failing to bring up to date information which is displayed in the document or apparently failing to register an interest which should be declared which is acquired after the date of this document.

Question 3 – By referring to PDF document 3 – TR_Dec-Feb_print01.pdf – you will see that this is the Quarterly Trustees Report, December 2011 – February 2012 for R.U.F.C. Community Sports Trust and on the organisational chart on p3 you will see that a “Cllr Roger Stone Trustee” is listed there.

Please explain to me why the RMBC Register of Interests for Cllr Roger Stone obtained from the RMBC website and referred to above does not show this particular interest?

Question 4 – By referring to PDF document 2 -Appendix_-_Gifts_and_Hospitality_-_Cr._R._Stone.pdf – this document only shows “Hospitality Received by Leader 2009″ and  “Hospitality Received by Leader 2010″.

Please confirm whether or not this document is the most up-to-date, and if not, whether any breach of Code of Conduct has occurred or whether RMBC has failed to display up-to-date information provided to it by an Elected Member.

Please supply your response to me in electronic format via this e-mail link and in a prompt and timely manner.
Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Roger Stone’s Chagrin – The whole tawdry saga in one place!

This story of the leader’s hubris started with an initial enquiry, followed by more as it became obvious that the story was incomplete and rapidly unravelled….

Private Car Parked On Footpath Outside Town Hall 2012.03.07

Posted on March 8, 2012 by

Dear chief executive,

Yesterday afternoon 2012.03.07 at 1545 hrs I unfortunately had occasion to visit Rotherham town centre in my own car on personal business.Read on…..

One rule for Roger Stone, quite another for the rest of us! What do you think?

Posted on March 9, 2012 by

Dear Mr Battersby,

Thank for your comprehensive and prompt reply to my query.

I must confess to my sadness and disappointment, but not to surprise, at an RMBC Council Leader Read on……

Battersby provides more answers. Have we the full picture yet?

Posted on March 12, 2012 by

Dear Rotherham Active and Empowered Citizens,

Now we have further strategic clarification from almost-the-very-top of RMBC that Da Dodger was engaged in verge edge grass cutting, refuse collection, street cleansing or highways maintenance, to justify parking their executive Beemer on the paved pedestrian area outside Town Hall Towers. Read on…..

Don Buxton probes further – Statutory Vehicle YM08 DZP

Posted on March 15, 2012 by

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk Further to the attached information earlier supplied in which your subordinate employee confirms that the black coloured BMW saloon YM08 DZP is a “statutory RMBC vehicle”, which is therefore no doubt funded by Rotherham community charge payers, I … Continue reading →

Further probe bears fruit!

Posted on March 19, 2012 by

Don Buxton shares this latest exchange of correspondence: Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk Thank you for the information lately supplied by your subordinate employee in response to my earlier request to you to supply further statutory information relating to a motor vehicle parked … Continue reading →

……and ended with us learning a great deal about the way the Council is being run by those who should know better!

Deception was the initial stratagem deployed by Karl Battersby replying, under instruction from Martin Kimber, to Don’s initial request for information. If this was bad enough, undeterred, they came up with a second excuse that wouldn’t hold water but at the same time Roger Stone it would appear was forced to accept no legal justification could be found and Karl Battersby admitting defeat, responded thus:

“I can also confirm that in future the vehicle will not be parked on the pavement outside the Town Hall when not in use.”

Victory of sorts then for Don Buxton’s dogged persistence, over the most arrogant and dictatorial Leader Rotherham has had to date coupled with an over compliant officer force!

Further probe bears fruit!

Don Buxton shares this latest exchange of correspondence:

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

Thank you for the information lately supplied by your subordinate employee in response to my earlier request to you to supply further statutory information relating to a motor vehicle parked on the paved pedestrian area outside the Town Hall.

I, along with many other active and empowered Rotherham citizens, are now perusing, checking and scrutinising the details provided and may contact you again should we require you to provide further information or clarification.

It is with the utmost irony but significant delight that I note that the RMBC vehicle in question will no longer be parked on the pedestrian paved area outside the Town Hall when not in use.*

I am pleased to recognise and acknowledge the change of attitude towards enquiries from citizens which has undoubtedly occurred at a strategic level within RMBC in order for this significant volte-face to occur.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Download Requested Statutory Vehicle Log

*Rothpol’s emphasis

— On Mon, 19/3/12, Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:

From: Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: CAR PARKED ON FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL 2012.03.07
To: Don Buxton
Cc: “Kemp, Liz” <Liz.Kemp@rotherham.gov.uk>
Date: Monday, 19 March, 2012, 9:41

Mr Buxton, I write in response to your latest email. I attach the mileage sheet as requested. I can also confirm that the vehicle is driven by one of our town hall attendants

I can also confirm that in future the vehicle will not be parked on the pavement outside the Town Hall when not in use.

I trust that answers your questions.

Regards

Karl Battersby
Strategic Director
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

One rule for Roger Stone, quite another for the rest of us! What do you think?

Dear Mr Battersby,

Thank for your comprehensive and prompt reply to my query.

I must confess to my sadness and disappointment, but not to surprise, at an RMBC Council Leader being so thoroughly lazy and inconsiderate as to insist on parking a corporate vehicle used almost exclusively by them on the paved pedestrian area outside the Town Hall, rather than occupying a defined and designated parking space on the public highway and walking to their place of business like ordinary Rotherham citizens have to do every day of the week.

In my opinion this sets a very poor public image of responsible car parking and use of a civic motor vehicle and really does indicate to me an attitude of complete and utter contempt and indifference on the part of RMBC Elected Members and Officers towards the long-suffering motorists and citizens of Rotherham who have to endure the expensive and limited parking options available in Rotherham town centre.

However over the years I have become somewhat used to the “do as I say and not as I do” behaviours exhibited by RMBC Elected Members and Officers, and the Rotherham Labour Group in particular.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

.

On Fri, 9/3/12, Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:

From: Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: FW: PRIVATE CAR PARKED ON FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL 2012.03.07
To: Don Buxton
Cc: “Kemp, Liz” <Liz.Kemp@rotherham.gov.uk>
Date: Friday, 9 March, 2012, 14:24

Mr Buxton, thank you for your email. The Chief executive has asked me to respond on his behalf.

1. By what particular specific legal act, instrument or statute is that particular personal vehicle, or any other, permitted to park in that location?

The vehicle in question is not a personal vehicle. It is a fleet vehicle leased by Rotherham MBC and is therefore a statutory vehicle. The Traffic Management Act 2004 allows for statutory vehicles to be exempt from parking restrictions when being used for official duties.This is one of the official cars used by the Mayor and Leader.

2. Who within RMBC, and in what official capacity, has authorised and permitted this, or any other personal vehicle, to park on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall?

The Parking Services Manager or a delegated person within the Parking Services Team has the authority to grant permission to vehicles to be parked in this location. A recent example was when three demonstration electric vehicles were granted permission to be parked in front of the Town Hall.

3. Is this particular vehicle issued to, or allocated to, or used almost exclusively by any particular RMBC Elected Member or Officer? And if so, who and in what capacity?

This vehicle is, in the main, used by the Leader of the Council.

4. Do the owners of private vehicles such as this which park on the paved area outside Rotherham Town Hall have to declare “a financial benefit in kind” to the Inland Revenue as a consequence of avoiding the high cost of payment of borough car parking charges?

This is not a privately owned vehicle.

5. Please supply me with copies of any reports, documents, memos, letters or notes in which the issue of RMBC Elected Members and Officers being granted permission to park their private cars on the paved pedestrian area has been discussed.

There are no such document(s). No such permission exists.

6. Please supply me with a copy/copies of any written instructions issued to RMBC staff to ignore or overlook the parking of RMBC Elected Members and Officers private vehicles on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall.

There are no such written instructions because no “private vehicles” are allowed to be parked in this location except in extenuating circumstances, the merits of which would be taken into consideration on a case by case basis.

7. Have any verbal instructions been issued to RMBC staff to ignore or overlook the parking of RMBC Elected Members and Officers private vehicles on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall.

No.

8. Will you as Chief Executive be issuing any instructions to Elected Members, Officers and Staff of RMBC about the importance of them projecting a positive public image of responsible parking of their private vehicles and adhering to civic parking regulations within Rotherham town centre, and of not parking on the paved pedestrian area outlined above?

No.

9. Has RMBC conducted any Formal Risk Assessments in relation to the parking of private motor cars on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall and the hazards they make for blind or partially sighted pedestrians? If so, please supply such copies.

No. However, requests for vehicles to be allowed to be parked in any restricted area are treated on their individual merits. Safety of the public is always paramount in the decision making process. The area outside the town hall has been deemed to be wide enough for safe usage for statutory vehicles. However, it may be that the Council’s Health and Safety Team be asked to look at this particular location in order to undertake a risk assessment.

Regards

Karl Battersby
Strategic Director
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

My emphasis. Rothpol

Check for yourself: Department for Transport, or Traffic Management Act 2004.

First part of this tale of the Leaders attitudes: PRIVATE CAR PARKED ON FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL 2012.03.07

PRIVATE CAR PARKED ON FOOTPATH OUTSIDE TOWN HALL 2012.03.07

Dear chief executive,

Yesterday afternoon 2012.03.07 at 1545 hrs I unfortunately had occasion to visit Rotherham town centre in my own car on personal business.

I arrived in the area known as The Crofts opposite Rotherham Town Hall and paid the customary extortionate tax fee for the privilege of parking my car for one hour in the designated parking bay. As I left my car I noticed that there was a black coloured BMW saloon, registration no YM08 DZP, parked on the pedestrian paved area directly in front of the Town Hall.

I took a photo of the car which had no company logo, crest, sign, badge, display or other device to indicate that it was parked there on any type of official business. Neither did the vehicle have its hazard warning lights activated to warn pedestrians of its presence on the public footpath. Also the vehicle was not displaying any form of parking ticket like that which I, and other ordinary car drivers, are compelled by law to purchase and display on our vehicles.

When I returned to my car one hour later and left the area, the same BMW car was still parked there. The vehicle had not received any form of attached parking penalty notice despite there being a RMBC parking warden patrolling nearby and walking past the car.

I require you to explain the following to me:

1. By what particular specific legal act, instrument or statute is that particular personal vehicle, or any other, permitted to park in that location?

2. Who within RMBC, and in what official capacity, has authorised and permitted this, or any other personal vehicle, to park on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall?

3. Is this particular vehicle issued to, or allocated to, or used almost exclusively by any particular RMBC Elected Member or Officer? And if so, who and in what capacity?

4. Do the owners of private vehicles such as this which park on the paved area outside Rotherham Town Hall have to declare “a financial benefit in kind” to the Inland Revenue as a consequence of avoiding the high cost of payment of borough car parking charges?

5. Please supply me with copies of any reports, documents, memos, letters or notes in which the issue of RMBC Elected Members and Officers being granted permission to park their private cars on the paved pedestrian area has been discussed.

6. Please supply me with a copy/copies of any written instructions issued to RMBC staff to ignore or overlook the parking of RMBC Elected Members and Officers private vehicles on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall.

7. Have any verbal instructions been isued to RMBC staff to ignore or overlook the parking of RMBC Elected Members and Officers private vehicles on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall.

8. Will you as Chief Executive be issuing any instructions to Elected Members, Officers and Staff of RMBC about the importance of them projecting a positive public image of responsible parking of their private vehicles and adhering to civic parking regulations within Rotherham town centre, and of not parking on the paved pedestrian area outlined above?

9. Has RMBC conducted any Formal Risk Assessments in relation to the parking of private motor cars on the paved pedestrian area outside Rotherham Town Hall and the hazards they make for blind or partially sighted pedestrians? If so, please supply such copies.

I look forward to your prompt, courteous and comprehensive reply to the above questions, Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Don Buxton probes for information – response now in!

We brought you the news that Don Buxton was enquiring of the Council what had happened to a previous loan to the ‘Millers’ of £25,000. Read Don’s questions by clicking on this link to the original post, Don Buxton probes for information.

Response:

RMBC do not hold any information and therefore we cannot provide a response to your questions. Any financial information pertaining to the 1986 loan has been destroyed in accordance with guidelines for the retention of financial data.

In accordance with the procedures of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), I am advising you that the cost to the authority in responding to this request has been £106 which reflects the staff time and administration costs involved. RMBC however does not currently make any charge to customers for processing Freedom of Information Act requests.

If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to an internal review by the Council.  Please contact us via the above email address or by post to Sarah Corbett, Information Governance Manager, Legal Services, Council Offices, Doncaster Gate, Doncaster Road , Rotherham . South Yorkshire , S65 1DJ.

If you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner.  Contact details are: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane , Wilmslow, Cheshire . SK9 5AF. Telephone 01625 545700. Alternatively go to http://www.ico.gov.uk/
Regards
Wayne Singleton

Records & Information Management Officer
Information Governance Unit
Legal Services
Chief Executives Directorate
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Tel From New: (01709) 746872
Tel From Old: (01709) 336872
Fax: (01709) 336969
Email: wayne.singleton@rotherham.gov.uk
Visit our website: http://www.rotherham.gov.uk
Before printing, think about the environment
The information in this e-mail is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it was addressed.  If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this e-mail in error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited.  If you have received this e-mail in error, please advise the sender by using the reply facility in your e-mail software, and then delete it from your system. Rotherham MBC may monitor the content of the e-mails sent and received via its network for the purposes of ensuring compliance with the law and with RMBC policies. Any views or opinions presented are only those of the author and not those of Rotherham MBC.

Not satisfied Don Buxton replied on the 7th September:

From: DON BUXTON [mailto: donbuxton@btinternet.com ]
Sent: 06 September 2011 17:29
To: FreedomofInformation
Subject: Re: Freedom Of Information Request (330) – Response

Dear Freedomofinformation@rotherham.gov.uk

Thank you for your predictable and much anticipated FOI response which was entirely in line with my modest expectations. It comes as no surprise whatsoever to me that RMBC is relying on corporate Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) to reply to my question.

It also appears from the historic records of the Advertiser from which the story was originally gleaned that there was also similar collective TGA among the Labour Elected Members of 1986 who also appeared to have no such recall of the specific terms and conditions of their dispensation of public largesse at that time.

You further make reference to a ridiculous spurious notional sum of £106 for the production of the response to me. I shall be grateful if you will be kind enough to specifically quantify and itemise the basis upon which you make your fanciful hypothetical financial calculation.

Also please further advise me on whether the complete financial details in relation to the sum of £5 Million of taxpayers’ money which has been publicised this year as being offered to Rotherham United FC will be available to obtain and peruse in detail under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

A timely response was received:

From: FreedomofInformation <Freedomofinformation@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: Freedom Of Information Request (330) – Response
To: “DON BUXTON” <donbuxton@btinternet.com>
Date: Wednesday, 7 September, 2011, 9:11

Dear Mr Buxton,

The cost was calculated as follows:

Access to Information Officer, Logging, administration and response Band F 1 hour £21.38
Chief Accountant , Research PO18 1.5 hours £84.29

Yours sincerely,
Sarah Corbett

Information Governance Manager
Information Governance Unit
Legal Services
Chief Executives Directorate
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Don Buxton now incredulous responded thus:

Dear Freedomofinformation@rotherham.gov.uk

Thank you for your specific itemised breakdown in relation to the spurious notional sum of £106 which you originally included in your FOI response to me.

I am simply amazed that RMBC admit that it has taken them 1 hour for an Access to Information Officer to “log, administer and respond” and then it has further taken a Chief Accountant 1.5 hours to “research”, in order to provide me with the meagre response of: “RMBC do not hold any information and therefore we cannot provide a response to your questions. Any financial information pertaining to the 1986 loan has been destroyed in accordance with guidelines for the retention of financial data.”
Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

Top Ten Posts last week – Total 614 page views

Deepest and laziest time of the year, summer doldrums time. Thanks to all our visitors once again. Pretty well same as last week, quite remarkable!

Home page 244
J’Accuse Gerald Smith 35
Chris Read finally comes clean! Took him long enough! 34
Rotherham Politics – frequently asked questions? 30
MacShane bites the hand that fed him? 26
Don Buxton probes for information 23
Top Ten Posts last week – Total 630 page views 17
The Chris Read vs Rob Foulds Files 15
RMBC Members, co-opted Members and Officers codes of conduct 14
Rotherham criticised in Parliament – Simply Unacceptable! 12

Totals include hits to the FOI Register for the first time.

Don Buxton probes for information

Date: Monday, 8 August, 2011, 12:27

FOI 2011.08.08 – £25,000 LOAN TO ROTHERHAM UNITED IN 1986

Dear freedomofinformation@rotherham.gov.uk

As an active and empowered citizen with an interest in the costs and activities of those who are elected and paid very well to govern our town on our behalf with our consent, I have lately become acquainted with the following story from “25 Years Ago”, p40 of the “Rotherham Advertiser”, Friday 5 August 2011″, and which I reproduce with their consent below:

August 8, 1986

“Rotherham councillors who sanctioned a controversial £25,000 loan to the town’s football club have no idea what interest will be charged. The embarrassing admission was made at a full meeting of the Council this week, when Conservative councillors demanded more details of the loan made four weeks ago.
“We want to know if the loan is secure, when is the deadline for repayment and what percentage interest we are getting from Rotherham United”, asked Cllr Tony Flynn, leader of the Conservative Group. But Cllr Eric Manns, vice-chairman of the Policy Committee which sanctioned the loan, said the details were locked away with the director of the club, Mr Syd Wood.”

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act I require you to provide me with the following information in relation to the above loan that was made with public funds to Rotherham United:

(a) what interest rate was applied to the loan

(b) was the loan secured, and if so, please describe such security

(c) when was the deadline for repayment

(d) was the loan repaid in full and within the agreed term

(e) please supply a copy of the loan agreement

Please supply the above information in electronic format and within the timescale prescribed in the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H Buxton  

Today we welcome a new contributor – Millie Tant

Millie Tant joins our growing band of bloggers contributing to the political debate on the Rotherham Politics blog! She is most welcome in joining us!

She has chosen as her first contribution to comment on a recent posting, click here to read.

Millie is one feisty lady! No bull, she drives straight to the heart of issues and is certainly no ones fool. Politically astute, she will add much to the debate here in the future!