The Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council was spouting on the radio last week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p049tl7r – around 38:45 mins in) about HS2 and its impact upon Rotherham and Doncaster areas, but given how SCC will not cough up info as requested, I’ve … Continue reading
THE firm behind the controversial HS2 rail route approached a parish council clerk in Rotherham six weeks ago to ask if they could hire a village hall for “an event” — but did not reveal at the time that they … Continue reading
Objections to Aldi amendments VILLAGERS are losing patience with Aldi “chipping away” at planning conditions imposed on a supermarket development. The discount chain has asked to change the opening hours, loading times and add signs at its future store in … Continue reading
This fresh in from Rob Foulds, latest first:
I submitted the information request below ten days ago and have not received an acknowledgement.
Can you please confirm by return, that you will be providing the information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and within the time allocated by the Act.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Rob Foulds
Date: 8 January 2013 13:44
Subject: Firsby Reservoir – Freedom of Information Act
To: RMBC FOI <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The text quoted below is contained within a report, 15th Oct 2012, to Cabinet member and Advisers for Regeneration and Development – see this link
“Firsby Reservoir has been under special observation since concerns over the dam’s integrity were raised earlier this year in the section 10 inspection. On Monday 8th
October subsidence was found in the dam crest.”
Under The Freedom of Information Act, could you please arrange to forward a copy of the report which ensued from the aforementioned “section 10 inspection”
Please arrange to send the information by email.
Rob Foulds gets a response, some progress?:
From: Streetpride <Streetpride@rotherham.gov.uk>
Date: 17 December 2012 11:03
Subject: RE: Failure to fulfil corporate duties
To: Rob Foulds
I have forwarded your email to the recycling team. But I have logged your missed green bin collection and if you can please leave your bin on footpath for the crew and they will try and return either today or tomorrow. However if you are struggling to leave the bin back out on the footpath you can leave it on you property but please leave it accessible and visible and the crew will come back and empty it from your property.
If you require further assistance or information relating to these enquiries, please quote the following enquiry numbers: missed collection: 1-342552982 and recycling team: 1-342557411.
Customer Services Team
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Tel: 01709 336003
Dear Councillor Ellis
I have in my possession a document entitled ‘Waste Collection Calendar 2012/13’ as provided by Rotherham MBC
On that document are contact details relating to the service that RMBC purports to render, one of those contact details is “Email: email@example.com”.
On Fri 14th December, Rotherham MBC failed to fulfil its duty as promised in the document referred to above, as such I used the contact arrangement provided i.e. the email address previously quoted. I prefer to use email when contacting Rotherham MBC because it is an untrustworthy outfit and it is not possible to have any confidence in a telephone call being either properly logged or indeed acted upon.
Having submitted my email, as can be found at the foot of this one, I received a non-referenced copy-and-paste fob-em-off email from a nameless person advising me that I should report missed collections via the telephone number provided.
In that regard, could you arrange to enquire why and when this procedure was adopted, why a resident should be additionally inconvenienced and put to unnecessary expense after having used the arrangement provided, who instigated the procedure, and what facilities are provided for people who are speech impeded and thereby unable to use a telephone.
Also, would you kindly pass on to the appropriate department that they failed to empty my green bin last Friday and that they can arrange to collect its contents during the week commencing 17th Dec.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: recycling <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 15 December 2012 13:33
Subject: Thank you for contacting the Recycling Helpline
To: Rob Foulds
Thank you for contacting the Recycling Helpline. If required you will
receive a reply within 10 working days. Please report any missed
collections to the Streetpride Helpline 01709 336003 and not through
this email link.
Could you please advise why my green bin was not collected, 14th Dec.
This bin was actually placed in the usual collection position on the night of the 13th and during the day of the 14th, 2no. collection wagons were observed to attend – one of which collected the blue box and the newspapers.
I look forward to a response by return.
cc Cllr Ellis
When a private company has the apparently untrammelled powers on display, in the David vs Goliath struggle that is developing in Bramley, it behoves it to make sure it is in full possession of the facts before exercising it’s draconian powers!
Rotherham Politics previously brought you, Bramley Parish Council vs Severn Trent Water Ltd.
Severn Trent is blissfully unaware of a viable alternative to their wanton destruction, or are they?
We bring you photographic evidence confirming that they do know! Click on image to enlarge, use your browsers back button to return…..
Rob Foulds has enquired further when the promised improvements still do not work!
“Dear Mr Waller
For your advice the records of the Standards Committee Review Panel are still not appearing under the Council’s website page ‘Meetings, agendas and minutes’ in spite of your acceptance of the need for this to be the case.
It is noticeable however that the references on that web page, to the Standards Committee, have been altered since our previous correspondence and whilst links are offered to a would-be enquirer, these have been devised to result in the production of no useful information whatsoever.
This is the link to the page where I’m supposed to be able to find the records > http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=919&Year=2011 and you will see for yourself that there is nothing there of relevance to the Review Panel Hearings. In fact, why that page should offer me a link to Declarations of Interests, I really don’t know; furthermore it offers to provide me with the Interests of Cllr Cutts, for instance, and as you will know that should be (emphatically) “Mr Cutts”.
Thanks to Rob Foulds, for keeping us updated on this particular saga. Anyone with a tale to tell on this issue, please tell us with a comment. Alternatively contact RikiLeaks in confidence.
Rob Foulds, has received a response from Richard Waller, I reproduce it below:
“On 27 September 2011 12:26, Waller, Richard <Richard.Waller@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:
Dear Mr Foulds
I am writing in reply to your e-mail dated 15 September in which you state that you wish to make a formal complaint about the Council’s failure to make information about Standard Committee review panels freely and clearly available to the public. You suggest that the Council has hidden this information from the public. The reason is rather more mundane.
Save for written summaries, documentation in connection with meetings of the Standard Committee’s assessment and review panels is not available to the public by virtue of regulation 8 (application of the Local Government Act 1972) of the Standards Committee (England) Regulations 2008. Regulation 8 (5) (a) of the 2008 Regulations disapplies Part VA (access to meetings and documents of certain authorities, committees and sub-committees) of the Local Government Act 1972 in relation to access to meetings and documents of the Standards Committee’s assessment and review panels. Statutory guidance published by Standards for England explains why: “Such meetings may have to consider unfounded and potentially damaging complaints about members, which it would not be appropriate to make public”.
However, in accordance with regulation 8 (5) (b) & (c) of the 2008 Regulations, a written summary of the hearing is published and can be found in the Standards Committee pages of the Council’s website in the Council and Democracy section under Standards Committee. If you had clicked on that page you would have been able to access written summaries of assessment and review panel meetings (see the bottom of that page: Code of conduct complaints process – written summaries).
I agree however that the relevant page of the Agenda, Reports, Minutes pages of the Council and Democracy section of the website should be cross-referenced to the Standards Committee page and shall arrange for this to be done. I apologise for any inconvenience caused.
If you are not satisfied with this 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 www.ico.gov.org.
Clearly not content with this as an adequate response to his enquiry and replied in the following terms:
“Dear Mr Waller
The second-last paragraph of your response therefore agrees that my formal complaint is justified and you confirm that you will arrange to rectify the failings of Rotherham Council.
The analogy is simple: if I call in at Rotherham Library and seek a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I think it would be reasonable to find it in the classic fiction section thereof. And I would certainly not expect a librarian to ultimately advise me that it was “publicly available” in the geography section, under Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, and thereafter provide me with an abstract explanation of why it was so filed.
In spite of your protestation of mundanity and voluminous quotes from various legislation, the real truth is that the records to which I refer, used to be filed under Agenda, Reports, Minutes and someone at Rotherham Council deliberately removed the records from that logical location and only after receiving a formal complaint, as usual, does your Authority decide to apply appropriate ‘standards’ of administration. By the way, there is still a major lack of information pertaining to the Standards Committee on the Agenda, Reports, Minutes web page.
Finally, it is notable that you have treated my formal complaint as an “internal review” of my original Freedom of Information request – again, the well-worn standard RMBC tactic of manipulation is employed. Surely to God, you must have realised by now that there are some members of the public who can see straight through your Authority’s manoeuvrings.
Further developments on this FOI and others, visit The FOI Register.
Information kindly supplied by Rob Foulds, to whom we are grateful! Readers might like to have first go at highlighting the lessons this email exchange illuminates!
In the wake of the local elections this year and the dirtiest campaign, from parts of the Labour Party, ever in Rotherham! Much has been made of the fact that Rob Foulds did not live in Rother Vale Ward where he stood as a Rotherham Independent candidate last year. Labour has taken every opportunity to draw attention to this fact believing that this would be damaging to Rob Foulds’s reputation.
Rob Foulds stood in the Rother Vale Ward, which he can see from his front window, because Richard Russell was a ‘bussed in’ Labour candidate from far away West Melton, just next door to Brampton Bierlow, part of the Dearne Valley and not the most ‘local’!
Richard Russell was also a decidedly poor candidate, rejected by his home ward of Hoober, where Labour Party members deselected him after 28 years as their councillor because they already had quite enough of this insufferably arrogant, ignorant and greedy**(See note below) Councillor, whose abilities appear to be in inverse proportion to his ego! A right numpty, in fact!
Interestingly and very illuminating, Richard Russell always gives as his address Wath-upon-Dearne. Say that to the neighbours, and they will tell you they live in West Melton or even Brampton Bierlow! What planet is he on? His wife Pat is also a councillor, representing the far away Silverwood ward. There seems to be a pattern emerging don’t you think?
The fact that Labour members from the Rother Vale ward selected this dud, previously rejected candidate, to represent them is evidence that Labour is completely contemptuous of the voters! And the stupidity of Labour members in Rother Vale was also made abundantly clear by their outrageous choice.
Another factor was also important for Rotherham Independents, the clamour from residents of the ward for a more able and local candidate. The resentment in the ward, even among fiercely loyal Labour voters was clear. This was eventually persuasive and crucial in deciding to contest the Rother Vale ward last year, I understand. This resulted in Rob Foulds reducing the Labour majority and gaining 1,700 votes, quite a surprise in this most tribal of Labour seats and with the backdrop of a simultaneous General Election, very surprising indeed!
When it became known that Wickersley Labour Party had selected a candidate with no local connexions, from far away Swinton, Rob decided to take a stand on this issue and made it an important plank of his campaign! Rob Foulds lives in the Wickersley ward and was fully entitled to be aggrieved that Labour was not fielding a local candidate but one from the only point where Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster meet, the Dearne Valley! To add insult to injury, Chris Read cannot drive, which will make serving the residents, difficult if not impossible, in the long term! Wait until winter comes!
Labour made the decision to do everything to conceal this fact from the Wickersley voters, the issues involved will be explored in detail in a later posting. The result reflected this but Rob’s vote put him in second place pushing the Tories into third place! Quite a result!
Notes: Greedy** Richard Russell made into third position in the greed list for last year receiving a total of £29,127.72 and Pat, his wife and fellow councillor, received a total of £13,640.64. Between them they got £42,768.36! Plus any benefits accrued by sitting on outside bodies, a not inconsiderable sum to add to their pensions! No wonder Richard Russell and Pat Russell became ‘carpet baggers’ to get on the Council, in Pats case, or to stay on after being deselected by Hoober ward members who know him best!