Internal Review Investigation and Findings:
We have now revisited the decision to apply the Vexatious provision at Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act to any future requests or internal reviews about the CBD and the relocation to Hanley. We can confirm that we are upholding the original decision made in our response to you on the 14/03/2012 for the following reasons:
According to ICO guidance, when a public authority is deciding whether a request is vexatious, a balancing exercise must be carried out, taking into account the context and history of the request. The
key question is whether the request is likely to cause unjustified distress, disruption or irritation. In particular, public authorities should consider the following questions:
1. Could the request fairly be seen as obsessive?
2. Is the request harassing the authority or causing distress to staff?
3. Would complying with the request impose a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction?
4. Is the request designed to cause disruption or annoyance?
5. Does the request lack any serious purpose or value?
From revisiting the pattern of emails and the number of requests received from yourself regarding the CBD and the relocation of the Council to Hanley, the Council considers that these communications are obsessive and were imposing a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction. This is because of the volume of emails the Council received from you about the CBD and the relocation to Hanley. Council officers considered that they could not perform the functions of their primary duties fully, due to the amount of time required to consider the many communications from yourself. Also it is considered that copying several recipients into correspondence from yourself, also adds to the burden and distraction of officer’s time.
As some of these requests referred to above, relate to environmental information, Regulation 12(4)(b) (manifestly unreasonable) of the EIR Regulations 2004 also applies.
For clarity no new requests and no new internal reviews relating to requests about the CBD and the relocation of the Council to Hanley will be processed for the above reasons. However also to clarify, no requests or internal reviews that you have already made have been refused under this notice.
Finally with regards to internal review SOT20204, we can confirm that this response is being processed and we will respond shortly as per our email to you on the 19/04/2013. We apologise for the long delay on you receiving a response to this and for any inconvenience that this may have caused, but please be assured that we are working to get a response to you as soon as possible.
This internal review is now complete.