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Mr Alan Dransfield


Hello, my name is Alan M Dransfield and I live in Devon.  I hold concerns that public safety is being consistently and wilfully compromised by Devon Local Authorities ,i.e Devon County Council (DCC), Exeter City Council (ECC) and the Heath and Safety Executive.

In particular, I refer to their failure to ensure public buildings in Devon have been provisioned with adequate Lightning Protection Systems(LPS) and periodical Lightning Risk Assessments have been carried out.

My Freedom of Information request for information on this has been refused by the DCC under Section 14 of the Freedom Of Information Act  on VEXATIOUS grounds, and this matter has progressed through the proper channels of FOIA and is currently awaiting an Upper Tier Tribunal Decision from a Consolidated Hearing dated 14th Nov 12.

The DCC and Information Commissioner's Office adjudged me to be vexatious, but this decision was overturned by the First Tier Tribunal and in turn it was the ICO and NOT  Devon County Council  who appealed this case to the Upper Tribunal.

Both Devon County Council  and the Health and Safety Executive  have placed me under a lifetime email ban, which appears to be somewhat OTT to me.

The Met Office Office has refused my FOIA request for Lightning Protection Systems data under National Security; hence they must think I am a member of Al-Quaeda.

It would be wrong of me to put too much detail in the public domain until the Upper Tier Tribunal  decision has been made public.

Am I being to cautious or am I being vexatious?  I will allow the readers of this superb website to make their own judgement.

Lots more to follow.

The Information Commissioner's Office have since appealed this matter to the Upper Tribunal, ( hearing14th Nov) where it made up a Triple Consolidated Hearing.  Full UT decision is due any day.

"The ICO’s mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals".


"In Alan Dransfield v IC and Devon County Council (EA/2010/0152 30th March 2011)
the appellant made a request for an Operations Maintenance Manual for a school which
was built and maintained by a private company under a PFI arrangement with the
council. The contract between the parties required the company to maintain and update
the manual and give access, upon request, to the Council to demonstrate that it had
complied with this obligation. The contract also contained a strict confidentially clause
preventing the parties and their employees from disclosing anything within the contract
and the project documents.

The Council submitted that the Operating Manual was held by the contractor and so
was not subject to FOI. It was entitled to access the document for the sole purpose of
determining whether the contractor had complied with its obligations with respect to the
compilation and maintenance of the document. It was not entitled to a copy and the
confidentiality clause meant that it could not disseminate the information within it.
Furthermore the Council had had no input into generating the information, no control
over it and no right to deal with it in any way.

The Tribunal agreed with these submissions. It ruled that the Council did not hold the
requested information and has not held it at any relevant date and therefore it was not
obliged to make it available to the Appellant. It noted though that after 2033 the position
will change when the Council will have direct responsibility for the school and will then
have a full right of access to the information. It will then hold the information for FOI

This decision clarifies the question of applicability of FOI to information held by
contractors under PFI arrangements. In any particular case though, care will have to be
taken to examine the precise nature of the requested information, the basis upon which
it is held and also what rights of access the public authority has to it (and to disclose it
further). Here the information was more about the record of operations and
maintenance which is part of the company’s internal procedures at this stage. The only
access the Council needed to it was to ensure that it was being maintained and even
then it was subject to a strict confidentiality clause. After 2033, as the Tribunal
explained, when the contract ended it would need (and have) full access to the manual
and would therefore be holding it for the purpose of FOI."

" – Information Law Training and Resources from Ibrahim Hasan
© Ibrahim Hasan – Episode 26 – September 2011 6"

An important battle being fought by Mr Dransfield to try to ensure honesty and transparency in public life.

Solicitor Regulating Authority (SRA)
2nd Floor
24 Martin Lane
9 th Feb 2013

Dear Sirs

Ref Misconduct by Solicitors

I wish to make a formal complaint against the following named Solicitors, who, I believe have been part of a wider conspiracy with others  to Pervert the Course of Justice. They are:

1.Richard Bailey ICO
2.Mark Thorogood  ICO
3.Jan Shadbolt Devon County Council(DCC)
4.Anthony Sweeny DCC
5. Tom Cross QC
6.Ms R Khamn KBW.

With thanks

Yours sincerely

Alan M Dransfield


NB   It is written in the Final Notice Decision that I have stated the 13 FOIA requests, which they have relied on, are ghost documents.   It is in the FTT decision which I won that they had not seen the these ghost statements, and it is in the Judge Wikely decision that  he had not seen them either. Hence the statement of NO EVIDENCE is well documented. These 13 FOIA ghost documents are the backbone of their Appeal.  Hence, I think it only right and proper they should produce these ghost documents, don't you?

Email sent on on 10th February 2013 at 07.16

Attn of Mr David Stead C.E.O. KBW Legal Chambers

Dear Sir

I wish to report two of your barristers, whomI consider are part of a wider conspiracy to pervert the Course of Justice and Obstruct Due Process.  In particular, I refer to Mr Tom Cross (Barrister) and Rachael Khan (Barrister )who, have acted for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on Case ref GIA/3037/2011 and are about to act on EA/0152/2010.

This is not a question of sour grapes and losing a case, it is a question of integrity, honesty and respect of natural justice and HM Courts. .

...............................particular Mr Cross relied upon 13 FOIA requests from me to the Devon County Council between Feb 05 and May 10.  However, your Mr Cross failed to meet a Court Order from the Upper Tribunal to produce this evidence and these 13 FOIA requests have NEVER been seen by Tom Cross,Rachael Khan or the ICO Solicitor or Judge Wikeley.

Your Mr Cross also knew that I had rejected the final bundle owing to the ghost documents issue.  Mr Cross argued very vigorously that these 13 FOIA requests showed a history and context of my vexatious requests. I understand Mr Cross is a rising star in your law firm, but I do not believe he is that good, that he can operate without documented evidence relied on in his evidence and skeleton documents.

No judge applying a right and proper mind would make any ruling whatsoever without sight of the 13 FOIA requests. ..........................................  It beggars belief that Mr Cross would instruct the ICO to proceed to test case trial without these ghost documents.  ............................

Suffice it to say,I have lodged a formal complaint against your barrister and Judge Wikeley ref their conduct with the appropriate oversight authorities.

............................ what I do know, is that you are now aware of these serious allegations against two members of you KBW lawfirm,........................

For your information, action and files

With thanks

Alan M Dransfield


"Public authorities often have cause to consider whether to treat requests for information as vexatious (section 14 of FOIA) or manifestly unreasonable (regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIR). Precise definitions of those terms are difficult to pin down. They are not supplied by legislation. There is no binding authority from appellate courts or tribunals on their meaning in the information rights context. The Information Commissioner’s guidance is long-standing, but First-Tier Tribunals vary in the extent to which they use that guidance.
In three distinct but related decisions published today, the Upper Tribunal (Judge Wikeley) has filled this gap, providing what is (for now) the definitive, binding guidance on what vexatiousness and manifest unreasonableness mean in this context, and how reliance on those provisions should be approached. The cases are Dransfield, Craven and Ainslie, with Dransfield serving as the lead case ..."


Email sent by Alan Dransfield on 15th February 2013 at 17.01

Attn Nicola Humphries, Lead Case Officer at the Information Commissioner's Office

Dear Nicola

Please see the following letter and attachments from your colleague Richard Sisson. I am somewhat at a loss to understand how you reached your recent decision (Jan 17th) of the subject title in favour of the HSE in which you upheld the HSE FOIA decision that they did not hold any further information pertaining to my FOIA request. The ironical thing is you are both working in the same building. As you can clearly see from these attachments the HSE have known about my allegations of wrongdoing at the 6 PFI schools for a longtime and they have denied any remit. Such denials only endorse my claims the HSE are failing their duty of care.

I have received this letter from the Richard Sisson today, therefore, I feel I have a justified grievance in the manner you have dealt with my case. Also, please don't forget the HSE changed their plea from VEXATIOUS under section 14(1) of the FOIA Act to DO NOT HOLD.Ditto for the Devon County Council at the First Tier Tribunal retrial.

It should also be noted that your decision claims I had received a full history of the HSE data held on me.
I am gobsmacked for want of a better word for your incompetence because this attached information is my FIRST KNOWLEDGE of most(not all ) the information attachments.

Again, there appears to be a very cosy relationship between the ICO and the Public Authority, (HSE) and I now ask you to review your decision to save the public purse of another First Tier Tribunal  Hearing.
With thanks

Alan M Dransfield

N.B. FTT Judge.
Please add all this information to the Case Bundle EA/2011/0512 which currently stands adjourned owing to"EVIDENCE CREDIBILITY " provide by Miss Amber Steer Frost at the last FTT retrial in 2011.


Please see  the links below

The Information Commissioner's Office  has recently upheld a Health and Safety Executive Freedom Of Information Act decision that they DO NOT HOLD THE INFORMATION SOUGHT by my FOIA request, which they changed at the eleventh hour from Section 14(1) VEXATIOUS.

This is a brief history of correspondence, letters and emails passed between the ICO and the HSE, which purports that the health and safety  issues which I raised on the 6 Private Finance Initiative schools do NOT come under their remit, which is absurd to say the least.

In the event of a serious incident, let's say for example one of the these PFI schools in Exeter was struck by lightning and six (6) kids were killed or seriously injured. Do you think for one moment the HSE would say, "Sorry but such matters do not come under our remit,hence, we cant do a safety/accident inspection/inquiry?"

No, that would NOT happen; the HSE would be swarming all over the school and it would take them at least twelve months to establish the root cause of the death/injuries.

These emails especially show a very cosy relaxed relationship between the ICO and the HSE, and it also clearly shows that the ICO have NOT disputed the HSE remit. Why not?

The HSE has imposed a lifetime email ban against me, which has caused me distress and concerns and has cost me for stationary and postage.

These correspondence records, once again, show a very cosy relationship between the ICO and the Public Authority which in this given case is the Health and Safety Executive.


From: alan m dransfield

16 February 2013

Dear Hugh Lambourne,

I wish to pass on my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Poole
Borough Council FOI department and in particular,Mr Hugh Lambourne
for the polite and professional attitude in dealing with my FOI
request. From my request to completion is just short of one month
and it refreshing to see that PBC take their FOIA mandate very

Yours sincerely,

Alan M Dransfield

Email from Alan Dransfield sent on 16th February 2013 at 10.12

Attn of the Upper Tribunal and the First Tier Tribunal

Dear Sirs

I wish to advise both Courts that I have recently submitted a FOIA request to the Poole Borough Council (PBC) for technical details of their New Ashdown PFI Multimillion Pound College and the PBC have provided me with ALL the details as per my request and it has taken less than 14 days for them to do so.

The reason I am advising you of this matter is because it has taken 4 years and a number of Courts Cases with Devon County Council and they have failed to produce one single piece of information for me whilst relying on Section 14 vexatious requests, section 12 costs, National Security, Do Not Hold blah blah and that case continues on even now.

It is quite mind boggling to the degree of difference between two public authorities in the manner they handle and manage the legal obligation to the FOIA 2000. On the one hand, we have the DCC acting like a secretive Stalinist state, which places obstacles and hurdles in my way, whilst the Poole Borough Council has conducted themselves with the honesty and integrity expected of a public authority.  Pray tell me which PA can claim their transparency accountability and security CAN BE SEEN to be working?  Certainly not the Devon County Council.

Do you not find it very strange that the Poole Borough Council can accommodate FOIA requests, to the full letter of the law, whilst the Devon County Council have surrounded themselves in a veil of secrecy?

For your information, action and files

With thanks

Yours sincerely

Alan M Dransfield

NB Ben Bradshaw

May I suggest you write to the DCC and recommend their FOI Team should visit the Poole Borough Council to see how the FOIA SHOULD be done?


alan dransfield
To: Adminappeals
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 2:37 PM
Subject: GIA/3037/2011.

Attn Beatrice Keyte. Listing Team Leader

Dear Beatrice

Thank you for your letter dated 21st Feb13 advising me of the difficulty you are experience obtaining a copy of the Oral Hearing audio tapeand I will await further instruction from you.
I did notice one small error in the Case Title,i.e. you put Information Commissioner V Devon County Council and Alan M Dransfield, it should read Information Commissioners &DCC v Alan M Dransfield.

Could you please confirm if that is a typo or is there a valid reason for the late change in the Case Title. I have noticed this late change as of the Upper Tribunal decision.

This is important because we need to correct this error as the decision will be placed in the Case Authorities shortly, if not done so already.

With thanks

Yours sincerely
Alan M Dransfield


Email sent by Alan Dransfield 17th February 06.34

Dear Mr Hogg. Devon Police Commissioner.

I am sure you will be aware that the DCC are obligated to publish a 5 year report on the subject title and I am sure you are aware as well that this report has not been published in the public domain.  If your were not familiar with those facts, your are now!
Please see the Devon County Council  response below to my Freedom of Information Act request, which quite frankly beggars belief because no person applying a right and proper mind could say the following FOIA request was/is Health and Safety related.

This response also confirms the DCC is STILL wilfully circumventing the FOIA 2000 to prevent public knowledge.
As your officers are currently undertaking a criminal investigation into the finances of the West Exe school, I strongly recommend your officers should investigate the design, construction and operational phase of the 6 Private Finance Initiative schools and in particular, the role of the DCC as oversight authorities.

In essence, the DCC FOIA team are not only circumventing HM Freedom of Information Act 2000, they are throwing down a smoke screen to pervert the course of justice by blocking public access to public information. .................

With thanks

Yours sincerely

Alan M Dransfield
NB Ben Bradshaw

Have you  have read the 5 year report yet on the PFI school; if not why not and why haven't you asked for a copy.

Information Request 03481
Please find Devon County Council’s response below in bold text.
Please provide me with a copy of the DCC 5 years review report for all 6 PFI
schools in Exeter.
Devon County Council’s response
I consider that this request is vexatious under Section 14(1) of the
Freedom of Information Act, and therefore the Council is not obliged to
comply with this request.
For clarity, I consider that this request is ‘health and safety’ related and
the Council’s reasons for refusing requests of this nature have been
explained to you in previous correspondence, and most recently in my previous correspondence and most recently in my letter of the 1st August 2012.

Email sent by Mr Dransfield on 17th February at 06.58

Dear Mr Bradshaw

Please see the following extract from a Devon County Council  public meeting in 2003 which is self explanatory. Hence, can you please seek an an explanation from the DCC why ALL the PFI schools were not provided with a sprinkler system?   Furthermore, as the DCC held genuine fears for fires at these schools, can you also seek an explanation why lightning risk assessment of the schools and other DCC premises have been circumvented.

If Councillor Hart is serious about fire prevention, why has he apparentlyknowingly circumvented the Lightning Risk Assessment Program in Devon Schools; inter alia and at the DCC Head Quarters. The loft at the DCC HQ is a fire hazard timebomb where tonnes of paper records are held.

Devon Fire Service are on record that lightning is not a cause of serious fires. Such statements shock me and I point to the Lychett Minster School Fire as proof the Devon Fire Authority are mistaken.

With thanks

Alan M Dransfield.
Re: Installation of Sprinklers in Schools
In the light of
(a) the Government's White Paper on the Fire Service which highlights the importance of building design in the prevention of fires and
(b) the worrying incidence of arson attacks in schools across the UK
what steps are the Education Authority taking to install sprinklers into the new school buildings which are being planned across Devon and especially the new buildings as part of the Exeter re-organisation.
Fire Safety has been and continues to be of significant importance to the County Council when designing new schools. To date the emphasis has been on the protection of life, rather than buildings. However, given the increase in the reported number of arson attacks across the UK, there is now a move to put equal emphasis on the protection of buildings, as highlighted in the recent White Paper. This of course can be achieved in many ways, one such tool being the installation of sprinkler systems in new schools.
I am pleased to confirm that the replacement schools included in the PFI programme will all be fitted with sprinkler systems. Additionally, officers are meeting with representatives of Devon Fire & Rescue Service in order to discuss the suitability of various fire protection systems including sprinklers in other new schools to be provided by the County Council. The retro fitting of sprinkler systems into existing school buildings, however, is generally agreed not to be a cost effective solution.

Email sent by Alan Dransfield Febrary 21st at 06.10

First Tier Tribunal

Dear Sir

I request the kind permission of the First Tier Tribunal to use a laptop and screen display unit at the forthcoming FTT hearing (To Be Confirmed) The reason being I will be able to demonstrate clearly to the FTT panel that the Devon County Council  have wilfully circumvented the FOIA since my original application in May 09. This will be via an ocular inspection of the WHATDOTHEYKNOW (WDTK)) website records, which holds a full history and context of my FOI requests and especially my FOIA requests since the last retrial some 18 months ago.   In the event permission is denied, I will rely on hardback copies of my FOIA requests which have been refused under section 14(1). That is, of course, unless the FTT hold any objections to  the validity of the WDTK organisation.

This is of particular importance because the Upper Tier Tribunal  decision in GIA/3037/2011 has relied on context and history of my FOIA requests between 05 and 10, which turned out to be GHOST DOCUMENTS.  Hence the UT decision which will, no doubt, be a Court Authority by July13 is a Legal Court Authority/Precedence based on Ghost Documents. Conversely, the WDTK website records clearly show the DCC have treated my FOIA request as vexatious as a matter of course. Indeed that was prophetised by the FTT Judge which the UT overruled!

At this juncture I am awaiting confirmation from the Court of Appeal (CoA) in the GIA/3037/2011 Case, but in the event of CoA giving me permission to Appeal, I would think it right and proper to adjourn this case (EA/2010/0152) until the Court of Appeal ruling.
As you are aware, the last FTT RETRIAL was adjourned by the FTT Judge owing to the credibility of the evidence given by the DCC FOI Manager, Miss Amber Steer Frost, at the hearing in person.

I would certainly hope Miss Steer Frost and other witnesses requested by the FTT Judge will be present in Court.

I am applying directly to the FTT for permission to do this because I know Richard Bailey will not allow additional documents to the Final Bundle, as he will declare they are not relevant. Of course, they are most relevant and, in my view, necessary for the FTT hearing.

Hoping this meets with your approval.

With thanks

Yours sincerely

Alan M Dransfield


A small victory in Mr Dransfield's ongoing battle to hold public servants to account.

Email sent by Alan Dransfield on 24th February at 19.43

Attn Richard Bailey

Please find the Devon County Council  maintenance partnership package 2010 to 2015 with Norfolk Property Service (NPS) and in particular para 7 page 4 where it clearly states Lighting Risk Assessment (LRA)will be carried out on ALL DCC schools.

I request this document to be included in the Final Bundle for the July hearing on the subject title test case, as it will assist the FTT to reach a proportionate decision.

I think it would assist the FTT for the DCC to produce copies of the LRA for the 6 PFI schools between 2010 and 2013. Whilst this DCC document clearly shows the DCC were planning to undertake LRA in ALL Devon Schools, there is no demonstrable paper trail to confirm the LRA has been carried out. No doubt the invoicing for this service has been submitted and paid for.
This document clearly proves the DCC are on record that they will undertake LRA on all Exeter Schools.

I have no doubt you will claim this document is not relevant to the subject title, but I insist it is and I insist it should be in the Final Bundle.

What this document clearly shows is the DCC have failed their duty of care to ensure their OWN POLICIES AND PROCEDURES are carried out,i.e Lightning Risk Assessment.

With thanks

Yours sincerely
Alan M Dransfield

NB Ben Bradshaw
What is the point in the DCC having a 5 year Strategy Plan when they do not adhere to it?Y ou need to be kicking doors down at the DCC and ECC and asking why they are ignoring LRA in public buildings,hospitals, schools, swimming pools, John Lewis etc.


Email sent by Alan Dransfield 24th February 2013 at 16.24

Dear Mr Bradshaw
Please see the following DCC response to a member of the, whom, has requested data on the Sandy Park Rugby Bridge and the DCC have accused him of consorting with other 3rd parties to place an unnecessary burden on the DCC. We must assume I am the other 3rd Party??!!
The only people working in CONSORT on this matter are the DCC and ICO
best regards
Alan M Dransfield
Information Request 03505
Please find Devon County Council’s response below in bold text.
Please provide me with the following information regarding the Exeter Chiefs
Sandy Park Pedestrain Bridge.
1.As Built Health and Safety Files
2.Public Liability Insurance Certificate.
3.Lightning Protection Risk Assessment.
4.Maintenance Schedule.
5.Total cost of the Bridge for the next 20 years.
Devon County Council’s response
The information requested is substantially similar to a number of other
requests the Council has previously received, which we have refused on
the grounds that they are ‘vexatious’ under Section 14(1) of the Freedom
of Information Act or ‘manifestly unreasonable’ under Regulation
12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations.
We believe that you may be working in consort with another applicant
who has placed an unreasonable burden on this authority in relation to
unfounded health and safety claims relating to this bridge.
As a result, we consider that this request is subject to Regulation
12(4)(b) (Manifestly unreasonable) of the Environmental Information
Regulations and therefore Devon County Council is not obliged to
comply with your request. We do not believe that it is in the public’s
best interests to provide further resource and time in relation to this
If you wish to speak with someone please call us.


Email sentby Alan Dransfield 25th February 2013 at 13.13

Richard Bailey. Information Commissioner Solicitor

Dear Sir

Please see the attached documents from Poole Borough Council and I wish these documents to be part of the Final Bundle for the subject title at the FTT hearing in Jult(tbc). These documents are relevant as they highlight the subject title involves Lightning Protection Systems(LPS) and Lightning Risk Assessment (LRA) and I am merely highlighting the fact that other Public Authorities are more than happy to provide such details via the FOIA 2000, whilst the Devon County Council surround themselves with a veil of secrecy towards the Lightning Subjects and purposely and wilfully obstruct public access to public information..
It should be noted that Poole Borough council have provided these two Lightning Documents in less than 9 days whilst the DCC are still obstructing me some 4 years later.

I have no doubt you will object to these documents being included in the final bundle,hence, I have included the FTT in my mailing list.

With thanks

Yours sincerely

Alan M Dransfield

PS Polite reminder please ref the Case Title change re GIA/3037/2011


Email sent February 25th at 20.48

Dear Mr Bradshaw MP

Please see the attached Asset Management Plan (AMP) from the DCC. They purport to have AMP's related to all their premises and projects.

However, these AMP are not available at the DCC HQ, they are not available on line, hence, I am at a complete loss to now where they keep them hidden. I suppose they might be in the DCC Loft!

In the event they are not maintaining an AMP they are failing Government Guidelines and their own Policies.
Would you please write to the DCC CEO and ask him where the AMP are retained.

With thanks

Alan M Dransfield


Email received 19th March 2013 at 12.25

Information Request(s):
FOI 1654
Regarding the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Ground Pedestrian Bridge a.k.a. Bakers Bridge, please may have via this website:-

1. As Built Health and Safety File

2. Operation Maintenance Manual.

FOI 1745
Please provide me with the following information for all six PFI schools in Exeter:-

as built health and safety files

risk assessment for all facets

project agreements

design change order log

FOI 1828
Please provide me with a copy of the Air Permeability Test results for the 6 PFI schools in Exeter.

FOI 1830
Please provide me with the full audit report of the blue water remedial works at the St Peter schools. Please also provide me with the exact remedial works carried out to the school plumbing works and the full costs of the same.

FOI 1912
Please provide me with a copy of the Risk Assessment for Lightning at ALL DCC controlled schools and colleges.

FOI 2069
Please provide me with a copy of the Contract between the DCC and NPS.

FOI 2070
Please provide me with a copy of the Lightning Protection System Test Results for the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Bridge from 2007 to now.

FOI 2071
Please provide a list of ALL maintenance costs for each PFI school for the last 5 years.

FOI 2139
Please provide me with copies of correspondence from the DCC to their LEA ref the Risk Assessments for Lightning. Also please include any relevant memos, emails ref the BS/EN 62305 Lightning Risk assessment.
Devon County Council Response

As you will be aware you have submitted 11 information requests to Devon County Council to which you have yet to receive a response. These requests are listed in the attached table. I apologise for this delay in responding to these requests.
The Council considers that these 11 requests are vexatious under Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act and / or Manifestly Unreasonable under Regulation 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations, and therefore the Council is not obliged to comply with these requests.

I am considering all 11 of these requests together as they all have a common theme of ‘health and safety’ relating to the Exeter PFI Schools, the Exeter Chiefs rugby ground bridge and other built structures, and I believe form part of a campaign against Devon County Council in relation to these matters. I will explain my reasons for the application of Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act and Regulation 12(4)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations below, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

I consider that your requests for information can be fairly seen as obsessive in nature. You submitted 24 information requests to Devon County Council between 01/08/11 and 21/03/12. At least 19 of these can be considered to be ‘health and safety’ related. Information has been provided in response to some of these requests. However, this is a considerable number of requests for an applicant to make on the same topic over a period of less than 8 months and demonstrates an obsession with the topic and with the Council.

I also consider that your requests would impose a significant burden on the Council, in terms of expense and distraction. As well as the shear number of requests you have made, some of the information you have requested relates to large, detailed documents. To comply with many of these requests, officers would be required to spend considerable time away from their day to day work.
I do not consider that there is any serious purpose or value to the requests you have made. It is clear that these requests are duplicates of requests already made by another applicant as part of a campaign against Devon County Council on ‘health and safety’ matters. I do not consider that your level of contact with the council is proportionate to the purpose or value you place on this campaign to uncover health and safety issues

Internal Review Request
Thank you for your decision regarding my FOI requests. I am not satisfied with the response, therefore please review your decisions.

Firstly, I am NOT part of any campaign as you suggested in your decision. Secondly, you have suggested the retrieval of the requested information would take a long time to recover, as it is an integral part of paper document.
That is not the case because the information I requested is retained in electronic format. Hence, documents can be recovered in minutes as opposed to the hours which you suggested.

You also claim that I have submitted 24 FOI request and then claim I have made 11 requests; which is it 11 or 24?
Name of Officer Conducting Internal Review:

Martin Lawrence (Independent Freedom of Information Review Officer)

Internal Review Response
Having considered your request for an internal review of the above responses, I note that you do not consider that your requests were vexatious in accordance with either Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act nor were they manifestly unreasonable under Regulation 12(4)(b) of Environmental Information Regulations. I have therefore made this the centre of my review into the handling of your request.

In considering the legal context and meaning of the term manifestly unreasonable, I am mindful of the comments of Judge Wikeley in the case of Cravern v Information Commissioner’s Office & DECC (GIA/0786/2012) who stated...”I accept Mr Cross and Mr Cornwell’s principal submission that in practice there is no material difference between the two tests under section 14(1) [Freedom of Information Act 2000] and regulation 12(4)(b) [Environmental Information Regulations 2004]”.

After identifying that the legal context of the term ‘manifestly unreasonable’ may be considered under the same statutory interpretation as Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act. I have therefore considered the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on the vexatious requests, entitled ‘When can a request be considered vexatious or repeated’. This guidance outlines 5 tests for considering whether a request may be considered as vexatious, namely;

Could the request fairly be seen as obsessive?

Is the request harassing the authority or causing distress to staff?

Would complying with the request impose a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction?

Is the request designed to cause disruption or annoyance?

Does the request lack any serious purpose or value?
After carefully reviewing the facts of this case, I see that you have made 23 Freedom of Information & Environmental Information Regulations requests to Devon County Council up until the date of information request 02139. These requests can be broadly summarised as follows (see overleaf):

Information requested
Please may I have a copy of the risk assessment for lightning strikes on Redhayes Bridge
Soil resistivity test results for 6 PFI schools
Soil resistivity test results for Exeter Chiefs bridge
As built health & safety file and operations maintenance manual for Exeter Chiefs rugby ground bridge
Health & Safety
Cost of contract for Exeter PFI schools
Copy of test certificate for Soil Resistivity Test for the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Pedestrian Bridge
Copy of the construction phase health and safety plan for PFI schools
As built health & safety file, risk assessment, project agreement and design change order log
Health & Safety
Cost of Dransfield tribunal cases
Air permeability test results for 6 PFI schools in Exeter
Simplified Building Energy Model certificates for 6 PFI Schools in Exeter
Blue water remedial works and costs for St Peters School in Exeter
Cost of defending cases involving Alan Dransfield
Lightning protection test certificates for Exeter Chiefs Rugby Pedestrian Bridge
Projects which used contaminated cement
Health & Safety
Risk assessment for lightening at all DCC schools
Correspondence relating to decision to join ICO at tribunal appeal and cost to tax payer
Internal correspondence relating to the decision to review Alan Dransfield's FOI requests
Contract between DCC and NPS
Health & Safety
Lightning Protection system test results for Exeter Chief bridge
Maintenance costs for 6 Exeter PFI schools
Exeter Cycle path - Double Locks to Swing Bridge
Health & Safety
Correspondence about risk assessments for lightning
Those requests marked on the above table in yellow are currently the subject of this review.
On considering the context and history of your previous requests to Devon County Council, I am minded to conclude that requests made by yourself concerning Health & Safety of Built Structures and Lightning Protection Systems do in fact meet some of the necessary tests laid out by the Information Commissioner’s Office to have been considered vexatious. I will outline the rationale for why your requests meet each of the relevant tests below.
Could the request fairly be seen as obsessive?
Please note that up until the date of information request 02139 the Council had received 7 requests from you concerning PFI schools. A further 7 requests had also been received from you regarding Lightning Protection Systems. In addition, the Council has also received 4 requests from you which may be considered under the category of ‘Health & Safety’.
On assessing the context and history of your requests, I believe that the Council was in fact correct to have considered that the number of requests you have made on the subject of PFI and Health & Safety were at such a level that they may reasonably be considered as obsessive in nature.
Would complying with the request impose a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction?
You have been informed in the Council’s response that compliance with the majority of your requests would involve the compilation of significant quantities of paper records. I accept your belief that much of the information that you have requested is held in electronic form, however in many cases this is not in fact correct.
It is my view that when considering the context of your previous requests to the Council, it would be likely that complying with your requests would lead to further communication from you on these matters. I believe that this contact would therefore expose the Council to further burden which when considered as a whole may be construed as unreasonable.
Does the request lack any serious purpose or value?

Whilst the Council accepts that you believe your requests are for a serious purpose, for example to expose poor health and safety practices relating to built structures, I do not believe that your level of contact with the Council on this subject is proportional. You will have noted from the Council’s response to requests from another applicant that these requests were considered as vexatious. The Council considers that this is a continuance of this pattern of requests.

Therefore on the individual merits of this case, I consider this request does lack a serious purpose or value.
Whilst I appreciate that the focus of this review is concerned with the application of Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, I believe it is important to explain to you that the Council is fully committed to ensuring that any specific Health & Safety concerns raised by members of the public are investigated properly through the appropriate processes.
There is clearly a public interest in ensuring that possible Health & Safety concerns are properly investigated so that corrective actions may be taken by the Council where appropriate. My view is that the public interest would be best served in this case, by you engaging through the Council’s complaints procedure, as this will now provide you with an opportunity to have any specific concerns that you might have independently investigated.

With regard to the Council’s response to your Freedom of Information request, I accept that you believe your request is for a serious purpose, such as to highlight Health & Safety failings. However given the number of requests you have already made on this subject, and given the potential scope for further requests from you in this area, I am not convinced that continued disclosure of information will yield a satisfactory outcome to your underlying complaints. I would therefore urge you to consider referring any specific concerns that you might have about Health & Safety issues through the Council’s Corporate Complaints process.
Details of the Council’s Customer Complaints process are available on the Council’s website -


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