If you lead a dull life you might have noticed that this week the Information Commissioner’s Office has issued two Decision Notices regarding Freedom of Information Requests submitted to Nottingham City Council by Tony Sutton a (now former) Liberal Democrat councillor.
One of the Decision Notices describes an allegation that Tony Sutton makes against me to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Paragragh 38 of FS50371164 says;
“With regard to the council’s motives to withhold the requested information the complainant believes that Stephen Barker as the Director of Communications and Marketing may have been involved in both the council’s communication strategy/publicity campaign, which was publicly funded, and that of the local Labour party in 2006/07.”
This is untrue.
Amongst the things Tony Sutton asked for in his FOIs were a couple of documents that he was able to identify by their PC document name, the file path.
The funny thing is that annotated paper copies of these documents had in 2007 been removed (I hesitate to say stolen) from my locked office at the Guildhall.
The only reason Tony Sutton was able to be so specific as to quote the file path (and later to refer to the annotations) was because they were printed on the bottom of the documents and he already had the documents or had seen the documents (or was being prompted to ask his questions by a third party who had).
Why would he asking for something that he already had or had seen. Why would he ask questions on behalf of someone else? Who?
It was Charlie Walker at the Post who confirmed to me early in 2011 that the FOI (asking for the documents he already had) was from Tony Sutton, who must have told Charlie himself because the name of someone who submits an FOI is confidential.
So I wrote, privately, to Tony Sutton (Feb 22, 2011) saying;
“The co-existence of these two items would only be known to myself, Michael Frater, whoever removed them from my office or anyone that they then passed them onto. Were you involved in any way with the removal of the two items from my office in the Guildhall Annexe? If not, how have you become aware of the existence of items that were removed by persons unknown from my office in the Guildhall Annexe?”
Tony Sutton did not reply to this email. Instead he supplied a copy of it to Charlie at the Post. And complained about it to my boss.
Tony Sutton has still not replied to this email. He has never taken an opportunity to deny having been involved in the removal of items from my office at the Guildhall or to explain how they, or what was written on them, subsequently came into his possession.
Did Tony Sutton know, when he submitted his FOI, that the source of the versions of the documents he had or how he came to know what was written on them was ‘dodgy’ and he wanted more ‘legitimate’ versions? Or was he acting as a puppet of someone else?
Now that via the publication of these Decision Notices Tony Sutton’s baseless allegation against me (which he has never put to me directly) is in the public domain I put this, publicly, to (former councillor) Tony Sutton.
Were you involved in any way with the removal the two paper documents from my office?
How did you first become aware of the existence of the two paper documents that were removed from my office?
Did someone else provide you with the detail you used in your FOI, detail that could only have come from the two paper documents that were removed from my locked office?
If you had nothing to do with the removal of the two documents from my office, or have not been supplied with the two documents or details of them by someone else, why do you not say so?
If you want to read the Decision Notices you can find them here.
I don’t have an email for Tony Sutton since he disappeared into the LibDem post-coalition netherworld. Do let him know if you see him.