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+1 vote
After a highly contentious period, in which the Clerk was obliged to write a letter of apology to the Staffing Committee because of his interference in selecting his successor, the letter was held in the 'safe' custody of the Clerk. It now emerges that the letter has been destroyed by the Clerk, which is thought to be a deliberate act. Was this lawful, and should/could the council act on this? The Clerk has now left the council.
by (750 points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
Nothing you can do - forget it - move on.
by (10.1k points)
0 votes
"...obliged to write a letter of apology..."? Was this the outcome of a formal disciplinary hearing in accordance with the Council's policy or just a kangaroo court bemoaning the removal of the village stocks?
by (53.3k points)
+1 vote
Has anyone requested (before the document was destroyed) a copy of this letter in writing and providing an address to receive the response (email address is fine)?

If so, that would be classed as FOI request. Destroying information that is subject to a FOI request is a criminal offence.

Only case i know of where a clerk has been taken to court for this they were fined £400 and made to pay legal costs which took it up to £2000.

But this would all depend on whether the ICO decides to take up the case. It wouldn't get you the document if it has been destroyed. You've got rid of the clerk now, so maybe just forget it and move on.
by (4.6k points)
The ICO would probably exempt the information under s40 of FOIA.
As they were 'obliged' to write this letter i was assuming it was written in their capacity as clerk. If the letter made reference to the successor then that could be redacted. S40 does not apply to a whole document, only to the exempt sections, so it still should not have been destroyed. And of course as it has been destroyed it would be hard for the ICO to conclude any exemptions. The fact would still remain that a document had been subject to a FOI request which had then been destroyed. Whether or not that material could have been exempt is mostly irrelevant. The information should of either been released or the exemption the clerk relied up given by the clerk at the time.
It is only an offence if the document had been requested under an FOI before it was destroyed.  Documents destroyed as part of the normal course of events or by following the document retention policy would not give rise to any action by the ICO.  The Clerk has left and the council appears to have moved on so why is this an issue now?

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