Feb 12 2013

Bumbling Harrow Council backtracks over Fairtrade Expenditure

fairtrade_logoTowards the end of last year, we asked Harrow Council how much it spent “…in 2011/12 and 2012 to date on it’s efforts to achieve Fair Trade Accreditation?” When they eventually replied (almost a month after the time limit permitted by the Freedom of Information Act), they told us it it was just over £30,000.

Now, they’ve backtracked, saying its more like £2,000. And that took a fair bit of chasing to get the answer.

It’s certainly good news that they’ve only wasted £2,000 – and not the £30,000 originally quoted – on something that local traders don’t seem to want – our enquires to the South Harrow Traders Association, for example, on whether this is something they’d want to get involved in, has been met with an uninterested silence.

However, it does raise the question as to whether this Council actually knows what its doing when it comes to money. The request we made was fairly simple and unambiguous. In fact, it couldn’t have been clearer, so its hard to see how they could have got it wrong. Perhaps the scrutiny that followed – from other residents, not us, unfortunately – has focussed their attentions.

However, all is still not clear. We have a total of three response from the Council:

  • The FOI response which said £30,000.
  • A response from Nana Asante, the Deputy Mayor – and Fairtrade champion, which said £2,000.
  • And a response from the nominated support officer of under £4,000 (“…less than £2,000 for each of the years mentioned…”).

It’s all rather a mess, really.


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