Mar 04 2013

Harrow Council and the FOI Act: Says One Thing, Means Another

Information1-150x150When the Leader of Harrow says, “The Council takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act extremely seriously…” you might be tempted to take those words at face value. It is, after all, unambiguous in meaning.

However, what the Council says isn’t necessarily what it means.

More than two weeks after those very words were uttered, the Council still has a number of requests made to it under the FOI legislation which are overdue.

One, about Communications Spending, was due, by law, to have had a response by February 25, 2013. So far, nothing. Another, about Non Metric Fees and Charges, is still three weeks overdue. A third one, about the Chief Executive’s Attendance, due on February 26, 2013, has been  seemingly ignored.

And in addition to those, there are also a whole load of requests awaiting an internal review with the Council, as well as our own appeal – favourable outcome not, of course, expected – still sitting in limbo.

The Council has bitched and moaned about the requests that iharrow.com has submitted, and has refused to answer any of them this year, but the very fact that other people are still waiting would indicate that it is not our requests that are causing them to fall behind – it’s something else.

It would be easy to argue that the Council is not, as it says, taking “…its responsibilities seriously…” when it acts like this. As many are now noticing, what the Council says, and what the Council does, are two entirely different things.

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