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Jan 06 2012

Harrow Council implements new FoI management system

Harrow Council has opted to manage its freedom of information requests through a new online and on-demand case management system that will make sure FoI requests do not exceed the 20 day period stipulated by law.

The system, “ManageMyRequests” is an online solution which enables local government and public sector organisations to better manage their FoI requests and also improve their control over the response process.

The system stores request information in one central location allowing FoI caseworkers to access all relevant information, including documents, images and telephone recordings in one single action. Through improved information sharing it is hoped that responses to FoI requests will not to exceed the timeframe set out by the Information Commissioner.

Tony Monachello, information service manager at Harrow Council said the system had been developed for the needs of public sector organisations.

“The solution logs all requests for information that come into the organisation, and then automatically calculates the date by which each request needs to have been answered,” he said. “The system also automatically sends out a reminder after ten days, if the request has not been closed by that point.”

Monachello said the system was “instrumental” in managing public information requests, meaning the council was compliant with the Freedom of Information Act and “able to deliver a high level of service to our community”.

Harrow Council is also looking into implementing new ways of accepting FoI and requests, and requests under the Data Protection Act, considering Facebook and Twitter as means of doing this.

The crackdown on FoI delays in 2011, which saw central and local government bodies criticised by the Information Commissioner, has encouraged councils and other public sector organisations to implement new systems to become more effective and efficient in dealing with these requests.

Source: www.publicservice.co.uk

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