Yet again, Harrow Council have shown they have, to put it simply, no clue about Freedom of Information requests. In a response to a request made by “J White” concerning the council’s social media policy, the council refused, point blank, to “log and process” the request because, according to Ms Marian Stephens, the Senior Business Support Officer involved, “Under the FOIA, your full name is needed in order for me to process your request.”
Which is wrong. And the ICO couldn’t be clearer.
According to guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (source, section 25): “A requester named Robert Jones could call themselves ‘Rob Jones’, ‘Bobby Jones’, ‘R Jones’, ‘Bob Jones’ or ‘Mr Jones’.”
The council’s appalling record with FOI requests can be found here. Meanwhile, we’d expect this request to continue rather sharpish, as the ICO is quite possibly likely to see this as a technique by the council to stall, delay or otherwise avoid complying with the FOI legislation. Which should surprise nobody.
Incidentally, the Chief Exec himself promised to start complying with FOI requests (sensibly a reasonably) made by iharrow. Whether that promise failed to filter down to the rank and file, or whether it’s a metaphorical two-fingers up at Mr Lockwood by the staff concerned, remains unknown.