Sep 02 2016

Harrow Council – Making up their own rules for FOI requests

harrow_council_broken_2Yet 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.



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  1. susan hall

    Open and transparent – that is what we were promised by Labour and yet nothing could be further from the truth. The Conservative group have been kept away from decision making and indeed we are only allowed 15 minutes of questions at Cabinet per month. A long way from the two non voting positions on Cabinet that we were promised by David Perry who seems to have taken the position himself. We the opposition would scrutinise decisions at Cabinet level which he clearly will not. I am not sure what part of that he does not understand. As for members of the public not being able to obtain information either it begs the question what is going on that the Labour Administration don’t want us to know about? The fact that lots of things are going horribly wrong is clear for all of us to see

    1. red mirror

      i am glad susan that in praxis you are able to realize the the futility of thrashing around in the microcosm of (local politics) not as glamorous as being photographed outside pubs with huge police action signs bothering folk or flying over the poor disenfranchised wretches existing in sheds with a thermal imaging camera strapped to your bonce so whats the plan?maybe a paparazzi style confrontation of perry would do the trick or maybe you could hire a cherry picker and eaves drop on the meetings through an open window you must be creative susan ill leave it with you .

      1. Someonewhocares

        ‘Interesting’ Red Mirror – but didn’t they just ‘outlaw’ the use of ‘legal highs’ ?

  2. GE

    FOI requests are more important at Harrow than any other council its the only time you actually stand a chance of them responding. They very rarely properly answer a simple letter

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