Oct 14 2013

Harrow Council’s FOI Response Rate: Dribblingly Poor

harrow_council_logoIt’s been a while since we’ve carped on about Harrow Council’s efforts in complying vaguely with the Freedom of Information Act legislation, partly because we’d moved on from that, and partly, it has to be said, due to the Chief Exec’s invites for tea and biscuits have somewhat diffused our anger. Nonetheless, if someone else digs up that information, we’ll certainly publish it. And so…

Having a look through www.whatdotheyknow.com we find that someone else is also interested in how many FOI responses the Council provides in a timely manner.

In each of May, June and July this year, the Council managed to get responses out in time (ie: what the law says they should do, by the Council’s own figures) for less than a third of the requests they received. Here’s the data:


requests pc_ontime pc_late pc_refused
May 113 27% 59% 13%
June 101 34% 54% 12%
July 147 37% 50% 13%

Probably worth pointing out that with 147 requests in July, with 37% on-time rate, they actually performed better than the previous month, when they only had 101 requests and a 34% on-time rate. Of course, it all depends on complexity, but the bottom line is that they’re failing, miserably, with well more than half the requests being council-defined as late.

The council note that the refused requests “…include requests that were withdrawn, ones we needed more clarification on, but received no reply from requestor, information was not held or information was held but was exempted and therefore could not be sent out.”

The acid test, of course, will be from October, and we’ll see how much of an impact the Council’s new leader has once she’s flexed her muscles in their direction.

Hat tip to Jacob Meyer for asking the question.


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