Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Correspondence withheld

A little while ago I asked for correspondence between Council and the Towy Community Church relating to the bowling alley project, the controversies have been covered by bloggers and press alike. The request was refused on 'cost' grounds.

Unsurprisingly, so was the subsequent 'internal review'.
The refusal notice can be downloaded from here. Legal services have gone into some detail and made an enormous mountain out of a molehill,  presumably with the intention of deterring the interest of the Information Commissioner. It's all a bit reminiscent of my failed request for a breakdown of officers' expenses; and a seemingly disorganised and scattered filing system.

This is the project (the church/bowling alley) to which the council has committed £1.4m of taxpayers money; fills six (yes, six) lever arch files in the regeneration department (and more in other departments, according to Legal department) yet fails to appear anywhere in the council ledgers.

It look like I'll be heading back to the Information Commissioner. This is the second time this excuse has been used by the council.

I have also asked how much the council spends on dealing with FoI requests. Although now nearly two weeks late, the query is, apparently, at an ‘advanced stage’ and will be answered this week. I have a feeling that no expense will be spared and any ‘cost limits’ will go out of the window, as it will be seen by County Hall as a golden opportunity to blame members of the public for stretching the budget with their pesky questions. Perhaps I'll be wrong and I'll get a refusal, either way, I'll let you know.


Mrs Angry said...

I am glad you are pursuing this refusal: it really is quite disgraceful, and I am sure the ICO will agree. And I applaud your question re FOIs - very clever!

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

My filing system is also pretty chaotic. I've mislaid things for several years, only to discover them when I wasn't really looking for them.

Mind you, I don't need to be accountable to the public like CCC. Isn't there a specific office on Gaol Hill which deals with Tywi Community Church? Isn't there a team responsible for the bowling project? Or do the rhizome like tentacles of bureaucracy extend so far that noone really knows where the buck stops?

caebrwyn said...

@Emlyn Uwch Cych
Good points. CCC don't feel they need to be accountable either.

@Mrs Angry The Towy Church/Council FoI is now resting with the Information Commissioner.