Sunday, 21 June 2009

Setting an Example

A story in the Post about how Erewash Borough Council is planning to keep a log of Freedom of Information requests (and presumably the responses) on its website.

This is an excellent idea (not that I could find it at time of writing mind) and I'd like to publicly request that Nottingham City Council carry out a similar initiative. Quite a few people from NCC read this blog so perhaps you could all push the idea internally?

It makes sense for public authorities to do this because they must receive multiple requests about the same or similar subjects and if previous responses were available to view on the website it would hopefully mean this would be reduced making information governance more efficient.

It would also be a major contribution towards openness in public administration (that's it, I've just lost the sympathy of any senior NCC people or ruling party councillors), something the excellent 'What Do They Know' site is working hard at along with all the other MySociety sites.

2 comments:

alanadale said...

What an excellent idea. Someone might have to explain the concepts of openness and transparency to those in charge of the City Council first though.

Niles said...

Aha! finally found it.

I knew that back bench councillors had looked into information rights in Nottingham and made recommendations to Council.

It's this set of minutes: http://open.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/comm/agenda.asp?2776

Recommendation 9 in the word doc is

"9. That the Council adopt the practice of publishing on its website disclosures which have a wider public interest."

(I think the reason for only publishing some of them is that they get hundreds a month, many of them of no real interest to anyone but the questioner - eg "How does the Council provide service X and how much does it cost" from a company that also offers service X and hopes to undercut the existing provider...)

Will see if we can find a way of reminding Council of the recommendation and tracking what happened to the response.

Cllr Alex Foster