Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Hold the Front Page! A Bit of Info About the Housing Scandal has been Allowed Out!

Only a little bit mind you. And what has come out simply raises more questions than it answers.

Okay then. As you know the housing allocations scandal has been going on forever with NCC desperate to prevent any info about what went on, and more seriously, why nobody has been made to answer for it, getting out into the open.

My own FoI request has been going on since May 2011 and there has been allegations of vexatiousness (quickly but wordlessly dropped), exemption bingo and a thoroughly unsatisfactory Information Commissioner's decision which brought us back to square one.

Since then NCC has withdrawn an appeal against another requester's case where the Commissioner ordered disclosure of some information and, as my request overlapped with that one, I got the info too.

Considering what has come out, the suspicion that NCC is frankly taking the piss with resisting FoI requests is somewhat reinforced. It is pretty fucking outrageous that public money has been spent stopping this information getting out.

So, what have we got? Well, only information from 2006 unfortunately consisting of
  • Hand written notes of a meeting between NCC and the Police on 15 May 2006 where removing IT equipment from housing offices for examination was discussed (note also the reference to 'players'!)
  • A detailed briefing document summarising a meeting on 11 July 2006. This clearly shows that the Police were on message with investigating the matter, had formed an initial view on what the focus of the investigation should be (this is redacted but I think we can safely assume it to be 'The Sports and Social Club That Must Not Be Named'). If anything, NCC are saying that the Police have been a bit directionless and seem fired up with getting further info together and passing it on.
  • A brief summary document on the three meetings that had occurred between NCC and the Police that year.
And that's it. My request asked for quite a lot more, in particular later meetings, so I have written back to remind them of this fact. Probably best not to hold my breath...

But the upshot of this is that it seems clear that the Police were well up for investigating the matter. So why did this attitude change, leaving NCC to spend £100k on external solicitors covering for its own legal team carefully looking the other way investigating the matter, with no prosecutions?

The answer will presumably be in the minutes of meetings in 2010 (which we know happened from earlier disclosures. Note also in there, Notts Police Head of Fraud Kevin Fidler. This shit writes itself). As such, I suspect a continuing battle to get hold of them.

Wish me luck.

Addendum; Following a comment on Indymedia I went back and checked some dates and it does seem that the July-Sept 2010 meetings that likely decided the fate of the police investigation were hot on the feet of JoCo being appointed Chair of the Police Authority and installing his 'Change Management' team. Which is rather an amazing coincidence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not checked your blog for a while Andy. Nice to know nothing's changed in that cesspit that is the City Council.