Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Evening Post on Officer/Member Battles and Freedom of Information

The Super Soaraway Evening Post is going at it hammer and tongs on the supposedly thorny subject of relationships between NCC officers and elected members today. The most high profile aspect of this has been the inability to keep a Chief Exec for more than about 20 minutes causing a fortune to be paid out in severance payments.

Anyway, today the EP provides a useful summary of key events in the reporting of this issue by the Audit Commission and reports on attempts to get hold of a report by external consultants on the same issue.

It seems that EP requested a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Act last April but doesn't seem to have exctly chased it up or challenged it when the request was refused. They don't mention which of the exemptions were used by NCC, only saying that the council's Legal Officer said that it wasn't in the public interest for the report to be released. Unfortunately, NCC are not the fiirst organisation to confuse 'politically embarrassing' with 'not in the public interest', someone really needs to explain the difference to these people. Why the EP didn't refer the matter to the Information Commissioner is not explained.

At around the same time Lib Dem Cllr Tony Sutton (recently on the receiving end of JoCo's blistering savagery, who called him a 'prat') has also been trying to get hold of the report and associated correspondence. He was gently informed by the council's Legal Officer that he "did not need to see the document to carry out his duties as a councillor". Cllr Sutton has apparently now submitted his own FoIA request, been refused and appealed. This is still ongoing.

On an admittedly less fundamental note, my own FoIA requests have yet to be resolved and they are outside the 20 day time limit for an appeal, not to mention the time limit for the info they forgot to provide on my original request. I've given them until Friday lunchtime before I pass it on to the ICO.


Bent Society said...

Go after them because they are no better than organised criminals - who once they worm their way into an organisation bleed it and the public to feed their own fat greed.

Are the NCC private friends and family junket Powder Monkey Yacht and beach party still going ahead in the Cannes at the hard-pressed Nottingham tax payer’s expense?

Yours Disgusted

Nick B. said...

I'm surprised that nobody has noticed or commented that they have just re-launched the website using a Gossweb CMS. Just one bare RSS feed but the option to create your own account and personalise the content, which of course allows them to track their readers more accurately. I wonder how much all this has cost? Did they pay someone some lucrative IT consultancy fees or do they have in-house staff with suitable skills?
Have a look at the Accessibility page then click on the Tell us about a problem with this page link. Looks like they don't want any problems reporting...

Andy said...

I did notice the 'create your own account' thing Nick and I thought....naaaah ;-D

Like I said before, the new site has meant that certain bits of the old content has been wiped unfortunately.

There is an internal report about their IT security being shite out there somewhere, I've been trying to find it but no success so far. If I do find it I'll put it up here.

Nick B. said...

Well at least I now know who one of their IT suppliers are.