Monday, 1 November 2010

What Does She Mean?

Just been sent copies of correspondence between NCC and the Information Commissioner's Office concerning my request and complaint over getting details of officers in possession of delegated powers. One or two interesting little bits and bobs in there.

NCC's Information Governance Manager, Mrs Stephanie Pearson, appears to be raising some odd points, For instance, here's an extract from an email she sent on 1 October -

"Mr P has submitted 17 separate requests to this authority since the start of the year. He has requested internal reviews on 6 of these, of which, this case is one, and which he has ultimately pursued through you."

Well, what DO you think she's implying by that?

She goes on to say the following -

"Mr P's internal review request to this authority focused solely on the document that was provided to him being out of date and not on the fact that he expressed to you that we misinterpreted his request."

This appears to be an attempt to muddy the waters with a bit of amateur sophistry and falsehood by implying that I changed my grounds of appeal.  In fact it was the ICO caseworker who initially suggested that NCC had 'misinterpreted' my request. That's a lot kinder than I would have been, I thought they had blatantly fobbed me off with an out of date document in the hope that I wouldn't notice that they hadn't bothered to keep track of delegated powers for more than a decade.

Moving on to a further email Mrs Pearson sent to the ICO she appears to let her frustrations get the better of her -

"...this individual has previously worked for the council and therefore is aware of some of the areas of record keeping that needs to be improved. he appears to be seeking to exploit these areas..."

My, is that the sound of little stampy feet I can hear? That appears to be a fairly clear accusation of bad faith to me, not sure I'm happy about that at all.

Just for the record the only FoI requests that I've used previous knowledge on are those I've submitted on Discretionary Housing Payments. When I worked for NCC I had absolutely no idea of delegated powers arrangements, frankly I had far more distressing things to worry about. Everything I know about it now has been gleaned from publicly available information.

It's currently not looking too good for NCC's chances in this one. They have already moved the goalposts themselves and the above shows that they are trying to blame it on me. That said it doesn't mean that we will be getting the information any sooner because, as I say they haven't been keeping track of the various changes in delegated powers since 1998. But hopefully the embarrassment will motivate them to put that right sooner rather than later.

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