Saturday, 4 December 2010

One Nottingham and Freedom of Information

As you will be aware from my last post on the matter One Nottingham now claims to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

I have submitted my complaint about this to the Information Commissioner and broadly my case is that ON is simply a part of NCC and thus is covered by the FoIA.

Following a comment on the above post and my reply explaining my understanding of ON's legal stature I thought I'd post up the grounds of my case and, well here they are -

"The respondent is refusing to provide details of the tender process for a decision it made to award funding to an organisation called Nottingham Equal. It has only provided copies of meeting minutes that vaguely discussed the project but I was hoping to receive details of why NE was awarded funding which would only be in the tender discussion documents, which the respondent has refused to provide. They do not appear to have made any attempt to carry out a public interest assessment.

The respondent is now claiming to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act seeking, presumably, to rely on a claim that 'One Nottingham' is a separate autonomous organisation. This claim is not credible for the following reasons -

1. One Nottingham is an unincorporated body with Nottingham City Coucil as the accountable body (see

2. All ON workers are NCC employees and its Chief Executive reports directly to the Chief Exec of NCC in NCC's senior management structure (see

3. ON's own funding guidance states that it's documents would be subject to the FoIA (see Tender Panel Guidance Notes attached).

4. ON's website is a subsection of NCC's website.

5. The funding decision purportedly made by ON had to be ratified by a separate decision by NCC (see .

With the above in mind my view is that the ON Board is merely an advisory committee for decisions that are ultimately those of NCC. As such those decisions are subject to the FoIA."

Of course that will give NCC's legal team a bit of a head start (and make no mistake, it will be them who are onto this unless ON decides to waste some public money on a lawyer who knows what they are talking about) but I don't mind that. I'll leave the 'rabbit out of the hat' thing to them.

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