Wednesday, 1 December 2010

One Nottingham Battens Down the FoI Hatches

Just had this email back from One Nottingham -

"We have been advised that One Nottingham is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

We will not release to you the minutes from the tender panel that you requested.

As previously mentioned the decison to award Nottingham Equal the contract was following the approved tender process that One Nottingham has followed for many years and this was explained in my email of the 2nd November."

Ok, at least we know where we all stand. When I get a minute I'll start the process rolling to see if they're right.

One thing this proves beyond any doubt however. One Nottingham is little more than a front to hide dirty linen behind.


Anonymous said...

What actually is the legal status of One Nottingham then?

Via a Google seach, one version of its website seems to be hosted by Nottingham City Council - but another has an address that suggests its some sort of voluntary body -

It's obviously entirely funded from the public purse yet not, it seems, accountable to the public via the FoI act.

How is this possible?

Andy said...

Well that's the big question and the ICO is going to have to make a finding on that.

Technically it's an 'unincorporated association' so it has no legal status per se. NCC is the 'accountable body' for it which means it holds the money and is who would get sued if something goes wrong. And I think all their employees are NCC employees too, certainly their Chief Exec is.

To me, all those factors makes them de facto a part of NCC which would mean they are covered by FoI.

If they'd made ON a limited company with all the 'partners' as shareholders the I wouldn't have a leg to stand on as there's a loophole in the FoIA that says any company owned by more than one organisation, even if all of them are public authorities that individually are covered by FoI, it isn't itself covered by the FoIA.

But as it I reckon they're wholly part of NCC and therefore covered. I don't think they can claim to be owned jointly by the 'partners' (some of whom are private sector) because with an unincorporated body there's legally nothing to own.