Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Further Snippett Concerning Hassan Ahmed Slips Out

You might remember that I have been trying to get as much info as possible about the Standards for England decision that Hassan Ahmed breached the members' code of conduct. I've had limited success, so far getting hold of a redacted report, and I've been trying to get as much material as possible unredacted via the Information Commissioner.

I have to say it is looking unlikely that I'll get any more of that report revealed but an email I've received has let a little more light on the internal NCC processed behind the scenes.

For example, information obtained under a SfE investigation cannot normally be released 'the person to whom the information relates has consented to its disclosure'. Now check out this extract from the email I received from the ICO -

"This is because none of the conditions set out in (a)-(e) are satisfied; in particular, Cllr Hassan has explicitly refused to consent to the report’s disclosure."

So, as you can see, one of the obstacles in seeing the full circumstances behind Hassan Ahmed's little games is the fact that he is exercising his veto over publication, an extraordinary privilege for him considering he was found guilty of the breach of the code. Clearly the system is designed to protect corrupt politicians whereas the little people are hung out to dry.

A more positive development is that NCC appear to have accepted that their tendency to hide stuff behind sch 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. That email again -

"The Council also acknowledges that section 12A of the LGA 1972 does not provide a statutory bar under section 44 of the Act."

If NCC sticks to that it is a significant boon for openness. NCC has been routinely relying on this as a route to an exemption to disclosure under s.44 of the FoIA which bans publication of information withheld under other legislation.

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