Tuesday, 24 May 2011

I'm Only Surprised It Took Them So Long

Well, it's finally happened.

Two of my freedom of info requests to NCC, this one and this one, have been refused on the basis that they are 'vexatious'.

It is claimed that, because I have made 22 requests in 12 months (I actually make it 19, 6 of which so far remain unanswered but we'll leave that for now) and write some of them up on this blog, my requests are 'obsessive' and are having the effect of 'harassing the authority'. They also claim that my requests are 'frequently' submitted simultaneously and often overlap.

This is of course nonsense. The 'obsessive' and harassment' claims are potentially libellous but as I'm not a premier league footballer I have to let that go. Harassment is a criminal offence and if NCC genuinely believed that I was harassing them I think I would have heard about it by now. They haven't even contacted me to dispute any of the claims on the blog, despite my invitation for them to do so if there was anything they felt was untrue.

It might be a coincidence but one of the above requests was a request for internal reports on the housing allocations scandal, something NCC is determined will never see the light of day. It's difficult to see any other exemption they could use to refuse to provide this info. Surely they aren't cynically using the 'vexatious' provisions to keep its dirty laundry out of the public eye? It would be a shame if anybody else had access to this info and were to send it on to me.

I have of course challenged their accusation via internal reviews. I suspect that, as well as the fact that I have written about it here, this will be used as further evidence of my obsessive and harassing behaviour but I'll just have to take my chances. Most of my posts are based on already available information anyway and it's better that the readers of this blog get to know about the lengths NCC will go to to cover things up.


Anonymous said...

I can understand a huge, metropolitan local authority feeling harassed by perfectly legal and reasonable requests from a concerned citizen.

Come on, have a little sympathy and try to see it from their point of view...

Andy said...

I know, I do feel bad.