Freedom of Information – Now Investigating Barlborough Parish Council – Can They Do Anything Correct?

Received in the Inbox: 14:21 10th January 2013

Dear Barlborough Life

I thought I would send you a copy of the letter sent by the Freedom of Information Commissioner to Barlborough Parish Council for refusing to send residents copies of the minutes and accounts from Parish Council meetings.

The Information Commissioner has received a complaint from XXXXX regarding your refusal to provide information requested on 02/10/12. We have enclosed a copy of this request for your information.
 
We note that you did not supply details of an internal complaints procedure in your refusal and remind you that section 17 of the Act requires you to do this. You can find more information on refusal notices contained in the guidance issued by the Commissioner which is available at:
 
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detailed_specialist_guides/fes016_refusing_a_request_v1.pdf
 
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detailed_specialist_guides/fep058_refusing_a_request_v1.pdf
 
We have advised the complainant to ask for a review of your decision and trust that you will carry this out, or inform them if you do not have a procedure, as soon as possible after hearing from them.
 
Finally you should be aware that the Information Commissioner often receives requests for copies of the letters we send and receive when dealing with casework.  Not only are we obliged to deal with these in accordance with the access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the DPA) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FoIA), it is in the public interest that we are open, transparent and accountable for the work that we do.
 
However, whilst we want to disclose as much information as we reasonably can, there will be occasions where full disclosure would be wrong.  It is also important that the disclosures we make do not undermine the confidence and trust in the Commissioner of those who correspond with him.   
 
If you reply to this letter, I would be grateful if you would indicate whether any of the information you provide in connection with this matter is confidential, or for any other reason should not be disclosed to anyone who requests it.  I should make clear that simply preferring that the information is withheld may not be enough to prevent disclosure.  You should have a good reason why this information should not be disclosed to anyone else and explain this to us clearly and fully.

A further two letters have been sent to the Acting Clerk asking for the information (which is available if you have the time or patience to sit through their meeting), the first was refused but they have since been contacted by the Freedom of Information Commissioner so watch this space.

 

Name and address supplied

It’s strange you would expect Barlborough Parish Council to try and be transparent after all the Vice Chair Anne Western is hoping to be Leader of Derbyshire soon and the Parish Council have a number of skeletons in the cupboard that maybe exposed very soon.

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