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Bonkers Blog June 2011

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7 June - Forget all thoughts of straight dealing; this is Bexley!

Since adding the Freedom of Information request list to Bonkers, response times seem to have improved. The list is no longer a catalogue of unlawfully delayed answers it is moving towards a page of answers at the last possible moment. By design almost certainly.

It has become very noticeable that the longest outstanding questions relate to the decision to restrict access to this website from council computers and what harm it was doing that would justify the Harassment Warning. Clearly Bexley council continues to be happy to break the law to protect their own. One might speculate that their failure to respond is related to the police as they too are refusing to respond to my complaint on the same matter despite instructions to do so from their Directorate of Professional Standards. Perhaps Bexleyheath’s police do not recognise ‘Professional Standards’.

Another FOI which may have fallen foul of the law is one about a Consent to Nomination Form which came back with the answer that it had been destroyed. There is therefore no way of checking if the form was completed correctly and there is some doubt about that. The question was the subject of a telephone discussion with a senior council officer the day after it was submitted in which he asked that the question be withdrawn but ultimately he agreed the form could be copied and sent out; what is that, ten minutes work? However he now admits he did nothing and the form was destroyed two and a bit weeks later, at the earliest legal opportunity one year after the election. Do you think they would have done that if there was nothing that needed to be covered up? Destroying material to subvert the FOI legislation is a specific offence and as you might expect, a suitable enquiry as to whether the law has been broken has gone to the Information Commissioner. Maybe Bexley council has some undated unsigned letters ready to produce in their defence.


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