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Bonkers Blog May 2011

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18 May - Newsreel

Notomob and Bexley’s VCA certification


After Notomob member Nigel Wise’s success in driving Richmond’s uncertified gestapo wagons off the road attentions were turned to several other councils, among them Wirral, Southwark and Bexley. At the first two correspondence is on-going but in Bexley everyone has gone to ground. Craske went into idiot mode, or should that be remained in idiot mode, and gave a one sentence reply that didn’t answer any question, just passed the buck, and Greg Tippett the Assistant Parking Manager didn’t respond at all. A complaint about that to Will Tuckley the Chief Executive has also resulted in a stony silence. Another good illustration of how his near quarter million pound salary package is money straight down the drain and not the “good value” the delusional council leader believes it to be; and another example of how Bexley council treats residents and non-residents alike with contempt.

Southwark council has pulled the stunt I forecast and persuaded the Vehicle Certification Authority to back date their certificates. An FOI has gone into them requesting copies of all the correspondence between the council and the VCA.

For the benefit of Notomob members who spent last Saturday assisting Bexley council carry out its obligations lawfully a page of pictures has been added to Bonkers. At present it consists of all the photographs taken and many are near duplicates. It will be edited in a week’s time after Notomob have taken any they might need.


Freedom of Information


On all sides Bexley’s secretive council has put up barriers to questioning but FOI requests have legal backing; not that that has stopped them hatching plans to circumvent the law. One thing they appear to be doing now as a matter of routine is to delay answering questions to close to the prescribed 20 day timetable; this needs to be monitored. I have therefore published a page which lists those FOIs I know of and the associated dates. The page is currently almost empty but I aim to populate it as soon as I can so that everyone can see if Bexley council is satisfying its legal obligations.

An FOI has recently gone to the council asking how many are currently outstanding beyond the 20 day limit. In future all FOI requests made by members of the Bonkers Team which go to day 21 will be notified to the Information Commissioner so that he is fully aware of Bexley council’s failures.

The list of FOIs is available from the Miscellaneous Menu on the main site pages. i.e. not the Blog pages.


Police Harassment


An acknowledgement of my complaint to the Metropolitan Police Professional Standards Directorate about Bexleyheath police refusing to tell me who had complained about this blog and what the specific complaint was was received yesterday. The delay is not as long as it might appear due to intervening Bank Holidays and the fact that my printer failed while printing the complaint and it took about a week to choose and install a new one.


Councillors’ Addresses


The FOI seeking electoral details of current councillors’ electoral nomination papers so that their addresses can be put on line when the council starts to publish residents’ addresses on their website is still unanswered. There can be no excuse for this, it is very easy to comply and will be the subject of a complaint to the Information Commissioner if the 20 day deadline is exceeded. Meanwhile alternative sources of information are being pursued. The final decision to publish residents’ addresses will I believe be taken by council this evening and I may choose to publish the addresses already obtained immediately depending on what I hear in the chamber.


Comparison with Bromley


A reader from Bromley sent me some information about how his council proposed to use fixed CCTV cameras for parking control in Petts Wood and how they dealt with the public reaction to it. Like in Bexley, CCTV was installed on the pretext of being for personal safety but that doesn’t raise money. In response to a petition organised by residents Bromley council debated the issue and decided against persecuting motorists and damaging businesses. Contrast that with Bexley where an identical plan was proposed by councillor Craske as part of Strategy 2014 (the cuts!) and it went through as a bundle of revenue raising measures with no public debate whatsoever. No member of the public had an opportunity to comment on any part of Craske’s proposals. Par for the course in Bexley where, as Mr. Shering said in The Shopper last week, “Council forgets the basics of democracy”.

 

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