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Bonkers Blog November 2011

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15 November (Part 1) - More grist for the Information Commissioner’s mill

An Freedom of Information request (FOI) was submitted on 13th September requesting a full copy of the Bexley Borough Parking Account but Parking Services refused to release it because they planned to publish it on-line in the newly named Annual Traffic and Parking Services report - previously known as the Borough Parking Enforcement report. As usual with Bexley council, if they have something to hide they will misdirect you. They sent me to

Page 38 of that document clearly states that the financial information “is an extract from the Council’s Parking Account for the financial period 2010/11 for on street parking”, the document I had requested and been denied. Page 38 makes it blatantly obvious that this was not in any way shape or form the complete account. Bexley council is never open and honest but such a base lie is crass (Craske? Ed.) even by their standards.

Obviously an appeal was lodged forthwith and in true Bexley style back it went to the same bunch who refused it in the first place to review their own decision. One can only surmise how Bexley Council can think that this is a fair and independent state of affairs but there it is. Well you know the drill, they are supposed to come back within a 20 working day timeframe. Those of us who deal with Bexley Council are well used to this deadline being routinely ignored so a reminder was sent after a mere 27 working days - you have to give the darlings a little leeway - to enquire how the review was progressing? Within the hour an apology came straight back from the poor FOI Officer, the much put upon Mr. John Grosvenor. He admitted that the response was overdue and stated that he had contacted Parking Services to chase them up. So far so typical.

Those familiar with the standard operating procedure of Parking Services will not be surprised to hear that a further week went by and still they could not be bothered to formulate a response.

Mr. Grosvenor was asked again to get the cretins to try and play the game properly but then came a truly strange response from Mr. Frizoni the Deputy Director for Environment and Wellbeing. The boss of Parking Services and all are cut from the same cloth.

Frizoni made the spurious claim that the refusal decision had already been reviewed. Strange that nobody knew that the week before. Interestingly the email he referred to made no reference to it being an FOI refusal notice review. It made no reference to any of the grounds for my appeal or offer any reason for refusal.

How Frizoni could make his claim beggars belief but I guess we should remember we live in Bexley and not be surprised where public servants all habitually cover for each other. With any luck they might all hang together too! (Careful Nick, a police cell may await you.) Oh well, no offence taken here Mike and thanks for another fine and splendid example for the Information Commissioner to get his teeth into. Bexley Council just keeps flashing up on his radar. I am sure he will be pleased.

Guest blog by Nicholas Dowling.


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