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Bonkers Blog March 2014

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24 March (Part 2) - Nobody loves him

Barnbrook Mick Barnbrook didn’t only apply to be one of Bexley’s Community Champions, he thought he could make a valuable contribution to the fledgling Bexley Safer Neighbourhood Board. This is the successor to the Bexley Community Policing Engagement Group (BCPEG) which ran occasional public meetings but which the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) decided to do away with, and it advertised for volunteers, hence Mick Barnbrook’s interest in becoming a member. He was rejected of course and on 22nd February 2014 Mick asked BCPEG for a copy of “MOPAC’s guidelines setting out the criteria for membership of the Board”.

When three weeks later he had received no acknowledgment he sent a reminder to Joyce Sutherland, the chair of the BCPEG, and added that if she continued to ignore him he would seek the information via a Freedom of Information request to the Mayor’s Office. Three days ago Ms. Sutherland deigned to reply, not that she answered Mick’s question of course. She also went further than that by defiantly stating that she wasn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

As an organisation fully funded by the Greater London Authority via MOPAC I think madam Sutherland is in for a rude awakening. The Information Commissioner’s Office makes it pretty clear who is subject to the FOI Act and you don’t escape it just by being not totally included in the parent organisation. General Practitioners doing NHS work are subject to the FOI Act as are governors at publicly funded schools. Madam Sutherland being fully funded by MOPAC is unlikely to be any different.

MOPAC have been happy to accept Mick’s FOI request. We shall see. Will it be another case of councillors interfering?

The BCPEG will cease to exist on 31st March 2014.


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