Why is Rother District Council so arsey about FOI?
Rother District Council staff continue to make an effort (see previous blog) to avoid answering reasonable FOI requests – to the extent, I think, of not complying with the law.
Just what have they got to hide?
David Edwards, Interim Solicitor, for example, continues to claim that requesters haven’t properly submitted their request if they haven’t supplied their full name and address.
Of course, nowhere in the Act does it say that an email address is insufficient, or that the requester is obliged to provide his full name and address.
Indeed, the guidance available from the Department for Constitutional Affairs says the following:
If a request is received by email and, although no postal address is given, the email address of the sender is included, then this should be treated as the return address.
That should be, the Ministry of Justice:
If a request is received by email and no postal address is given, the email address should be treated as the return address.
David is concerned about people abusing the Freedom of Information Act:
Unless we knew your real name and real address it would be more difficult for us to determine whether your request was vexatious or repeated. For instance, unless you are a professional journalist or researcher, your request would be less likely to have any serious purpose or value if you do not live in this District.
- I could organise a few people to send the same request under their individual names and addresses, so knowing someone’s full name and address won’t help David much.
And as requester Richard Jackson pointed out,
The statement of David Edwards, Interim Solicitor, that I have not fully complied by providing an address for correspondence is self-evidently false due to the correspondence that has transpired.
He is also concerned about people publishing the results of requests on their websites. Oh no!
God forbid anyone other than the requester should be free to see such precious information without having to jump through Rother’s hoops!
This, from Wigan, is much, much better.