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0 votes
I was approached by a local resident yesterday who told me that he had submitted a lengthy Freedom of Information (FoI) request a few weeks ago. He confirmed he had received an acknowledgement but nothing else. Under the previous Clerk, any FoI was reported to Council but since the new Clerk has been in office, we haven't been made aware of any such requests.
by (120 points)

6 Answers

–1 vote

What does you adopted policy on the matter say in terms of handling any request? That is the critical question. Each Council based on local circumstances (size of council, number of requests) will adopt different approaches. Some will for example only notify at the point a internal review is requested. 

by (9.1k points)
All Councils have to respond within 20 working days of receipt.  Cllrs are collectivly responsible for their council's lawful operatio.  They should be aware of the receipt date and other situations that could arise such as complaints being made to the Information Commissioner and calls for Internal Reviews
I just don't accept the narrative/suggestion that Full Council in every instance at the time of a request within a meeting. Indeed some Town Councils only convene a Full Council meeting every two months.. so completely impractical. A log of requests shared at intervals sufficent to monintor compliance. I don't think that necessary has to be Full Council either a duly delegated committee would be sufficient (reporting to full council as required).
Not suggesting that a full meeting should be convened every time an FOI is received, but I think the idea of a log along with a weekly  E mail alert to members would suffice.
0 votes
I don't think it's necessary to report it at the time. I usually mention it to the Chairman, then report it to the next meeting under the "This is what you pay me to do" item.
by (54.1k points)
Agree Dave.  Given that there's a limit to the time allowed for a response and not all councils meet monthly (or don't meet in July/August, for example), the clerk needs to get on with responding and not wait for a meeting to report it.  Adding it to the clerk's report as an information item is appropriate.
+1 vote

I'd suggest councils rarely know the specific details of what a clerk actually does on a day-to-day basis.  That said, there is no reason why important correspondence and events should not form an element of routine information flow between clerk and council.

by (22.2k points)
+1 vote

Would it not be quite simple for an agenda item included in each meeting of correspondence received which lists correspondence received by the clerk. Councillors could then be made aware of any items they deem to be worthy of discussion or action should they arise? This would ensure that openness and transparency is met and everyone is " in the loop" and that nothing is conveniently "lost" in the post.

In this case the FOI is not lost or forgotten ( even clerks make mistakes although many councillors see them as super-human and infalible smiley) or not acted upon.

by (27.4k points)
Yes it would, and should be done as a matter of course.
0 votes
Yes.  The Council collectively have a duty to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  If the members (councillors) don't know about it, they may be oblivious to whether or not their organisation has responded within 20 working days of receipt, and other breaches of the Act, which they are collectively responsible for complying with.  Things such as a call for an Internal Review or a demand from an officer of the information commissioner for documents following a requestors complaint  etc could arise and these could not come as a surprise out of the blue because of an errant clerk.
by (35.5k points)
0 votes
I often agree with DavetheClerk, but on this occasion I do not.  An FOI request is not merely another item of correspondence; it is, rather, a notice which has been served on the council.  It should therefore (in my opinion), be brought forward to the attention of members at the earliest opportunity.
by (10.6k points)
edited ago by

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