FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: “WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ACCESS THE OFFICER’S OLD MAILBOX……”
Shock news from Lambeth: They HAVE been able to access a council officer’s old mailbox.
Back in February in our story headlined ‘Utterly Bonkers……..’* we explained how Lambeth had refused two FOI (Freedom of Information) requests on the grounds that they could not access an officer’s, or officers mailbox/es.
Appealing their decision, News From Crystal Palace’s editor asked for an internal review. We wrote: “Your grounds that ‘We do not have access to this information. Unfortunately the officer who had initial contact with Greenwich Leisure in relation to Carnegie has left the Council.’ are, as with the other refusal, quite frankly, farcical.
“Again, I am being asked to believe there is no correspondence. Again, I am requesting the DATES of the first correspondence. This also means that ALL emails written by ALL council officers while they were employed by the council and who have since left Lambeth are inaccessible. Again, correspondence would obviously also include any letters – or has the officer concerned taken all the letters with them?”
Lambeth council now say:
“We have been able to access the officer’s old mailbox and using the search term ‘Carnegie Library’ found 1574 emails dating from 17 April 2013 to 7 March 2017.
“I hope that the above information is helpful but please note that there may be emails held by other officers prior to April 2013; and it is not feasible for the council to search through different email accounts to find the first correspondence on any particular issue.
“I also note that as we moved our email storage system in 2012/13 that we would be unable to retrieve emails sent/received prior to this date without significant expense. “Lambeth council considers this request to be manifestly unreasonable due to the time which would be required if we were to attempt to find the first date an email was sent about a particular issue.”
Now here’s a thought. Look at those figures: 1,574 emails using the search term .Carnegie library over a four year period. 365 days in a year. Exclude around 208 Saturdays and Sundays. That’s more than one a day………
(NB: In response to a second internal review we wrote: “Your grounds of refusal are nothing but farcical. Am I really being asked to believe that if a Lambeth councillor was to ask for the same information they would receive the same answer?” to which a similar response to the above was received. Ed.)
*LAMBETH COUNCIL’S UTTERLY BONKERS REASONS FOR NOT ANSWERING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS…….(updated version) February 17, 2017
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
It seems it’s not just campaigners who are having problems getting answers from Lambeth council.
At the recent council budget meeting Cllr Scott Ainslie, currently the borough’s only Green party councillor, said: “Over two months ago, I raised a members enquiry about the budget for the new town hall.
“Despite being told over a month ago I could have the information the reasons for further delay is due to ‘providing narrative’!”
(That’s a new one! – Ed.)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Our children, our schools and our teachers need investment not cuts”.Headline on Lambeth Weekender article on government cuts to schools by Lambeth council lead