LAMBETHWATCH – UTTERLY BONKERS PART TWO: Lambeth council’s latest reason for refusing a Freedom of Information request:
“PEOPLE NOT INTERESTED IN SECRET CARNEGIE LIBRARY GROUP” (And estate agents should note that Herne Hill is in a wetlands area.)
Lambeth council say people are not interested in the background to how a secret organisation which wants to take over the Carnegie library at Herne Hill was set up.
“We consider that there is little other public interest in any information held due to the age and
relevance of the information” says Ben Hendry, a complaints and information officer with Lambeth council.
Lambeth council also re-state their view that the request is covered by environmental regulations – which relate to wetlands areas.
The person making the appeal has now asked for an internal review.
He says that the comment “We consider that there is little other public interest in any information held due to the age and relevance of the information” is an appalling insult to the people of Herne Hill.
And adds that the nonsensical argument about Herne Hill being a wetlands area is one that has been used by Lambeth to refuse this request before.
“I will be advising estate agents in the Herne Hill area that they will need to change the details of any properties they have on the market in the area to include the FACT that Lambeth council officially consider Herne Hill to be in a wetlands area.”
Mr Hendry is then provided with a brief history lesson:
The secret organisation now known as Carnegie Community Trust was set up sometime in 2012. Its membership has, over the years, included at least two Lambeth Labour councillors who are still councillors.
The organisation’s existence was only made known to the people of Herne Hill in December 2014 when Cllr Jane Edbrooke, the then cabinet member for culture, unwittingly let the cat out of the bag.
There is no record of this group ever having been set up or mentioned in Lambeth council minutes even though it is apparent council officers attended meetings of this group – possibly, indeed probably, from its very inception.
It currently has a self-elected membership of five: two former Labour councillors – Fred Taggart and Carol Boucher; Helen Schofield who is the life partner of former Lambeth Labour council leader Steve Whaley and two others.
Residents in the area are currently awaiting a decision on which of two groups gets to run the Carnegie library at Herne Hill.
One is the above-mentioned Carnegie Community Trust. the other is the Carnegie Library Association which has open elections to its committee and whose members include Friends of Carnegie Library and various other proper community organisations.
A committee of four Labour councillors plus one lay person will decide which group gets the library.
In November 2015 Cllr Edbrooke, in response to a members written question, said: “As agreed at cabinet, officers and I will work with the Carnegie Community Trust to develop a workable proposal.”
If Carnegie Community Trust, as widely expected, gets the green light then this will almost certainly lead to a judicial review and the judge who hears it asking for all the papers of the Carnegie Community Trust going right back to its start in 2012……
FANTASTIC EXCUSES AND WHEN TO USE THEM….
Note: Back in February News From Crystal Palace asked: Somewhere in Lambeth council has someone composed a guide for employees called “Fantastic excuses and when to use them”?
Judging by Mr Hendry’s response, it seems someone has……..
Further reading: LAMBETH COUNCIL’S UTTERLY BONKERS REASONS FOR NOT ANSWERING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS…….(updated version) February 17, 2017