Cost of Freedom of Information requests

A correspondent – “Jane Newman” – has taken exception to the number of requests people have made to East Devon District Council under the Freedom of Information Act. She suggests that the Taxpayers Alliance might wish to investigate this.

We doubt it, Jane. This is one of the latest FoI requests from the Taxpayers Alliance to the government’s Office of Manpower Economics, asking how many artworks the government possess, where they are displayed and how much the most valuable ones are worth:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/435422/taxpayers_alliance_FOI_reply_pdf_-_June_2015.pdf

and in February of this year the organisation complained that the Freedom of Information Act lacked teeth”:

“The Freedom of Information Act is toothless in the face of a local government ‘gagging letter’ – even if it is regarding alleged wrongdoing by a senior council manager – so says a recent judgment by a First Tier Tribunal. It is not good news for anyone investigating the use or misuse of taxpayers’ money by local government.”

http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/does_the_foi_act_have_enough_teeth

So, Jane, probably not the best organisation to complain to about those pesky people who ask for information to which they believe they are entitled by law!

Though they might well be interested in Information Commissioner v East Devon District Council where the Information Commissioner had to take the council to court to get information released that should have been in the public domain. The Council spent more than £10,000 on that case, which they lost.

Oh, and the judge called EDDC “unhelpful, discourteous and misleading”.