#Manchester City Council breaks law over Environment Executive’s blog

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Kate Chappell,  promised to set up a blog, over two years ago.  She never kept that promise.  Now, the City Council is refusing to even respond to a Freedom of Information Act request into what correspondence took place between her and the officers who she says kibboshed the blog.

Manchester Climate Monthly submitted a FoIA request in mid-April. The answer was due on May 12th. Despite a reminder to the Council, and a promise from them to look into it… nothing.

So, the following email has been sent to the Information Commissioner, who oversees the Freedom of Information Act.

Watch this space.

 

Email sent to casework@ico.org.uk on evening of 31st May

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing because Manchester City Council is refusing to meet its legal obligation to provide an answer to a Freedom of Information Act request that was due on 12th May, despite reminders.

Details are below.

Manchester City Council seems to be choosing which FoIAs it responds to, and how long it takes.

This is illegal, and it needs to be resolved immediately.

Thank you.

Marc Hudson

 

On April 13 I sent the following request for information to both the Executive Member for the Environment of Manchester City Council and also the information compliance officer.

Dear Kate,

Several weeks ago, at the launch of the latest Manchester Strategy, you
approached me and told me that you had requested a blog from the Council
three times and been told no.  I suggested that instead of telling me
this in person, you write to me with a for-publication statement. You
agreed to do this.  This has not happened.

Therefore, I am submitting the following Freedom of Information Act request

Dating back to February 2014, when you first agreed to set up a blog, I am
requesting copies of all the correspondence sent by you and the relevant
council officers about the setting up of a blog (this includes both emails
and letters)

I am requestiong [sic] copies of all the correspondence from council officers
about the setting up of a blog, including all the reasons they have given
you.

Many thanks

Marc Hudson

As per above, please consider this a request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. (address supplied)

The Council’s officer wrote back on the 14th April, assigning a code “CEX/A82JH8″ to the request.

Marc

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information  received  on 13
April

The Council aims to respond to your request by 12 May

If this timescale needs to be extended to consider an exemption you will be
notified and kept informed.

Regards

On the evening of May 17th I wrote to the information compliance officer to request an internal review on a different information request.  I also wrote  “There is another FoIA that you are overdue on, but I’ll save that for another letter.”

On May 19th she replied in part

“I will speak to the officer concerned with regards to CEX/A8ZJH8 if this is the FOI you are referring to?”

The same day I confirmed

Dear Yasmin,

thanks for your reply.  I look forward to an answer to the internal review on or (probably not much before) 16 June.
Yes, I am indeed referring to CEX/A82JH8, which was in fact due last week.
 
best wishes
Marc Hudson

As of May 31st, there has been no reply from either the “officer concerned” nor the information compliance officer.

 

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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