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News and Comment September 2012

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13 September (Part 2) - Freedom of Information Requests

Alan Downing, mayor of BexleyI’ve never made a Freedom of Information Request to Bexley council but from watching others I do know what the procedure is. Probably the easiest way is to ask the question on line and then in the good old days John Grosvenor would acknowledge it and eventually relay the council’s excuse for not responding within 20 days. But John has now left the council and things have taken a turn for the worse. Will Tuckley in particular is not answering anything.

Over the past three months Tuckley has failed to respond to a request for his business diary for May - now with the Information Commissioner - or for June. There has been no response to a five week old complaint against the council’s legal officer, Akin Alabi or to a three week old complaint about the finger jabbing mayor, Alan Downing. Finally there has been no response to a complaint about Tuckley himself for not answering any of the aforesaid FOIs and complaints. But I suppose he has a lot on his plate given the amount of trouble Bexley council is in. When will any of them remember that honesty is the best policy?

You’d think that things couldn’t get any worse but John Grosvenor has been replaced by Mr. Ola Sunmonu who either through incompetence or direction from above has changed the system. He doesn’t bother to send an acknowledgement so FOI questioners get a reference number generated by the council’s website but no confirmation of the date and no proof the question reached the responsible officer. It’s too early to say if it is another of Bexley council’s crafty dodges to hamper enquiries or whether Mr. Sunmonu hasn’t given sufficient thought to his job.


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