Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 29, 2017

Freedom Of Information Will Work For You, Just Ask

Following the publication of an extensive review of Freedom of Information (FoI) freedomactpic, a Cabinet Office minister said “After 10 years, we took the decision to review the Freedom of Information Act and we have found it is working well” and the Local Government Association said that requestors should have to set out a public interest case when framing their FoI requests.

Which might seem strange to readers who automatically think it is local authorities that are the people who act in the public interest. Or not, as we sometimes find to our cost. And on the matter of costs our council will not charge you for FOI requests which will cost less than £450 to answer, based on £25 per 18 hours of officer time.

You can write direct to the West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) which also receives many requests via the “WhatDoTheyKnow” whatdo facility, 203 shown there on multifarious subjects, see them here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/west_lancashire_district_council

Since WLBC doesn’t publish FoI questions and answers on its own website, readers might therefore consider always using “WhatDoTheyKnow” as their chosen route for answers to become widely known. If they don’t, then we are in danger of losing the ability to hold people to account, speak up for council tax payers, the powerless, those lost in the political systems. A recent reply, October 2016 from WLBC via “WhatDoTheyKnow” told us “As far as I am aware we have 4 Councillors who by your definition are “persons who are connected by blood or marriage” and “persons living together and having a sexual relationship without being married”…which sounds more like a gossip column comment!

Another WLBC case of FoI is currently concerned with the destination of “royalties” emanating from the landfill 

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at Beacon Park Golf Course and will almost certainly end up in the hands of the National Audit Office nao. Under the National Audit Act of 1983  the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) may carry out examinations into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which any government department or other relevant body has used its resources in discharging its functions. As well as government departments and agencies, the 1983 Act allows the NAO to undertake value for money work in a range of other organisations where public money is spent, for example WLBC.


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