Because our supposedly “public” servants, paid from residents’ council tax, now routinely deny information that should be transparent and “blank” inquisitive residents under their various tools of secrecy.
The Conservatives did it for years. Labour simply carries it on. Become too nosey, too persistent, and you are blanked. Who wrote “Cultural, technical and organisational factors act as barriers to responsible data sharing”? That was the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. “Responsible data sharing also plays an important role for local authorities in delivering services. In the sphere of public service delivery efficient sharing of data can improve insights, outcomes and increase options for recipients”.
More to the point, here, we West Lancastrians know Labour actually rejected its own scrutiny committee’s recommendation to allow public questions at full Council meetings.
Examples of the WLBC Blank Policy include declarations of being vexatious. We quote the Burscough example “Now we all know the water floods the roads, sewage, crap is in the gardens, but there is a bureaucratic format to be followed. It’s no use saying politely to bureaucrats “Please can you stop all these regular distasteful episodes that you wouldn’t accept for your own homes and gardens”, because they are oblivious to them.
“Not only that, but become too persistent, too regular, too angry, to take any more manifestly bureaucratic crap, and after nearly a year, patience at WLBC has evaporated. To hell with you, the Council responded on 7 December 2017 stating that it had decided to reject a request as vexatious relying on section 14(1) of the FOIA”.
In due course, just five days ago, a flooded resident of Burscough wrote about “Our failed infrastructure. It was recognised as deficient certainly 20 years ago if not longer, and there are many documents which support this. The RMA’s (Risk Management Authorities), have failed us in this respect, not least of all United Utilities, who found much evidence of failure and lack of capacity within the Sewage/Drainage system. However, rather than invest the money required to fix the problem, they re-evaluated their position and declared to be an error in their calculations, so the system was then deemed to be fit for purpose and therefore the money required to do the job did not need to be found. Really?
“WLBC together with the LLFA have made the most of this and seen it as a green light to pile up even more pressure by allowing a staggering amount of Development which has changed this Town almost beyond recognition, and though a few have filled their pockets, the majority of Residents are now poorer in terms of quality of life”.
That’s what “blanking” allows. “The majority of residents are now poorer in terms of quality of life”. It shames WLBC, LCC, and all those who profit from it. If and when a responsive council actually serves the public instead of itself its reputation may be restored. It depends on who is elected to do it.