Freesteel Blog » January FOI updates

January FOI updates

Monday, January 7th, 2008 at 5:26 pm Written by:

A minor update on my FOI complaint filed with the Information Commissioner last May. To me it sounds like a case of under-resourcing regarding to the “Local Government (South)” team who appear to be applying their case-load methodically and strictly in order, even though you would think that a lot of the work can be done in parallel.

You have to wonder whether the Southern Local Governments have realized that the more outrageously they violate the Freedom of Information Act, the more complaints they’ll generate, the more behind the Commissioner’s office will fall, and the more they can get away with.

Dear Mr Todd

We are writing with an update on your case.

We are not yt in a position to allocate your case to a case officer who will investigate your complaint. However, the Local Government (South) team which is handling your case has made substantial inroads into the number of cases waiting to be investigated, meaning that waiting times have been significantly reduced. We are continuing to make every effort to tacle the outstanding cases and hope to make further progress in the coming months.

As soon as your case is allocated, the case officer will contact you accordingly. Until then, you can expect to receive regular updates of this sort, with one being issued approximately every 12 weeks. In the meantime, should circumstances change and you decide at any stage not to pursue your complaint, we would be grateful if you could let us know.

Than you for your patience.

Yours sincerely

FOI Operations
Team 5 – Local Government (South)

As you can tell, they seem to have a precision-driven computer system for tracking the cases and generating these polite letters.

Meanwhile, my friend Francis has been building a public system for tracking FOI requests. Because it’s not safe to build a user interface without any users or any data, I have offered to submit some real requests through it. I don’t like wasting people’s time — unless they are time-wasters — so I have had to think hard to come up with the following:

Hmm. There’s one other which has gone missing, relating to a truly awful Government White Paper promoting the Airport expansion industry, where they blatantly cherry-pick details from an industry-funded study.

Basically, far more money shifts out of the country in the pockets of British tourists than ever arrives in the pockets of foreign tourists visiting here. This means that if you can mumble your words when you mention the first aspect, you can make it seem that air-travel is a net importer of cash into this country, when it is nothing of the sort.

Unfortunately, according to the logic of economic power, while the losses are distributed throughout the whole country, the lesser gains are in the hands of the few, and this concentration of wealth accordingly bends politics in towards its own special interests, with the visible side-effect of official reports based on totally bogus arguments that it is all in the public interest.

1 Comment

  • 1. Francis Irving replies at 7th January 2008, 7:14 pm :

    I’ve been keeping the one about the “Air Transport White Paper Progress Report 2006” back, as I thought I’d get at least one response back first, and keep something for testing later.

    Can send it now if it is urgent!

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