Freedom of Information: some excellent responses but others evasive

Let’s start with an example of good practice.

The York Council was asked, via the “What do they know” web site, for information on the numbers of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued for Fly tipping, Fly posting and graffiti.  Similar information for other offences was already posted by the Authority on its open data website.

A response was provided within a few days with the Council agreeing to add information for fly tipping and flyposting to the Open Data website. This means that information will be updated regularly. The question about flyposting was prompted by an epidemic of “Fair” posters which appeared on the west of the City.

We look forward to the open data website being updated shortly

The York Council says that it does not hold statistics on the number of prosecutions for graffiti which have been undertaken. It points to the police as a potential source of information claiming that the force could extract graffiti cases from the more general “criminal damage” heading.

We have had less luck with North Yorkshire Police.

We have been attempting for over a year now to get speed and casualty information from them in an attempt to understand how it drives the deployment of their speed camera vans.

We wanted to see trend information for sites regularly monitored by the vans. We expected that management information would demonstrate that the mean/average speeds recorded showed a downward trend, that the number of vehicles exceeding the prevailing limit would be falling and that accident levels on the monitored roads would also be showing a downward trend.

The most recent report from the police indicates that they don’t hold any of this information nor have they tried to correlate the stats provided by NYFR when they deploy their speed monitoring equipment on road around the county.

We find it astonishing that objective results figures of this sort are not being regularly monitored by those managing the, very expensive, camera van programme.

Nor can the York Council bask in any glory. In February, we asked which businesses had not paid their NNDR (Rates) bills in each of the last 3 years.

The request was turned down on the, entirely specious, grounds that it might influence the result of a by election which was taking place last February. Eventually the Information Commissioner ruled that the information had to be released and it duly was on 26th September.

It revealed that the Council were chasing £576,803.04 in arrears that had accumulated over the last 3 years.

The response did not reveal the names of the businesses involved.

We asked for that information on 1st October but, as yet, we have had no reply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.