York Council stops publishing Freedom of Information responses

The York Council has stopped publishing its responses to FOI requests on its web site.

For many years the authority made information publicly available on this web site https://www.york.gov.uk/info/20219/freedom_of_information/1535/freedom_of_information_responses

No FOI responses for 2019 published by Council

That practice stopped last summer although there was no consultation or publicity given to the change of policy.

The new LibDem administration has apparently gone along with this change of approach.

The Council is not required by law to publish responses but it is regarded as good practice. Most Councils do publish this information and it has the advantage of helping to discourage duplicate requests,

Some responses are published when a request has been submitted via the independent web site What do they Know” However this is not the York Councils preferred channel for submitting and answering information requests.

It provides is own “on line” information request form (click)

The Council received 2068 requests under FOI and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) during the last financial year

News blackout

The Council has also scrapped its “Ward News” web pages.

For many years the authority provided web pages which told local residents what was going on their local neighbourhoods. These were linked to background pages for each ward (click for example)

The pages typically carried “what’s on” lists and event posters. These have now been binned by the local authority.

The Council is also refusing to publish, on individual Residents Association web pages (example), details of their meetings. Copies of agendas and meeting minutes had been published by the Council for several years but,
in a recent decision, these have now been black-listed, ,

This seems to be part of a deliberate strategy aimed at reducing resident influence at West Offices. Half a dozen residents associations have been forced to disband in recent years while the overarching York Residents Federation was also ditched last year.

Liberal Democrat Councillors had previously promised more support for residents organisation.

Unfortunately things now seem to be getting worse rather than better.

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