Occasionally Freedom of Information (FOI) requests throw up some interesting answers.
That’s one of the reasons why we believe that the increasing numbers of QUANGOS in York should voluntarily accept and respond to FOI requests. After all, most depend heavily – some exclusively – on funding from taxpayers. The Council’s Executive had an opportunity, when discussing governance of these bodies yesterday, to increase transparency. Unfortunately it failed to take the necessary action.
The York Council should itself set an example in providing information in a candid and comprehensive way.
One resident asked recently for a copy of a report commissioned by the Councils Chief Executive from PWC (Consultants). The objective of the exercise was to improve the Council’s efficiency.
The consultancy cost taxpayers £18,000.
The Council claims that it has not kept a copy of the report (received just 12 months ago!) and goes on to say that,
This work was commissioned by the then Chief Executive of the Council, who left the authority in July 2015. The interim Chief Executive who was in post from July 2015 determined that this particular work would not be taken forward and therefore no further discussion or action has taken place on this matter.
The Council says that it doesn’t know whether any Councillors saw the report.
This seems, on the face of it, to be a very cavalier approach to the use of taxpayers money.
The Council’s Leadership, and incoming Chief Executive, should make sure that the report – even if unsuitable for implementation – is made publicly available.