Freedom of Information
27 February 2023
Dear Councillor Newton,
Recently I made a Freedom of Information request of WDC for communications between WDC and a developer but the details were withheld. I do not know who actually refused to divulge this information as the replying email was unsigned from the Information Governance Team.
As this was a specific request of WDC Planning and from the wording of the refusal, it would only be right to assume that it was indeed WDC Planning that had refused my request. Obviously not happy with this action to withhold such information that is in the public interest to publish, I sent the refusal back to the Information Governance Team who duly began an Internal Review.
The internal review met the same fate as my initial request – REFUSAL. This review was overseen by the head of planning Mr Robins. Now call me pedantic, but WDC Planning headed by Mr Robins refused my initial request, the second request which took the form of an Internal Review was overseen by the head of Planning Mr Robins.
WDC ‘s own Internal Review policy at 5.4 says that the review will be done by a different head of department. I note there is a waiver of ‘where reasonably possible” yet at no time has it been evidenced why oversight of the review from outside of Planning was not possible.
How can WDC be seen to be acting in the public interest, openly, honestly, and with integrity when the WDC internal review system is so openly being abused?
Dear Mr Stone,
Thank you for your question.
Given this matter is now with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), being the independent body with responsibility for upholding information rights, it’s considered appropriate to let that process run its course.
Councillor Ann Newton