People have been asking questions about the costs of the 2 complaints and I posted a blog on this here.
Today, we moved into complete fantasy territory because Angus Files from Oban had appealed against the original FOI reply that said there were no costs to the council because they didn’t have the information requested. His appeal got the same response. Here is what I sent the 4 officers and councillors today, cc the press. This really is ridiculous and it’s the kind of behaviour Audit Scotland really should do something about. Angus Files has now gone to the Information Commissioner.
Good morning Messrs Sneddon, Hendry, Milne and Loudon.
You are all no doubt aware of the fairy story below. I have just seen a similar one in connection with the related complaint submitted by Cllrs Walsh, E Morton and Scoullar. I am told that in this first complaint, these 3 councillors “were not acting in pursuance of the Council’s corporate functions“ I have this morning asked them in what regard they were acting, but they’ll probably not reply, as usual.
You prepared and submitted a 100 page complaint against me. This apparently took no time to prepare and the complaint therefore incurred no costs to the council, not even the franking cost to post it. In addition, you held various meetings and you were all interviewed by the investigating officers. By magic, no time was spent on these interviews because the council states there were no costs to the council. Another member of staff plus the council leader was also interviewed, at no cost. You arrange for staff to be in attendance at the 2 hearings, one in Edinburgh where the member of staff stayed overnight, but all this cost nothing either. Miraculous stuff.
This, writ large, is very far from the open and transparent council that Audit Scotland want to see, never mind the long suffering citizens of this area.
Mr Files has already taken this to the next stage so we’ll see what happens but it’s unlikely to end well I suspect.
From: Angus Files
Sent: 15 December 2016 15:09
To: Michael Breslin; Alan Stewart
Subject: Fw: New response to your FOI request – Michael Breslin v Complaint by four chief officials of Argyll and Bute Council
Ho ho ho never knew it was April Fools day as well…
Dear Mr Files
Section 20 review: argyllbuteir:6306
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA)
I refer to your email of 17 November in which you requested a review of
how we dealt with your information request dated 20 October 2016. I have
noted that the response was sent within the 20 working day statutory
timescale on 16 November.
I am content that the response was appropriate in that the information
requested was information ‘not held’ by the Council.
If you are dissatisfied with the way in which the review has been dealt
with you are entitled to make an application to the Scottish Information
Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9DS
(Tel: 01334 464610) for a review.
You must make representation to the Scottish Information Commissioner no
later than 6 months after the date of receipt by you of the notice or
decision you are dissatisfied with or within 6 months of the expiry of the
period of 20 working days from receipt by the Council of your request for
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: WhatDoTheyKnow <email@example.com>
To: Angus Files <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, 15 December 2016, 15:01
Subject: New response to your FOI request – Michael Breslin v Complaint by four chief officials of Argyll and Bute Council
You have a new response to the Freedom of Information request
‘Michael Breslin v Complaint by four chief officials of Argyll and Bute Council’ that you made to
Argyll and Bute Council.
To view the response, click on the link below.
When you get there, please update the status to say if the response
contains any useful information.
Although all responses are automatically published, we depend on
you, the original requester, to evaluate them.
— the WhatDoTheyKnow team