Thursday, 14 January 2010

Boris Johnson and Freedom of (some) Information

Over the last eighteen months I have submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests to City Hall.

All of these have been answered either dead on, or some time after the twenty working-day deadline.

Over Christmas I sent a request for copies of all correspondence between the Mayor and Prince Charles.

Although this has still not received a response, I was surprised to see that a very similar request was fulfilled within just two days

So what was it about Darryl's request that demanded such quick attention and my response which didn't?

Could it be that the documents released to Darryl reveal the Mayor in a good light and the documents withheld from me do not?

I emailed them to ask.

Dear Public Liaison unit,

I submitted a FOI request for all correspondence between Prince Charles and the Mayor last month. For some reason I did not get a response or an indication of when I would receive a response, although I understand through another employee that you did receive it.

Can I ask why this is taking so long when a very similar request has been answered within days?

Yours sincerely

Adam Bienkov

Today I received the following back

Dear Mr Bienkov

Thank you for your email.

The Freedom of Information request you submitted last month is receiving attention. For your information the 20 working day deadline for response to your request is 27 January 2010, but we aim to reply to you as soon as possible.

The request to which you refer in your email was on a different matter.

A different, and less politically convenient matter obviously.

Now I've no doubt that I will eventually get a response from the Mayor. But can I really trust that all relevant correspondence will be released?

Boris Johnson is facing calls for an internal review over how a Freedom of Information request relating to the appointment of a key London arts post was handled after it emerged relevant emails were not included in the information released.

The relevant (and politically inconvenient) emails were later leaked to the Guardian.

So what role does the Mayor's private office and political aides have in deciding which information is released to which Londoners and when?

Perhaps I should submit another FOI...

1 comment:

[redacted] said...

The answer to your request is [redacted] and [redacted]. Thank you for your interest and please don't hesitate to [redacted] off. Yours sincerely [redacted]