Freedom of Information Act

Walthamstow community activist Charlie Edwards’ court case shows that, though LBWF has a legal duty to release to each resident the personal information it holds about them, it is still obstructive

Some months ago, Walthamstow community activist Charlie Edwards lodged a claim for damages against LBWF because of the way it had handled a request for the personal information which it held about him, what’s known as a Subject Access Request (SAR), and earlier this week his case was heard at the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court. The hearing started on a comical note.  LBWF was represe... »

LBWF Chief Executive Linzi Roberts-Egan orders a review of how the council handles residents’ requests for information, but the omens are not encouraging

In a recent e-mail, LBWF Chief Executive Linzi Roberts-Egan tells me: ‘We are currently reviewing our FOI [Freedom of Information Act] and SAR [Subject Access Request] processes to ensure they are as effective and efficient as possible and that the errors identified in dealing with your FOI and SAR will be avoided in the future’. If this review is meaningful, then it will be welcomed. But as is al... »

LBWF, the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act: the obstruction and harassment of residents asking lawful questions continues

In the past few years, this blog has repeatedly revealed that LBWF obstructs local residents using the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) and the Data Protection Act when they are judged to be broaching issues that the Labour leadership considers controversial or likely to damage its reputation. A new case confirms that this disreputable trend continues, and is suggestive, too, about whether LBWF’s ... »

LBWF and information requests: a new case shows that despite past official reprimands, Information Officer Mark Hynes’ service is still casually impeding transparency

As this blog has documented, LBWF’s past history of handling information requests is chequered, with some residents finding their inquiries thwarted by delays, illegitimate evasions, and ignorance of the legal framework, to the extent that the Information Commissioner’s Office periodically has had to intervene. All that is regrettable, but a new case suggests that obfuscation has not jus... »

Waltham Forest council is the sixth most complained about in all of England

Over recent years, LBWF has incessantly boasted about its achievements, all the while stressing that it prioritises ‘listening’, and is on the side of residents, or as one past Leader was fond of saying, ‘our people’. But now the truth is out. For a survey by claims.co.uk, which uses official data for 2016-22, reveals that LBWF is the sixth most complained about council, not just in London, but in... »

Waltham Forest cartoonist Woof on LBWF and the Freedom of Information Act

(Reproduced by kind permission of Woof) »

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request about the Walthamstow Mall, LBWF is caught out misusing one of the legislation’s exemption clauses, and has to eat crow

The LBWF e-mail pasted below is largely self-explanatory. However, the back story is less certain. Are LBWF officers really ignorant of the Freedom of Information Act’s Section 41? Or was this an attempt to pull the wool – to brandish apparent expertise, and bank on it not being cross-checked? Whatever the case, those involved emerge with little credit. In the recent past, because of I... »

Despite being berated by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2020, LBWF failings over the Freedom of Information Act continue

Over recent years, there has been growing unease about the way that LBWF responds to Freedom of Information Act requests from the public. Indeed, in July 2020, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) took the almost unprecedented step of issuing LBWF with a Practice Recommendation, which itemised in detail what it had been doing wrong, and what it must put right. However, a recent case suggest... »

The Housing Ombudsman Service berates LBWF for its error-strewn response to a resident’s routine request for information

Hardly a week goes by without someone from the Town Hall popping up to insist that, in everything LBWF does, it is ‘resident focused’. However, as previous posts have suggested, whether such a boast can be sustained remains debateable. In this context, a recent complaint that a LBWF tenant lodged with the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) is significant. The tenant had wanted to confirm that her ten... »

The Information Commissioner’s Office audit of LBWF: less a forensic examination, more a damp squib

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has just released the executive summary of a ‘Data protection audit report’ focusing on LBWF (ICO policy, apparently, is not to release the full version). The ICO’s overall judgement is that, as regards both the governance and accountability of data protection and the operation of the Freedom of Information Act, LBWF is achieving ‘a reasonable level of a... »

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