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  • Wrong, wrong, wrong..

    Posted on July 9th, 2009 admin No comments
    Who was supposed to be packing the passport?

    Who was supposed to be packing the passport?

    The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have been given a public rebuke from the Information Commissioner’s Office for taking 100 days to carry out an internal review relating to a request concerning Cherie Blair.

    The applicant had asked for information the MPS held on an incident when the former Prime Minister’s wife turned up at Heathrow without her passport and then contacted No.10 to get the document couriered to the airport. (link)

    Initially the MPS had refused the request for information claiming it was covered by S.24 (National Security), S.31 (Law enforcement) and S.38 (Health and Safety).

    But after the Information Commissioner got involved the MPS admitted that the limited information it did hold - a short press statement - was not covered by the exemptions.

    However, the Commissioner explored the case and found the complainant had asked the MPS for an internal review on 16 March 2006 and had to wait more than five months, until 21 August 2006 for the MPS to confirm its refusal.

    In the decision notice the MPS is taken to task for:

    • Belatedly finding information that should have been disclosed,
    • Only undertaking a thorough search for information after the intervention of the Commissioner,
    • Taking 90 days to issue its initial refusal notice,
    • Incorrectly stating that the information was covered by three exemptions, and failing to state which subsections of the exemptions it thought were applicable,
    • Taking over a 100 days to carry out an internal review which upheld its own incorrect view, which was later retracted after the intervention of the Commissioner.

    The Information Commissioner said in his decision notice that the MPS breached Section 1, Section 10 and Section 17 of the Act.

    He said: “The Commissioner remains concerned that it took over 100 working days for an internal review to be completed.”

  • Parking ticket e-mail row

    Posted on July 9th, 2009 admin No comments
    If you get a parking ticket count to 10 before you do anything...

    If you get a parking ticket count to 10 before you do anything...


    A councillor who called council staff “blind and stupid” has issued an apology after the contents of his offensive e-mail were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The Basingstoke Gazette has reported on the incident relating to Conservative councillor Stephen Gorys, who was sparked to write the e-mail after a council employee gave him a parking ticket while on council business.

    His e-mail to the leader of Hart District Council said: “Has the management and staff gone completely blind and stupid?

    “Some idiot parking attendant has given me a ticket OBVIOUSLY without looking properly.

    “You need to seriously get a GRIP of this department before we councillors are forced to sort them out.

    “Oh, by the way, if anyone takes offence at this then bloody good job too. I expect NO LESS than a grovelling apology and not some half-arsed letter basically blaming me.”

    Unfortunately for Coun Gorys it would appear the e-mail has had the opposite effect and it is he who has had to issue an apology.

    Coun Gorys apparently told The Gazette “I have made the apology and that’s it.”

    His colleague Coun Sean Haffey, a member of the Standards Committee and like Coun Gorys, a Conservative, told The Gazette “It was clearly a matter that he needed to apologise for.

    “He has done a huge amount of good work for the council and it is a real pity that he made this email but he has now apologised for it.”

    NOTE: What isn’t clear is exactly how the e-mail was released by the council under the Freedom of Information Act as I would have thought that such comments would be covered by a Section 40 exemption. Any comments?