Transparency call

Transparency call

Transparency call

First published in Letters by

PROBLEMS with council Freedom of Information requests, as featured in The Press, are worrying.

Too often the council has been late replying or not replied and has not respected many residents by denying information sought.

I met with the relevant officers who highlighted more recent improvement in performance and I hope the council has learned the lesson of information wrongly withheld.

It seems FOIs numbers will only increase. I wish this was due to increased political interest, but in reality it’s due to increasing cynicism about Labour secrecy.

The recent ‘answers’ to questions at full council were again farcical and the excellent minute-takers must have to hold their breath as they describe them as ‘answers’ rather than merely “incoherent political point-scoring from Labour”.

The council must up its game on dealing with FOIs, for which it seems they have a plan.

However, we should strive for a day when no one needs to submit an FOI and that means a council which engages with queries at the outset, with as much information as possible ordinarily being public.

Cllr Chris Steward, Conservative group leader, City of York Council.

Comments (5)

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10:08am Fri 25 Jul 14

Thecynic says...

Incoherent political point scoring has been going on for years and across all political parties at all levels. In fact I cannot recall a single time in my life when a politician of any party has been asked a question in front of the cameras and has given an answer without political point scoring.
Incoherent political point scoring has been going on for years and across all political parties at all levels. In fact I cannot recall a single time in my life when a politician of any party has been asked a question in front of the cameras and has given an answer without political point scoring. Thecynic
  • Score: 12

12:50pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Stevie D says...

It seems FOIs numbers will only increase. I wish this was due to increased political interest, but in reality it’s due to increasing cynicism about Labour secrecy.
In reality, a huge number of the FOI requests are sent out in bulk by journalists to local authorities across the region/country, and certainly across the political spectrum. I don't think York is specifically being targeted by most of these, it's just the way that journalists do their investigation these days – and councils are expected to run around gathering the information up for them, but have received no extra funding to compensate them for the extra workload. Every FOI request that is sent in that requires any significant amount of data to be gathered has a direct impact on the services that the council can deliver to its residents.
[quote]It seems FOIs numbers will only increase. I wish this was due to increased political interest, but in reality it’s due to increasing cynicism about Labour secrecy.[/quote]In reality, a huge number of the FOI requests are sent out in bulk by journalists to local authorities across the region/country, and certainly across the political spectrum. I don't think York is specifically being targeted by most of these, it's just the way that journalists do their investigation these days – and councils are expected to run around gathering the information up for them, but have received no extra funding to compensate them for the extra workload. Every FOI request that is sent in that requires any significant amount of data to be gathered has a direct impact on the services that the council can deliver to its residents. Stevie D
  • Score: 6

1:29pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Buzzz Light-year says...

Hilarious.
Coun Steward bemoaning "political point scoring" yet has he offered us any policies, anything his party might bring if elected?
Oh yeah, and even funnier when you remember the photo of him and a LibDem councillor grinning like Cheshire cats standing near the Aviva building when the trial closure was ended.

Political point scoring indeed.
Reminds me of yesterday's letter from Coun Aspden.

"We do it, but no-one else should!"
Hilarious. Coun Steward bemoaning "political point scoring" yet has he offered us any policies, anything his party might bring if elected? Oh yeah, and even funnier when you remember the photo of him and a LibDem councillor grinning like Cheshire cats standing near the Aviva building when the trial closure was ended. Political point scoring indeed. Reminds me of yesterday's letter from Coun Aspden. "We do it, but no-one else should!" Buzzz Light-year
  • Score: 5

2:54pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Chris Steward says...

Buzzz Light-year wrote:
Hilarious.
Coun Steward bemoaning "political point scoring" yet has he offered us any policies, anything his party might bring if elected?
Oh yeah, and even funnier when you remember the photo of him and a LibDem councillor grinning like Cheshire cats standing near the Aviva building when the trial closure was ended.

Political point scoring indeed.
Reminds me of yesterday's letter from Coun Aspden.

"We do it, but no-one else should!"
Have I and the group offered any policies? Simple answer yes. On Lendal Bridge we'd have called off the trial months ago, it was a disaster for York and so yes I am going to be pleased when I know I no longer have to get emails and calls from people saying they have been coming to our great city for years but having got a fine never will again. If you want to know where we stand on anything please email me Cllr.csteward@york.g
ov.uk, but whether it's the Local Plan, West Yorkshire Authority, Wind Turbines, Council Tax levels or bins and potholes, this very newspaper has covered plenty of the things we have set out on our very different vision for the city to Labour's.
[quote][p][bold]Buzzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: Hilarious. Coun Steward bemoaning "political point scoring" yet has he offered us any policies, anything his party might bring if elected? Oh yeah, and even funnier when you remember the photo of him and a LibDem councillor grinning like Cheshire cats standing near the Aviva building when the trial closure was ended. Political point scoring indeed. Reminds me of yesterday's letter from Coun Aspden. "We do it, but no-one else should!"[/p][/quote]Have I and the group offered any policies? Simple answer yes. On Lendal Bridge we'd have called off the trial months ago, it was a disaster for York and so yes I am going to be pleased when I know I no longer have to get emails and calls from people saying they have been coming to our great city for years but having got a fine never will again. If you want to know where we stand on anything please email me Cllr.csteward@york.g ov.uk, but whether it's the Local Plan, West Yorkshire Authority, Wind Turbines, Council Tax levels or bins and potholes, this very newspaper has covered plenty of the things we have set out on our very different vision for the city to Labour's. Chris Steward
  • Score: 4

10:50am Sat 26 Jul 14

Buzzz Light-year says...

There's a big difference between being merely pleased about something and having a photo of you grinning about it with one of your rivals published in the paper.

That's called point scoring in anyone's book.
There's a big difference between being merely pleased about something and having a photo of you grinning about it with one of your rivals published in the paper. That's called point scoring in anyone's book. Buzzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

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