£700 FOI claim was wrong - by £563

£700 FOI claim was wrong - by £563

£700 FOI claim was wrong - by £563

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by

YORK council officials have admitted hugely overstating the cost of dealing with Freedom of Information requests.

Earlier this month, the council said the average Freedom of Information (FOI) request cost it £700 to process, but the authority has now admitted the true cost is £137 - less than a fifth of the original figure.

The true amount emerged after a York resident used the FOI Act itself to query the £700 figure.

Ian Floyd, the council’s director of customer and business support services, wrote: “The statement should have referred to ‘up to’ rather than an ‘average’. This was due to an error in publishing the press release unfortunately, and I apologise for this.”

The council stated the £700 figure in response to criticism of the length of time it was taking to handle FOI requests, after statistics showed it was falling far short of the national target of processing 85 per cent within the time limit of 20 working days.

The Press queried the £700 figure at the time but the council did not respond.

Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, said the case showed how valuable Freedom of Information laws are. He added: “This shows how council figures and claims can be put to the test effectively. The original £700 figure did seem extremely high."

A new report to councillors shows that in the year to March, the Information Commissioner receives 93 appeals against the city council's handling of FOI requests. Thirty-five of those were because the council had either not responded or responded late to a request. The ICO ruled against the council in 30 cases. Of the other 58 appeals, 48 were settled in favour of the council.

The figures are in a report to the audit and governance committee.

Comments (21)

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5:58pm Thu 19 Jun 14

nowthen says...

Does anyone believe anything the Labour led council tells us ? I don't.
Does anyone believe anything the Labour led council tells us ? I don't. nowthen
  • Score: 67

6:18pm Thu 19 Jun 14

nearlyman says...

Incapable of telling the truth in everything they appear to do.Wha a state of affairs.
Incapable of telling the truth in everything they appear to do.Wha a state of affairs. nearlyman
  • Score: 63

6:22pm Thu 19 Jun 14

anistasia says...

Trying to stop bad press I think another cover up how can someone be that far out in their quotation. sorry we don't believe what the council says on other postings seems like the public did better background checks and let others know about the findings if champions like this didn't do your work for you and telling us the tax payer you possibly would have let it go and not told us.
Trying to stop bad press I think another cover up how can someone be that far out in their quotation. sorry we don't believe what the council says on other postings seems like the public did better background checks and let others know about the findings if champions like this didn't do your work for you and telling us the tax payer you possibly would have let it go and not told us. anistasia
  • Score: 45

6:46pm Thu 19 Jun 14

andrew flower says...

Incompetent, useless, dishonest. ALEXANDER OUT!!!!!!
Incompetent, useless, dishonest. ALEXANDER OUT!!!!!! andrew flower
  • Score: 63

7:00pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Dave Ruddock says...

Does anyone, Press or Council, "PROOF READ" before sending our,( Publishing) these days

A double check stops mistakes and all that follows
Does anyone, Press or Council, "PROOF READ" before sending our,( Publishing) these days A double check stops mistakes and all that follows Dave Ruddock
  • Score: 21

9:08pm Thu 19 Jun 14

acomblass says...

More scandal to come I fear with the media still not reporting the crisis in adult social care.

In another department new facilities have been opened without any idea of how much they are going to cost.

Where are the investigative journalists?
More scandal to come I fear with the media still not reporting the crisis in adult social care. In another department new facilities have been opened without any idea of how much they are going to cost. Where are the investigative journalists? acomblass
  • Score: 33

10:02pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Stevie D says...

Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council.

The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about £180million. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right.

It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.
Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council. The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about [bold]£180million[/bold]. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right. It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense. Stevie D
  • Score: -15

10:13pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Jonothon says...

Well done whoever exposed this. The authorities particularly central government, incessantly spy on us, intercept emails etc, but are desperate that their own policies are shielded from public scrutiny.

Stevie D's department may not like FOI requests, so the answer is to be frank and open with the public in the first place
Well done whoever exposed this. The authorities particularly central government, incessantly spy on us, intercept emails etc, but are desperate that their own policies are shielded from public scrutiny. Stevie D's department may not like FOI requests, so the answer is to be frank and open with the public in the first place Jonothon
  • Score: 30

10:41pm Thu 19 Jun 14

bolero says...

Stevie D wrote:
Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council.

The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about £180million. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right.

It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.
But the request in regard to the qouted amount of £700 was raised by a York resident and not The Press. The answer was supplied by a `gutter` council.
[quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council. The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about [bold]£180million[/bold]. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right. It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.[/p][/quote]But the request in regard to the qouted amount of £700 was raised by a York resident and not The Press. The answer was supplied by a `gutter` council. bolero
  • Score: 31

6:01am Fri 20 Jun 14

Phalanges says...

Someone can’t do math.
Someone can’t do math. Phalanges
  • Score: 12

6:40am Fri 20 Jun 14

oldgoat says...

Jonothon wrote:
Well done whoever exposed this. The authorities particularly central government, incessantly spy on us, intercept emails etc, but are desperate that their own policies are shielded from public scrutiny.

Stevie D's department may not like FOI requests, so the answer is to be frank and open with the public in the first place
I think you miss the point. No matter how open and frank you are in the first place, the information has to be gathered, and it might not be immediately to hand, and that's what costs
[quote][p][bold]Jonothon[/bold] wrote: Well done whoever exposed this. The authorities particularly central government, incessantly spy on us, intercept emails etc, but are desperate that their own policies are shielded from public scrutiny. Stevie D's department may not like FOI requests, so the answer is to be frank and open with the public in the first place[/p][/quote]I think you miss the point. No matter how open and frank you are in the first place, the information has to be gathered, and it might not be immediately to hand, and that's what costs oldgoat
  • Score: 1

7:35am Fri 20 Jun 14

Guy Fawkes says...

The cost of responding to FOI requests has long been an argument used by the political left to discredit the principle of FOI itself and thereby avoid accountability for their actions - entirely in keeping with the authoritarian, "We all work as a team, which means you do what I tell you" ethos of the left in general. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that trying to pretend that FOI accountability costs more than it actually does is a tactic that the less scrupulous elements within that tendency are prepared to resort to.
The cost of responding to FOI requests has long been an argument used by the political left to discredit the principle of FOI itself and thereby avoid accountability for their actions - entirely in keeping with the authoritarian, "We all work as a team, which means you do what I tell you" ethos of the left in general. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that trying to pretend that FOI accountability costs more than it actually does is a tactic that the less scrupulous elements within that tendency are prepared to resort to. Guy Fawkes
  • Score: 21

9:00am Fri 20 Jun 14

JasBro says...

Stevie D wrote:
Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council.

The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about £180million. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right.

It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.
But in this case the council were caught lying yet again, not by the press, but by a private citizen of York.

Obviously you and it seems much of the public sector do not consider telling the truth to be part of your "day jobs" or what you are "actually supposed to be doing".

I find that attitude pathetic.
[quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council. The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about [bold]£180million[/bold]. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right. It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.[/p][/quote]But in this case the council were caught lying yet again, not by the press, but by a private citizen of York. Obviously you and it seems much of the public sector do not consider telling the truth to be part of your "day jobs" or what you are "actually supposed to be doing". I find that attitude pathetic. JasBro
  • Score: 19

9:02am Fri 20 Jun 14

meme says...

we would not need FOI requests if we had an open and truthful council and anyone believed what they said! The real problem appears to be that they are scared to admit mistakes when they make them whereas I for one would be more forgiving if they just said ''we made a mistake; we got it wrong, we are human after all'' We are get it wrong and make mistakes That's life but most of us have to admit it
The sheer fact they lie and manipulate to hide truths has led to the FOI regime
we would not need FOI requests if we had an open and truthful council and anyone believed what they said! The real problem appears to be that they are scared to admit mistakes when they make them whereas I for one would be more forgiving if they just said ''we made a mistake; we got it wrong, we are human after all'' We are get it wrong and make mistakes That's life but most of us have to admit it The sheer fact they lie and manipulate to hide truths has led to the FOI regime meme
  • Score: 17

9:12am Fri 20 Jun 14

Can't all be wrong says...

Stevie D wrote:
Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council.

The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about £180million. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right.

It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.
Sorry but FOI must exist otherwise central and local governments will have even more places to hide their lies and incompetence.
I despair at the way this council goes about its business, can't make my mind up if it's incompetent, deceitful or dishonest. Or perhaps all three.
[quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council. The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about [bold]£180million[/bold]. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right. It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.[/p][/quote]Sorry but FOI must exist otherwise central and local governments will have even more places to hide their lies and incompetence. I despair at the way this council goes about its business, can't make my mind up if it's incompetent, deceitful or dishonest. Or perhaps all three. Can't all be wrong
  • Score: 15

12:32pm Fri 20 Jun 14

bolero says...

Can't all be wrong wrote:
Stevie D wrote:
Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council.

The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about £180million. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right.

It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.
Sorry but FOI must exist otherwise central and local governments will have even more places to hide their lies and incompetence.
I despair at the way this council goes about its business, can't make my mind up if it's incompetent, deceitful or dishonest. Or perhaps all three.
I think they've been proved to be all three.
[quote][p][bold]Can't all be wrong[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council. The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about [bold]£180million[/bold]. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right. It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.[/p][/quote]Sorry but FOI must exist otherwise central and local governments will have even more places to hide their lies and incompetence. I despair at the way this council goes about its business, can't make my mind up if it's incompetent, deceitful or dishonest. Or perhaps all three.[/p][/quote]I think they've been proved to be all three. bolero
  • Score: 12

12:50pm Fri 20 Jun 14

anistasia says...

Do the council use the same accountants as ken Dodd .the new story they got it wrong somehow I still feel we are been fleeced.the truth still not told.
Do the council use the same accountants as ken Dodd .the new story they got it wrong somehow I still feel we are been fleeced.the truth still not told. anistasia
  • Score: 13

1:48pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Badgers Drift says...

Less than three months ago, Ian Floyd apologised for another FOI financial error - of £700,000!

http://www.yorkpress
.co.uk/news/11102324
.York_council_direct
or_apologises_over_i
naccurate_answer_to_
Freedom_of__Informat
ion_request/

This is the man in charge of the council's finances?!!!
Less than three months ago, Ian Floyd apologised for another FOI financial error - of £700,000! http://www.yorkpress .co.uk/news/11102324 .York_council_direct or_apologises_over_i naccurate_answer_to_ Freedom_of__Informat ion_request/ This is the man in charge of the council's finances?!!! Badgers Drift
  • Score: 12

1:57pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Badgers Drift says...

meme wrote:
we would not need FOI requests if we had an open and truthful council and anyone believed what they said! The real problem appears to be that they are scared to admit mistakes when they make them whereas I for one would be more forgiving if they just said ''we made a mistake; we got it wrong, we are human after all'' We are get it wrong and make mistakes That's life but most of us have to admit it The sheer fact they lie and manipulate to hide truths has led to the FOI regime
I'm sure everyone reading this will come to the same conclusion - that it was a deliberate mistake, intended to mislead.

It's not the the first time, and it won't be the last.

Deliberate mistakes are lies, and I do not trust this council.
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: we would not need FOI requests if we had an open and truthful council and anyone believed what they said! The real problem appears to be that they are scared to admit mistakes when they make them whereas I for one would be more forgiving if they just said ''we made a mistake; we got it wrong, we are human after all'' We are get it wrong and make mistakes That's life but most of us have to admit it The sheer fact they lie and manipulate to hide truths has led to the FOI regime[/p][/quote]I'm sure everyone reading this will come to the same conclusion - that it was a deliberate mistake, intended to mislead. It's not the the first time, and it won't be the last. Deliberate mistakes are lies, and I do not trust this council. Badgers Drift
  • Score: 13

2:20pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Buzzz Light-year says...

It must have been done deliberately... A worm on a piece of string if you like....

Managed to catch well over 100 outraged kneejerkers :-D
It must have been done deliberately... A worm on a piece of string if you like.... Managed to catch well over 100 outraged kneejerkers :-D Buzzz Light-year
  • Score: -8

2:28pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Fabius the Delayer says...

Stevie D wrote:
Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council.

The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about £180million. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right.

It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.
Its supposed to be the bane of your life.
Its the only comeback we have against useless, lying, jobs worth, bull shoveler's.
Possibly your one of them, it certainly would appear that way.
If government had not turned Obfuscation into an art it wouldn't be necessary
If the true amount only emerged after a York resident used the FOI Act itself to query the average Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
Surly this shows just how much the powers that be don't want to let us know the truth….and how necessary the Freedom of Information Act is…
Stop lying and save money ..
[quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: Having had to deal with some FOI requests where I work, all I can say is that FOI has become the bane of many public sector workers' lives. Not because we have anything to keep secret, but because it is a massive interference with our day jobs, ie what we are actually supposed to be doing. And most of the time, it is a complete waste of effort. The majority of requests are from lazy journalists mailbombing every public body within their coverage about trivial stuff in the vague hope that one answer might have something that they can misrepresent and turn into a "story" slagging off their local council. The website 'What do they know' lists over 200,000 FOI requests made, which they reckon is about 15–20% of all FOI requests made. If CYC's average cost of £137 is representative, that equates to a total cost to the public sector of about [bold]£180million[/bold]. And most of that is to satisfy the gutter press so they can print stories with figures totally out of context like "Council spends £12k on stationery" as they pander to the populist council-bashing reactionary right. It's a horrendous waste of public money, but the media won't ever let on what a shambles it has been because they get too much fun out of it at everyone else's expense.[/p][/quote]Its supposed to be the bane of your life. Its the only comeback we have against useless, lying, jobs worth, bull shoveler's. Possibly your one of them, it certainly would appear that way. If government had not turned Obfuscation into an art it wouldn't be necessary If the true amount only emerged after a York resident used the FOI Act itself to query the average Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Surly this shows just how much the powers that be don't want to let us know the truth….and how necessary the Freedom of Information Act is… Stop lying and save money .. Fabius the Delayer
  • Score: 8

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