A NATIONAL expert has rubbished a claim that it would be a security risk to detail meetings attended by York's council chief executive.
Maurice Frankel, director of the national Campaign for Freedom of Information, said the claim by City of York Council director Ian Floyd was "implausible" and without basis.
Mr Floyd had cited security concerns following a ruling by the Information Commissioner's Office, which found City of York Council had wrongly refused seven Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by local resident Michael Hammill, by incorrectly deeming them "vexatious".
In a statement last Tuesday, Mr Floyd said the council had withheld details of meetings outside York attended by Kersten England between April and November 2013, partly due to concern for the "personal safety of a council employee". He confirmed by email to Mr Hammill and The Press that he meant the chief executive but said he did not mean Mr Hammill himself posed a threat.
He said the council was also concerned about the disclosure of commercially sensitive information and inappropriately sharing other people's personal information, although separate reasons had initially been given for the FOI request refusal.
Mr Frankel said it was plausible that future and routine travel plans may be withheld for security reasons, as had been ruled during the MPs' expenses scandal, but said it was implausible that publishing details of meetings already attended could constitute a security risk.
He said the council's response to seven FOI requests seemed "all over the place", and showed "a peculiar mix of understanding the Act and part-blindness to what the requests were asking for".