Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Persistently unreasonable LGO FOI officer?

On the 18th September I started to write an on-line Freedom of Information request which I intended to send to the LGO via the What Do They Know website. Unfortunately, due to a computer glitch together with a fault on the What Do they Know website, the FOI request was submitted to the LGO before I had finished drafting it.

I immediately contacted the WDTK website, they acknowledged a fault with the website and marked this particular FOI request as withdrawn. I also sent the LGO a follow up note to the withdrawn request using the WDTK website.

Please ignore this particular FOI request. A final version of this draft FOI request has now been submitted and can be read here. (This linked to the final version of my Freedom of Information request I had just submitted.)

Unfortunately the LGO had some difficulty understanding the situation and sent the following message in response to the FOI request I had clearly withdrawn. (This was the one marked by the WDTK website as withdrawn until the LGO reactivated it by sending a response.)

You have sent three messages with the same title. In the message below you refer to a draft FOI request on the 'whatdotheyknow' website. If you wish to submit a request to us, please do so - I don't intend to look at 'draft' requests elsewhere.

So as things stand, I will not respond further to any of these three messages (the other two are attached).

In response I sent the following message

I have NOT submitted three versions of this request. I was in the process of writing this FOI request when their was a glitch on the website. Therefore, I withdrew this request and submitted a final version. I have made the position very clear so if you fail to respond to the other Freedom of Information request on this subject I will submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

In response I received the following message, again to the FOI request I had withdrawn.

You HAVE submitted three emails with the same title. I want to be sure I am responding to the right one. Your third email suggested I look at a link to a 'draft FOI request'. I suggested you submit a 'final FOI request'. If you could send a 'final' request, I will respond to it.

As a result I sent the following message.

Will you stop responding to the FOI request I withdrew and respond to the final request here.


I have now made the position quite clear on two occasions please stop playing silly games and respond to the FOI request I have NOT withdrawn and stop responding to the one I have withdrawn.

The can follow the story as it unfolds because I have submitted a request for an internal review and will if necessary submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner.



which the LGO FOI officer is doing their best to ignore by sending all responses via the withdrawn request.

I also added the following note which explains how all FOI requests made via the WDTK website have unique URLs. Note the 2 on the end of the second and final request.

To further clarify the situation all FOI requests have a unique URL so it is not that difficult for an authority to identify an individual request, keep track of it and respond to it rather than other requests from the same requester.

FOOTNOTE: If you check out all LGO responses to various FOI requests on the What Do They Know website you will find that on a number of occasions they have sent an amended version of correspondence and withdrawn an earlier version, so the concept can't be unknown to them.


I have asked the What Do They Know website to mark the withdrawn request as withdrawn once again, which they have done. I have also, for a third time and final time tried to explain the situation to the LGO.

A third and final attempt to get you to respond to this FOI request before I submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

I submitted a Freedom of Information request on the 18th September 2009.

[Over the last five years how many certified offences has each LGO brought to the attention of the High Court, how many involved a council member or officer, what were the outcomes and which council did the member or officers work for.]

This was submitted via the What Do They Know website and has a unique URL and reply address. Full details can be seen by viewed at


Unfortunately for some reason your office insists on responding to a different Freedom of Information request. One which I had withdrawn which has also has a unique URL and reply address.

Even when I submitted an internal review request regarding


You wrongly replied to the withdrawn FOI request. Just what do I have to do to get you to respond to a valid FOI request and ignore one that was clearly withdrawn?

I have no intention of following the suggestion in your response to my withdrawn FOI request by submitting a third request.

I have submitted a valid Freedom of Information request via the What Do They Know website and I demand a response.


We will just have to wait and see if they yet again send a response to the wrong FOI request and re-activate it or this time respond to the correct FOI request.

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