Friday, February 26, 2010

Conservatives, HDC, SECRECY and Car Parking

I put in a Freedom of Information for the SECRET meeting of the Car Parks Working Group. The ruling Conservatives have gone down the road of having this SECRET group to review Car Parking. Why is this being kept so SECRET?

Yet again my original FoI request has been denied and I'm having to appeal. More information seems to come out on appeal and I still wonder why Conservative run HDC has to be so SECRET.

Maybe this has much to with internal Conservative disputes rather than being open with residents. Cllr Farrer has informed residents that local councillors weren't consulted. Cllr Harty is part of the call in of the Cabinet decision.

When former Conservative Councillor Paul Dakers resigned his main reason was the control of the Council by Council Officers. I thought this was a bit out of it until I read this:

(c) that the Director of Environment and Community Services be authorised, after consultation with the Executive Councillor for Planning Strategy and Transport, to make and confirm Off-Street Parking Places Orders in future years involving any changes of minor significance and reviews of charges in line with inflation (document here)

So the Cabinet have basically moved the decision on car parking charges and "minor" (no definition of what is minor) changes to the control of officers. I see what Cllr P Dakers is talking about.

The Conservatives lost the seat Dakers resigned from.

1 comment:

Endofmytether said...

It's about time local authorities understood they're supposed to be serving the public, not arrogantly making decisions behind closed doors as they think they know best.

The FOI legislation was introduced to open up Govt.

In my experience, councils are instead using it to delay the release of information for as long as possible, relying on people getting bored by the time it takes to get to the appeals stage.

I've been fighting for one piece of information for three years now. And it's been with the Information Commissioner for a year now.

I'd recommend Heather Brooke's "Your right to know" - few tips there on getting stuff out of the "public" sector, but also quite depressing in places.