Tower Hamlets: cost of security, 2005 election

A reader of the blog, Hugh Reilly, asked Tower Hamlets council: ‘ How much did the council spend on election security for Tower Hamlets for the 2005 election build-up and result?’ This was the election between George Galloway and Oona King.

The response he received from the council’s interim legal officer is nonsensical to say the least. I’ve posted in below as an example of the kind of rubbish we members of the public have to put up with from incompetent and obstructive public officials paid for with our money. I heard the Information Commissioner criticising the public for sending him muddled forms. Where is his criticism for council’s sending out time-wasting material like this?

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From: [email protected]
To: hughreilly
CC: [email protected]
Subject: Re: FOI Request – Hugh Reilly
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 11:34:04 +0100
Dear Mr Reilly

I write in response to your Freedom of Information request dated 12th October 2005, and in particular to item 6.

The following reply has been sent by Graham White, Interim Chief Legal Officer.

The Act concerns requests for information of public authorities which are defined in the schedules to it. Government departments, local authorities police, NHS, and a whole load of others including the advisory committee on borderline substances, the unlinked anonymous serosurveys steering group, and the wine standards board of the vintners’ company are all included, but returning officers/acting returning officers are not. Thus, the Act does not apply to them and there is no requirement to make any disclosure thereunder.

Graham White
Interim Chief Legal Officer

With regards
Bryan K Jones
Service Head – Environmental Control
Southern Grove
E3 4PN

Tel: 020 7364 6562
Fax: 020 7364 6764
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What on earth is Mr White rambling on about the vintner’s company for? All that is relevant here is that local councils are covered by the act. They are specifically mentioned under Schedule 1 of the law, and it is utter nonsense to suggest that the employees of a council are not covered. Readers of my book will know that Tower Hamlets featured in my book ‘Your Right to Know’. It seems they still have a lot to learn when it comes to open government.

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