Havering Found Guilty of Breaching Freedom Of Information Act
FOR IMMEDIATE USE 18 May 2023
Havering Council has been found to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, having failed to provide a response to Councillor David Taylor.
Councillor Taylor wrote to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after he submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request regarding ULEZ.
“I requested copies of emails, between senior Councillors, regarding ULEZ” ¸ Councillor Taylor said. “This is something members of the public are entitled to, according to FOI law, and I wanted to see why our council put up such a weak opposition”.
Havering Council received the request on 30th January 2023 and FOI law means that they must respond within 20 working days. Cllr Taylor chased for a reply on 27th March and received confirmation of his chase two days later.
The requested information wasn’t released to Cllr Taylor until after he informed the Leader, Cllr Ray Morgon, of the ICO complaint.
“I felt I had to complain to the ICO in order to move things along. Councillors shouldn’t have to use FOIs in the first place, but the Leader has encouraged us to previously. So, if this is the way we have to go, then I want them to stick to the rules and provide the information in a timely manner”.
Councillor Taylor is quick to point out that he has found the HRA administration is fairly cooperative. “Most of the time, I eventually get the answers and I have to commend the HRA for that. It’s good that we can cooperate across the political divide and it’s the type of politics that I want to see.
However, it’s clear that the council staff are over-worked and I believe this is the cause of the delay. I hope that, in future, Councillors will not be forced down the FOI route and that Cabinet members will be more forthcoming with information”.
As for what the FOI information revealed, Councillor Taylor described it as scandalous.
“We now have email evidence that the Labour Leader in Havering demanded the HRA took a soft approach with Mayor Khan. They called for ULEZ to be delayed and for an anti-ULEZ council motion to be toned down. This is scandalous.
Havering residents don’t want ULEZ delayed and they don’t want softly spoken words. They want ULEZ scrapped and they want proper opposition. It’s clear that the HRA are being held back by Labour”.
An earlier FOI request, by Councillor Taylor, also revealed the location of ULEZ cameras across Havering. END
The FOI data can be found at: The ULEZ Files (davidtaylor.online)
Phone: 07878 132 549 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org