Fantasy FOI Land

People have been asking questions about the costs of the 2 complaints and I posted a blog on this here.

Today, we moved into complete fantasy territory because Angus Files from Oban had appealed against the original FOI reply that said there were no costs to the council because they didn’t have the information requested. His appeal got the same response. Here is what I sent the 4 officers and councillors today, cc the press. This really is ridiculous and it’s the kind of behaviour Audit Scotland really should do something about. Angus Files has now gone to the Information Commissioner.

Good morning Messrs Sneddon, Hendry, Milne and Loudon.

You are all no doubt aware of the fairy story below. I have just seen a similar one in connection with the related complaint submitted by Cllrs Walsh, E Morton and Scoullar. I am told that in this first complaint, these 3 councillors “were not acting in pursuance of the Council’s corporate functions“ I have this morning asked them in what regard they were acting, but they’ll probably not reply, as usual.

You prepared and submitted a 100 page complaint against me. This apparently took no time to prepare and the complaint therefore incurred no costs to the council, not even the franking cost to post it. In addition, you held various meetings and  you were all interviewed by the investigating officers. By magic, no time was spent on these interviews because the council states there were no costs to the council. Another member of staff plus the council leader was also interviewed, at no cost.  You arrange for staff to be in attendance at the 2 hearings, one in Edinburgh where the member of staff stayed overnight, but all this cost nothing either. Miraculous stuff.

This, writ large, is very far from the open and transparent council that Audit Scotland want to see, never mind the long suffering citizens of this area.

Mr Files has already taken this to the next stage so we’ll see what happens but it’s unlikely to end well I suspect.

 

From: Angus Files
Sent: 15 December 2016 15:09
To: Michael Breslin; Alan Stewart
Subject: Fw: New response to your FOI request – Michael Breslin v Complaint by four chief officials of Argyll and Bute Council

Ho ho ho never knew it was April Fools day as well…

Classification: OFFICIAL

Dear Mr Files

Section 20 review: argyllbuteir:6306

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA)

I refer to your email of 17 November in which you requested a review of
how we dealt with your information request dated 20 October 2016. I have
noted that the response was sent within the 20 working day statutory
timescale on 16 November.

I am content that the response was appropriate in that the information
requested was information ‘not held’ by the Council.

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which the review has been dealt
with you are entitled to make an application to the Scottish Information
Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9DS
(Tel: 01334 464610) for a review.

You must make representation to the Scottish Information Commissioner no
later than 6 months after the date of receipt by you of the notice or
decision you are dissatisfied with or within 6 months of the expiry of the
period of 20 working days from receipt by the Council of your request for
review.
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: WhatDoTheyKnow <team@whatdotheyknow.com>
To: Angus Files <angusfiles@btopenworld.com>
Sent: Thursday, 15 December 2016, 15:01
Subject: New response to your FOI request – Michael Breslin v Complaint by four chief officials of Argyll and Bute Council
You have a new response to the Freedom of Information request
‘Michael Breslin v Complaint by four chief officials of Argyll and Bute Council’ that you made to
Argyll and Bute Council.

To view the response, click on the link below.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/michael_breslin_v_complaint_by_f?nocache=incoming-910090#incoming-910090

When you get there, please update the status to say if the response
contains any useful information.

Although all responses are automatically published, we depend on
you, the original requester, to evaluate them.

— the WhatDoTheyKnow team

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.

7 thoughts on “Fantasy FOI Land”

  1. I make no apologies for being a party pooper, and spoiling the intended goodwill of the administration. HOW KIND is this,- the first and only time that I have ever heard of materialistic, overpaid, administrators, waving a personal pay day. We just do not appreciate the well meaning of the administration, were all such ungrateful residents etc etc in Argyll-(weee know).As to costs waived,if they didn’t contribute themselves-we are left to assume they kindly did it for nothing. What we are missing is the lesser spotted illusive items at Kilmory known to everyone else as a payment paper trail receipt?(whistle blowers welcome) Fact not one administration top job has been morphed- t over the years.The most expensive costs at Kilmory are the wages and expenses between the Administration top table (approx. 11 administrators), costing over 2 million pounds per year. Were, meant to believe, that this very expensive administration along with others came together in a war pact , involved themselves in several war meetings to SILENCE Councillor Breslin. This we are all meant to assume and that all processes meticulously screened by the legal beagles costing zero, zilch, nano to Argyll all done Pro-Bono- not even a postage stamp cost.

    But enough of the boring depressing politics of the real world in Argyll lets just dream that in fact at blueskies Kilmory fandango la la land a more surreal place- these people do exist its just we have never met them in this capacity before..the poor wee souls,why didn’t they put out a crowd funding page as Michael did? Why indeed?. we might never know, but if Michael had lost his case would the costs have been waived and the “no cost” stance taken that is now implemented ?Ironically and very sadly for many years now, we are told by Kilmory the cost of life line services and that they cost too much. I personally am sick of it, we all are, hence my interest.We have all seen it…
    Classroom assistants are paid off because they cost too much.
    Librarians loose employment because they cost too much.
    Bins are not collected because they cost too much.
    Roads are not maintained because it costs too much.
    Public bogs-toilets not open anymore-because they cost too much.
    People loose employment because they cost too much.
    Lets be clear employees of Kilmory are being paid not enough to stop them having to claim tax credits, and still end up at the food banks, in Oban Campbelltown, Dunoon etc.I am sure the concept of a foodbank escapes the top tier of administration at Kilmory on their overpaid salaries.

    Yes “no cost”, indeed. were all meant to swallow that up, move along children nothing to be seen Tis` the season to be jolly lalalalalalalalalaaa

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  2. After reading today’s Dunoon Observer(which has 3 articles on the mess the council have made with The Christmas Lights,false accusations on Clr Breslin, and the absolute administrative failures over a ten year period of the 5-a-side pitches), I am told that (A) the council did not check with Shanks their operating hours and as a result for Shanks to stay open late to take in refuse collections the council had tp pay MORE money, then(B). Shanks informed the council their licence only permits them to open 2 hours less than what the council is now paying for them to do.
    This means that rubbish collected after 8pm has to stay in trucks until the next day.
    Plus the council now state that persons should not just look at neighbours bins to decide when to put out bins as even neighbours could be on a different pick up schedule !!!
    If this is true it makes a mockery of going to a 3 week collection system.

    This A&B council could fill a complete book on “You Couldn’t make it up” by Richard Littlejohn

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  3. Favourite game at Kilmory dodge the bin collection- Exact same in Oban this week shameful-they had to send an emergency bin lorry to get rid of the rubbish from one of the big housing estates in Oban yesterday. What really bugs me, is that Councils are duty-bound to arrange collection of household waste but there is no law specifying how often they must do so, this is left to the Council’s to decide,and we all know joined up thinking is not ABC strongest virtue in fact it never happens or if it does it wasn`t meant to be ,that’s a certain. We should be demanding as Michael has been, hence them trying to gag him, we deserve better than this orgy of mis-management and no value for money of the non-services not being delivered to the council tax payers. Locals are paying exorbitant levels of council tax, but are failing to get decent public services in return. Shame on the ones on the Lottery wages at Kilmory troughing, whilst their work colleagues and the communities go without.

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  4. Am curious….
    If the individuals involved did NOT use public time and expense to acquire the information necessary to bring this accusation, then their assertion of no costs involved could be somewhat valid.
    However, IF they did bring this accusation against MB as private individuals, then where are the FOI requests to gain access to the information used in their accusation?.
    Did the individuals involved use their public office to acquire this information, if NO FOI’s are to be found,
    then proceed as private individuals?

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