Yesterday Manchester and Barnet councils learned they would be monitored for their Freedom of Information performance during the next three months after being selected as performing poorly. 

The Information Commissioner announced they would be watched alongside the Metropolitan Police, here’s how they reacted. 

The Manchester Evening News report here:

A Manchester City Council spokesman said “Manchester City Council is committed to openness and transparency. We recognise the challenges associated with the volume of Freedom of Information requests received and have strengthened our procedures to ensure they are dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible.”

While in Barnet they seemed a little confused to why they were to be monitored, as North London Newspapers report here:

Deputy council leader Dan Thomas said: “It will be interesting to see how we can improve performance as in January to March this year our rate for responding in time was 99.5 per cent, one of the best in the UK.

“With that in mind the ICO’s decision seems based on a small number of historic complaints received rather than our current performance.

“We have taken huge steps to improve our FOI performance over the past two years, recruiting extra officers and monitoring weekly performance across the council.”

 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.