Councils finding spurious reasons to avoid answering Freedom of Information requests

The excellent WhatDoTheyKnow online tool, developed by the MySociety group, makes it easy for members of the public to submit Freedom of Information requests and find out what public sector organisations are doing with their money.  It then makes the responses public so that we're all a little better informed and can try and hold organisations to account democratically.

Unfortunately, Rother council are resisting this British glasnost.  They are complaining that the electronic submissions don't give enough detail as they don't tell them where the person sending the Freedom of Information Request lives.  Apparently inquiries from people outside Rother can't have "serious purpose or value" unless they are from "a professional journalist or researcher".  This is incredibly dismissive of hard-working amateurs trying to do their bit for the community by scrutinising local government.  Julian Todd, who submitted the original FOI, sets out in detail why Rother are wrong to refuse to answer here.

Don't let council officials get away with refusing to respect your right to know.  Get in touch with the leader of Rother council and let him know what they've been up to, and that you aren't impressed! 

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