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Friday, May 14, 2010

Challenge Launched on KMBC Secrecy Ruling

Having now received expert advice on the recent decision by KMBC to withhold a vital email that identifies an individual whose involvement in the Kirkby Regeneration Scheme was never made public or ever publicly acknowledged, KEIOC have announced it is their supporter’s intention to challenge the ruling.

KEIOC supporters will remember that in November 2009 KMBC were issued with a decision notice from the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] threatening them with a contempt of court charge for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information request within the statutory 20 days. Having, at that point, taken 221 days to deliver all their CEO’s emails containing the word Everton, the council were issued with the notice.

Somewhat surprisingly, some would say it was unbelievable, considering Destination Kirkby was the biggest planning application ever handled by KMBC, the council were only able to identify a mere handful of emails that complied with the search criteria.   

The council’s latest position is that to reveal this final email would be prejudicial to the council when dealing with matters which are sensitive and complicated and would prejudice the conduct of public affairs.

KEIOC understand and appreciate the stated need for commercial sensitivity but this should not be allowed to take precedence over undisclosed potential conflicts of interest and the possibility of commercial involvement with interested parties involved in the application. The Freedom of Information act was established to give the general public the right to obtain information held by public authorities.

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