ANDREW RENDLE wrote to the leader of Croydon Council on June 10 with simple questions of fact about spending on the new council HQ. How has he got on?
On June 10 I wrote an open letter to council leader Mike Fisher, which was also published by Inside Croydon, regarding the costs associated with the new council HQ.
It was a simple list of various functions and facilities which you would expect to be accounted for by a public body spending large amounts of our money.
My enquiry was promptly shunted off into the Croydon dead end known as the Freedom of Information Act. All FOI requests are supposed to be dealt with within 20 working days. The 20th working day was a week ago, last Friday, but so far my question remains unanswered.This puts Croydon Council in breach of its legal responsibilities under the FOI. Yet again.
I wrote again to Councillor Fisher, who failed to respond to me directly, but I did get an email from the council putting the delay down to “extensive range of questions asked”, and “detailed officer time”.
Uh? How long, and how many members of staff, does it take to look up a set of figures which, surely, are all calculated and contained within the council’s carefully considered budget for the project years ago?
The absence of a simple answer to a simple question shows once again that secrecy, incompetence and the undemocratic process are alive and well thanks to Councillor Fisher and his friends.
Surely working out the spend to date can’t be that difficult, as I’m sure council officers keep records and have an army of accountants backing them up?
Even Croydon’s ruling conservatives aren’t so incompetent they enter into a massive project like the new luxury HQ without a budget. Are they?
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- Council to spend £1m to furnish its new headquarters (insidecroydon.com)
- Croydon Council and the cuts: playing a numbers game (insidecroydon.com)
- Croydon Council: where FOI stands for something else (insidecroydon.com)