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What’s the FOI going on at Westminster City Council?

September 21, 2009

FOIThe number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted by angry motorcyclists to Westminster City Council keep rising every day, based on what we can see on the public FOI submission website. We must confess that, as French nationals, we tend to get very excited by FOIs, as this is a piece of legislation that doesn’t exist on the other side of the Channel.

We believe that Westminster City Council are experiencing severe difficulties to cope with the huge (and increasing) number of FOI requests submitted to them. On many occasions, the Council has failed to answer FOIs within the statutory twenty working days, they have omitted to attach spreadsheets or any other documents as stated in their response, they have answered FOIs with no response enclosed, they have supplied the wrong web link and referred to the wrong piece of legislation in some of their replies.

We would like to know how Westminster City Council manage their FOI workload. The above examples seem to suggest that replies to FOIs may not be reviewed by management before being sent out which, in turn, generates more work for the Council, as the requestor needs to write back to ask for an internal review. So in addition to answering new FOIs every day, the Council must revisit previously submitted FOIs, which have not been properly answered. It’s a vicious circle from which Westminster City Council seem to have great difficulty to come out.

 

30th Sep flyerWe believe all this to be the result of Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley who, despite massive public opposition, introduced a parking tax on motorbikes and scooters in the Borough of Westminster in August 2008. Another reason why Westminster City Council may have found themselves under a deluge of FOIs relating to motorcycle parking, is simply because the same Councillor Danny Chalkley, and his fellow colleagues, have ignored the many letters and emails sent to them by members of the public, who oppose the motorcycle parking tax. FOIs are therefore the only way motorcyclists have available to obtain answers to their questions or address their concerns, as the Council is obliged by law (under the Freedom of Information Act 2000) to answer every single FOI request, within twenty working days following its submission date.

We think there is only one way to break this vicious circle: SCRAP THE BIKE PARKING TAX, and until this is done, Westminster City Council may see the number of FOIs submitted to them rising and rising. In a recent mass email, the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign encouraged their (circa) 6,000 supporters to submit FOI requests to Westminster City Council, so we can only expect the number of FOIs to keep rising and rising.

At this rate, it is very likely that Westminster parking services will spend more time answering FOI requests than actually doing some work. The good news is that, by answering FOI requests, these bureaucrates may be too busy to think of ludicrous ways of making more money, such as stealth taxing motorcyclists for parking, after having potentially breached European law.

Below is the website where one can submit their own FOI request(s) to Westminster City Council, and view the existing FOI requests submitted by other motorcyclists opposed to the bike parking tax.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/westminster_city_council

 

Please join and support the legal fight to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. The next demonstration is on 30th September 2009, don’t miss it! For further details, visit  http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Soutenez et participez au proces dont le but est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. La prochaine manifestation aura lieu le 30 septembre 2009, ne la ratez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

 

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One Comment
  1. “We would like to know how Westminster City Council manage their FOI workload”

    Might I suggest you raise an FOI on the matter then 😛

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