|Blatant abuse of the Freedom of Information Act to conceal a lie
The Legal Services Unit of Cumbria County Council has been abusing the
Freedom of Information Act to hide a lie, this was probably started by
Mr Richard Claydon [Assistant Head of Legal Services] and perpetuated by other
solicitors within the Legal Services Unit.
For seven months the Legal Services Unit has been abusing the Freedom
of Information Act by claiming exemption to disclose two reports under Section 42 of the Act,
they were claiming 'legal
professional privilege' - "there is a clear public interest in the
maintenance of legal professional privilege where it applies".
However I knew that Cumbria
County Council had not made any reports. Instead of admitting they hadn't made the reports they pretended they
had, and hid behind section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act
to conceal the fact that they hadn't.
For month after month Cumbria
County Council stuck to this line, even after my repeated requests that they
be honest, stop lying, and just admit that they had not made the
County Council would not come clean, they kept on lying, and abusing the Freedom of Information Act.
After re-reading the Freedom of Information Act I spotted a way that
would require that Cumbria
County Council to hang a member of staff out to dry if they wanted to continue
If Cumbria County Council had made the reports (which they hadn't)
they might have got away with arguing section 42 FoIA. However, section
42 FoIA would not prevent them from disclosing the name and position of
the person that made the report (if a report had been made), so that is what I requested; the name and position of
the person that made the report and the
date they made it.
Cumbria County Council Legal Services Unit have now come over all
apologetic, they are terribly sorry for wasting my time but they have
not made any reports, they are claiming there has been some
misunderstanding. There was no
misunderstanding, Cumbria County Council were abusing the Freedom of Information
Act and deliberately lying to the public.
So what can be said of Cumbria County Council Legal Services Unit,
as far as I can ascertain it is full of bare faced
liars headed up by Mr Brian Walker and
Mr Richard Claydon.