The Destruction of Accountability and Transparency

It is not often we venture into the world of national politics, but this article in the Daily Telegraph is very concerning to us at Shepwayvox.

The Local Government Association [LGA] wishes to weaken the effects of Freedom of Information. Now it must be remembered that the LGA is one of many organisations to which you CANNOT submit an FOI.

A sitting Cllr of SDC was once the information officer at SDC and dealt with FOI. They were gagged and received a pay off. Why we would ask? Well they can’t tell.

Cllr Monk is our LGA Representative. To see FOI’s as a “burden” is very questionable.

FOI’s have revealed the following:

July 2006 – Cracks in the Graphite Bricks at Hinkley B Nuclear Power Station.   Feb 2015 That more than 400 children had tasers drawn on them in 2013 – 38% higher than in 2012.  2013 – The Manchester Evening news uncovered secret files showing how the Late Cyril Smith MP confronted police at Rochdale police station and tried to dissuade them from investigating claims that he had been sexually abusing young boys. 2008 -09 The publication by the Daily Telegraph of the MP’s expenses scandal. 2015 – That Air strikes were happening in Syria prior to July as UK Pilots were embedded with allied forces and undertaking military action in Syria.

At a local level FOI has revelaed

That the M20 was shut for 314 hours mainly due to Operation Stack. That more than 3000 people have been waiting 10 years or more on Newham Council’s housing waiting list. That Brent Council spent more than £500,000 on clearing illegally dumped fridges, freezers, sofas.Brent managed to claw back a little over  £11’000 in fines. How much has SDC collected?

We could go on but think you get the point. National and Local Govt as David Davies MP says

“What you are getting is a whole load of people being asked are you happy about being held accountable and answer no.It would be a return to a pre-FOI dark ages, when people simply didn’t know what was being done in their name with their money. These people have to remember they are public servants. If you are a public servant you have to accept you are subject to public scrutiny.”

Even the Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, has warned that a clampdown on freedom of information laws will take Britain back to the “dark ages” and risks undermining democracy.

We applaud FOI it has been a useful tool for Shepwayvox and no doubt the residents of Shepway who have used it. It may not rock your socks personally, but we at Shepwayvox are trying to make those who are public servants more accountable and more scrutinised. Taking away FOI or limiting its powers will be a backward step and to paraphrase David Davies MP says

It would be a return to a pre-FOI dark ages, when you the residents of Shepway simply don’t know what is being done  in your  name with your money.

Shepwayvox

 

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