Official Diaries: Kent CC says yes, Folkestone & Hythe DC says no
In the scheme of things, who would you say was the more important elected official? Cllr Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council or Cllr David Monk leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council?
Their respective budgets are approximately £1 billion for KCC and £100 Million for F&HDC.
Being a leader of a Council means there is always something you have to do and someplace you have to be. And below is Cllr Paul Carter’s diary for just two days as an example.
Now you can see the person/s responsible for the redaction’s forget to redact Cllr Carter’s dental appointment at 12:45 on Monday 26th Feb 2018.
Now gaining access to Cllr Paul Carter’s Diary for the period – 12 Feb to 31 Oct 2018 might have made him feel uncomfortable with his itineraries being published, particularly in full. Appointment diaries can feel quite personal to leaders of our Council’s, Health Authorities, CCG’s, Academies, Police Commissioners, Chief Constables, Vice Chancellors, Chief Executives and other officials in public authorities across the land and how and what they do with their time. But the release of Cllr Carter’s diary can also provide a valuable insight into his activities.
It certainly does show is that he is an exceedingly busy person.
Now Cllr David Monk’s diary was requested. However, the Council said NO you cannot have a single page, it’s all exempt information. What this shows and possibly demonstrates is the vast difference between the application of exemptions when it comes to handing over information, or not, as the case may be.
It also demonstrates the experience between the Information Departments at KCC and F&HDC and how Freedom of Information officers fight your corner, as they are after all on the requestor’s side.
It is inevitable that the public and the media will be interested in diaries as key evidence of officials’ and politicians’ day-to-day activities and contact with external parties is embedded their. It would seem that KCC nor Cllr Carter have any real concerns about releasing his diary. We do though have to wonder why Cllr David Monk of F&HDC does not want us to know what he was doing on June 8th 2018 for example.
Either David Monk does not have enough to do (and he does not want to admit that) or, he prefers to hide behind secrecy so he cannot be held to account for his actions. What has he got to hide?
I do not anticipate for one moment that Cllr. Monk is trying to hide anything. However, given that Paul Carter’s diary has been made public, it would seem expedient that Cllr. Monk’s diary should also be open to public view. It would help to silence his detractors, particularly those woefully misinformed.
Cllr Monk is a disgrace, it is a shame the people that elect him don’t pay more attention instead of just voting for the party he represents.