Never underestimate the power of human stupidity in Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

One does not have to do anything to make Folkestone & Hythe District Council look stupid or incompetent, they are quite capable of doing that all on their own.

For those of you who might not be aware, one can access information from the council by asking for information using two different sets of legislation (one can also use the GDPR/DPA).

The first is the

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The other is the

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

If one sends a Freedom of Information [FoI] request to the council, the council can refuse the release of the information by using one or more of the exemptions set out between s21 and s44 of the act. If one sends an Environmental Information Request [EIR] to the council, the council can refuse the release of the information by using one or more of the exceptions set out between s12 and s15 of the regulations.

Under no circumstances can you apply exemptions in FoI to EIR, or exceptions in EiR to FoI.

Our public face sent an Environmental Information Request to Folkestone & Hythe District Council. It said

This is an EiR Request made in accordance with the Regs 2004

The Request

Please provide me with the all parts of the Waste Collection Contract relating to the waste collection, street cleansing and other services between Folkestone & Hythe District Council & Dover District Council and Veolia, which are set out in SCHEDULE 12 of the contract and determined to be – COMMERCIALLY SENSITIVE INFORMATION

The Council, who responded almost three weeks after the deadline had passed, state in their response:

I am writing in respect of your information access enquiry dated the 10th September 2021. This request has been handled under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. 

Please accept our sincere apologies that your request was not dealt with within the statutory timeframe and we thank you for your patience in this matter.

Please find below information in response to your request.

Please find attached the most current version of the contract that’s been produced, with revised redactions following negotiations with Veolia’s legal team.

Whilst some redactions have been revised and removed, there is still information that has been withheld. The Council has determined to withhold the information in part since we consider that Section 43(2) applies to it.

Now for those of you who might not know, section 43(2) relates to Commercial interests and is an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act 2000, NOT the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The council have misapplied the wrong legislation to the Environmental Information Request. What the Council should have applied is s12(5)(e) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, as this deals with Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information.

The Cabinet Member responsible for Freedom of Information requests and Environmental Information Requests is, Cllr Ray Field (pictured), he who betrayed Princes Parade, was dismissed by Eurotunnel, who say he was guilty of gross misconduct, according to ITV Meridian News and lost a court case against Cllr Dylan Jeffrey

Is it any wonder, we the Shepway Vox TEAM, and no doubt you the residents of the district believe that the Peter Principle (in a hierarchy employees tend to rise to the level of their incompetence) is alive and well within our council, given that those charged to do a job cannot do it competently and still get paid handsomely. We’ll leave you to ponder that

The Shepway Vox Team

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1 Comment on Never underestimate the power of human stupidity in Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

  1. Do you intend to pursue a complaint against the Council for their clear failure to obey the law as well as their misapplication of a different law?

    The Information Commissioner’s Officer and the Local Government Ombudsman would be obvious next steps unless the Council is prepared to revise its incorrect decision.

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