As the year draws to a close and we gather together throughout this festive season, with friends and family, you’ll be comforted by the knowledge that Folkestone & Hythe District Council are the gift which keeps on giving. And the gift they left under the metaphorical Xmas tree, is an invention all of their own.
It does not exist in the legislation. It does not exist in the code of practice, but according to our Council, this thing which does NOT exist, does according to them.
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 does not mention a prejudice test. It is not written in the legislation, or in the code of practice. It does though form part of the Council’s response to an Environmental Information Request made to them regarding their Housing Stock Survey, undertaken by Rapleys LLP at a cost of £163,000.
In the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), there is a “prejudice test“. Under the EIR Regime, there is an “adverse affect test”. What constitutes adverse effect in EIR is different to that for prejudice in FOIA. And below is their response to an Environmental Information Request.
So to put it simply, the Council have applied the wrong test, to the wrong legislation.
The Cabinet member responsible for information access – FoIs, EiRs, SaRs, is Cllr Ray Field (pictured), who according to the Council earned £16,918 in allowances, in 2021/22.
Does he need to have a word with those tasked to respond to information requests?
Creating tests which are not applicable at best makes the Council look foolish, and at worse makes them look incompetent. But as always, we’ll leave you to make up your own mind, if our Council have created a test which is not applicable to the EIR legislation.
The Shepway Vox Team
Peace, Love & Rock’N’Roll to you all.