Harrow to make all data public in FOI revolution

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  • I fail to see how this is particularly revolutionary. This is the starting point for all FOI requests - information is available unless its exempt. Most authorities are, incrementally, moving to this position using disclosure logs - at the same time as the government encourages transparency (albeit in a rather chaotic form) through the demands of the DCLG.

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  • As someone who deals with FOI day in day out in a large local authority this entirely misses the point. Most FOI requests, and all of those that take time are not about 'data'. They are about decsion making, internal communications, why is the council closing this library, who decided it was a good idea to use recycled paper that jams photocopiers, what were the benefits to the Council of Cllr Jones trip to Latvia. Increaed publishing of data will not dent those enquiries and will probably cause more enquiries about the data. We too have seen a 100% increase in 12 months and almost all of that was BECAUSE OF the transparency agenda.

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  • The issue is not about transparency. It is about making the FOI process work properly. So much more could and should be published regularly through the council's publicaton scheme.
    What is pure poppycock is that the requests are about things that cannot or are not published. It is just silly to say that the majority of requests are for "non-data" issue. Instead, they are about the core things that should be published or that there should be material published relating to them so that they can be handled appropriately.
    Transparency will change the focus of FOI as FOI will always be here because there are the tough choices around what can or should be released or disclosed. In the future the arguments about exemptions will be narrower as more information is published and there will be less talk of missed deadlines.
    Harrow are brave and setting a new trail that others will follow.

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