The Freedom Of Information Act
It will probably come as no surprise to anybody reading this who has more than a passing aquaintance with local democracy, in all its glory, but nobody has been able to tell me how I can engage with Suffolk Council's New Strategic Direction. I am still in the dark about the 'proactive and wide ranging engagment' that the council voted to carry out amongst the communtities in Suffolk that it represents. I have had no replies to my emails and telephone requests for information. The head of the council, the chief executive's office, my MP....no reply, no reply, no reply....blah, blah, blah....
So what is one to do?
I know the answer to this really is 'Do Nothing' because there is nothing that you can do.
But I have decided to console myself with another email and have sent a Freedom Of Information request to the council. I have asked for all the information on the strategy drawn up by the council in order to fulfill its committment to engage with the public about the New Strategic Direction.
I am working on the theory that in order to carry out this sort of engagment in any kind of meaningful way the council will have to have drawn up a plan of some sort- with designated roles, responsibilities, tasks, a budget, and a set of over arching aims and objectives etc... I don't know. I've never worked for the council so I don't know how these things pan out but there will have to be a plan of some sort.
So either the plans exists, in which case I want to see it...Or the plan does't exist. If it doesn't exist how can the council show that it is taking this process of engagement seriously. If it doesn't carry out this process of engagement with transparency and intergrity how can the council be trusted to go ahead with devolving all of its services as proposed under the NSD?
Well, I will wait and see.