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A word of advice on dealing with petty tyranny

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

A fellow blogger, and acquaintance of mine, Stephen Allison, is fighting a battle with the Hartlepool Council executive over their penchant for keeping even the most minor matters secret from non-Labour councillors.

Steve, a UKIP councillor sent a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The response is a laundry list of minor issues, the type of local concerns dealt with by local governments across the UK every week, but which the Hartlepool Labour leadership think is of such a sensitive nature that it should be kept from the elected members of the council. A few examples:

4. Procurement Of Specialist Outdoor Play Equipment For Exmoor Grove (Para 3) – Director of Child and Adult Services…

6. 19 St Columba’s Parish Centre, Dryden Road (para 3) – Assistant Director (Procurement and Asset Management)

9. Sale Of Garage Land At Victoria Place (para 3) – Assistant Director (Procurement and Asset Management)

16. Dial a Ride Service Review (para 3) – Assistant Director (Transport and Engineering Services)

This is silly, even by Hartlepool standards which is saying something. Try as I might I just can’t see how selling council garages or purchasing playground equipment can be matters the details of which are so sensitive that they shoud be withheld from elected councillors.

Well, actually I can see a scenario where this information might be deemed too sensitive to be released – it begins with a “K” and ends with an “S”

I doubt Steve will get anywhere pursuing this matter on behalf of the good burghers of Hartlepool, but he could, I suggest, take a more direct line of action:

At the very least it would make the council meetings go quicker and get him a great deal of media coverage.