Council facing new call for consultancy details

Leanne WoodLeanne Wood says the Vale of Glamorgan council must end its secrecy after the information commissioner’s ruling and a council has been told it breached the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide an AM details about the cost of employing education consultants. The 25 page ruling is the latest development in a dispute, now has a fresh demand which has been made for s South Wales council to release details of the cost of employing consultants.

The Judgment Assistant Commissioner for Wales, Ann Jones said “The council did not provide the commissioner with any firm arguments to support its view that the disclosure would be likely to prejudice the consultants’ or the council’s own interests. There is a strong public interest in transparency in relation to the use of public money. I welcome this decision by the Information Commissioner who has ruled the public should be entitled to details.

I hope the council will... provide the information requested and end the cloak of secrecy. People have a right to know how much of their money the authority is paying for these consultancy services – was it £500, £750 or £1,000 a day? At best it shows the council did not have a grasp of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act. But at worst it will be seen as an attempt by the council to cover up what it paid consultants for a day’s work”.

The Commissioner ruled that the council reached and incorrectly applied six sections of the Freedom of Information Act, and the commissioner also said that she had not been provided with any firm arguments to support the council’s view that disclosure of the information would prejudice the interest of the consultants or the council.