Parents Group uses their new rights under FOI

Parents fighting against Northumberland County Council's plans to reorganise education are looking to use the Freedom of Information Act to support their case.

The Northumberland Education Action Group (NEAG) says that the council has consistently failed to answer questions requested by parents. NEAG chairman Joe Ronan said: “We have used the new legislation to gain access to information which has been requested over many months but the council has declined to give us.” Mr Ronan added: “A lot of the school building costs look strange and we need to know why the figures for retaining three-tiers is £100 million more expensive than retaining the current system, as the costs suggest. The county has given a lot of figures but we do not know how they are arrived at.”

In addition to the costs, the group is seeking information such as draft reports on documentation supplied to independent evaluators, estimates for highway improvements at school sites, surplus places calculations, and details relating to catchment area models.

A council spokesman confirmed that the requests for information had been received and a response is being prepared.

Parents cite Freedom of Information (The Hexham Courant, 7 January 2005)