East Renfrewshire Council claims FOI is a waste of time

Officials at East Renfrewshire Council say staff are struggling to cope with requests for information since the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 came into force on 1 January 2005. The Council received 81 requests in the first 60 days of the new legislation.

Craig Geddes, council records manager, said: "The act has placed a significant burden on us. It has diverted officers from their normal work and taken up a considerable amount of time. It has particularly affected the records department and senior legal staff." According to the Evening Times, workers have been diverted from key tasks to find out information for community groups, businesses, the media, and other councils.

According to the Scottish information Commissioner's website East Renfrewshire Council is currently being investigated in relation to complaints regarding a building warrant relating to a specified address and properties in respect of which the authority collects waste water charge on behalf of Scottish Water.

It remains to be seen whether or not the people requesting the information from the Council view the Act as a waste of time. Some might say that this is evidence of the FOI Act actually working.

New law a waste of time, claims council (Evening Times, 16 May 2005)