Are members of Isle of Wight Council required to respond to written communications?
In the past I have sent emails to my County Councillor which have never received any reply. I have also written to the Council Leader David Pugh and never received any reply. I have also read accounts online where other Island residents had emailed their County Councillor and the Leader David Pugh an received no reply.
The Councils Constitution states
MEMBERS JOB PROFILES
To be an advocate of and for the interests of the constituency, individual electors, community groups and other stakeholders. To represent the interests of those individuals and groups to the Council, and deal with enquiries and representations from constituents.
1. To effectively represent, individually, and with other representatives of other Electoral Divisions, the interests of the Electoral Division, individual and groups of constituents in the policy formulation and decision making processes of the Council and to other local and national bodies.
2. To work individually and collectively in the interests of the Electoral Division and the Council.
3. To lead and actively encourage community involvement and engagement in consultation in policy formulation and decision making by the Council.
4. To respond to constituents enquiries and representations fairly and impartially.
5. To assist in the above, Members are likely to have an active involvement (including attending meetings where invited) in the local Parish/Town Council and other community groups. Additionally Members may hold surgeries to enable their constituents to have greater access to them and issue newsletters to keep their constituents informed.
"To represent the interests of those individuals and groups to the Council, and deal with enquiries and representations from constituents." and "To respond to constituents enquiries and representations fairly and impartially." appear to me to clearly indicate that County Councillors are required to respond to written communications.In addition the Council publish individual Councillors contact details on you website including: address; email address; telephone number.
The Council have been evasive in giving a straightforward answer as to whether a Councillor has to respond to written communication in the past. Now that you are operating a new 'open and transparent' policy could I have a clear and unambiguous statement on this fundamental issue please.
Could you also supply details of how to make a complaint if a response has not been received despite it being made clear that a response was required.
Dear Madam – I attach my response to your recent request for information
Penny Shorter | Paralegal - Social Care Team | Legal Team |
Isle of Wight Council | County Hall | Newport | Isle of Wight PO30 1UD
Tel: (01983) 821000 | Fax: (01983) 823699 | DX: 56361 NEWPORT (IOW)
Email: [email address] | Web: www.iwight.com
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Dear Isle of Wight Council,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Isle of Wight Council's handling of my FOI request 'Are members of Isle of Wight Council required to respond to written communications?'.
Your response doesn't make the situation any clearer to me. I have quoted from the Councils Constitution in my request and you have supplied a link to a list of reasons why a person can complain about a councillor which is based on the Council's Constitution.
The situation is not clear therefore I have sought clarification. You publish Councillors Council domain email addresses on your website for the purpose of contacting them. I assume you supply computer equipment and an Internet connection at the tax payers expense in order that they can respond to emails yet you will not state whether or not they are required by your Constitution to reply if they receive a reasonable communication which makes it clear that a response from them is required.
I am not interested in how long they might take to respond or whether they might refer the communication to an unelected officer to respond on there behalf, I've asked a simple, straightforward, reasonable and fundamental question which you are once again avoiding answering.
Please supply the information I have requested.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...
Deputy Director of Resources (Corporate Governance) &
Monitoring Officer Davina Fiore
Information Access Officer
Legal Services, Floor 1 County Hall, NEWPORT
Isle of Wight.
Tel (01983) 821000
Fax (01983) 823257
Email: [email address]
DX 56361 Newport (Isle of Wight)
21 August 2013
Via email at:
[FOI #172576 email]
Dear Mrs Cook,
Re: Information Request CRM Ref iw13/8/16662 Appeal Ref iw13/8/35688
Thank you for your recent email relating to your above referenced request for information.
The council considers any notification of dissatisfaction with respect to replies given to requests for information, under the Freedom of Information Act, as a request for an internal review.
In accordance with the council’s Access to Information Policy, and in line with the Code of Practice under Section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the council will undertake an independent internal review of your request.
The council will endeavour to complete the review and send a full reply within 20 working days.
On completion of the appeal, if you remain dissatisfied with the way the council has dealt with the matter, you may appeal to the Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. www.ico.gov.uk.
In the meantime, if I can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Karen Johnson | Information Access Officer | Corporate Information Unit | Legal Services | Isle of Wight Council | County Hall | Newport | Isle of Wight | PO30 1UD Tel: (01983) 821000 | Email: [email address] | Web: www.iwight.com
This email may contain personal information. Please do not forward this email unless you are satisfied that to do so would not constitute a breach of the Data Protection Act. If you are unsure please contact the author.
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Dear Freedom of Information,
I am in complete agreement with the sentiments expressed by Mr Figg on his similar request to my own.
I am not willing to waste the Island's Council Tax payers sparse resources in pursuing this request with this authority or ultimately the Information Commissioner as you have clearly demonstrated that you are willing to waste unlimited resources demonstrating that you are able to do as you please in refusing to confirm what people have already discovered in the past that Isle of Wight Councillors don't need to respond to the written communications of their constituents as your definition of treating citizens with respect does not include that as a requirement.
As a consequence I am withdrawing this request for a review and marking this FOI request as refused because I will not take part in this charade of you misusing FOI legislation to deny information rather than offer the public access to it in order to cover up the lack of basic rights which citizens of normal Councils are able to take for granted.
It is plain that little has changed at the Isle of Wight Council, despite the Independents proud boasts, as the problems were not limited the previous removed Members but included the Officers who remain.
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