Getting The Story Straight

Seems to be beyond Durham County Council.

Someone going by the username McCruiskeen has posted a couple of interesting posts recently here. S/he has been questioning Durham County Council about the fish oil trial initiatve and has been told that Durham County Council approached Equazen and that the initiative was planned and lead by David Ford. S/he further quotes DCC as saying:-

“A recommendation to use omega 3 supplements was made by officers in line with the normal advisory relationship between the county council and its schools”

 Which fits in with a school headteacher telling me that the initiative was arranged by Durham County Council as a whole. Unfortunately it contradicts the information I received from them via the Information Commissioner’s Office which was that:-

“The decision to implement the fish oil initiative was not made by the Council”

Now in a very narrow sense this is true – it now appears that the decision was made by David Ford who is not a Councillor so the decision was not made by councillors in session. However, it is fair to say that most people would consider a decision made by such a senior official to be a decision made by the Council.

The reason for this obfuscation is plain.  I had initially requested copies of reports to elected Members but I was told that they did not exist. This assertion was repeated to the ICO. However McCruiskeen was told that:-

“…key Members were made aware of and supported providing this opportunity to schools…”

As well as the quackery at work at the heart of the LEA, this affair shows how easy it is for officials who do not wish us to be aware of their actions to get around the Freedom of Information Act. A few obfuscatory, misleading replies and you are home free.

 

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2 Responses to “Getting The Story Straight”

  1. symball Says:

    I would suggest (if you haven’t already) dropping a line to the information commissioner advising them of this change in story- Obfusicating to prevent a FoI enquiry is a sactionable offense for a council official.

  2. jaycueaitch Says:

    Good idea symball. I’ve written to the ICO with a link to and hard copy of the page to which McCruiskeen refers.

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