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Council admit that Freedom Of Information request was not handled in accordance with legislation

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BT Coleraine

Causeway Coast & Glens Council have admitted that a freedom of information request was not handled in accordance with legislation.

Council in a response on the 14th September however has reassured the FOI requester that it is now being processed after the initial correspondence was diverted to their email quarantine.

The request that was submitted in July on WhatDoTheyKnow of this year is centered around a series of questions on communications agency, ASG & Partners.

ASG & Partners over the years have carried out a number of advertising and communication campaigns for the council.

The basis of the complaint is that Council did not respond nor acknowledge the request.

In a reply from the Chief Executive on the 14th September, he said that he reviewed the representations and found that requests were not handled in accordance with legislation and that the fault lay with ‘trigger words’ being used which resulted in emails going to a ‘quarantine system’ that are automatically deleted every 28 days.

Independent Councillor Padraig McShane slammed the Council FOI process and said the Council response was ‘scarcely believable’. Commenting he said ;

“How can we be asked to accept that no one would check the spam folder?

“Access to information is central to good governance and accountability. I have no reason to believe that staff are not regularly checking spam folders. This response appears to be attempting to apportion blame on staff members.

“Mr Kazinski has raised a real and legitimate concern. Further, he has brought it to the attention of Councillors. It’s now a priority for us to investigate and rectify this immediately.

The Freedom of Information request can be found by clicking here.

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