How Tower Hamlets Council hides the truth from residents (and everyone else)

George Orwell

We have been on the verge of writing about this particular subject several times but have held back.

But to be honest we are sick and tired of being lied to by Tower Hamlets Council and so we have decided to share with you how the Council operates in a blatant attempt to stop you, borough residents, from finding out what it gets up to.

This particular example is about how the Council’s ‘communications’ team does it best to not communicate. Very Orwellian.

No doubt this tactic is at the request of those in power (if not in control) but individuals need to remember their personal responsibility.

The red face test

A simple tactic is employed. Moley or another member of our extensive editorial team is working on a story and wants to confirm a fact relating to the Council. So we email the Council’s communications team and ask “Is this fact true please?”

If the answer to the question is fairly dull and safe we might get a reply.

Weird thing is that when the question is almost certain to cause political embarrassment to the Council and red faces all round then we do not get a reply.

Odd that, innit?

End result is that quite a few of the more interesting stories about Tower Hamlets Council never see the light of day. News is a perishable commodity after all.

And if we don’t find out stuff and publish it then quite often nobody outside the Town Hall is aware of what the Town Hall gets up to.

Which is great if you are the Town Hall.

But today Moley woke up and decided he has had enough of this crap and is no longer going to play nice.

So below you can see just a few of the many email questions we have sent to Tower Hamlets Council and to which we have never received a reply. We have added one we only sent today just for fun.

Cos Moley is so nice he has redacted names of people and organisations involved. But you can probably get the general drift of the issues.

Have a look for yourself.

Redacted examples of unanswered emails to LBTH

Redacted examples of unanswered emails to London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council.

Meaningless blah wak wik

Interesting, huh?

Moley has no doubt that within a few minutes of this being published he will receive an email from LBTH Communications Team along the lines of “please send us details of any email to which you have not received a reply and we will endeavour to blah blah meaningless blah wak wik wokky naa ….. “.

Don’t bother Comms people. We aren’t so stupid that we will give you even more time to do er, nothing, while all sorts of things go on at Tower Hamlets Council which are fundamentally wrong.

Are your shoes wet?

Ignoring media emails is just part of the little game this administration plays – in exactly the same way that the administration of Lutfur Rahman tended to go wee wee all over residents shoes and then inform them that it was raining.

Another part of the games Mayor Biggs and his people play is with responses to the Freedom of Information Act.

Moley hasn’t a clue what the legal issue is with Tower Hamlets Council deliberately and wilfully refusing to reply to press requests for information. And to be honest we don’t give a damn.

He does know that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government probably takes a dim view of it – especially seen in the context of other events.

Moley did a quick check as to the penalties for breaching the Freedom of Information Act and found this super useful info over at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

It seems that if some naughty person or public authority deliberately destroys, hides or alters requested information to prevent it being released they are committing a criminal offence and can be charged.

Section 77 of the Freedom Information Act states that “it is a criminal offence to alter, block, destroy or conceal information” and that “depending on the nature of the incident, an authority or its individual members of staff could be charged with this offence. The penalty is a fine.”

Oops!

So next time let’s see what Tower Hamlets Council have been doing with the Freedom of Information Act shall we?


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