Tower Hamlets Council grants funding – FOI 9087 and 9088

Now where was I? Another quiet day for news in Tower Hamlets so no distractions and on with the little data story I started yesterday. So, two documents in response to one FOI request. Document 9088 with data and document 9087 without data. Here’s the missing data. (As usual click on an image to see a gallery of all images).
The missing data.
The missing data.
The three organisations mentioned (or not mentioned depending on which version you look at) are: 
  • Council of Mosques
  • Darul Ummah Centre
  • London Muslim Centre
The grant amounts in the missing section total £614,786.00 for the years 2008 – 2012. I have no more idea than you if these grant amounts should have been disclosed in response to the original FOI request or not disclosed.

Spot the difference

The interesting thing is the difference between the two documents. Here are the two documents side by side.
Now you see it (left) and now you don't (right).
Now you see it (left) and now you don't (right).
If you are not totally bored by now let us move on to the authorship of the two PDF documents. To do that is very simple. Just selecting 'Properties' from the 'File' menu of an open document does the trick. Here is what you see if you do this to 9088 and 9087.
Metadata from the two PDF documents shows authorship.
Metadata from the two PDF documents shows authorship.
  So 9088 (the ‘with’ document) was created by someone called ‘tim’ using Microsoft Word on 04 October 2013. Then 9087 (the ‘without’ document) was created by someone called ‘Akrom Miah’ using Microsoft Excel on 25th October 2013. A web search for ‘Tower Hamlets FOI tim’ will give us Tim Rodgers Information Governance Manager. No surprises there. A web search on  “Tower Hamlets FOI 'akrom miah' “ won’t return anything to indicate an Akrom Miah works in the Information Governance section of the Council. Nothing unusual here. FOI requests come in to a central unit and then if required Council officers in the relevant area are consulted. ‘Akrom Miah’ does turn up in a couple of other Tower Hamlets Council documents but it is unclear what he does. Possibly finance. And does it matter? Quite possibly not. Also the metadata from these two documents just means that they were created using software registered to Tim Rodgers and Akrom Miah on their Council computers. It does not mean they were the persons using the computers at the time. In a busy office it could be anyone. It should be emphasized that there is no reason to believe that anyone mentioned here has done anything wrong. But it can be argued that they could have done things much better. So there you have it. Or not have it. Because after all my digging and analysis I have no idea who was granted what. Have you? Is 9088 the truth or is 9087 the truth?

What’s the point?

The purpose of these two posts are quite simple. To highlight the fact that at the moment a FOI request to Tower Hamlets Council does not mean you get information. You might get data, numbers on a page. But not information – what you want to know. In every other council in the land a citizen can submit a FOI request and be reasonably sure they will get the information they want. Not in Tower Hamlets. I hope I have managed to illustrate how Tower Hamlets Council and its current administration hold their residents in contempt in regards to FOI requests. As they do in most other regard too.

Mr. Pickles loses patience

Today (04 April 2013) the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) finally lost patience with Tower Hamlets Council. At around 8am this morning auditors and police descended on the Town Hall and seized computers and paperwork. So now the experts are trying to establish the truth of what goes on in Mulberry Place. If you want to find out more about Mayor Lutfur Rahman, Tower Hamlets and grant-giving I highly recommend Andrew Gilligan’s work in the Daily Telegraph. I will be returning to this subject at some point.    
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