Can we have our FOI information back please begs Loony Lambeth

The basic concepts behind the Freedom of Information act seems to have escaped those running Lambeth Council.

The Lambeth People’s Audit team is a group of local residents using statutory powers given by The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 to investigate what Lambeth Council get up to.

There seems lots to investigate.

Screen grab of spreadsheet data Lambeth Council does not want anyone to see.
Look away now! Nothing interesting to see here! The spreadsheet data Lambeth Council does not want anyone to see. But why?

The People’s Audit were more than a little baffled recently to receive an email from Lambeth asking them if they wouldn’t mind deleting a previous email they had sent in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and not circulate the information the email contained?

Please? Pretty please? Pretty please with sprinkles on?

Fenwick Estate regeneration

Of particular interest to the People’s Audit is the regeneration of the Fenwick Estate in Clapham. The Fenwick is one of the six estates currently ear-marked for regeneration by Lambeth council. The cabinet decision to demolish the estate was made in July 2016.

The email containing FOI response data related to this issue,

LW is delighted to report that the People’s Audit completely ignored Lambeth Council’s begging letter.

Why the secrecy Lambeth?

You can see the information Lambeth Council did not want anyone to see in this cracking story concerning the tendering process used to award the regeneration contract for the Fenwick to Mace.

“These figures raise some serious questions about how the original decision to award the contract to Mace was made,” says Simon Morrow, co-ordinator of Lambeth People’s Audit.

“It beggars belief that a bid more than £5m higher than one of its rivals could have provided outstandingly better value for money for council tax-payers.”

You can keep up with the work of the Lambeth People’s Audit on their website and on Twitter as @PeoplesAudit. Well worth following.

LW Comment

Well done to the People’s Audit team – keep on doing what you are doing.

It beggars belief that the person in Lambeth Council who asked for its FOI information back did not think that (a) it was plain wrong to do so and that (b) there was no better way to emphasise the importance of such information.

Sending People’s Audit a custom made six foot high pink neon sign with the plea “DO NOT LOOK AT THIS IT IS NOT INTERESTING@“ would have been more subtle.

So while we have no idea what the details of the Fenwick Estate tendering process will finally reveal Lambeth Council has inadvertently confirmed that it is most definitely worthy of very close scrutiny.

The Wapping Mole has a particular affinity with Lambeth as he was born and brought up in Sarf Lunnun, Tulse Hill in Brixton to be precise, and so keeps a keen eye out for the People’s Audit’s work and lends a helping paw when he can, despite having crossed the great London divide known as the River Thames.

Oddly enough Moley has recently noticed that someone has been searching his very own Love Wapping site for information relating to the individuals involved with the People’s Audit.

Individuals connected to the Peoples Audit

We know this because our Google Analytics log shows someone using to search for the specific phrase “individuals connected to the peoples audit” on LW. 

Strange that. And our experience tells us that using an anonymous IP pool rather than a corporate network is a sensible precaution.

Moley wonders who should be so curious about a group of citizens making use of their democratic rights to scrutinise their local council?

Probably someone reading this.

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