Strong words from David Bowles in the Daily Post yesterday as he "slammed the leaking of a private warning to councillors about their conduct" on the Druid site. He goes on to say that leaking information of this kind is a "disgrace".
If I may reply to Mr Bowles: what is really a 'disgrace' is not the leaking of information but Anglesey County Council's obstructive behaviour in responding to perfectly valid Freedom of Information requests. On Tuesday this week I posted on an instance of the IOACC failing to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by issuing neither the information requested (in this case Mr Bowles's salary) or a refusal notice within the statutory 20 day period. In fact the applicant is still waiting for a response after more than 50 days. And this is not the only such occurrence. The Druid happens to know for a fact that the officer in charge of Corporate Information at the IOACC has sent a memo to all council managers warning them of the need to keep a tight control on responding to FoIA requests properly and on time as he fears that an increasing number of complaints might bring a costly full investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). This site for one will strongly lobby the ICO to make such an investigation if the IOACC continues to ignore its duties by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
It must be said that the Druid has great respect for David Bowles' biography. He was named Private Eye's "Man of the Year" in 2004 - no mean feat - for calling in the Police when he learned that the Leader of Lincolnshire Council had tried to influence the route of new bypass in order increase the value of his land. For his efforts Bowles was effectively hounded out of office. Following that he was forced to quit his new position as Chairman of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust for standing up to New Labour's obsessions with targets - which he claimed jeopardised the safety of patients. I wonder what the David Bowles of 2004 would think of the David Bowles of 2010 making such strenuous efforts to avoid revealing his taxpayer funded salary…?