Freedom of Information – at last!   Melbourn in Cambridgeshire

Final decision made by the Tribunal Court on the Grievance Report…

‘Melbourn Parish Council must disclose the undated report of the grievance hearing’

Those followers of this strange saga which began in June 2016 must by now have assumed that this whole sorry episode had died a death. And rightly so, given the last Post on this site was the ICO Decision Notice back in May (2017), which decided against the publication of the Grievance Report.

Following the ICO’s rather incomprehensible conclusion, (in which they felt the embarrassment the document would cause one or more people was more important than accounting for abuse or intimidation) an appeal was made on the 19th May 2017 to the First-Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber), a government body put in place to look at disputes such as this.

A final decision was made on the 6th October 2017.

The Court found against the ICO

the decision is set out HERE

The Court’s decision is final and can only be challenged on a point of law.

The appeal to the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary was to challenge the reasons behind the Information Commissioner’s decision. The release of the Grievance document is important, but by arriving at their decision, the ICO had opened the proverbial ‘can of worms’. It sent a message to anyone in public office who felt if a report was likely to cause embarrassment, they could ‘simply’ make that claim under the Freedom of Information Act and given the ICO’s attitude, was likely to succeed in preventing publication.

The Grievance Report will be released!
… but, yet another delay, this time at the hands of the new council. There is a feeling that there are some on this new open and transparent council, that would prefer this sorry mess to just slip away and be forgotten.

Will it be the jaw-dropping revelation people expect? I doubt it… I would certainly surmise it was not worth the furore which resulted in bringing a whole Parish Council into disrepute.

But we shall see!

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