Justice CommitteeWritten evidence from Colin Peek

Through the website “what do they know” I have become aware that you are currently carrying out a review of the FOI and thought I would make you aware of my short experience.

I worked for a county council and was extremely concerned that it appeared to be acting improperly, having spoken with an elected Councillor who had similar views I found myself being warned off from talking to him again. I felt that my position was being compromised and my integrity challenged and resigned immediately.

For a year I observed from a distance the council continuing to deny improper and illegal practices in the press, eventually I decided to look at what people who had enquired into this had been told, and found that information appeared to be being manipulated, so I have set about compiling what I expect to be a comprehensive document detailing matters that have caused concern and may be worthy of further investigation. So that my report is factual I have initiated a number of FOI requests in the last couple of months to a number of bodies who hold information that should confirm my beliefs. However the responses so far seem to be very guarded if not obstructive, I want my report to be able to be seen as based on facts but without cooperation it will contain some degree of personal view.

If the FOI is to be successful authorities must be made to understand that failure to comply will result in action against the authority (and individuals who are deliberately acting improperly) as currently they view those enquiring as “troublemakers” and try to put questions aside as vexatious.

January 2012

Prepared 25th July 2012