Bexley Council answer almost one in five Freedom of Information requests late

PUBLISHED: 14:04 23 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:30 23 September 2013

Almost 20 per cent of Freedom of Information Requests submitted to Bexley Council do not receive a response in 20 working days - including the one submitted by the Times on speed of response.

Bexley Council Freedom of Information requests

Percentage responded to in 20 days

2008/09 80.58

2009/10 83.98

2010/11 83.50

2011/12 84.97

2012/13 80

All public authorities are required to respond to requests within 20 working days.

In 2012/13 exactly 80 per cent were answered in the required timeframe and the highest percentage in the last five years is 84.97 in 2011/12.

Michael Barnbrook, of Bexley Action Group, said: “I don’t mind getting requests back a few days late because the council have to answer eventually.

“I’m more worried about the way they’re answered. If you don’t use the exact right wording they (the council) will find a way to avoid giving you the information you’re after.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council receives over 1,300 requests every year.

“We have seen an increase in the complexity of FOI requests and it is not unusual for a single request to include 10 to 15 questions. Wherever possible we always aim to contact the applicant to explain any possible delay and also to agree a revised date.”

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