National and Devolved Politics

04.06.18

Sheffield council rejects over a third of Amey-related FOI requests in last three years

 Sheffield City Council have rejected over a third of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests regarding private contractor Amey’s involvement with tree-felling in the area.

A total of 5,843 requests were made to the council since 2015, of which a whopping 895 were partially or fully declined.

Some 472 of the information requests involved the actions of Amey and its actions in the ‘Streets Ahead’ contract, a scheme of which the council won a high court battle to prevent campaigners from protesting tree-felling in the area last year. Of those information applications, 180 were fully or partly declined.

Leader of Sheffield’s Lib Dems Cllr Shaffaq Mohammed has put forward a motion to increase openness in the council, which is set to be discussed on Wednesday. The motion has been supported by Cllr Rob Murphy, speaker for the Sheffield Green Party.

Authorities are permitted to refuse requests under certain circumstances: in these cases, The Star reported, the main reasons for refusal were that requests were “vexatious”, the information was “accessible by other means”, the cost had exceeded the limit of £450, and the details of the refusals were “personal” or “confidential.”

Cllr Mohammed told The Star: “The irony is, Nick Clegg, who was instrumental in securing the contract and one of the most powerful people in the country, wasn’t even allowed to see the full version.

“He got to see national security briefs, top level things about life and death, but unfortunately, Sheffield City Council never let him see a contract for fixing the roads and streets.”

Cllr Mohammed added that the situation has been getting worse. He added: “I can’t believe how this council is operating. The citizens of this city have a right to be informed."

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