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Bookmark and Share Council Is Ordered To Release DW Records

2/26/2012 07:53:00 pm - Reported by John Bowman

A tribunal has ordered Cardiff Council to hand over all its records to do with Doctor Who.

A request under the Freedom of Information Act was made last year by journalist Christopher Hastings to see all documents between the BBC and the council relating to the series. He also wanted to see complaints about the programme that had been sent to the council, as well as all the relevant civic correspondence with utility firms and other public bodies.

The council had refused to comply, saying that it would take longer than the 18 hours that legislation allows. That stance was rejected by the Information Commissioner so the council appealed to the Information Rights Tribunal. However, the tribunal ruled that Cardiff "failed to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that responding to Mr Hastings' enquiry would have involved in excess of 18 hours' work."

Ordering the council to release the information, it also reproached it for what it called poor evidence, with two officers at the civic authority - Phil Bradshaw and Dave Parsons - contradicting each other, and one of them (Bradshaw) contradicting himself.

A council spokesman said:
"The council is disappointed with the tribunal decision but while accepting the judgement we are still concerned that it will take significantly longer to process than the 18 hours of employee time which allows requests to be refused under the Freedom of Information Act.

"We estimated the cost of processing the original request for information would have been prohibitive.

"In hindsight we accept we did not provide sufficient evidence to the tribunal in regard of the costs of processing the request for information. However, we note that the tribunal recognised the efforts made to clarify the request which were rejected by the requester of the information."