You would think dear reader that with the amount of practise Tower Hamlets politicians have had in lying through their teeth to us all that by now they would be good at it. Even very good.
But they are not. They are useless.
Quite how long it takes for someone in the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government to realise the scope and depth of malfeasance that is the norm at the town hall and send their Inspectors in to strike LBTH down with great vengeance and furious anger is beyond me, for the moment we are on our own.
Moley resents any time whatsoever devoted to keeping an eye on what passes for local government in Tower Hamlets but hey, nobody else is doing it. But let’s keep this short shall we? Yes? Good.
Far, far away and long, long ago (well, September 2020) the Enquirer submitted a Subject Access Request about Moley and friends and got so fed up waiting for a response we made a formal complaint to the Information Commissioners Office in late January.
What a surprise
By a strange coincidence, only two weeks or so after making a formal complaint we finally got a response from LBTH!
How odd is that?
Here is the response. (Officers name redacted)
Yep. They do not hold any more personal data apart from the trivial stuff in the PDF files they had already sent on 30th November and saying ‘Here is some of the information you have requested. I am chasing officers for the rest.’
Seems there is no rest. The sum total of all mention of Moley and chums and his online publishing outlets between 2015 and 2021 is all in those three teeny weeny little PDF files.
Trouble is that LBTH is wrong. There is more. Lots more.
Even LBTH knows that the contents of email accounts of officers who have left the council have to be archived. Just in case someone puts in a SAR or sumfink.
Or there is an investigation of some kind.
So we want all those emails please LBTH. Every. Bleeding. One.
Also note the wording of the response relating to Will Tuckley (CEO) and Andreas Christophorou’s (Divisional Director of Communications and Marketing) email accounts ‘they do not hold any information that amounts to your personal data‘.
Love to know what their definition of ‘amounts to your personal data’ is.
Then there is what we mentioned in the Poplar Papers 9 – How Tower Hamlets Council avoids public scrutiny on May 11, 2020. Screen grab below.
And we think there will be lots of other relevant mentions in the Poplar Papers that fall within our SAR around this for obvious reasons. They should be interesting to read don’t you think?
We did a very quick search of the Poplar Papers evidence bundle released to the media (after much arguing) and found relevant references on pages 405, 417, 766 and 2215.
There also exists the complete Poplar Papers evidence bundle which is huge apparently. Wonder how many references are in there?
However many there are LBTH we want every one of them please.
Then there are the enquiries councillors and officers dealt with generated by several hundred emails we have sent to LBTH Media Office during the last six years. (Well, the emails they replied to anyway.)
This undoubtedly includes internal correspondence with the LBTH legal team asking for clarification on how to respond to enquiries. We want all those too thanks.
The case of the plain weird email
What else have LBTH been unable to find? One email, one of Moley’s favourites actually, is this very odd one from Andreas Christophorou which arrived out of the blue in April 2020 and baffled everyone in the office. OK, its not a big office but everyone in it was baffled.
Here it is. (Hey Andreas, you OK with me publishing this? No? Tough. We seem to be a lot more rigorous archiving correspondence than you are.)
A pandemic is raging and the geezer in charge of Media Communications thinks this is a great time to email me about a spoof post written in March?
And to suggest that ‘we could meet to work together for the good of the borough’?
For those of you unfamiliar with the post Andreas references we have gone to the trouble of migrating it from Love Wapping to the East End Enquirer for your reading pleasure!
We ignored this weird email until we were chatting to a good friend and colleague and mentioned it. He immediately told me what the real purpose of the letter was and what it was a prelude to.
Here is my redacted response. Why redacted? Because I have no intention of spoiling the surprise of some stories to come.
In conclusion then dear reader LBTH really needs to get a better understanding of how to lie properly. Maybe there is an online course they could complete?
Your response to my SAR was incomplete and certainly not in the spirit of the law. I suggest you review your position on this matter and provide me with the information I have requested.
I will be forwarding all the above information to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Oops! We nearly forgot!
The above is a grab from one of the original small PDFs we were sent as something to amuse us while we waited for, er, nothing.
At the bottom there is a page number, 114 in this case. Interesting thing is that the PDFs we were sent barely make it to double figures in the pagination stakes.
In short this looks like an extract from a much larger document in excess of 100 pages.
Which might just contain lots more content which should be part of any SAR request.
So we will have the rest of that document too LBTH.
‘It is a criminal act for a local authority to deliberately destroy, hide or alter requested information to prevent it being released. Other breaches of the Freedom of Information Act are unlawful but not criminal.’Freedom of Information Act 2000
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As community journalists we do exactly what it says on our tin – we work for the community.
In Tower Hamlets, which covers most of London’s East End, that means we spend a lot of time investigating allegations of political corruption.
It is an unfortunate fact that the poorest local authority in the country is still beset by the highest levels of corruption.
As Love Wapping we were instrumental in exposing the electoral corruption of Mayor Lutfur Rahman.
We hoped that would be an end to our work – no such chance!