Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Pleasurama Thanet District Council and The Freedom of Information Act

I have just recieved the Pleasurama development agreement, as you can see from the picture there is a lot of it, probably over 1,000 pages, so it will take me a while to peruse.

This was the first time I have used the freedom of information act, so I can’t tell if my experience was representative.

The whole process of getting this document took nearly a year, god alone knows how much of my time and the council’s it took. I hate to think about what obtaining it cost the council.

What I also found pretty horrifying was that I didn’t get an electronic file but printed documents, as did the information commissioner who tells me that they will all have to be scanned onto their system.

It is obviously that all of the documents were originally produced as electronic files and then printed out.

This makes me wonder how many forests are being cut down, as one part of our government types out documents in MS Word prints them out and posts them to another part of our government, where someone then scans them back into a computer so that they can be accessed without government officers being buried under the mounds of paper.

As far as I understand the whole document is now in the public domain, although I doubt you will find it on the council’s website and you may encounter some resistance if you ask for a copy too.

I haven’t yet decided if I should put the whole thing online or not, does anyone want me to?

12 comments:

  1. Perhaps the reason that you were sent a printed copy was to make it harder for you to put online Michael? Personally I'll be more happy to read edited highlights though... Hope it has all the info you wanted.

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  2. Seeing as they (us) went to all that expense, it would be rude not too.

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  3. Rear View Mirror, will you feel better about paying for this if it ends up saving lives?

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  4. Perhaps Peter you would just like to see the edited version, the one that suits your arguement.

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  5. I have no "arguement" (sic) with anyone, but if local government were a bit more transparent with the way they spend OUR money then we wouldn't need these costly F.O.I. requests, & everyone could read the unedited version(s) if they wanted to.

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  6. Peter RVW I will do my best to get it all up online, I certainly need any help I can get making some sense of it.

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  7. Oh Get a real life Michael

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  8. anon 19.23 anyone that follows this blog will know that Michael has a life and has the interest of Ramsgate residents at heart. Of course he needs a vibrant town to be able to keep his shop going but without a council that lets its residents know whats going on the town needs people like Michael.
    I just hope that Michael has an auto feed scanner!

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  9. To Anonymous 19:23,

    You glibly advise Michael to, "get a life". I do not know if Michael will heed your advice. However, I advise Michael to avoid getting a life that in any way resembles your own.

    It appears to me that Michael has a positive and helpful approach to life.

    Incidentally, Anonymous 19:13, where did you get your life, I wonder.

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  10. Supplying the information as printed out documents reduces the ease of dissemination of the information, and eliminates the risk of giving hidden information embedded in the documents, or about the system used to produced the report. It would make it just too easy if the whole report was set up for multiple word searches and application of filters.

    Everyone has different interests and areas of specialisation, putting the information online increases the chance of someone finding the interesting bits.

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  11. Ramsgate is indeed a toilet on the coast of Kent. I don't care who wants to move in to a flat that will flood, it won't be me, if it won't be built I think the site should become a gypsy caravan park by the sea.It would get some use then. Aircraft noise doesn't annoy me in the town, tattooed teen mums that swear are the biggest blight, they walk down from newington to shoplift in poundland.

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  12. Your last comment 0831 - Anonymous is probably one of the usual bigots to run down Ramsgate at every opportunity - but his comments are not worth responding to - but i will. Ramsgate whatever people think - apart from the dyed in the wool - anti -everything brigade is on the upturn of propsperity - see local stories in the National press in the last year - the main thing to combat is that inherent problem of Thanet apathy - which regards progess in whatever shape as a problem and worth fighting for - i do not subsscibe to apathy - and wish Ramsgate well to continue it's upwards and onwards movement to a major player in the South Coast renovation of Coastal Towns - no doubt i will be pilloried for these views - but never mind -look forward not back.

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