Mike Fiddler is an ex-councillor, a notorious blogger and general thorn in the side of Langley Council. He is an enthusiastic correspondent with various council departments, and regularly writes scathing posts about what he perceives to be incompetence and corruption among the senior management, who he believes are a cabal of freemasons and criminals. Mike makes a detailed FOI request about rumours circulating in the town that the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council have been leaning on parts of the council to give jobs and contracts to friends and family.
The Chief’s wife is running a well-funded health and well-being programme for council staff, and an old school friend of the Leader has been installed as a trouble-shooter for financially vulnerable schools. However, council officers insist that both went through proper tender and recruitment processes, and there have been no complaints about the quality of either the well-being service or the trouble-shooter’s work. Indeed, the former has won an award. On this course, you will deal with Mike’s request – tracking down information, checking correspondence, and identifying exemptions that might protect legitimately sensitive information. Is Mike’s request vexatious? Is there a public interest in disclosing how public money was spent?