A WATCHDOG has rapped Kirklees Council on its "poor handling" of public information and will monitor it closely for the next three months.
Everyone has the right to request information held by public sector organisations under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
But the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said Kirklees Council had dealt with requests from the public poorly and had "exceeded the time for compliance by a significant margin on one occasion or more".
From now until June 30 the ICO will be closely monitoring the way Kirklees Council deals with FOI requests.
The council will have to provide data to the ICO about how many FOI requests it receives, how many it responds to and will also need to show it has replied to requests in a timely manner.
The news comes following an Examiner investigation into Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan’s meddling with Freedom of Information requests.
A valid FOI request submitted to the council must be replied to within 20 days, but the Examiner revealed that due to councillor Khan’s intervention, some requests were delayed well over the time limit.
It was revealed Clr Khan had also been amending information which had been prepared to send out to people.
But the Labour councillor denied doing anything wrong and said he had merely been trying to put things into "context" and "improve" the information sent back to applicants.
Following the story, which you can read by clicking here, many people called for Clr Khan to resign.
Greenhead nurse Linda Wild said she was "outraged" and has submitted a letter to the council calling for the standards committee to investigate Clr Khan’s actions regarding FOI responses.
She said: "I would like to request that the standards committee investigate the allegation against Clr Khan and that while this investigation takes place he is suspended from all his duties as an elected representative.
"I have checked with the standard board for England and also with the Information Commissioners Office and I have been advised that interference with answers to Freedom of Information requests is a breach of conduct."
The TaxPayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes, said the Commissioner should be given stronger powers to act against bodies that delayed.
Director Matthew Sinclair said: "There are too many loopholes in the Freedom of Information Act, and the lack of sanction for unwarranted delays is the worst.