SNP score victory over Labour in openness case

David Alexander

Falkirk Council’s SNP leader, David Alexander, has won a notable victory in the fight to end the culture of secrecy within the council since Labour and their allies took over.

In a landmark ruling Scottish Information Commissioners have instructed Falkirk Council’s Labour / Tory Administration to provide the SNP with details of reports paid for by council taxpayers and but kept secret by the ruling coalition.

Two reports prepared by a consultant at the cost of £90,000 must now have most of their recommendations made available to the SNP following an exhaustive 18 month case lodged with the Information Commissioners responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Initially the Labour led council had refused to even admit that reports existed and latterly refused to discuss their findings or recommendations but had instead began a process of centralising Housing Service functions in opposition to the previous SNP / Independent Administration’s decentralised structure.

A delighted Councillor Alexander said,

“I am delighted with this ruling as it sends a clear message to the Labour / Tory Administration that first of all the SNP will fight tooth and nail their attempts to hush up impropriety and secondly that external agencies are watching.

Council taxpayers paid £90,000 for two reports into the running of the Housing Department and the SNP are expected to accept that these reports should never see the light of day. That maybe the Labour way but not ours.”

Councillor Alexander also hinted that the parts the information commissioners ruled should not be disclosed may be the subject of appeal to the UK Commissioners. He went on to say.

“In a conversation with a member of staff at the Scottish Commissioners HQ I was informed that my application had been treated as from a member of the public and not as an elected member of the authority as that is all they could do under their statute and as a result some information has been withheld. We are currently investigating the options open to us. “

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