Tag Archives: Oxford City Council

Oxford City Council delays FOI requests

Through a glass, darkly

Unusually, in our experience, the normally *very* transparent Oxford City Council has decided to delay replying to two FOI (freedom of information)  requests and so is potentially breaking the law.

On the 14th of October 2014, we asked about Oxford’s surveillance of peoples’ bins after we got a snottogram from a functionary – you can read our request here.

Then, being sort of IT biased, we made a request of the cost of IT during the calendar year 2013. That request has been delayed too. You can read that request here.

Finally, we asked Oxford City Council the cost of hiring IT firm Capita to try and cut down the number of people claiming a 25 percent discount because they live alone.  We received a letter from said Capita saying if we didn’t reply, Oxford City Council reserved the right to knock off the discount. Fortunately, the letter was in 14 point Tahoma, so we could just about read it with a magnifying glass.

We haven’t had a response to that question either.

Transparency, through a glass darkly.  We have emailed the City Council meisters in charge of the requests.  Maybe they haven’t had the influenza immunization yet.

Mill Street, the Wall and Cherwell College

I AM NOT entirely sure the venerable Oxford Mail got the whole story about this, but hey, WTF. We only live here. ♥

Susanna Pressel is the Labour Rose

pressel2I HAVE GOT quite a lot of time for Susanna Pressel, Labour politician of this yard, let me tell you.  Never lend her your secateurs though, if you want your cotoneasta to stay untrimmed.

I understand she is a dab hand at pool, which she used to play at the currently closed The Kite, and deffo she is responsive to the locals when we ask her a question. She was, for example, a heroine in our campaign against The Wall between numbers 19-41 Mill Street. That is currently being pre-fabricated, much to the annoyance of badgers and other wild critters.

Pressel is up for re-election on the 22nd of May next, and as you can see from the blurb above, has quite a track record. I don’t know which two schools she is governor of, though but. There are certainly more than two schools in the Jericho and Osney ward.

But I will never, ever vote for her Labour colleague, a Mr Colin “cycle clips” Cook.  Ever.

Port Meadow strikes again!

I GET a lovely leaflet from those lovely people who opposed the Port Meadow development. You can email them at saveportmeadow@gmail.com, although I’m not sure if the lasses and lads are aware that Google on gmail monitors every email in and out.

There are some fab quotes on the leaflet. Colin Cook, a Labour councillor, describes the whole thing as “a storm in a teacup”. City council leader Bob Price says: “It is difficult to see precisely what is getting people so exercised.”  Planning minister Nick Boles, MP, says: “A disgrace… one of the worst designs I’ve seen in the last 10 years.”

Now there is damage that needs to be undone, although some damage in our opinion at Volesoft is terminal. Although by nature of a leftish stance, we will never vote for our councillor Colin Cook ever again, despite his lovely cycle clips. We are even considering not voting for lovely Susanna Pressel, even though she is slightly leftish too.   We at Volesoft think the Labour controlled Oxford City Council needs some Ex-Lax…

 

 

The scaffolds go up on Mill Street

Ahead of the Austrians coming to Mill Street – next week – the scaffolding is going up. If there is a god at the bottom of the gardens between numbers 19 to 41 it has to be Jason Thacker.

Mill Street

To look on the bright side, once the Wall has been built, we won’t be able to take a snap of the extremely ugly Said ziggurat.

Oh, by the way, the blackbird is still nesting happily in the tuti puti shed halfway down Nathistan.

Oxford City Council challenges the over 40s

There are quite a lot of people aged over 40 live here in Oxford Town. So when Oxford City Council delivered its schedule of wheelie bin pick ups, I did a straw poll.

100% of the people I surveyed could neither (a) read the small print on the wheelie bin instructions and (b) understand what Oxford City Council was on about.

Perhaps the Council could hire professionals who could (a) string a sentence together and (b) realise that if print is too small, no one over the age of 40 could possibly read it without an electron microscope.  Oh, and BTW, Oxford City Council, not everyone who lives here is on the world wide wibble.

oxy2014

Oxford councillor takes Vladimir Putin stance

I mean to say, words fail me but obviously don’t fail John Goddard. ♥

 

It’s a view from the bridge

You know I’ve been on about the corridor at the bottom of my magic garden, yeah?  You know, the prefabricated Austrian sections and the like.

I had to go to the Royal Mail depot today on Oxpens Road – to do that you need to cross the railway lines on a really really ugly footbridge. Network Rail has told us this bridge will have to go because when it electrifies the railway next year, the footbridge won’t be high enough.

viewfromthebridge

Here’s a view from the current footbridge of the works going on. My garden is two to the left of the cherry blossom.

It’s already a footbridge too far at night time – there’s no lights and it’s difficult to see the steps in the dark. Network Rail is taking representations although us residents won’t really have a say, as far as I can tell.

I mean, what sense can you make of this Network Rail missive?

<<Hi Susanna, [that’s Susanna Pressel, a councillor who reps our area, Ed.]

 Next Tuesday 11th March Network Rail are having an internal meeting to co-ordinate the various projects in and around Oxford City.

 As a representative of The GWMLe programme, I will be attending. The premise is to ensure a holistic approach is progressed with on a practical manner.

 DCL 62.49 Osney Lane is on the agenda to debate and ensure synergy is identified between each of the separate projects.

 While the project manager has to work to his time table which programmes in a ‘slot’ in the summer. If due process (consultation and planning submission) is disrupted, then that date will slip.

 As soon as the meeting next week has identified who the lead engagement officers are from NR, I will let Yim know.

 The get in contact with Oxford City, and request an urgent meeting to run through the issues.

 You will be in the first tranche of consultee’s engaged with.

 Kind Regards,

 Andy.>>

Councils can’t cost FOI

mikeonabeachI had two rather sweet replies to my most recent freedom of information requests to Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council.

I had asked them if they could tell me and the world+dog how much it cost to fulfil their legal obligations to provide info about stuff.

Oxford City Council said: “Dear Mr Magee

”Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your FOI request received on 3rd January 2014 as follows :

”There is no specific budget for dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests. The Corporate Secretariat Manager acts as the Council’s Freedom of Information Officer – it is not a full-time role. He is supported by an administrative assistant who works 20 hours per week. In addition, individual departments have officers who provide information to the Freedom of Information Officer so that responses can be sent. It is very difficult to ascertain the costs involved.

”Yours sincerely

”Michael Newman
Corporate Secretariat Manager
Oxford City Council”

→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→

Oxfordshire County Council said much the same: “Dear Mr Magee,

”Thank you for your request of 3rd January 2014 in which you requested
information about the estimated annual cost of administering and
responding to Freedom of Information requests.

”Oxfordshire County Council does not hold information relating to your
request. This is because the role of administering freedom of information
requests is carried out as part of an officers wider role.

”In order to advise and assist, the Council has co-ordinators in each
Directorate of the Council who assist with FOI requests as well as other
administrative tasks. The Corporate Team has two members of staff who
advise on FOI legislation but they also have other roles, such as logging
corporate complaints which are made in writing or via the telephone as
well as responding to Information Commissioner and Local Government
Ombudsman investigations. Therefore it is not possible to provide you with
a figure, estimated or otherwise, as to the cost of administering FOI
requests in isolation.

“Please let me know if you have further enquiries. I would be grateful if
you could use the reference number given at the top of this email.

”Yours sincerely,

”Claire V Buller
Complaints and Freedom of Information Officer
Oxfordshire County Council
Law and Culture
County Hall”

You can make FOI requests of your own, at this excellent site,  here.

Oxfordshire County Council: Paint this pole!

See this pole outside my little house in Mill Street? In the last four days it’s been adorned with this garish yellow sign.

pole
I’ve asked counciller Susanna Pressel – she’s a Labour councillor for both Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council – if perhaps the rusty pole couldn’t be painted or replaced.

She answered that there isn’t enough money to paint the pole. I’d paint it myself, but bugger that for a game of soldiers, I’d probably get prosecuted for vandalism or something.

I don’t drive. The pole is there to warn people that they’ll get nicked if they don’t have a valid permit to park.  Paint it! It’s a site  for sore eyes, an eyesore.