Just a quick response. I am not sure anyone is defending the situation. There is a particular management issue, knowing your clients, and the wider context, ie controversy.
As far as I can tell no one has made comment on the controversy rather they have focused on the management issue ie how FOI statistics are used.
Any service will want to know their performance information so that they can monitor performance so that they can manage it. I would even go so far as to suggest that if a service is not monitoring their performance they are not providing value for money. :)
The performance management information may be used for other purposes, that some may disagree with, and that would be a separate issue from the validity or use of performance information.
As to reputation management, it works all the time. It is a big business. Good RM realizes that you cannot sell what is not there. Reputation Management firms understand this and work with clients to address the issues involved. In other words, you cannot make silk purse out of a sows ear. However, you can explain that the sow's ear came from one of the finest sows and it has good qualities. :)
Again, like performance management information, reputation management information can be used for other purposes, however, it does not invalidate reputation management information.
Finally, the same information can be used in the opposite direction. Why not ask, why there are so many questions?, what is the information that is requested?, has it been published? Again, these are standard topics within the field of rhetoric or more specifically philosophical logic. How arguments are created ie claim, evidence, and warrants that connect them. They show the issues and can be dissected and debate within a variety of forums focused on those issues. Again, this is not an FOI or a DPA issue. The issue is the intent or purpose for which the information is used, which moves us away from DPA and FOIA in the realm of politics and political philosophy ie what is the best way to govern.
From: This list is for those interested in Data Protection issues [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Paul Cardin
Sent: 11 September 2012 17:15
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [data-protection] Large number of FoI requests from 10 citizens
This blog agrees with the point about 9 people lodging relatively few requests being unfairly included in a kind of rogues' gallery. It also brings in some further context around woefully poor responses to FoI requests raised around ongoing controversial issues - all legitimate and understable requests, raised in the public interest.
The council report seems to occur in a kind of "bubble", set apart, with all mention of the local controversy being omitted from it. No mention is made of the ongoing suspension of the relevant director. However it must be obvious to anybody that given the depth and number of repeated scandals, levels of requests are going to go up, caused by raised interest and heightened curiosity in the minds of citizens who are after all paying over £1,000 per year in Council tax.
The council report appears to suggest that FoI requests are caused by the local newspaper printing who knows... scurrilous? stories. This situatioin seems to have PR and reputation management crayoned all over it and it really would be laughable if it wasn't for the subject of the scandals (disabled abuse, disability discrimination, serious contract impropriety and more) and if it wasn't being so ineptly handled.
I'd be surprised to see others stepping up to defend this situation.
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