Wednesday, 12 October 2011

FoI request special - from 2008 - How times change

To celebrate the 3rd birthday of The Barnet Eye, I'm reproducing my very first FoI request and response. As you can see not much has changed. This one was late as well !

This gave me hours of fun. For years I'd always set blogs to have keywords listed below and be posted at 3am, just so the council got woken up. I'm far more mature now !

Wakey Wakey Brian !!!!

To: Roger Tichborne
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:25 AM
Subject: FW: Request for information

Dear Mr Tichborne

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please note our responses in blue to your queries below.

If for whatever reason you are unhappy with our response you are entitled to pursue any dissatisfaction through the council's Complaints Procedure. The council's Complaints Officer can be contacted by writing to: London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP.

Kind Regards
Vinod Mandora
Information Governance Consultant, Corporate Governance Directorate
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 7080  Mobile: 0793 151 1931  Fax: 0870 889 6802   Barnet Online:  Email:
P please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?

From: Roger Tichborne 
Sent: 12 September 2008 09:23
To: Mandora, Vinod
Subject: Request for information

12 September 2008

Dear Mr Mandora,

I write a blog for the Times group of newspapers. Various comments have been made to me regarding the way Barnet Council monitors the internet for stories. I have concerns regarding infringement of privacy and misuse of council resources. I have decided to ask these questions to clarify this matter.

 I believe that you should be able to provide me all of this information, under the freedom of information rules. If I need to file a request in a more formal manner, please send me any necessary forms, or provide reference to where they can be obtained. I would rather save both of us time and effort by asking informally if at all possible.

a)       How many people work for the council in the press & pr Department. What are the grades of these members of staff and what are the salary bands for these grades

There are 4 members of staff employed in the Media Relations Team. One is employed on a temporary basis 3 days a week and there are 3 permanent full time members of staff.

2 communications officers on pay grade 34-37 (£29,286 - £31,419)

1 Media Relations Manager on pay grade 53-57 (£45,252 - £48,939)  

b) How many staff are involved in the monitoring of the internet. If possible please state whether full or part time roles.

The council has one staff member who monitor Internet activity in terms of capacity, peak usage times etc.

c) What system do you use for monitoring the internet for item,s of interest. I have been informed thatyou use Google alerts. What are the criteria applied to trigger google alerts on Barnet related news stories. Please could you supply a list of keywords used to trigger alerts. As I understand it the way the process works is you supply a list of words which trigger alerts and google sends alerts if it finds any new stories with these in as they appear/

The Council only uses Google alerts to monitor the Internet.

Key words used by the team to trigger alerts are below:

London Borough of Barnet
Barnet Council
Mayor of Barnet
Leo Boland
Brian Reynolds
Councillor Mike Freer
Councillor Matthew Offord
Councillor Lynne Hillan
Councillor Melvin Cohen
Councillor Brian Coleman
Councillor Andrew Harper
Councillor Anthony Finn
Councillor Fiona Bulmer
Councillor Helena Hart
Councillor Richard Cornelius
Councillor John Marshall

d) how often and when these keyword searches are modified and if a log is kept of the changes. Who updates this list and who has requested additions and deltions. What is the chain of command for these amendments.

A log of changes is not recorded. Changes are made when there is a change to the makeup of the Cabinet/administration.

Many thanks for your anticipated assistance. I understand you are a busy man and appreciate your assistance in this matter.


Roger Tichborne

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