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Council says sorry after daily waits more than two years for FoI response

Council chiefs have apologised after a regional daily had to wait more than two years for a response to a Freedom of Information request.

City of York Council has said sorry after the delayed request by the York Press exposed a backlog of more than 261 FoIs that had been left unanswered by the authority.

The request by the Press concerned the council’s legal costs in a planning inquiry over a scrapped housing development at Askham Bog nature reserve.

The authority told the newspaper 261 unanswered requests had accumulated over a 30-month period, which began during the coronavirus pandemic.  Between the end of August 2023 and 19 September, 93 of those had been responded to.

York Council


Bryn Roberts, director of governance at the council, said: “The Information Commissioner;s Office have confirmed their findings that as of August 2023, City of York Council has accrued a backlog of 261 un-answered FoI requests which breach the legal requirements upon the council.

“The council fully accepts that we have not met the required standards of responding to FOI requests.

“Whilst there are numerous reasons for our current situation, this is still an unacceptable failure and we apologise wholeheartedly for it.

“The current situation is simply not good enough, and we are already working to address the factors that resulted in this backlog, which include understaffing and some process and system problems.

“We have given an assurance to the Information Commissioner that we will clear the backlog over the coming months, along with an apology which we are happy to repeat to customers who have been affected.”

HTFP has approached the Press for a comment.