The latest performance statistics for answering Freedom of Information requests has been released by Lewisham Council. Less than half of the requests were completed on time. The Council received 1,506 FOI requests and completed 701 on time and this equates to 47%.
Lewisham Council hit the headlines when a report by the Campaign for Freedom of Information found that responses to Freedom of Information requests fell to “only 61 per cent of freedom of information requests on time – the second worst rate in London.”
Reports at the time noted that Lewisham has been struggling to meet the limit for several years, with only 73 per cent of requests answered on time in 2016/17.
As a key part of his 2018 election campaign, Lewisham’s Mayor Damien Egan promised to launch a review that will make Lewisham ‘even more democratic, open and transparent’. The review has been completed however not all the recommendations have been implemented.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic Lewisham Council clarified that timescales had been extended for replying to complaints and enquiries, however FOI response times remained at 20 days.
Local councils including Lewisham are expected to respond to FOI requests within the statutory timescales and if they do not complaints can be made to the Information Commissioners Office directly. Further details are here.