Islington Council criticised by Information Commissioner

Islington Town Hall

Islington Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Islington Council has been slammed by the Information Commissioner’s Office for refusing to hand over data to a resident – just weeks after it was fined thousands by the same organisation for a serious blunder.

The ICO attacked a decision by the council to refuse to hand over data about a contract it had with a property maintenance company.

Eugen Hockenjos complained to the ICO after part of a request he made was refused on the grounds it was commercially sensitive.

Mr Hockenjos, 60, of Islington, had sent a freedom of information request to Islington Council asking for details of an agreement it had with a property maintenance firm after work was done on his home.

He claims that council contractors initially botched the work meaning much of it had to be re-done at a cost of £92,000.

Mr Hockenjos’s FOI had asked the council for details on an agreement it had with a contractor to “offset” the costs but he was left shocked when he was told he could not get any information.

Mr Hockenjos said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was refused. It didn’t seem right so I took it further and then found out I had won.

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“It is not right that they refused me and this is certainly not the first time the council has been hauled over the coals by the ICO. Something is clearly not right there.”

The ICO agreed in part with Mr Hockenjos and told the council it had 35 days from September 4 to comply with his demand.

It agreed with the council that personal information should be withheld but disagreed that other parts should be exempt because they were commercially sensitive.

The council has the right to appeal the decision.

Earlier this month Islington Council was fined £70,000 by the ICO for a data leak which saw personal details – including names, addresses and sexuality – of more than 2,000 was published online.

It is still awaiting the outcome of another case where the names, phone numbers and partial addresses of 51 residents who complained about gang member were inadvertently given to the people they complained about.

Referring to the latest incident, a spokesman for Islington Council said: “We have received the report from the ICO and are considering our position.”