Tribunal will not be end of the matter

Rothbury Parish Council noticeboard in the village. Picture Jane Coltman
Rothbury Parish Council noticeboard in the village. Picture Jane Coltman

The Rothbury resident on a ‘transparency campaign’ against the parish council has submitted another appeal to an ICO decision.

The information tribunal cases list reveals that Anthony Kell submitted another appeal earlier this month – his second against a decision by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in favour of Rothbury Parish Council.

As reported by the Gazette in October last year, the ICO – the public body that upholds information rights – found in favour of the council following a complaint over refused Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Mr Kell had requested various information from the council, relating to complaint procedures, records management and a contract for gardening services, under the FOI Act.

The council refused the requests as vexatious under section 14(1) of the FOI Act and the ICO ruled that the council cited it correctly and ‘so it was not obliged to comply with the complainant’s requests’.

However, he appealed the decision to the first-tier tribunal (information rights) and a one-day hearing in the case of Anthony Kell v Rothbury Parish Council is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 22, in Newcastle.

Then, another ICO decision notice, issued on Thursday, January 7, also found in favour of the parish council.

The council had not responded to requests relating to the parish clerk; because of the previous decision against Mr Kell, there was no need for a separate response from the council, which had ‘warned the complainant that future related requests would not be responded to’.

Now it is clear that the following day – Friday, January 8, saw Mr Kell lodge his second appeal.

The legal battle is costing the parish council thousands of pounds.