Edinburgh Council ruled to have breached freedom of information

City of Edinburgh Council has been heavily criticised for its lack of disclosure of information about a statutory repair scheme.

The council has been accused of overcharging hundreds of city residents for allegedly unnecessary building repair work and expending “a disproportionate amount” of the Information Commissioner’s resources by taking 16 months to release information that should have been disclosed within 20 working days, a report has said.

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In October 2011, Edinburgh property owner Helena Wilson asked her local authority for photographs and engineer and surveyor reports, as well as a breakdown of her repair costs.The council insisted that Ms Wilson’s request could prejudice an investigation amid allegations of breach of practice and refused it, the commissioner said.

The council reconsidered and pledged to provide the information in March 2011. But it took another 11 months of pressure by the commissioner to unearth the bulk of the information.

The commissioner has ruled that the council was not entitled to withhold most of the information requested and that it breached freedom of information guidelines.