Kent County Council has asked for extra time to respond to a Freedom of Information request about the cost to the taxpayer of a recent KCC trip to America. Deputy leader Alex King led a Kent delegation to Virginia last month to take part in celebrations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first English-speaking settlement in the New World.
KCC said Cllr King was helping to build long term trade and tourism links with Virginia. It said he held meetings with business leaders, universities and the State Government of Virginia aimed at strengthening trade initiatives. But KCC refused to answer questions on how much public money was spent on the trip and how many people it sent. So Kent on Sunday newspaper submitted a Freedom of Information request.
Under statutory timescales, authorities are required to provide a response within 20 days. But on the 20th day, Caroline Dodge, who is the Corporate Access to Information Coordinator in the Chief Executive’s Department, said in a statement:
“Councillor King’s staff officer has recently advised me that he is still collecting receipts and collating information about details and costs of the visit to Virginia, which was still ongoing at the time you submitted your request for information about it. We would therefore be obliged if you would allow us [an extra week to] respond to your request. This will help us ensure that the information we provide you with will be as up-to-date and accurate as possible.”
KentNews 7th Jun 2007