MSP’s FOI request is ignored by council

The MSP has questioned the council's use of private meetings
The MSP has questioned the council's use of private meetings

MSP Rona Mackay has
reported East Dunbartonshire Council to the Information Commissioner for non-compliance of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request relating to a bookmaker.

According to the SNP MSP, five years ago the council agreed to underwrite any loss of profits thatLennoxtown bookmaker Betfred incurred during
a property deal, which was
discussed in public at that time.

Ms Mackay said the council also paid £140,000 to refurbish new premises for Betfred in a former housing office.

The Herald reported last month that Ms Mackay was concerned that a discussion and decision was made in 
private at a council meeting in June this year.

She issued an FOI request 
after the council failed to respond to her query.

Ms Mackay said: “I regretted having to issue the FOI and regret not having received any response from the council within 20 days.

“The Legal Officer, Karen Donnelly, knows only too well her obligation regarding FOIs but has chosen to ignore it, so I had no choice.

“The issue concerning Betfred is a matter of public interest as it concerns a sum of public money at a time when council workers’ terms 
and conditions are being 
eroded.

“There is a distinct lack of transparency within the mindset of this council which is simply unacceptable.

“The matter is now in the hands of the Information Commissioner and I await the outcome of that with interest.”

The Herald contacted East Dunbartonshire Council for a response to the MSP’s 
concerns.

Ann Davie, Depute Chief Executive - Education, People & Business, said yesterday (Wednesday): “The Council takes all its statutory responsibilities extremely seriously and we will be looking into the circumstances of Ms MacKay’s Freedom of Information request”.