Councillor MacLaren condemns Health Board failure to answer FOI request

“Yet again I’ve had to contact the Scottish Information Commissioner to get NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to respond to a Freedom of Information request”, said Councillor Kenny MacLaren (SNP – Paisley Northwest).

Late last year Cllr MacLaren had been following up information that the barrier installed at the RAH car park (at a cost of around £17,000) in 2017 by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had never been used. However, the response from the Health Board in a related FOI request also revealed plans by them to introduce further controlled access measures to help protect spaces for patients and visitors as well as commissioning a transport review of the existing car park. The initial reply also stated that the Health Board were advised that there are no viable plans to further increase the on-site parking provision.

Cllr MacLaren then raised an FOI request on what were the ‘controlled access measures’ and asked for a copy of the transport review of the existing car park. This was requested by email on 28th November 2018. No reply came within the 20 working days deadline for FOI requests but more time was allowed due to the Christmas/ New Year break and a follow up email was sent on 1st February 2019. The Health Board then replied on the 3rd February stating that Cllr MacLaren would get the information he requested ‘by the middle of this week’. No further information has been received.

Cllr MacLaren has now raised this as a complaint with the Scottish Information Commissioner, who is responsible for the operation of Freedom of Information legislation in Scotland. Cllr MacLaren previously contacted the Scottish Information Commissioner in 2017 when he was seeking information regarding the decision to install the car park barrier and the Health Board failed to reply to his FOI request.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren added:

“There is a serious concern that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde fail to understand the significance of the FOI legislation in Scotland and are incompetent when it comes to responding to these requests.

“To call in the Scottish Information Commissioner once is bad enough, but to have to ask again makes it seem like the Health Board simply couldn’t care less about their legal obligation to reply to such requests. Maybe it’s time the current Chief Executive took action on this issue?

“As regards the substance of the FOI requests, maybe if the Health Board hadn’t wasted £17,000 on a car park barrier that they haven’t used, they would be able to use that money to ensure that they can answer their legal obligations re:FOI requests?

“It is also a major concern that a local councillor for the RAH has to resort to the Scottish Information Commissioner to get information about parking and transport plans at the hospital, especially considering the mess the Health Board has made of this issue in the past.”