Thursday 25 December 2014

Are dragon attack plans in place?

Published 16/08/2014 | 15:15

Town hall bosses received a demand to know what plans are in place to protect Wigan from dragon attack via a freedom of information request
Town hall bosses received a demand to know what plans are in place to protect Wigan from dragon attack via a freedom of information request

A demand to know what plans are in place to protect Wigan from dragon attack is among "wacky" freedom of information requests town hall bosses warn risk diverting resources from vital services.

The Local Government Association published its top ten "bizarre" requests sent to councils under the legislation - which also included one about the number of children who had been microchipped.

It also complained that firms were "exploiting the system" by trying to find out information on existing suppliers to help them bid for public contracts.

Peter Fleming, chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said: "While the majority of requests to councils are for details of council policy and expenditure, some of the FOI requests received do not relate very closely to the services they are focused on providing every day of the year.

"Councils are working very hard to keep local communities running as efficiently as possible during these challenging financial times and anything which distracts from that can affect the value for money that taxpayers receive."

The LGA's examples were:

:: What plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack? (Wigan Council)

:: Please list all the types of animals you have frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal? (Cambridge City Council)

:: How many times has the council paid for the services of an exorcist, psychic or religious healer? Were the services performed on an adult, child, pet or building? (Rossendale Council)

:: Please can you let me know how many roundabouts are located within your council boundaries? (Leicestershire County Council)

:: What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite lands in Worthing or solar activity disrupts electromagnetic fields? (Worthing Borough Council)

:: How many holes in privacy walls between cubicles have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years? (Rossendale Council)

:: How many bodies are there in mortuaries that have been unclaimed for ten years? How long have these bodies been in the mortuary? How old were they when they died? Is it possible to have the names of these people? (Richmond Council)

:: How many people in the town have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet? (Scarborough Council)

:: How many requests were made to council-run historic public-access buildings (e.g. museums) requesting to bring a team of "ghost investigators" into the building? (Birmingham Council)

:: How many children in the care of the council have been micro-chipped? (Southend Council)

Public bodies can refuse an FOI request if it is considered to be vexatious, would cost too much to comply with, or if the information is exempt from disclosure.

Press Association

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