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09 January 2012
Reader writes

Report on Ruling

The following report has been submitted to us and we reprint it in good faith.  Any corrections and comments will also be printed - if received.

NEATH Port Talbot Council has lost an appeal over a ruling that it had incorrectly withheld information from a group opposed to the transfer of its housing stock.

Members of the Defend Council Housing (DCH) campaign requested the addresses — but not the names — of council tenants so they could send them information ahead of a historic ballot on the future of council homes, which took place in 2010.

However the request was refused by the council on the grounds that, to release addresses for its tenants would breach data protection and human rights.

The council won the vote and all housing stock was handed over to the newly formed independent NPT Homes.

Following a complaint made to the Information Commissioner's Office, the body ruled "the public authority did not deal with the request for information in accordance with the Act."

Read Reports Findings:

The council appealed against the ruling but learnt this week that the original ruling had been upheld.

A council spokesman said: "The council notes the decision of the tribunal, will comply with the ruling, but is disappointed at the result particularly as the decision does not deal with the argument put forward that to provide the information without the permission of the tenants was a breach of their privacy and that there would be no legal moderation of information provided by a third party."

However DCH spokesman, Huw Pudner, maintains the council acted wrongly, saying: "We appealed to the freedom of information commissioner, we think it affected the result."

In light of the recent ruling Mr Pudner added: "They are highly paid experts but have acted outside the law as ruled by the freedom of information commissioner. These people are legal experts. It looks to me as though they feel that they are above the law. There should be resignations over this."

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