The lucky, lucky people that work at the Isle of Wight council receive a weekly email newsletter that includes a message from the council’s Chief Executive. It’s called The Vine.
Thinking that it wasn’t right for just the council workers have the delight of this, VentnorBlog wrote to the Isle of Wight council over a year ago, asking for copies of the last two years’ worth of The Vine.
The initial response from the council’s press office was …
The Vine is an internal email concerning staff issues and regularly containing references to individual staff members.
As such, I do not think it is appropriate to circulate past editions outside of the distribution network for which it is intended.
However, as I am not minded to forward these details as matter of routine business, I am passing your request to my colleague who is the relevant person to treat your question as a formal FOI request.
Paid for by public funds
We’re sure you’ve worked this one out already, but let’s recap – The Vine ‘message’ is written by the Chief Exec (paid for by public funds), distributed to all IWC staff (paid for by public funds) through the council’s email system (paid for by … you get the idea).
What was offered to us by the council’s Information Guardian who got in touch, was to print out all of The Vines on paper (remember that stuff?) and post them to us – while asking us to lighten our pockets by £24.80.
It being the
20th 21st Century, we imagined that as they were created and held electronically, we could get all modern and suggested that they email them to us – not wasting the paper, or incurring costs.
IWC told us they were too large to email (let’s not forget how IWC staff receive them weekly) – although they didn’t respond when we asked how large. We suggested other ways of electronically getting the documents to us, but these were verboten due to ‘security’.
The last official offer was that the council put them on a CD claiming that it would “take up to a day of one officer’s time to retrieve the files.”
We wondered if, just perhaps, the council didn’t want us to have them.
Update 10.Mar.11 (If it wasn’t already clear): In the end we didn’t take them up on their CD offer.
Thank you anonymous source!
No matter – earlier this week, an anonymous package was delivered to us containing many examples of The Vine.
Hurrah for VB tipsters!
We’ll be bringing you excerpts over the coming weeks.