BARNET Council is one of just 19 organisations in the country being monitored over slow responses to freedom of information requests by residents.

The Information Commissioner is set to look more closely at the council's handling of the requests by members of the public, along with four other London councils and the Cabinet office.

When a member of the public makes a request under the legislation, authorities have 20 working days to respond.

The authorities were singled out because they had either taken far too long to respond to a request, had more than six complaints in six months, or less than 85 per cent of responses are made on time.

ICO Deputy Commissioner Graham Smith said: “We will monitor the authorities for three months, but may take action during this timeframe if an authority’s standard of compliance is revealed to be particularly poor, or if it is unwilling to make the improvements necessary.

“This is a perfect opportunity for the authorities named to get their houses in order and demonstrate that they take freedom of information requests seriously.”

Councillor Melvin Cohen, who is in charge of civic affairs, said the problem relates to a single freedom of information request.

He added: "Barnet Council, along with many other high profile organisations, is being monitored by the Information Commissioner's Office.

“We are working with the Information Commissioner's Office to make sure it continues to meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

“The council responded to more than 600 freedom of information requests last year."

What is your experience of the council's FOI handling? Leave your comments below.