LAMBETHWATCH: THE TALE OF RHIANNON AND PERCY, THE CAMPAIGNING LIBRARY BEAR (plus the latest Freedom of Information answer from Lambeth…..)

Defend The Ten‏ @defendtheten 31 Dec 2017: 17 wks to go until the local gov elections and we meet Rhiannon, a 1st year veterinary student at Liverpool University. She grew up near Carnegie Library: “all my life the library gave me unfettered access to books, films and a wonderful study space. Well, until it was snatched away”

And despite Lambeth signposting children to their local library for support, this range of services will not be open to youngsters in the local area in future, and has not been for nearly two years.

Rhiannon’s achievement in securing a place at a Russell Group university is truly wonderful, and her academic development was certainly bolstered by having access to the wide range of services offered by @CarnegieLib,

You may notice that Rhiannon is holding Percy the campaigning bear. When the library closure was announced Percy, with Rhiannon’s help, campaigned hard to keep the library opened. Percy attended many demos and held up many banners!
“…the beauty of a library is that we are all in it together and help is always on hand”

“I feel safe in their company. “If I need to leave my desk I always leave my stuff out including my laptop. “I would never do that in a librarian-less study space. In fact I am not sure I would feel safe in a public room set aside solely for study…

“…and of course there are the fares.” Rhiannon is worried about Lambeth’s move toward librarian-less libraries: “for me it is the presence of librarians that create the warm, accepting space of a library”

Home for the holiday her nearest library is now Brixton but she says “it’s too cramped, sometimes there aren’t any seats, everything is taken so early. So I prefer to go to Clapham Library, but that involves greater travel time so my trips are not so productive…”

“I find it very difficult to study on my own, I always have. It’s so boring sitting in a room working all alone. I just have to get out. Studying at the Carnegie Library allowed me to be with others without being distracted. I feel so lucky that the library was there for me” (Source: Defend the Ten)


After almost a year of Freedom of Information inquiries – and appeals – Lambeth council have suddenly admitted they DON’T have any emails between one named former council officer and the organisation now known as Carnegie Community Trust.

During this time News From Crystal Palace has chronicled the increasingly bizarre responses of Lambeth council’s Freedom of Information team to FOI requests – and not just those relating to the Carnegie library at Herne Hill.*

(News From Crystal Palace suspects that individuals who work in the corporate complaints section – which deals with FOI inquiries – may be obeying orders from elsewhere.)

On July 4th Lambeth, responding to an FOI request for a spreadsheet showing the dates of emails between the organisation now known as Carnegie Community Trust and (named Lambeth council officer) from 2012 – 2016 said: “We do not hold this information and are not obliged to create it to respond to a request.”

The request also asked for:

1) Any emails dated November 2012 and December 2012 to or from Lambeth council to the
organisation now known as Carnegie Community Trust relating to the Carnegie library, Herne Hill.

2)I would also ask for copies of any email dated November 2012 and December 2012 between the organisation now known as Carnegie Community Trust and (former Lambeth council officer).

Lambeth responded:

We cannot comply with Question 1 of the request as we consider that it is manifestly unreasonable in accordance with Regulation 12 (4) (b) Environmental Information Regulations.

With regards to Question 2, we have checked the named officer’s email account and did not find any relevant emails.

We used the search terms of “November & December 2012” and “Carnegie”. Please note that there were in excess of 500 emails received in this timeframe and we could not individually check each email due to the above time/cost constraints described.

NOW Lambeth are saying they “have checked the officer’s inbox; using the search term ‘Carnegie’ and the only emails I can find are to/from “Friends of Carnegie Library.

“I apologise if this isn’t’ the information you were looking for but this appears to be the only information held.”

Which begs the question: Given that Lambeth have finally ‘found’ emails sent to the Friends of Carnegie Library – WHAT ARE RELEVANT EMAILS?

NB: The one email sent between November and December 2012 by the named officer to the Friends of Carnegie Library – which News From Crystal Palace have been sent a copy of – is about as interesting as watching jelly set. Ed.

Lambeth currently have FOUR appeals involving ICO decisions pending where they are listed as the ‘local authority’. There is no indication what the appeals specifically relate to.

Across all London boroughs this compares with four involving Lewisham (where Lewisham is listed in two of the cases as both the appellant and the local authority), and one each for: Croydon, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Kingston, Richmond, and Southwark. Hammersmith and Fulham also have one case listed for hearing where they are both the appellant and the local authority.

The names of some of the organisations listed as appellants is wide and varied – they include the Cabinet Office, Independent Police Complaints Commission, The Planning Inspectorate, University of Southampton, Big Lottery Fund, UKIP and the National Archives.

Source: HM Courts and Tribunals Service First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) information rights appeals: table updated 2 January 2018


LAMBETH COUNCIL’S UTTERLY BONKERS REASONS FOR NOT ANSWERING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS…….(updated version) February 17, 2017 Just when you thought matters involving Lambeth council could not get any more insane…they have.

LAMBETHWATCH – UTTERLY BONKERS PART TWO: Lambeth council’s latest reason for refusing a Freedom of Information request:  “PEOPLE NOT INTERESTED IN SECRET CARNEGIE LIBRARY GROUP” (And estate agents should note that Herne Hill is in a wetlands area.) July 12, 2017

*MOCK THE WEEK: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAMBETH-STYLE February 24, 2017 (which includes: “Fantastic Excuses and when to use them”)


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