Of all the relationships in and around City Hall, none is more fraught and informed by distrust than that between the London Assembly and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
The complaint I hear most often from the Assembly side is that MOPAC works at a snail’s pace and takes an unacceptably long time to answer letters and correspondence, some of which is sent on behalf of constituents.
The accusation has been made by Assembly Members of all parties and raises its head once more in a new blog post written by Jenny Jones.
In her piece, Jenny says:
“The majority of my letters and questions to MOPAC have not received a response within his own twenty working day target. In fact, eleven of my requests have taken over 70 working days to get a response, the longest was 160 working days”
By happy coincidence Jenny’s article arrived in my inbox the same afternoon MOPAC answered an FOI request I’d submitted last month on this very issue.
(A big thanks by the way to the MOPAC team for providing a prompt, helpful response which included far more information than I’d asked for.)
The following table sets out how MOPAC sees the situation:
As you’ll have noticed, it’s a far rosier and happier picture than that painted by its critics.
MOPAC tells me that where it fails to respond within the 20 day deadline this is because “Assembly Member questions are often complex and require detailed information from the Metropolitan Police Service.”
So case closed and MOPAC in the clear? Not quite.
Jones is so certain of her case that she’s referred the matter to the Information Commissioner who now has the unhappy job of deciding between two very different accounts of MOPAC’s performance.