Thomas Bridge 06 June 2014

Exorcism inquiry sent to council

Councillors in Wigan have been forced to expose how many times cash swapped hands for exorcisms at the local authority.

Publishing figures on Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received by the local authority, Wigan Council revealed that is has also had to detail the defences it has in place to deal with a dragon attack.

The number of FOI requests sent to the town hall has more than doubled in the last four years.

It is thought that dealing with these inquiries has cost Wigan over £100,000 in staff time.

While 2009 saw the council spending over £55,000 dealing with 489 requests, some 1110 requests were received in 2013 – costing £124,875.

Over half of the 160 requests issued to the council in January this year came from members of the public, with commercial enterprises accounting for a further 22.5%.

Public bodies are required by law to respond to FOI requests for recorded information within 20 working days.

Cllr Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for customer transformation at Wigan Council, said: ‘The number of requests has dramatically increased. They can take a long time to process and very labour intensive, and there is a cost implication.

‘We are however, working hard to make sure that most of our information is made available online via our website, which should reduce the number of enquiries we have to process as FOIs.’

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