Zombie FOI request blasted as 'frankly stupid' by city leader
DERBY City Council has called on the public to stop submitting "frankly stupid" requests for information – after it was quizzed on how it planned to tackle a zombie outbreak.
Leader Paul Bayliss hit out at the letter – submitted under the Freedom of Information Act – by insisting it had wasted taxpayers' money.
The Labour councillor called on people to "think carefully" before submitting unusual questions.
He said: "We are more than happy to be open and transparent about the way in which Derby City Council is run and the work that we do and FOIs can be a great way for people to ask questions about their council.
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"But we are experiencing extremely challenging financial times.
"I was enraged by a frankly stupid question, when we were asked for information on plans for a zombie invasion, the cost of which was around £50 for dealing with the request.
"I feel this is not a good use of public money in the city when we are experiencing further government cuts."
The council received the bizarre request last month.
The letter – signed Mr S Wood – read: "After seeing the shocking news that Leicester City Council were not prepared for a zombie outbreak, I wish to understand Derby City Council's provisions and level of preparedness in case of a zombie apocalypse.
"I will understand if my bins aren't collected during this time but the beheading and safe disposal of the living dead needs to be a top council priority."
Ten days later, Mr Wood received a response from the council, which was required by law to look into the request.
The reply stated: "Derby City Council does not have a specific plan to respond to a zombie apocalypse. The council does, however, have a range of generic emergency plans to cover the response to incidents and emergencies where there is no specific plan in place.
"In accordance with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the emergency planning process is underpinned by local risk assessments which evaluate and prioritise relevant hazards and threats according to their associated risks.
"This risk assessment process takes account of the National Risk Register which is prepared by the Cabinet Office. The National Risk Register does not identify Zombie Apocalypse as a source of risk in the UK."
Between October 2011 and October 2012, Derby City Council dealt with 939 FOI requests, many of which were requests for information on policy issues or the way funding is allocated.
The cost to the authority of dealing with FOIs last year was around £31,500.