Mystery Swansea school racks up £9k hotel bill - for empty rooms!

SWANSEA Council has refused a Freedom of Information request to name the primary school which racked up a £8,700 bill by forgetting to cancel hotel rooms.

The council argued that naming the school would make it possible to identify the individuals involved.

It therefore applied an "exemption" under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), arguing that disclosing the school's name would breach another act, the Data Protection Act.

"Consideration has been given to balancing of the public interest and the fact that this involves public money, but weighed against that is the damage which would be caused to the individuals who would be identified," the council said. "The decision is that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information."

The Post, which submitted the request, is appealing the decision.

The newspaper first reported the hotel room mix-up six weeks ago when brief details were contained in a council audit report.

The rooms were booked for overseas visitors who appear not to have shown up. Someone at the school forget to cancel the rooms, leading to a negotiated settlement of £8,700, which will come out of the school's budget.

The Post's FoI request asked which school was responsible, where the visitors were supposed to be coming from and how many there were, the reason for their visit, why they didn't show up, and which hotel was involved.

Councillor Rene Kinzett, of Swansea Conservatives, said: "It's a nonsense that the school should not be named. People should be held to account for this waste of money."