A SHROUD of secrecy persists over what action Herefordshire Council took on staff after the Blueschool House project overspend which cost taxpayers’ almost £1m.

The county council building in Blueschool Street in Hereford cost £1.92m to refurbish which was more than double the cost of the original estimate of £950,000 approved by councillors.

An audit discovered there was “a clear disregard for processes and procedures” which resulted in the overspend of a county council refurbishment project.

A response to a freedom of information request has now revealed that the local authority did indeed take action on staff involved in the fiasco but they have refused to reveal what precisely was done.

They also refused to reveal which officers and precisely how many were involved in the debacle citing privacy legislation.

The council says there were less than five employees involved but said they withheld the exact number because it would make it possible to identify the individuals concerned.

“It would be possible for other people within the council for whom it is not necessary to know which employees had action taken against them to identify the individuals from the low number,” the council response reads.

“They may be able to put other information that they may have together with this data to learn that action had been taken against other specific individuals.

“There is an additional risk that individuals that the data concerns may be able to identify each other.

“Also, when a low number is released there could be a risk that someone with a specific interest in this topic could follow up private sources of information to locate the individuals and discover more details.

“There could then be a risk of disclosure from combining or linking this data with other information that may be available, or become available.”

The Hereford Times has argued that it is in the public interest for the information to be released and has requested that the council reviews its response.