POWYS Teaching Health Board (PTHB) says that it is taking steps to address a fall off in dealing with Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) on time.

Welsh Conservatives have found that the number of FOI requests being dealt with in the 20 working day time frame, by public bodies all across Wales is falling.

PTHB has been found to be one of the worst performers in the whole of Wales, responding to just 53 per-cent of requests within the time limit.

Figures show that  PTHB responded to 442 requests in 2017/18 with 234 or 53 per-cent within the 20 day time limit.

This compares to 71 per-cent in 2016/17.

Mandy Collins, board secretary with Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “We fully recognise that the response rates for Freedom of Information requests were not acceptable in 2017/18.

"We saw an increase in both the volume and the complexity of the requests compared with the previous year, and alongside the vital preparations for the transition to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this unfortunately adversely affected the capacity of our small information governance team to deal with the requests.

“We have already taken steps to address this.

"This includes additional capacity in the team, as well as strengthening our management focus on FOI compliance. Compliance significantly improved at the beginning of 2018/19, and our goal is to continue this progress.”

Powys County Council has remained steady in its delivery of FOI requests on time.

The figures show that PCC responded to 1,088 during 2017/18 with 859 or 79 per-cent within the 20 working day time period show.

PCC percentage of responses within 20 days was also 79 per-cent in 2016/17.

But the Conservatives have had to issue an apology to the authority after they mixed up PTHB and PCC in their list of worst offenders for responses.

A spokesman for Powys County Council said that the information  was correct on the list but not in the press release and that they would be contacting the Welsh Conservatives asking them to correct the error.

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said: "The figure in the release which referred to Powys County Council should have read as Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB).

"We apologise to the council for this error and any inconvenience this may have caused."

Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government, Janet Finch-Saunders AM, said: “The purpose of the FOI Act is to ensure that citizens can hold their governments to account, but when we so many requests not being answered in the time demanded from them by legislation, the conclusion must be drawn that these public bodies are breaking the law, frequently, with no improvement in sight."