This follows an application by the Willesden & Brent Times for personal information about two ex-council employees. It was refused by the Brent PR team and taken to the information commissioner, who found in the council's favour. Brent Council director of comms Toni McConville said: 'Aspiring reporters are too often spellbound by what they see as inside information that is little more than gossip and conspiracy theories.
'The public sector is a soft target - heavily regulated, inspected, legislated and accountable. It's important that PROs stand up for ourselves when we know we're in the right.'
News editor Andrew McCorkell defended his actions. 'There is a lot more to this case than conspiracy theories,' he said. 'We felt it was worthy of continued investigation, especially since the duo subsequently found well-paid jobs with the New Deal for Communities in Sheffield.'