Impact of Covid-19 on FOI responsiveness

Dr Karen Mc Cullagh made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Southern Local Medical Committee, Northern Ireland as part of a batch sent to 156 authorities

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Mae'r ymateb i'r cais hwn yn hwyr iawn. Yn ôl y gyfraith, ym mhob amgylchiad, dylai Southern Local Medical Committee, Northern Ireland fod wedi ymateb erbyn hyn. (manylion). Gallwch gwyno drwy yn gofyn am adolygiad mewnol.

Dr Karen Mc Cullagh

Dear Sir/Madam,

1. For the period 16th March – 17th July 2020 (i.e., when ICO had indicated a sympathetic approach to delay), provide precise data if available e.g., 15 out of 30 requests, and if not, provide an estimate e.g., 10%, for these questions:
(a) how many responses to FOI requests were issued within 20 working days of receipt by your organisation?
(b) how many responses to FOI review requests were issued within 20 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review?
(c) how many responses to FOI requests were issued within 21 and 60 working days of receipt by your organisation?
(d) how many responses to FOI review requests were issued within 21 and 60 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review?

2. For the period 18th July – 8th October 2020 (i.e., during the ‘preparing for recovery’ phase), provide precise data if available e.g., 15 out of 30 requests, and if not, provide an estimate e.g., 10%, for these questions:
(a) how many responses to FOI requests were issued within 20 working days of receipt by your organisation?
(b) how many responses to FOI review requests were issued within 20 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review?
(c) how many responses to FOI requests were issued within 21 and 60 working days of receipt by your organisation?
(d) how many responses to FOI review requests were issued within 21 and 60 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review?

3. During the period 1st March to 30th October 2020, provide precise data if available e.g., 15 out of 30 requests, and if not, provide an estimate e.g., 10%, for these questions:
(a) how many responses to FOI requests were issued more than 60 working days after receipt of the request?
(b) how many responses to FOI review requests were issued more than 60 working days after receipt of a request for an internal review?

4. When FOI request or review responses were issued more than 21 working days after receipt during the period 1st March and 30th October 2020, what were the main reasons for the delay? e.g., closure of premises due to Covid-19, reallocation of resources due to Covid-19, staff shortages due to Covid-19, absence of key staff due to Covid-19, limited access to necessary systems due to Covid-19, other issue related/unrelated to Covid19.

5. In relation to the FOI requests received by your organisation between 1st March and 30th October 2020, what proportion related directly to Covid-19, your organisation's Covid-19 response or impact of the pandemic on your organisation? (Provide precise data if available e.g., 15 out of 30 requests, and if not, provide an estimate e.g., 10%)

6. On 17th July 2020 the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched a self-assessment Freedom of Information toolkit (FOI self-assessment toolkit | ICO) to help public authorities respond to FOI requests as they prepared to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Does, or has your organisation ever, use/d the toolkit? If so, please explain whether it has it had any positive outcomes.
- If your organisation has not/does not make use of the toolkit, please explain why not.

7. In response to Covid19, has the volume of information your organisation publishes:
- not changed
- significantly increased
- significantly decreased
- don’t know

8. Has your organisation taken steps to proactively publish information relating to Covid-19, your organisation's Covid-19 response or the impact of the pandemic on your organisation? If it includes a dedicated webpage, please provide a link to the webpage.

If you wish to contact me for more information before responding, please see my contact details below.

Thank you for your time and effort in responding to these questions.

Yours faithfully,

Karen

Dr Karen Mc Cullagh, Lecturer in Law
UEA Law School, 205 Earlham Hall, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ

Research webpage: https://www.karenmccullagh.co.uk/covid-1...
About me: https://research-portal.uea.ac.uk/en/per...