Dear FOI Team,
I would be most grateful if you would provide me, under the Freedom of Information Act, details in respect to the below.
1) Are you able to advise the number of incidents your security team have attended over the past 12 months?
2) Is there a requirement for the University to publish these statistics annually?
Thank you for your help.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 request FOI 2225
I acknowledge receipt of your request for information received on 04/09/20.
Unfortunately, I am not obliged to deal with it as it is not deemed to be a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; you have not given your real name as the applicant. Please see below the relevant guidance from the Information Commissioners Office. If you would like to re-submit this request, supplying me with your real name I will process it in accordance with the Act.
Information Assurance Coordinator
Section 8(1) of the FOIA sets out the requirements of a valid request for information and says that a request must, amongst other things, "state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence". This guidance provides advice on how these two terms should be interpreted. A public authority is entitled to treat as invalid a request where the real name of the applicant (whether an individual or a corporate body) has not been used.
Requests involving known pseudonyms cannot be the subject of a valid complaint to the Information Commissioner under section 50 of the FOIA. Where a public authority knows that a pseudonym has been used, as a matter of good practice it should still consider the request, for example where identity is not relevant and it is content to disclose the information requested, even though technically the request is invalid. Either an email or postal address is acceptable as an address for correspondence.
The name of the applicant
The use of the phrase "the name of the applicant" in section 8(1)(b) indicates that the real name of the applicant should be used when requesting information and not any other name, for example, a pseudonym. Although one of the underlying principles of the FOIA is that the identity of the applicant is not taken into account, it can be relevant in certain circumstances.
For example, when:
A request is being made by the applicant for his/her own personal data and so would be exempt under section 40(1) of the FOIA (and would comprise a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998);
A public authority has good reason to believe a requester is using a pseudonym to shield his/her identity in order to avoid the possibility of the request being considered as vexatious or repeated; or Determining whether to aggregate costs for two or more requests in accordance with the Fees Regulations.
Therefore, we are of the view that it was the intention of the legislation that an applicant should provide their real name so that the request can be processed in accordance with the requirements of the FOIA. The definition of "applicant" in section 84 of the FOIA adds weight to this as the phrase in section 8(1)(b) should be read as "the name of the person making the request". This also suggests that the use of a false or fictitious name is not acceptable. Therefore, where a public authority receives a request from a person using an obvious pseudonym, there is no obligation to comply with the request; nor would it fall within the jurisdiction of the Information Commissioner. If a public authority chooses not to comply with the request it should, in keeping with its duty under section 16, advise the applicant that the FOIA requires their real name to be provided.
What constitutes a real name?
We consider that a relatively informal approach is also appropriate in this context. Therefore, title and/or first name with surname satisfies the requirement for provision of a real name, as does the use by a female applicant of her maiden name. The prime consideration is whether enough of a person’s full name has been provided to give a reasonable indication of that person’s identity.
Mr Arthur Thomas Roberts could satisfy section 8(1)(b) of the FOIA by stating his name in a request for information as "Arthur Roberts", "A. T. Roberts", or "Mr Roberts", but not by stating his name as "Arthur" or "A.T.R." In the case of a company, it is not necessary to provide the full registered name. It will be acceptable to provide another name which exists as a real entity, such as a trading name. Similarly, a sole trader could provide his or her real name or trading name. In most cases, it will be reasonable for a real name to comprise a name by which the person making the request is widely known and/or is regularly used by that person and which is not an obvious pseudonym or fictitious name.
Dear UOD - FOI,
Thank you for the response.
Mr Porter is the name of the requester.
Thank you for the name of the requestor. Can you confirm which of the requests that you sent is the one that you'd like me to respond to, as they seem very similar?
Apologies, it seems they've been submitted twice.
Either of them are fine, they are duplicated.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 request FOI /2230
I acknowledge your request for information received on 08/09/20
Your request is being considered and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me, or alternatively email the Freedom of Information Team at [University of Derby request email].
Becca de Ville
Information Governance Project Officer
Legal Governance & Assurance Services
T: (01332) 592151
E: E [email address]
University of Derby,
We are all responsible for protecting personal data held by this University and who we share that data with. Stop and think before you send your email. For further guidance visit - https://www.derby.ac.uk/its/datagov/
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