Kirklees Borough Council FOIA policies and procedures

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

In one of the responses to FOI https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s... via the whatdotheyknow website the council stated-

"Could I respectfully ask that you put either your full name or initial and surname on any subsequent requests that you make to the Council, in accordance with the requirements of the FoI Act.

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". The ICO has issued guidance on what is an acceptable name and states that 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."

The Information Commissioners Office document 'Recognising a request made under the Freedom of Information Act (Section 8)' states "Any variation of the requester’s title or first name combined with their surname (e.g. Mr Smith or John Smith) will be sufficient to meet this requirement." and in ICO decision FS50276715 the commissioner held that as the whatdotheyknow website generates a unique email address for each request that the requirement of provision of an 'address for correspondence' had been satified.

Please provide me the councils policies and procedures for dealing with FOI requests, in particular those requests made via the whatdotheyknow website and specifically the councils policies on the name and correspondence address of the applicant. Additionally please provide the number and identifiers of requests where the council has implied the requirement for a "full name or initial and surname" rather than title and surname would result in requests being rejected by the council. Also, please provide all internal documents, emails, memos and any other related information the council holds in relation to dealing with the request at the above link and those for all other requests of the council made by Mr Aiken.

Please also provide the councils rational for feeling a need to state to the applicant that "section 8(1) (b) indicates that the real name of the applicant should be used when requesting information."

Please clarify whether the council has a policy of using the above quoted text requiring "full name or initial and surname" in an attempt to dissuade members of the public from making requests for information.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Aiken

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Mr Aiken

I confirm receipt of your information request and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

7 Atodiad

Dear Mr Aiken

 

I am writing in response to your request dated 20 July 2016.  This has
been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

You asked for the following information:

 

In one of the responses to FOI
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...
via the whatdotheyknow website the council stated-

 

"Could I respectfully ask that you put either your full name or initial
and surname on any subsequent requests that you make to the Council, in
accordance with the requirements of the FoI Act.

 

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". The ICO has
issued guidance on what is an acceptable name and states that 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."

 

The Information Commissioners Office document 'Recognising a request made
under the Freedom of Information Act (Section 8)' states "Any variation of
the requester’s title or first name combined with their surname (e.g. Mr
Smith or John Smith) will be sufficient to meet this requirement." and in
ICO decision FS50276715 the commissioner held that as the whatdotheyknow
website generates a unique email address for each request that the
requirement of provision of an 'address for correspondence' had been
satified.

 

Please provide me the councils policies and procedures for dealing with
FOI requests, in particular those requests made via the whatdotheyknow
website and specifically the councils policies on the name and
correspondence address of the applicant. Additionally please provide the
number and identifiers of requests where the council has implied the
requirement for a "full name or initial and surname" rather than title and
surname would result in requests being rejected by the council. Also,
please provide all internal documents, emails, memos and any other related
information the council holds in relation to dealing with the request at
the above link and those for all other requests of the council made by Mr
Aiken.

 

Please also provide the councils rational for feeling a need to state to
the applicant that "section 8(1) (b) indicates that the real name of the
applicant should be used when requesting information."

 

Please clarify whether the council has a policy of using the above quoted
text requiring "full name or initial and surname" in an attempt to
dissuade members of the public from making requests for information.

 

The Council’s response to your specific questions is set out below:

 

1.       Please provide me the councils policies and procedures for
dealing with FOI requests, in particular those requests made via the
whatdotheyknow website and specifically the councils policies on the name
and correspondence address of the applicant.

 

The Council does not have an FoI policy although it does have a protocol
for dealing with requests and a number of procedures for dealing with
aspects of the process for dealing with FoI requests which are attached,
for information.

 

The Council does not hold any policy or procedure for dealing with
requests made via the What Do They Know website; as with any FoI requests
received, these are dealt with in line with the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

 

The Council has standard wording for requesting a valid name for an
applicant, which is attached.

 

2.       Additionally please provide the number and identifiers of
requests where the council has implied the requirement for a “full name or
initial and surname” rather than title and surname would result in
requests being rejected by the council.

 

From the records held by the Council dating back to November 2013, it has
requested a full name on 12 occasions.  On one occasion, the applicant did
not respond to the Council’s request and, after 3 months, the request was
closed down as “discontinued”.  On all other occasions  the applicants
provided names

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|12574 |Requested full name; no response after 3 months so request |
| |closed as discontinued |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|12913 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|13316 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|13155 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|11217 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|11999 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|10701 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|10697 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|10674 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|10262 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|10011 |Requested full name; provided by applicant and request |
| |responded to |
|---------+--------------------------------------------------------------|
|No number|Requested full name; no response after 3 months so request |
| |discontinued |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

3.       Also, please provide all internal documents, emails, memos and
any other related information the council holds in relation to dealing
with the request at the above link and those for all other requests of the
council made by Mr Aiken.

 

Please see the attachment titled “13342 Q3 Response
Redacted.pdf”.           

 

4.       Please also provide the councils rational for feeling a need to
state to the applicant that "section 8(1) (b) indicates that the real name
of the applicant should be used when requesting information."

 

This is not a request for recorded information held by the Council and is
therefore outside of the scope of the FoI Act. 

 

However, I can advise that colleagues within the Information Access Team
were unsure of whether all the requests from “Mr Aiken” and “Stuart Aiken”
were from the same person or from two people so we asked for clarification
of the full name of the applicant to establish this.  It is noted that
there are three separate accounts on the What Do They Know website, one
under the name Mr Aiken and wo under the name Stuart Aiken, one of which
has two requests similar to the Mr Aiken account. The reason the Council
queried the name in one instance was because it had received 3 similar
requests through What Do They Know, one of which was from a Stuart Aiken
and the other two from Mr Aiken and the Council wanted to be sure it was
dealing with the same applicant.  The Council would need to know the
identity of the applicant in the event an internal review is requested (as
only the applicant who made the original request can request an internal
review) and in the event that the Council were to consider the application
of the exemption set out at Section 14 of the FoI Act (vexatious) as the
identity of the applicant may be a factor.

 

5.       Please clarify whether the council has a policy of using the
above quoted text requiring "full name or initial and surname" in an
attempt to dissuade members of the public from making requests for
information.

 

The Council has no such policy.

 

Please note that a small amount of information has been redacted from the
attached documents because the Council considers that the exemption set
out at s40 (personal information) of the FoI Act is engaged.  In coming to
its decision, the Council has had regard to the following guidance from
the Information Commissioner’s Office:

·         The Guide to Freedom of Information (May 2016)

·         Personal information (section 40 and regulation 13) Freedom of
Information Act, Environmental information Regulations (December 2014)

·         Requests for personal data about public authority employees,
Freedom of Information Act, Environmental Information Regulations (May
2013)

 

Section 40 of the Act provides that:

(1)Any information to which a request for information relates is exempt
information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the
data subject.

(2)Any information to which a request for information relates is also
exempt information if—

(a)it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1),
and

(b)either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

(3)The first condition is—

(a)in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of “data” in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act
1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public
otherwise than under this Act would contravene—

(i)any of the data protection principles, or

(ii)section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause
damage or distress), and

(b)in any other case, that the disclosure of the information to a member
of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene any of the
data protection principles if the exemptions in section 33A(1) of the Data
Protection Act 1998 (which relate to manual data held by public
authorities) were disregarded.

(4)The second condition is that by virtue of any provision of Part IV of
the Data Protection Act 1998 the information is exempt from section
7(1)(c) of that Act (data subject’s right of access to personal data).

(5)The duty to confirm or deny—

(a)does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held
by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of
subsection (1), and

(b)does not arise in relation to other information if or to the extent
that either—

(i)the giving to a member of the public of the confirmation or denial that
would have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a) would (apart from
this Act) contravene any of the data protection principles or section 10
of the Data Protection Act 1998 or would do so if the exemptions in
section 33A(1) of that Act were disregarded, or

(ii)by virtue of any provision of Part IV of the Data Protection Act 1998
the information is exempt from section 7(1)(a) of that Act (data subject’s
right to be informed whether personal data being processed).

(6)In determining for the purposes of this section whether anything done
before 24th October 2007 would contravene any of the data protection
principles, the exemptions in Part III of Schedule 8 to the Data
Protection Act 1998 shall be disregarded.

(7)In this section—

• “the data protection principles” means the principles set out in Part I
of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998, as read subject to Part II
of that Schedule and section 27(1) of that Act;

• “data subject” has the same meaning as in section 1(1) of that Act;

• “personal data” has the same meaning as in section 1(1) of that Act.

 

The information requested includes the names of more junior members of
Kirklees Council and telephone numbers which are not in the public
domain.  The Council considers that whilst current senior managers and
decision makers can reasonably expect their identities to be disclosed
into the public domain, more junior members of staff would not.

 

Personal data of a third party is exempt from disclosure under Section
40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 if its disclosure to a member
of the public would contravene any of the Data Protection Principles.  In
this case the Council considers that it breaches the first Data Protection
Principle which requires personal data to be “fairly and lawfully
processed”.  The conditions for processing personal information are
largely based on the “necessity” to process personal information and the
Council does not consider the disclosure of the information in question to
be necessary and so the names of more junior staff members and telephone
numbers not in the public domain have not been disclosed.  The Council
does not consider this to detract from the focus of the request.

 

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 2 months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer,
Civic Centre I, PO Box 1274, Huddersfield HD1 2WZ.  Alternatively, you can
send an email to: [2][email address]. 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right
under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt
with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The Information
Commissioner’s website is at [3]www.ico.org.uk and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Access Team

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for
Freedom of Information)

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ico.org.uk/