Request for a copy of Department's responses to FoI DHSSPS 2013/0023

Richard Hamilton made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Department of Health (Northern Ireland)

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland),

In the absence of an updated archive of Freedom of Information responses I would ask that you treat this communication as a formal request for a copy of the Department's responses to FoI DHSSPS/2013/0023. I understand the Department issued its responses on or around 28 March 2013.

Please acknowledge receipt of this communication

Yours faithfully,

Richard Hamilton

Dear Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland),

I note that as yet there has been no response of any form to my communication of 28 November 2015.

Since my communication was a request for a copy of the letter of response and associated documents disclosed by the Department under reference FoI DHSSPS 2013/0023 I am unclear why my request has not been dealt with.

Please explain and advise when a copy of the requested documentation can be expected.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Hamilton

FOI (DHSSPSNI),

Richard

Apologies for the delay. There was a bit of debate over which business area would deal with your request and we are currently working on this. I will issue an official acknowledgement letter shortly.

I should point out your request will be considered under FOI Legislation and as such the Department have 20 working days to issue a reply.

John McCann
Information management Branch
DHSSPS
Tel: 02890 528218

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI (DHSSPSNI),

Many thanks for your prompt reply.

In sending my original request I had wrongly assumed it would have simply been a matter of re-issuing the Department's original responses to FoI 2013/0023. My assumption was clearly incorrect.

Now that you have stated my request of 28 November 2015 is to be treated as a Freedom of Information request I am content to await both your formal FoI acknowledgement letter and in due course your FoI responses.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hamilton

FOI (DHSSPSNI),

Richard

The consideration under FOI would be necessary if the Department were for any reason required to apply exemptions on any part of the original request. It should not delay the response and I will endeavour to have the reply to you as soon as practicable.

John

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

McCann, John (DHSSPS),

2 Atodiad

Richard

We have received your Freedom of Information request and I attach your
acknowledgement letter and a Public Information Leaflet.

John McCann
Information Management Branch
DHSSPS
Tel: 02890 528218

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear McCann, John (DHSSPS),

My request of 28 November 2015 refers.

By my reckoning my request has now been with your Department for more that 20 working days although in saying that working days within NICS may be calculated differently.

Irrespective of how many working days have elapsed since the date of my request I would remind you that the Freedom of Information legislation indicates:

"Authorities must respond to requests promptly, and by the twentieth working day following the date of receipt of the request."

Clearly the issue of how many working days have elapsed would be irrelevant if the Department had responded to my request promptly. That being the case can I ask you to confirm the date by which a response to my request can now be expected?

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hamilton

McCann, John (DHSSPS),

Richard

I have forwarded your e-mail to the relevant business area.

John McCann
Information Management Branch
DHSSPS
Tel: 02890 528218

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Rodney Breen anodiad ()

This request should be treated as an FOI request irrespective of whether exemptions are to be applied. It could be treated as a business as usual request but only if answered in full and before the FOI deadline. Having failed to do that they must now respond asap under FOI. You could give them a few days grace But if you get no reply by Monday ask for an internal review.

Feeney, Joe,

Dear Mr Hamilton

Thank you for your email.

I apologise for the delay; the response to your FOI request will be issued as soon as possible.

Kind regards

Joseph Feeney,

Local information Manager, DHSSPS Finance Directorate

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Feeney, Joe,

Your reply refers.

My request could have been treated as a business as usual request but only if answered in full and before the FOI deadline.

The Department decided not to follow this course and instead chose to treat my request of 28 November 2015 as a Freedom of Information request. Having decided to go down the FoI route not only did the Department go on to fail to deal with my request promptly but by failing to reply by 5 January 2016 they are now in danger of breaching the statutory obligation which requires them to reply within 20 working days.

Such a breach gives me 2 options namely to request an internal review or appeal directly to the Information Commissioner. Before deciding which course of action to follow I think it is fair and reasonable to give the Department a period of grace until close of business (5.00pm) on Friday 8 January 2016 to provide the information requested.

If at that time the information requested has still not been disclosed a decision will then be made concerning which of the available options to follow.

At this time I would be very much minded to go down the line of appealing directly to the Information Commissioner and all the more so in light of his presentation to the Permanent Secretaries Group (NICS) on Friday 31 October 2014. Clearly the Department’s breach in this instance is likely to be of the type that the Information Commissioner will be fully prepared to act on.

I await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hamilton

Dear Feeney, Joe,

The period of grace mentioned in my communication of 5 January 2016 has now passed and the absence of any reply from your Department is noted. DHSSPS is now in breach of its obligations under the Freedom of Information legislation.

In view of this failure by the Department I have now chosen to contact the Information Commissioner Office directly both to draw his attention to this contravention of Section 10 and also to ask that a formal Decision Notice is issued.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hamilton

Dear McCann, John (DHSSPS),

Following is the text of a message I have just sent to your colleague Joe Feeney. Unlike your colleague I assume you may want to ensure immediate action is taken to ensure this breach is resolved at the earliest opportunity and certainly in advance of any Decision Notice the Information Commissioner may decide to issue.

"The period of grace mentioned in my communication of 5 January 2016 has now passed and the absence of any reply from your Department is noted. DHSSPS is now in breach of its obligations under the Freedom of Information legislation.

In view of this failure by the Department I have now chosen to contact the Information Commissioner Office directly both to draw his attention to this contravention of Section 10 and also to ask
that a formal Decision Notice is issued."

The history of this Freedom of Information request can be found at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hamilton

Feeney, Joe,

18 Atodiad

Dear Mr Hamilton

 

Please see attached DHSSPS response to your FOI request – FOI/2015/0138.

 

I apologise for the delay.

 

Kind regards

 

Joseph Feeney

 

Local Information Manager

DHSSPS Finance Directorate

 

Joseph Feeney

DHSSPS | Financial Planning Unit | D3 Castle Buildings | Stormont Estate,
Belfast | BT4 3SQ

' 02890 765634| Ext: 89634

 

Dear Feeney, Joe,

Your response to FoI 2015-0138 refers.

Included with your response was an index of documents. Document 2 from this index was a copy of the original covering letter issued with FoI 2013-0023. This letter included not only a list of disclosure documents but also a listing of documents being withheld.

This latter listing confirmed that a document referenced DH1/12/127644 was being withheld under Exemption 42 - Legal Professional Privilege. Section 42 exemptions being subject to a Public Interest Test.

That being the case I would have expected such a document to be among the documents originally disclosed under FoI 2013-0023 and would have expected to see a copy of this document included with the other documents now disclosed under FoI 2015 -0138.

Assuming this omission is no more than a clerical oversight on the Department's behalf can I ask you to check your files and forward a copy of the Public Interest Test document produced in March 2013. Alternatively could I ask you to acknowledge that such a document does not exist and in fact never existed.

For the record this communication is no more than a request for clarification and is not a request for an internal review. Such a request may of course follow depending on your reply to this communication.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Hamilton

Feeney, Joe,

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    FOI 0138 2015 additional information relating to FOI 2013 0023 Application of Exemption under section 42 Legal Professional Public Interest Test.PDF.pdf

    117K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Hamilton

Thank you for your email of 19/01/2016.

The additional  information you have requested is now attached.

Information provided in confidence has been withheld under Section 41 of
the Freedom of Information Act.

Personal Information has been withheld under Section 40(2)  of the Freedom
of Information Act.

Kind regards

Joseph Feeney

Local Information Manager
DHSSPS Finance Directorate

 

Joseph Feeney

DHSSPS | Financial Planning Unit | D3 Castle Buildings | Stormont Estate,
Belfast | BT4 3SQ

' 02890 765634| Ext: 89634