Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

Could you please confirm or deny whether the ICO received external legal advice from the PHSO in relation to its investigation into legal status of PHSO reviews?

Background -

My FOIA request titled: 'The legal no man's land of the sham PHSO review process' was refused by the PHSO under section 42 of the FOIA. On appeal to the ICO the PHSO confirmed that it had sent the ICO internal legal advice about the legal status of its review process. The PHSO refused to state whether it had sent the ICO any of the external legal advice that it had commissioned from legal counsel. The ICO solicitor informed me that he could not tell me whether the PHSO had sent them any external legal advice 'as to answer the enquiry would reveal the content of the withheld information.'

What the ICO claim is complete and utter nonsense, and more seriously it is misleading information. Simply saying whether external legal advice had been sent to them would NOT disclose/reveal the CONTENTS of that advice. Both the PHSO and the ICO have confirmed that internal legal advice was sent. This did not result in the contents of that advice being disclosed/revealed.

The ICO are either grossly incompetent or are being deliberately deceitful. Which is it?

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

Information Access Inbox, Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
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raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
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For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
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If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
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The Information Commissioner’s Office

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Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

11 April 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0835925

 

Dear M Boyce,

 
Request for Information
 
Thank you for your correspondence which we received on 8 April 2019, in
which you have made a request for information held by the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO). 
 
Your request has been passed to the ICO’s Information Access Team, and is
being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
under the reference number shown above. 
 
As you are probably aware the FOIA provides individuals with the right of
access recorded information held by public authorities. It is important to
note that a release under FOIA is applicant blind and therefore
effectively a release to the wider world.
 
We will respond to your FOIA request promptly, and no later than 9 May
2019, which is 20 working days from the day after we received your
request.
 
Should you wish to reply to this email please be careful not to amend the
information in the ‘subject’ field. This will ensure that your reply is
added directly to your case.
 
Yours sincerely
 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Directorate
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
For information about what we do with personal data see our [3]privacy
notice.
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Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

1 May 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0835925

 

Dear M Boyce,

Request for Information
 
Thank you for your recent request for information. We received your
request on 8 April 2019. Further to our acknowledgment of 11 April 2019 we
are now in a position to respond.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
  
Request
 
In your email you asked:
 
Could you please confirm or deny whether the ICO received external legal
advice from the PHSO in relation to its investigation into legal status of
PHSO reviews?
 
Background - My FOIA request titled: 'The legal no man's land of the sham
PHSO review process' was refused by the PHSO under section 42 of the FOIA.
 
On appeal to the ICO the PHSO confirmed that it had sent the ICO internal
legal advice about the legal status of its review process. The PHSO
refused to state whether it had sent the ICO any of the external legal
advice that it had commissioned from legal counsel.
 
The ICO solicitor informed me that he could not tell me whether the PHSO
had sent them any external legal advice 'as to answer the enquiry would
reveal the content of the withheld information.'
 
What the ICO claim is complete and utter nonsense, and more seriously it
is misleading information. Simply saying whether external legal advice had
been sent to them would NOT disclose/reveal the CONTENTS of that advice.
 
Both the PHSO and the ICO have confirmed that internal legal advice was
sent. This did not result in the contents of that advice being
disclosed/revealed.
 
The ICO are either grossly incompetent or are being deliberately
deceitful. Which is it?
 
Response
 
I can advise you that in relation to the Freedom of Information complaint
referenced in your request, which was handled by the ICO as FS50788785,
the ICO considered a decision by the PHSO to withhold internal legal
advice under section 42 of the FOIA.
 
The ICO does not hold external legal advice provided by the PHSO in
relation to FS50788785.
 
This concludes my response to your request. I hope the information
provided is helpful.

Review Procedure
 
If you wish to request a review of our decision or make a complaint about
how your request has been handled you can write to the Information Access
Team at the address below or e-mail [1][ICO request email].
 
Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response.  Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.
 
If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write
to our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
A copy of our [2]review procedure can be accessed from our website.

Yours sincerely
 
 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Directorate
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [3]ico.org.uk  [4]twitter.com/iconews
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Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Information Commissioner's Office's handling of my FOI request 'The receipt of external legal advice from the PHSO'.

You state:

'The ICO does not hold external legal advice PROVIDED BY the PHSO.'

If this legal advice was provided to you by the PHSO, as you are suggesting, then what have you done with this advice?
If this legal advice was not in fact provided to the ICO, then why did the ICO not request this advice, which it knows the PHSO possesses and which both the PHSO and the Commissioner knows is essential for a fair hearing at the First-tier Tribunal?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

Information Access Inbox, Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter can be found
[3]here.

Twitter

Find us on Twitter [4]here.

 

References

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2. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/
3. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-an...
4. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Swyddfa'r Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth

2 May 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0835925

 

Dear M Boyce,

I note that you have requested a review of the response provided to you on
1 May 2019.

I would appreciate your clarification of what aspect of this response you
would like reviewed, as I have advised you that the ICO does not hold and,
for complete clarity, has never held, information within the scope of your
request. The [1]Decision Notice for FS50788785 clearly states that the
information withheld from the original FOI request to the PHSO was
“communications between PHSO officers and internal lawyers”.

I should also make clear that The WDTK website was created to help people
request information from public authorities under the Freedom of
Information Act (FoIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIRs).  We do not deal with regulatory matters through the WDTK website,
and will not provide a commentary on complaints you may have made to us as
a regulator.

Yours sincerely

 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Directorate
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [2]ico.org.uk  [3]twitter.com/iconews
For information about what we do with personal data see our [4]privacy
notice.
Please consider the environment before printing this email

References

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Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

There is now no need to conduct an internal review because you have FINALLY provided the information I originally requested. Why you thought it was a really good idea to mislead me in the first place is anybody's guess. First the ICO tell me they me that they could not confirm or deny whether they had this information. Then they suggest that they had the information but now do not have the information. Then finally they say they have never held the information.

Good work ICO!

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce