Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2014 15:33:46 +0000
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Appointment of Qualified Persons at the PHSO
From: xxxxxxxxx <firstname.lastname@example.org
To: FOI Team - Cabinet Office <email@example.com
Dear Cabinet Office,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Cabinet Office's handling of my FOI request 'Appointment of Qualified Persons at the PHSO'.
Dear FOI Team - Cabinet Office,
Thank you but:
1. There is no Section 16 guidance with your reply on how I might
narrow my request.
However, I presume that you already have will noted that the time
period is only that of the PHSO. And not any organisation
pre-dating that exact name.
2. Therefore I ask that the time period be either:
A) January 1, 1993 to the date of request.
B) January1, 2002 until the date of request.
If it is necessary to narrow the time period further, since a
period of years does not seem unduly excessive to locate what can
only be a handful of legally required letters, then I will narrow
it further to:
C) January 1, 2011 - to the date of request.
2. I would appreciate some detail and cogent evidence and detail of
the workings of your estimate as an explanation of how you have
arrived at your costs, which seem excessive.
I would draw your attention to the ICO's guidance:
A public authority is not obliged to search for, or compile some of
the requested information before refusing a request that it
estimates will exceed the appropriate limit. Instead, it can rely
on having cogent arguments and/or evidence in support of the
reasonableness of its estimate. It is good practice to give these
arguments or evidence to the requestor at the outset to help them
understand why the request has been refused. This reasoning is also
likely to be required if a complaint is made to the Information
It is likely that any estimate will be largely or completely made
up of the costs of staff time in carrying out the permitted
A sensible and realistic estimate is one which is based on the
specific circumstances of the case. In other words, it should not
be based on general assumptions, for example, that all records
would need to be searched in order to obtain the requested
information when it is likely that staff in the relevant department
would know where the requested information is stored.
Providing ‘cogent evidence’
37. It is useful if a public authority explains how it has
calculated its estimate by explaining:
its search strategy, for example:
o whether it has carried out any searches for the requested
o whether it has based its estimate on a random or representative
o which departments or members of staff have been contacted;
o the search terms used when querying electronic records;
why it needs to search the files/records it has referred to;
how the information is stored, for example, whether the
information is held in paper or electronic files;
how many files, boxes, documents, records or emails need to be
how long it would take to determine whether the requested
information is held or to locate, retrieve and extract it. For
example, it is useful to detail the size of the relevant files; the
average length of time it would take to review each file and the
number of staff required.
38. It is not a statutory requirement to explain how the estimate
has been calculated but it is beneficial to a public authority to
do so for the following reasons:
to enable the requestor to assess the reasonableness of the
estimate. This may help to prevent a complaint to the ICO which
will avoid further time and costs being expended on the same
if a complaint is made to the Information Commissioner, then he
will expect the level of detail, as set out above, to be provided.
This may require the public authority to incur further costs in
providing this detail. This task may also be complicated by changes
in circumstances between the time of the request and the time of
the ICO investigation;
in any event, providing a suitable breakdown is likely to be
required as part of a public authority’s statutory obligations
under section 16 to provide advice and assistance (for more detail
see the relevant content below).
Please therefore confirm that you have no computer written files of
letters written to the PHSO - appointing qualified persons - which
may be located by a word, or term, search.
And that there is no file/s on which the names of appointed
qualified persons are kept.
Please also state which system/s that you are using which precludes
a computer search of the terms.
And which terms you have already used to enable you to answer my
request (as above) in terms of staff and associated costs on the
estimate of time taken, which you have provided,in order to answer
3. Could you please state which Section ( if any) of the FOIA
precludes the public from knowing when qualified persons were
I would also be grateful for your explanation of why, should the
public be informed of the appointments, that this action would stop
the the government from carrying out its business on behalf of the
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/appointment_of_qualified_persons
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
This email was scanned by the Government Secure Intranet anti-virus service supplied by Vodafone in partnership with Symantec. (CCTM Certificate Number 2009/09/0052.) In case of problems, please call your organisations IT Helpdesk.
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes.