NRC Ref: FOI/JC0710181
Date: 20th November 2018
Name: John Cope
Dear John Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Outcome of Internal Review
I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the Internal Review that has been carried out
in to the College’s handling of your recent Freedom of Information request
(FOI/JC0710181). To ensure impartiality the Internal Review was overseen by Dr Catherine
Guy, Learning & Development Manager, who has had no previous involvement in this
matter. Scope of the Internal Review Process
A process should be used where an applicant wishes a review to be conducted about the way
the Col ege has responded to a request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA). All applicants are informed of their right to request a review, under
this process, when they are sent a response to their request for information. Initial Freedom of Information Request Received on 7th October 2018
1. Can you provide me with the number of APPNI employer incentive bonuses that
Northern Regional College paid in 2017?
2. How many bonuses were paid to employers within 3 months of their apprentice
completing his/her apprenticeship framework?
Summary of Northern Regional Col ege’s Response to Freedom of Information Request
The College’s response was sent to you via email on 25th October 2018. The response released
the information you requested. Review
As part of this review I have considered the College’s overall processing of your request. Your
request was originally sent to the College via email on 14th June 2018. The Col ege responded
on 5th July 2018 asking that you narrow your search as the information you requested was
not in an easily accessible format. On the same day you then asked for 2017 information only.
On 4th August 2018 you requested an internal review of the Col ege’s handling of this request
and then subsequently resubmitted your information request on 7th October 2018. You
received a response which included the release of the information you requested on 25th
During this review it was noted that this request was 1 of 8 requests submitted/resubmitted
by yourself from June through to 7th October (FOI/JC0710182, FOI/JC0710183,
FOI/JC0710184, FOI/JC0710185, FOI/JC0710187, FOI/JC071018, FOI/JC040818). Using the
guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office in respect of determining vexatious
requests, Section 14 (1) states that the Col ege is not obliged to comply with a request that is
I consider your requests to be vexatious in nature using the fol owing indicators:
• Burden on the Authority
• Personal Grudges
• Frequent or overlapping requests
• Deliberate intention to cause annoyance
Your requests have caused an unreasonable amount of time to be spent by the Training Office
handling your requests as this is a smal team which many of your requests have been directed
On behalf of the Col ege I would like to apologise for the delay in handling your initial requests.
However please be advised that as we have determined your requests to be vexatious in
nature under section 14 (1) of the Act and therefore further to the information already
released under section17 (6) of the Act the Col ege gives notice that we wil no longer be
responding to Freedom of Information requests in relation to the Training Office.
Section 17 (6) of the Act al ows a Public Authority to refuse to issue refusal notice in instances
a) The public authority is relying on a claim that section 14 applies,
b) The authority has given the applicant a notice, in relation to a previous request for
information, stating that it is relying on such a claim, and
c) It would in al circumstances be unreasonable to expect the authority to serve a
further notice under subsection (5) in relation to the current request.
You can find out more about Section 14(1) by reading the extract from the Act and some
guidance points we consider when applying this exemption, attached at the end of this letter.
You can also find more information by reading the ful text of the Act (available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/14).
I hope you are satisfied with the outcome of this review, however if you are not you can of
course refer the matter to the Information Commissioner for consideration. You can contact
them in writing at the following address:
Information Commissioner’s Officer
Dr Catherine Guy
EXPLANATION OF FOIA - SECTION 14(1) – VEXATIOUS REQUESTS
We have provided below additional information about Section 14(1) of the Freedom of
Information Act. We have included some extracts from the legislation, as well as some of the
guidance we use when applying it. We hope you find this information useful. The legislation
Section 1: Right of Access to information held by public authorities
(1) Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled—
(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of
the description specified in the request, and
(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.
Section 14: Vexatious or repeated requests.
(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if
the request is vexatious.
(2) Where a public authority has previously complied with a request for information which
was made by any person, it is not obliged to comply with a subsequent identical or
substantially similar request from that person unless a reasonable interval has elapsed
between compliance with the previous request and the making of the current request. Guidance
Public authorities may sometimes be faced with a requester who sends in request after
request, often slightly differently worded, but essential y asking the same question.
Sometimes, in doing this, the requester may be trying to vindicate a longstanding grievance
against an authority.
Handling such requests can be very resource intensive, in particular where the request is
accompanied by a stream of correspondence, detailed representations and comments to
which the applicant seeks to get the public authority to respond.
Whether a request is vexatious is determined by the information requested, not the person
making the request. Vexatiousness needs to be assessed with reference to al the
circumstances of an individual case. However, if a request is not a genuine endeavour to
access information for its own sake, but is aimed at disrupting the work of an authority, or
harassing individuals in it, then it may well be vexatious.