Our Ref: MGLA151018-5230
5 November 2018
Dear S. Bartle
Thank you for your further correspondence which the Greater London Authority (GLA) received
on 14 October 2018.
You have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the GLA has responded to your request for
information (ref MGLA100918-2445). I am now responding to you under the GLA’s internal
On 10 September 2018, you submitted the following request for information ref
I'd like to know 1) how many emails (the total) Nevin Shah, Assembly Member for Brent
and Harrow receives from *constituents* (as opposed to organisations and lobbyists) per
month (within the past year is fine) and 2) how much casework Nevin Shah has
submitted to the Greater London Authority (within the past year), with details of what
the issues were about and 3) how many times Nevin Shah has spoken at the London
Assembly (within the past year).
The GLA responded on 19 September 2018 and informed you that it did not hold the
information you requested in relation to parts 1 and 2 of your request for the purpose of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We also directed you to GLA protocol1 on Members’ record
keeping illustrating why the information was not in scope of the FOIA.
In relation to part 3 of your request we informed you that the information you were seeking was
reasonably accessible by other means.
With regards to case reference MGLA100918-2445, you have submitted the following
With regard to questions 1 and 2 - It was stated that "The Greater London Authority
does not hold this information for the purposes of the FOI Act".
However, I would like to refer you to guidance from the Information Commissioner Office
on information held in private email accounts which states categorically that "FOIA
applies to official information held in private email accounts (and other media formats)
when held on behalf of the public authority."
This is particularly relevant given the email address that I am referring to, is an official
London.gov one (i.e. email@example.com) and not even a request for information
from personal email accounts. Link: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-
I therefore believe that under the Freedom of Information Act you are obliged to release:
[Repeat of Part 1 and 2 of your request]
[Again, particularly as I am not asking for any information of constituents that might
come under GDPR and am requesting statistical numbers with topics/subjects as a
- Both of these relate to the business of the council and there are precedents of case
work statistics being released at other local authorities within the UK.
I have conducted this internal review as someone who was not involved in the handling of the
I note that you have not requested a review of the GLA’s application of section 21 of the FOIA
to refuse part 3 of your therefore I will focus this internal review on the basis that you believe
the information held in relation to parts 1 and 2 of the Act is accessible to you under the FOIA
As part of your complaint, you referred the GLA to guidance from the Information Commissioner
Office on information held in private email accounts; However, we did not refer to private
messages in our response, we informed you that;
Assembly Members’ information concerning constituency business is considered
Members’ own information
We also referred you to the GLA protocol on Members’ recordkeeping - appendix D of the
Authority’s records management policy to expand upon this point. The relevant part of
appendix 4 is as follows;
All Assembly Members’ records concerning constituency business are their own
responsibility, as they are records associated with the Member’s role as an elected
representative rather than as a member of the Authority. These records will not be
subject to a request under the Freedom of Information legislation, as they will be
considered the Member’s own records (i.e. they are hosted by the GLA on behalf of the
Member and not ‘held’ for the purposes of FoIA). They will however remain subject to
data protection legislation.
Therefore, I believe there may be a misunderstanding inherent in your complaint. We did not
refuse your request on the grounds that the requested information is held on private email
accounts. It is in fact the case that constituency-related information is not covered by the FOIA
at all. There is, therefore, no public right of access to elected members’ constituency
information, including statistics which may be generated from such communications.
This topic is also covered in ICO guidance2 (Information held by a public authority for the
purposes of the Freedom of the Information Act);
(31) Local authorities are public authorities for the purposes of FOIA, but individual
elected members are not. Therefore, information held by councillors for their own
purposes will not be covered by FOIA, but information they hold on behalf of, or as
part of, the local authority will be covered (section 3(2)(b)).
The distinction between what information is, and is not, covered by the Act in relation to
London Assembly Members under the ICO guidance is covered in more detail in our own GLA
protocol on Members’ recordkeeping - appendix D, which states:
Records or information held by an Assembly Member that have been collected by virtue
of membership of the Authority, using the resources of the Authority and relating directly
to its functions and powers, such as committee reports, are the property of the Authority,
will be regulated in accordance with the Data Protection Act and subject to requests
under the Freedom of Information Act.
Similarly, information held by an Assembly Member that has been collected by virtue of
a position on a Functional Body, to which the Member has been appointed as an
Assembly Member, and which relates to the functions and powers of the Functional Body
can be sought from the Authority or the Functional Body under the Freedom of
Information Act. A failure to produce it on request may give rise to a criminal offence
In summary, I do not uphold your complaint that the GLA holds information which was in-scope
of your request because it appears in private email accounts. Put simply, we are unable to
provide you with the requested information because it is not in scope of the FOIA itself.
In reviewing your complaint, I do consider that it would have been helpful to provide you with
further information to clarify what information is / isn’t in scope of the Act by also referring you
to the relevant ICO guidance in addition to copying the relevant parts of our own records
management policies into our original response.
I hope this review has helped to address your concerns.
If you remain dissatisfied you may take your complaint to the Information Commissioner at the
Information Commissioner’s Office
However, if you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I will
be happy to help where I can.
Yours sincerely Paul Robinson
Information Governance Officer