Freedom of Information Team
Central Mail Unit
Mr Chris Sawyer
Newcastle Upon Tyne
By email: request-525805-
Date: 08 November 2018
Dear Mr Sawyer Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
I received your requests for the following information on 11 October:
“I request the fol owing information
(1) Please detail the processes or policies to check the physical health of HMRC directors?
e.g. testing for morbid obesity or heart disease
(2) Please detail the processes or policies to check the mental and/or psychiatric health of
screening for stress or anxiety.
screening for sociopathic traits.
screening for psyschosis.
(3) Do HMRC have processes in place for HMRC employees/directors/executives to report
HMRC directors if they display sociopathic traits and/or have psychotic episodes?”
(4) In the event of misconduct in public office allegations toward the Director of HMRC
Counter Avoidance, please detail any internal investigation process that would used by
(5) Please detail the process used when replacing the Director of HMRC Count er Avoidance
if they were suspended for any reason.
(6) Are there any succession plans in place for the Director of HMRC Counter Avoidance if
they were to leave their post unexpectedly? e.g. poor health, suicide or found guilty of
misconduct in public office
(7) In the event a HMRC Director was found guilty of misconduct in public office (or any
other misconduct) would they still be entitled to their accumulated HMRC pension?
(8) Please give me information on any processes that would be used to replace t he Director
of HMRC Counter Avoidance.
Information is available in large print, audio and Braille formats.
Text Relay service prefix number – 18001
n.b. I believe the current Director of Counter Avoidance is an interim role but my questions
apply to both interim or permanent Directors of Counter Avoidance and relate to anyone in
the Director of Counter Avoidance role not the current Director.”
I have numbered your requests for ease of reference. Although you submitted your requests
in two batches, I have considered them together given the subject matter is linked.
I consider your requests to be vexatious and, in accordance with section 14(1) of the FOIA,
HMRC will not be complying with them. Section 14 allows public authorities to refuse
requests that could cause disproportionate levels of disruption, irritation or distress.
In determining your request to be vexatious, I have considered your request against the
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on vexatious requests. You can find a
copy of this guidance on the ICO website at: ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1198/dealing-with-vexatious-requests.pdf
I have carefully considered the contents of your FOIA requests against the ‘Indicators’
outlined in the Information Commissioner’s Office guidelines referred to above and
concluded that a number of them feature in your requests, namely:
Unfounded accusations/insinuations; and
Intention to cause annoyance.
In particular, I consider that, taking all of your requests together, the content and underlying
tone is objectionable and designed to cause unjustified irritation to HMRC and its staff.
In my view, your requests lack serious purpose and are framed as a mixture of insinuations,
assumptions and rhetoric. Overall, your requests target a particular office holder and are
expressed in provocative terms. As such, you appear to be abusing your rights of access to
information by using the legislation as a means to annoy and irritate HMRC and its staff in a
way that goes beyond level of annoyance a public authority can reasonably be expected to
absorb when complying with its FOIA obligations. The FOIA is designed to allow information
previously held by the state to be available to the general public, academics and the media.
It is not designed to be a vehicle to irritate and distress the staff of public authorities.
If you are not satisfied with this reply you may request a review within two months by
or by writing to the address at the top right-hand side
of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of an internal review, you can make a complaint to
the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Instructions about this process are available at
the following link: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/
Freedom of Information Team