DWP Central Freedom of
6-12 Tothill Street
What Do They Know
Date 28 April 2021
Dear Frank Zola,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FoI) request received on. You wrote: Please email me a copy of each edition of Touchbase you have sent to email subscribers
after your stopped publishing them online at gov.uk after 9 March 2020:
benefits-and-services since you started publishing on 14 September 2015.
Please ensure copies of Touchbase disclosed allow all embedded http www website links to
be clicked on.
Please also disclose how Touchbase email subscribers can view an archive of past copies,
before they subscribed, as access to such is a common convention for email newsletters. If
you are unable to provide subscribers with access to an archive, please share information
held on whether you can enable such an archive function and why you have not done so
currently and in the past.
For the first part of your request where you have asked for all email issues of Touchbase
magazine since 9 March 2020 when we stopped publishing them on GOV.UK
Under Section 14(1) of the FoI Act, public authorities are not obliged to comply with a request
which is deemed vexatious.
A request may be treated as vexatious, if it is aimed at disrupting the work of an authority and
if the amount of time required to review and prepare the information for disclosure would
impose a grossly oppressive burden on the organisation.
By way of clarification it is the request which is treated as vexatious not the person making
the request. An individual can make multiple requests and each will be considered on its own
A vexatious request is assessed with reference to all the circumstances of an individual case.
In this case, the Department is treating your request as vexatious for the following reasons:
As we explained in our response to your previous request FOI2021/14089; in March 2020 at
the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Touchbase was issued weekly by email with information
about the government’s response to the pandemic. Guidance was changing rapidly and the
information in Touchbase was rapidly becoming out of date. Since March 2020 we have
issued in excess of fifty editions of ‘Touchbase’, the information contained with many of those
issue is now out of date and to prepare those emails for publication in response to this
request would place a considerable burden on DWP.
The non-specific nature and broad approach of your request in asking for all editions of
Touchbase when we have already explained that these were being issued weekly to keep
pace with the changes to government advice suggests to us that this is just a fishing exercise
which will only generate further requests for information.
Should you wish to subscribe to receive the future issues of Touchbase and refine your
request to asking for editions of Touchbase issued in 2021 or make a further request for
specific recorded information that we hold in relation to a particular policy or benefit then we
would be happy to consider it.
On this basis, the Department has decided that Section 14(1) of the FoI Act applies on this
For part two of your request where you ask about access to an archive
Under Section 14(2) of the FoI Act, public authorities are not obliged to comply with a repeat
Where a public authority (in this case the DWP) has previously responded to 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
In this case, the Department has already responded to a similar request from you.
FOI2021/14089 was responded to on 8 March 2021 and so, under section 14(2) of the FoI
Act will not be responding further.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact us quoting the reference number
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Department for Work and Pensions
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing email@example.com
or by writing to: DWP Central FoI Team, Caxton
House, 6-12 Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA.
Any review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the
Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot make
a decision unless you have exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Website: ICO Contact Information
or telephone 0303 123 1113.