Agreements for outside legal services

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Information Commissioner's Office should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

Please disclose all current agreements for provision of legal services by outside bodies such as barristers chambers, law firms etc. This should include the rates of pay agreed.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Williams

AccessICOinformation, Information Commissioner's Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit [1]http://ico.org.uk/about_us/how_we_comply

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

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Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Information Commissioner's Office's handling of my FOI request 'Agreements for outside legal services'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Edward Williams

Information Access Inbox, Information Commissioner's Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter can be found
[3]here.

Twitter

Find us on Twitter [4]here.

 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...
2. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/
3. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-an...
4. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Edward Williams left an annotation ()

Matter referred to the ICO.

Information Commissioner's Office

7 June 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0821674

 

Dear E Williams

Thank you for your request for information. We received your request on 19
February.
 
We have considered your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA).
 
Please accept my apologies for the delay in the response to your request.
Your request was received at a time the ICO is experiencing a high demand
for its services. Our records show that in the financial year 2018 - 2019
the number of information requests handled by the ICO was approximately
54% higher than in the previous financial year.
 
Your request
 
‘Please disclose all current agreements for provision of legal services by
outside bodies such as barristers chambers, law firms etc. This should
include the rates of pay agreed.’
 
Our response 
 
I can confirm that we hold information that falls in the scope of your
request.  
 
The information we hold about our external legal costs have been withheld.
The information engages the exemption at section 43 of the FOIA which is
about prejudice to commercial interests. We consider the disclosure of
this information would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of
both us and our external legal counsel.
 
The ICO’s guidance on what constitutes a commercial interest states:-
 
“A commercial interest relates to a person’s ability to participate
competitively in a commercial activity.”
 
FOIA Section 43 states:
 
“Information is exemption information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any
person (including the public authority holding it).”
 
For your information a person may be an individual, a company, the public
authority itself or any other legal entity.
 
This is a qualified exemption and requires that we carry out a public
interest test. Where a public authority is satisfied that the release of
the information requested would prejudice someone’s commercial interests,
it can only refuse to provide the information if it is satisfied that the
public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public
interest in disclosing it.
 
In this particular case we consider that the factors in favour of
disclosing this information are:
 

* Promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public
money and the way the ICO conducts its business.

 
The factors for maintaining the exemption and withholding the information
are:   
   
 

* The public interest in the ICO being able to negotiate and secure
counsel engagement on terms which secure the best value for the public
purse, without prejudicing its commercial interests or the commercial
interests of legal advisors it wishes to engage.
* The disclosure of the fee paid to counsel in respect of cases would be
likely to prejudice their ability and the ability of other counsel’s
engaged by the ICO to negotiate with other clients about fees and as
such would likely harm their commercial interests.

We consider that in all the circumstances the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing this
information.

FOIA Section 40(2)

We also consider that information within the scope of your request is
personal data about the barristers concerned which falls within the scope
of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).   

This information is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) by virtue
of section 40(3A)(a) which is the exemption under FOIA concerning personal
information. Section 40(2) exempts information in response to a request if
it is personal data belonging to an individual other than yourself and it
satisfies one of the conditions listed in the legislation (Amendments to
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 contained in the Data Protection Act
2018). The condition contained in section 40(3A)(a) applies – that
disclosure would breach one of the data protection principles. The
principle is that:

“Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent
manner….” (GDPR EU2016, Article 5(1)(a)).

We do not consider that disclosing this information to you, and
consequently the public, is necessary or justified in order to satisfy
your information request and the requirements of the FOIA. In the
circumstances of this request there is no strong legitimate interest that
would override the prejudice to the rights and freedoms of the data
subjects. We have therefore taken the decision that disclosing this
information to you would be unlawful.
 
This concludes our response.

Next steps
 
I hope this response is clear. If you would like me to clarify anything
about the way your request has been handled please contact me.
 
You can ask us to review the way we have handled your request. Please see
a link to our review procedure
[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/d....
 
Following our internal review, if you remain dissatisfied with the way we
have handled your request, there is a statutory complaints process and you
can report your concern to the regulator. I have included information
about how to do this separately.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 

Sarah Whelan
Senior Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 414 6322  F. 01625 524510  [2]ico.org.uk  [3]twitter.com/iconews
Please consider the environment before printing this email
For information about what we do with personal data see our [4]privacy
notice

 
 
 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/d...
2. http://ico.org.uk/
3. https://twitter.com/iconews
4. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/

Edward Williams

Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Information Commissioner's Office's handling of my FOI request 'Agreements for outside legal services'.

You got the pibt wrong.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Edward Williams

Information Access Inbox, Information Commissioner's Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter can be found
[3]here.

Twitter

Find us on Twitter [4]here.

 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...
2. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/
3. https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-an...
4. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Jonathan Baines left an annotation ()

Before one even gets on to the public interest balancing test, this response fails to explain *why* prejudice would be likely to occur. This is such a fundamental issue that ICO has a whole piece of guidance devoted to the steps a public authority should take to rely on such an exemption: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Information Commissioner's Office

18 June 2019

 

Case Reference Number RCC0851770

 

Dear E Williams

Thank you for your correspondence dated 7 June 2019.
 
This correspondence will now be treated as a request for an internal
review of the response we provided to your recent request for information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
 
We will aim to respond by 5 July 2019 which is 20 working days from the
day after we received your recent correspondence.  This is in accordance
with our internal review procedures which were provided with our response.
 
Yours sincerely
 

Sarah Whelan
Senior Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 414 6322  F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
Please consider the environment before printing this email
For information about what we do with personal data see our [3]privacy
notice

 
 
 
 
 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://ico.org.uk/
2. https://twitter.com/iconews
3. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/

Edward Williams

Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

When you supply the IR please include the email address which was used to send the request in quote marks.

The ICO (Jon Manners) refuses to allow a DN to be issued without an email address. This matter is now with the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Your explanation of the prejudice caused with very poor, please try harder.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Williams

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