Any evidence of DHSC working with Apple and Google

Waiting for an internal review by Department of Health and Social Care of their handling of this request.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Background: In June 2020 Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated with reference to a contact-tracing app "We have agreed to join forces with Apple and Google" .

FoI request: If they exist, please kindly supply the source(s) which back up/confirm the above statement, including the job title(s) of the person(s) he was referring to when he said "We" (ie who is "we").

We are attempting to confirm the accuracy of the statement since Apple have come out and said they don't know anything about it as the UK Government has not spoken to any Apple staff.

Sources for public reference:

Yours faithfully,

Gemma Partridge
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health and Social Care's handling of my FOI request 'Any evidence of DHSC working with Apple and Google'.

We understand there will be a delay in providing this information but as there have been no changes to the time limits at which we can request an internal review it must therefore be entered today. The purpose of the internal review will be for you to look into when the information we requested will be supplied.

Reminder of your duty under the FOIA

Section 10 of the Act sets out the time frames within which a public authority must respond to an FOIA request.
* It applies whenever the public authority has:
- a duty under section 1(1)(a) confirm or deny whether the information is held;
- a duty under section 1(1)(b) to provide information that is held to the requester;
- a duty under section 17 to issue a refusal notice explaining why a request has been refused.
* Authorities must respond to requests promptly, and by the twentieth working day following the date of receipt of the request.
* A working day is any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United Kingdom.
* Where required, an authority may claim a reasonable extension of time to consider the public interest test. An extension beyond an additional 20 working days should be exceptional.

You are also reminded it is the Information Commissioner who recommends internal reviews are requested when authorities fail to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. They state it is your chance to report on what went wrong and they see it as your opportunity to set things right.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Gemma Partridge
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Ms Partridge,

Thank you for your email. I apologise for the length of time it is taking to respond to your FOI request.

DHSC does not conduct internal reviews until a response to the initial case has been issued. Although organisations can choose to conduct an internal review to assess the handling process where they have taken more than 20 working days to respond, DHSC uses the internal review process once the initial case is complete to ensure that any exemptions that have been used have been applied correctly, and that all information within the scope of the request was considered.

We will therefore not be conducting an internal review. We will respond to your FOI request as soon as we are able.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear FreedomofInformation,

In response to your message saying there will be no internal review and that your team will respond in due course. Pardon me, but I think your understanding of the FoIA is a little backwards. I shall explain why I say this below.

It is true that authorities are under no legal obligation to conduct an internal review - it is merely considered "good practice" to do so, Section 45 as I recall.

However Section 10 tells us authorities ARE legally obligated to respond to a valid request for information within 20 working days, but yours has not done this. The Information Commissioner will not take up a case at such a point though. She says an internal review "MUST" be requested.

Therefore, if the authority was to then state (as you have done) that it would not be conducting an internal review at this time, this satisfies the ICO criteria for them to take up the matter right away.

The FoIA does not expect requesters to sit around for X period of time in the hope authorities eventually issue a valid response, without recourse.

Therefore, having indicated that you shall not be completing an internal review at this time, we shall now take the matter up with the Information Commissioner.

Naturally, should your team provide a valid response before they take action we shall inform them of this.

Good day to you.

Yours sincerely,

Gemma Partridge
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Gemma Partridge left an annotation ()

Reported to ICO.