ATC Gliders - Design Authority Approvals

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Ministry of Defence should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Ministry of Defence,

I recently made a series of requests for information, which were allocated the following numbers:

FOI2018/00480, 00481, 00551 and 00554.

You sent a response recently which informed me that these four requests had been refused under Section 12(4) of the FOI Act. You further advised me how I might refine or reduce the scope of my requests, for which I am grateful. I am therefore resubmitting this new request, which has been limited and framed so as to reduce the costs of compiling your response.

I request a listing of companies that have acted as Design Authorities for Viking and Vigilant aircraft since their entry into service. For your information, this date appears to have been around 1984.

I further request copies of DAOS expositions (formal submissions), DAOS related audit reports, and formal DAOS certification documents for the companies so authorised.

Please note that this request is not limited to authorisations granted by the MAA under their DAOS scheme instituted post 2010. A comprehensive Design Authority approval scheme was already in place within the MoD when these aircraft were originally purchased.

To assist, I can confirm that Slingsby Aviation Limited were, in 2002, the 'designated Design Authority' for the Viking aircraft. It is likely that this company was the original DA.

To further assist, I have accessed the MAA's Approved Companies listing on the website, and I understand that the current DAOS authorisation (UK.MAA.DAOS.0153 for Marshalls of Cambridge Aerospace Ltd) allows for 'Development of Viking Glider aircraft'. I would be grateful for confirmation that this approval also covers design of modifications and approvals of repair schemes. If this is self evident in the DAOS certification document that I have requested, no separate confirmation is required.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen George

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr George

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Your request has been logged under our reference FOI2018/02051 and the
target date for response is 8 March 2018.

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

 

 

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr George

 

Please find attached response to FOI request FOI2018/02051

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr George

 

In our previous letter of 5^th March (attached) we advised you that
additional time was required in order to conduct a Public Interest Test on
the information requested and that it was our aim to respond to you by
10^th April.

 

Unfortunately, due to the historic nature of some of the documents
requested, it has not been possible to recover and assess all of the
archived data and it is unlikely that we will now be able to provide you
with a response within the required timeframe.

 

Please accept this email as reassurance that we are working to retrieve
the data and will update you in due course.

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

From: DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER)
Sent: 05 March 2018 12:42
To: Stephen George <[FOI #463600 email]>
Subject: FOI2018/02051

 

Dear Mr George

 

Please find attached response to FOI request FOI2018/02051

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

1 Attachment

Dear Mr George

 

Following our previous email below, I am writing to inform you that the
search for data is now complete.

 

Unfortunately, the search took longer than anticipated but the data is now
being assessed for disclosure and a response will be provided in due
course.

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

 

From: DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER)
Sent: 05 April 2018 14:35
To: 'Stephen George' <[FOI #463600 email]>
Subject: FOI2018/02051

 

Dear Mr George

 

In our previous letter of 5^th March (attached) we advised you that
additional time was required in order to conduct a Public Interest Test on
the information requested and that it was our aim to respond to you by
10^th April.

 

Unfortunately, due to the historic nature of some of the documents
requested, it has not been possible to recover and assess all of the
archived data and it is unlikely that we will now be able to provide you
with a response within the required timeframe.

 

Please accept this email as reassurance that we are working to retrieve
the data and will update you in due course.

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

From: DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER)
Sent: 05 March 2018 12:42
To: Stephen George <[1][FOI #463600 email]>
Subject: FOI2018/02051

 

Dear Mr George

 

Please find attached response to FOI request FOI2018/02051

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #463600 email]

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

10 Attachments

 

 

Dear Mr George

 

Please see attached response to FOI2018/02051

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay in processing response.

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

 

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER) would like to recall the message, "FOI2018/02051".

DSA-Enquiries (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

10 Attachments

Dear Mr George

 

Please see attached response to FOI2018/02051

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay in processing response.

 

Regards

 

DSA Secretariat

 

Dear Ministry of Defence,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'ATC Gliders - Design Authority Approvals'.

There was a substantial delay in replying to what should have been a straightforward request for information on the Design Authorities used to support the Viking and Vigilant aircraft used by the RAF to fly ATC personnel. My request dated 8 February did not revise a reply until 24th August. However, I do not wish to raise a complaint against this delay.

I am, however, extremely concerned at the way the Department has withheld information under the provisions of Section 43(2) (commercial interests.) The reply states that details have been withheld because they 'could prejudice the commercial interests of the organisations involved'. I fully understand that some information may be justifiably withheld to protect companies' commercial interests. However, the reply then goes on to state that the level of prejudice against release of the information was set at a lower level as 'release could cause reputational harm'.

This reasoning has been used to deny an extremely wide range of information including:

All information relating to 'Design Reviews' (Document FOI2018 02051 Audit Report Nov 2013.pdf)
Numbers of Corrective Action Reports raised, and the numbers of findings and observations raised by MAA. Almost complete redaction of information relating to the Certificate of Design for the Viking TMk1 FLARM Installation (M037). (Document FOI2018 02051 Audit Report Oct 2014.pdf)

It appears that information is being denied to me on the grounds that its release may 'damage the reputation' of either the company involved or the MoD. Any such decision should involve setting the bar as high as possible. Release of unclassified, non commercially sensitive information to the public must be an essential part of holding both the MoD and contractors receiving public funds to account. More importantly, where safety and airworthiness are concerned, acting to prevent 'reputational damage' could only be considered in the most extreme circumstances.

In sum, I consider it highly likely that the Department is denying information to me to avoid embarrassment and reduce the risk of downstream legal action. Neither of these are remotely justifiable.

I therefore request an internal review of this response to remove redactions that are not directly required to protect personal data or truly 'commercially sensitive' information. e.g. pricing, costing methodology, proprietary information or data which is the intellectual property of the companies involved.

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,

Stephen George

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER), Ministry of Defence

Dear Mr George,

 

Receipt is acknowledged of your email of 25 August 2018 in which you
requested an internal review of the response provided by DSA Secretariat
on behalf of the Ministry of Defence in relation to a recent information
request (reference above). 

 

The Department's target for completing internal reviews is 20 working days
and we therefore aim to complete the review and respond to you 25
September 2018. While we are working hard to achieve this, in the
interests of providing you with a more realistic indication of when you
should expect a response, we should advise that the majority are currently
taking between 20 and 40 working days to complete.  The internal review
that will involve a full, independent reconsideration of the handling of
the RFIs as well as the final decision.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

 

Stephen George left an annotation ()

Update -I have finally received a reply, but the extent of the redactions applied prevented it being of any significant use. I have requested an internal review, and await their reply.

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