Average cost of each ICO investigation.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

Please provide a rough average cost of each investigation the ICO completes. This information is important because if negligent and non-compliant authorities knew the actual cost of their failure to respond adequately to FOIA requests they may, just may, think twice before playing their usual games of obstruction, prevarication and obfuscation.

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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.

 

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 at
[2]http://www.ico.org.uk/tools_and_resource...

 

Twitter

Find us on Twitter at [3]http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

 

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest.
To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to
our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment),
please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies without
passing to any third parties.

If you'd like us to communicate with you in a particular way please do let
us know, or for more information about things to consider when
communicating with us by email, visit ico.org.uk/email

References

Visible links
1. http://ico.org.uk/about_us/how_we_comply
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/tools_and_resource...
3. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Information Commissioner’s Office

14 November 2017

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0707667

 

Dear M Boyce

Request for Information
 
Thank you for your message, sent through whatdotheyknow.com, which we
received on 25 October. You have made a request for information held by
the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).  Your request has been passed
to the Information Access Team to deal with.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
 
Request
 
In your message you asked:
 
“Please provide a rough average cost of each investigation the ICO
completes. This information is important because if negligent and
non-compliant authorities knew the actual cost of their failure to respond
adequately to FOIA requests they may, just may, think twice before playing
their usual games of obstruction, prevarication and obfuscation.”
 
Our response
 
As you may be aware the ICO is funded by fees collected from data
controllers with our freedom of information expenditure mostly funded by
grant in aid from central government.
 
In the past it has been possible to provide an estimate ‘unit figure’ for
the average cost of handling an FOI complaint. This is because our
operations were structured in such a way that the money used for our
expenditure on FOIA activity derived almost exclusively from the grant in
aid provided for that purpose.
 
Dividing the grant in aid figure by the number of FOI complaints handled
would therefore provide us with a unit figure. This was a crude estimate,
but was information created to help demonstrate how efficiently we were
handling complaints relative to previous years.
 
As an example, page 4 of our budget spending plans for 2012/13-2014/15
provides this information for each of the years between 2005/6 and
2010/11. This document is available on our website at:
https://ico.org.uk/media/2903/ico-budget....
 
However, it is no longer possible to ringfence our work in quite this way.
Data protection income is now used to cover support services. As a result
no unit figures in respect of our recent FOIA work have been created. The
information you are seeking is therefore not held. 
 
However, if it is of interest, we can establish a crude comparative figure
by taking the £3.75m provided to by central government for handling FOI
cases in 2016/17 and dividing this figure by the 5,173 cases we completed
in that year. This brings us a figure of £724.92 for 2016/17, though the
figure should be treated with caution.
 
Review Procedure
 
I hope this provides you with the information you require. However, if you
are dissatisfied with this response and wish to request a review of our
decision or make a complaint about how your request has been handled you
should write to the Information Access Team at the address below or e-mail
[1][ICO request email].
 
Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request received
after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.
 
If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write
to our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
A copy of our review procedure can be accessed from our website.
[2]here.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 

Danny Langley
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 01625 545784  F. 01625 524510  [3]ico.org.uk  [4]twitter.com/iconews
Please consider the environment before printing this email

 
 
 

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest.
To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to
our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment),
please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies without
passing to any third parties.

If you'd like us to communicate with you in a particular way please do let
us know, or for more information about things to consider when
communicating with us by email, visit ico.org.uk/email

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[ICO request email]
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/p...
3. http://ico.org.uk/
4. https://twitter.com/iconews

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

The information you have supplied is of significant interest and is appreciated. The crude figure of about £725.00 per case investigation, I suspect would probably be nearer a £1000.00 per case if all costs were factored in. It would be hoped that others might also find this information useful when they are dealing with obstructive authorities - to remind them that authorities have a moral duty not to obfuscate and prevaricate when considering FOIA requests: money spent on their game-playing could be much better spent on areas like the NHS and social care provision.

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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.

 

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 at
[2]http://www.ico.org.uk/tools_and_resource...

 

Twitter

Find us on Twitter at [3]http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

 

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest.
To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to
our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment),
please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies without
passing to any third parties.

If you'd like us to communicate with you in a particular way please do let
us know, or for more information about things to consider when
communicating with us by email, visit ico.org.uk/email

References

Visible links
1. http://ico.org.uk/about_us/how_we_comply
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/tools_and_resource...
3. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Keith Atkinson left an annotation ()

Why would any public body be bothered that it costs some other part of the public purse a £1000 per case on average? If they have a culture of being obstructive and breaching the act, then the knowledge of the actual cost to the ICO will not alter that culture. What should also be factored in is the cost to the complainant in having to make contact and make the case to the ICO casework team, that ought not to be necessary if only probity was present in every PB. It is my view that the ICO try very hard to side with a public body in the majority of cases with arbitrary decisions to ensure their own costs are kept to a minimum. After all its easier to treat David this way than fight Goliath. Fining public bodies for breaching is the logical way forward and only then would they focus on altering their culture!

M Boyce left an annotation ()

Keith, I actually agree with almost everything you say. In terms of fining the public authority, I think it would be better to fine the individuals in charge of those public authorities, that is take money from their salary. That would be the only real way to make them accountable and to do a proper and fair job. When ordinary Joe public does even the slightest thing wrong they are heavily fined. If say HMRC does anything wrong, however serious, those in charge not only avoid a fine, but they actually get rewarded with bonuses. Public authorities are like banks, they screw the ordinary folk and get rich as a result.

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org