Damian Green arrest

M Bimmler made this Freedom of Information request to House of Commons

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

This request has been withdrawn by the person who made it. There may be an explanation in the correspondence below.

Dear Sir or Madam,

please provide me with all information held by House of Commons authorities, especially but not limited to the Office of the Speaker, with regards to the arrest of Mr Damian Green MP and to the search of his office in the Palace of Westminster.

Furthermore, in http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/polit... a statement of the speaker's office is quoted as "There is a process to be followed and that was followed."
Please provide me with all information and records you possess on this process in general and on how it was applied in the specific instance of Mr Green's case.

If any written correspondence between House authorities (including the Speaker) and the Metropolitan Police or other agencies exists which concerns this case, I would like to request access to it too.

Furthermore, I wish to ask whether a written authorisation of the search of Mr Green's office exists which has been signed by the Speaker or another member of the House staff. Authorisation in this context refers to any document, letter or part of such document or letter that explicitly or implicitly gives the Metropolitan Police the permission to enter the premises of Parliament and conduct a search there. "Explicit or implicit" permission includes a letter or other document that simply refers to legal provisions eg. by outlining why a specific permission is not necessary.

Please note that my most comprehensive request is stated by and in the first paragraph, while the latter paragraphs merely try to clarify in which documents I am especially interested but they do not reduce the scope of the first request.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Bimmler

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Bimmler,

Thank you for your email dated and received today (1st December 2008).

Your request will be dealt with promptly and a response will be provided
by 31 December 2008.

If you any queries about your request, please contact me.

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant

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FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Bimmler

Thank you for your request dated 1 December which is copied below. The
response follows:

The information you have requested in your paragraphs 1 to 3 is held by
the House but it is exempt from disclosure under section 34 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('FOIA') because an exemption is
required for the purpose of avoiding an infringement of the privileges
of Parliament. Moreover this information is exempt under section
31(1)(g) because disclosure of this information would, or would be
likely to prejudice the exercise by the House of its functions under
section 31(2). Some the information you request is also exempt under
section 42 because it is legally privileged. Therefore your request is
refused.

In response to your paragraph 4 the Speaker's statement to the House on
3 December dealt with this matter. Accordingly, and by virtue of section
21 of FOIA the House is not obliged to disclose this information because
it is reasonably accessible by other means. Therefore your request is
refused.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the
House of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision.
Requests for internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of
Information Officer, Department of Resources, House of Commons, London
SW1A 0AA or [House of Commons request email]. Please ensure that you specify the
nature of your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to
make. If the decision to apply section 34 of the 2000 Act in respect of
your request is upheld by review, a certificate signed by the Speaker
may be issued. This certificate would provide conclusive evidence that
the exemption was required for the purpose described above.

_________________________________________________
Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of House of Commons's handling of my FOI request 'Damian Green arrest'.

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

I believe that not all material is exempt and ask for a review.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Bimmler,

Thank you for your email dated and received today (22 December 2088) in
which you request an internal review. Our internal target for dealing
with reviews is thirty working days. We expect to let you know the
outcome by 5 February 2009.

Please contact me if you have any queries relating to your request.

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant
Information Rights and Information Security

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CASTLE, Bob, House of Commons

Dear Mr Bimler

I am writing to inform you that unfortunately we were unable to meet our
internal deadline for responding to your request for an internal review.

We are dealing with your request and will endeavour to provide a
response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Bob Castle

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security
House of Commons

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Dear Mr Castle,

Many thanks for your reply - could you advise me of your new target date to complete the Internal Review?

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Than you - I will look into it and let you know as soon as possible.
Bob Castle

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Dear Mr Castle,

have you already been able to set a target date for the completion of this internal review?

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

Dear Mr Castle,

further to my previous correspondence, this is to advise you that I believe the House of Commons to be in breach of applicable guidance on the handling of Internal Review requests and thus ultimately in breach of FOI legislation.

As you will surely know, the ICO's Good Practice Guidance suggests that Internal Review requests should be completed in 20 working days and should only in exceptional cases take 40 working days, but in no instance longer than that. As my Internal Review request dates from December 22th, both these deadlines are now long past.

I would like to ask you to supply me with the response to my Internal Review request at your earliest convenience or alternatively, provide me with a justification why your team has not been able to follow the ICO's guidance as well as a definite and final target date. In case I do not receive a satisfactory answer by the end of this week, I shall have no other remedy but to formally take this up with the Information Commissioner but I hope to save both of us this additional complication.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

M Bimmler left an annotation ()

The ICO has now written to the House of Commons and asked them to reply to my Internal Review request

Dear Mr Castle,

as you know, the Information Commissioner's Office has written to you on this matter at the end of March. I very much hope that you are now in a position to send me the outcome of the review and that it is not necessary for me to pursue this matter further with the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

Dear Mr Castle,

as you have not provided me with an Internal Review reply, even after the intervention of the ICO's Case Reception Unit, the ICO now had to assign this to a case resolution team (Ref. FS50239182)

To avoid lengthy and unnecessary procedures, I urge you again to respond to my internal review request, so that I can withdraw my complaint to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

Dear Mr Castle,

notwithstanding the current ICO investigation, I would like to remind you that you are still under the obligation to provide me with a response to my Internal Review request, which has been pending for several months now.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

Please forward to:

Director General, Information Services

Director General, Resources

Clerk and Chief Executive, House of Commons

Dear Sirs,

I have been in repeated correspondence with Mr Bob Castle of your Freedom of Information Team.

Mr Castle replied to a Freedom of Information request of mine, entitled (Damian Green arrest), refusing access. I have sent a request for an internal review on December 22nd. The latest communication I have received from Mr Castle was on February 8th, where he promised to look into when I would receive an answer to the internal review request. Since, he has simply ignored my reminders.

I may, at this stage, point out that the Information Commissioner, as competent authority on this area of legislation, has set down written guideline stating that Internal Review requests should usually take no longer than 20 working days but in no case more than 40 days.

Due to Mr Castle's continuous failure to provide me with a reply to my statutory Internal Review request or even only acknowledge my communications, I was forced to file a complaint with the ICO on this matter at the end of March. Staff from the ICO has then written to Mr Castle on or about 27 March 2009, inviting him to answer my internal review request in the next 20 days at the latest. As Mr Castle has ignored this letter and neither provided a response to me nor to the Information Commissioner's Office, the ICO then had to open a formal complaints investigation on April 25th, 2009. The case is since waiting to be assigned to one of the ICO's caseworkers, a process which may well take in excess of 180 days judging from the ICO's website.

Needless to say, that the obligation to provide me with a written reply has not ceded to exist just because I have now escalated this to the Information Commissioner's Office. I would ask you to formally direct Mr Castle to send me a reply to my Internal Review request, as he is obliged to under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an act passed by the very Parliament he is employed by.

I look forward to your reply, Sirs, at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

Dear Mr Castle,

I am aware of Mr Walker's letter to me dated May 22nd in which he replied to my complaint about the time it takes to resolve my Internal Review request. I acknowledge the fact that this case raises several complex legal issues and that it may thus take more time to provide me with a substantial reply.

However, I would be grateful if you could briefly set out to me the status of the review and your estimated time scale. I would be fully content with a reply such as "We have asked our legal advisors to comment on these matters - we expect their guidance by the end of June, we shall then consider their submission internally and hope to be able to provide you with a reply by the end of July" or something along these lines. This would be much more helpful than the status quo, where I have no idea whatsoever, what work has already been done on this Internal Review case and what is still to be done -- as you surely are aware, ICO practice guidance asks you to keep me up to date on the status of the request and this would be an opportunity to do so.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Bimmler,

Thank you for your email dated 11 June 2009.

I have forwarded it our internal review co-ordinator for a reply.

Mandy Kelly
Freedom of Information Assistant

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Dear Ms Kelly,

thank you for your email and I look forward to a response to my correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bimmler

Dear Ms Kelly,

may I enquire about the fate of my email dated 11 June 2009?

Yours faithfully,

Michael Bimmler

Dear Sir or Madam,

I hereby withdraw my request.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Bimmler

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Bimmler,

Thank you for your email. Your instructions are noted.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle

Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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