Department for International Development's performance improvement plan for Unesco

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

Dear Department for International Development,
On January 23, 2018, Stephen Twigg MP asked the department about its performance improvement plan put in place to assess Unesco. Alistair Burt replied on January 28:
"Secretary of State for International Development spoke to Mme Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, within two weeks of being appointed as Secretary of State. Mme Azoulay assured Secretary of State of the seriousness with which she is approaching the task of reforming UNESCO and confirmed her willingness to work with the UK on this. The Secretary of State has also written to Mme Azoulay outlining UK priorities for UNESCO reform, based on the 2017 performance improvement plan."
Please could you send me the performance improvement plan, complete with assessments of how well Unesco has done against indicators?
Yours faithfully,
Jack Malvern

Department for International Development

Dear Mr Malvern,

Thank you for your request for information which we received on 31 January
2018. We are dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and will respond to you directly as soon as possible and within
20 working days.

Please note the Department for International Development may also publish
our response to Freedom of Information requests at www.gov.uk/dfid.

Please contact me if you have any queries, quoting reference number
F2018-055.

Yours sincerely

Caroline Weintz
Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

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Dear Department for International Development,
It has been 20 working days since I submitted my FOI request, reference number F2018-055, relating to DFID's performance improvement plan for Unesco.
I have received no response since the acknowledgement of my request, contrary to the legal requirement. Please inform me as to the progress of my request and when you will be providing me with the information.
Yours faithfully,
Jack Malvern

Department for International Development

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    F2018 055 extension template Chapter ID 178554 created at 28 02 2018.doc

    196K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Malvern,

Please see the attached letter regarding your Freedom of Information
request.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Weintz
Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

Jack Malvern left an annotation ()

DFID replied on February 28, 2018 saying that it had delayed its response because it is considering "where the public interest lies", specifically in relation to section 27. Full response was sent in a document, but for ease of reading I transcribe it below. DFID says that it intends to respond by March 14.

Dear Mr Malvern
Freedom of Information Request F2018-055
I am writing to confirm that we are not yet in a position to respond to your Freedom of Information request of 30 January and to which you provided a further update on 31 January 2018.
I can confirm that DFID holds information relevant to your request.
We are obliged under the Freedom of Information Act to respond to requests promptly and, in any case, no later than 20 working days after receiving a request. But, when a qualified exemption applies to the information and the public interest test is engaged, we are allowed to extend this timescale to allow us to consider where the public interest lies. We do try to do this within the 20 working days but, in your case, I’m afraid, we’ve not yet reached a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. I estimate that we will be in a position to let you have a response by 14 March 2018. The specific exemption which applies to your request is section 27 (International Relations).
If you are unhappy with the service we are providing and wish to make a complaint, you should write to the Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team at the address given below or e-mail foi@dfid.gov.uk
Yours sincerely,
Caroline Weintz
DFID Information Rights Team

Department for International Development

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    F2018 055 extension template Chapter ID 178554 created at 14 03 2018.docx

    115K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Malvern

Please see the attached letter regarding your Freedom of Information
request F2018-055.

Yours sincerely,

Nicole Murphy
Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

Jack Malvern left an annotation ()

DFID said (in an attachment, above) that it hopes to respond by March 28. Here it is in plain text:

Dear Mr Malvern
Freedom of Information Request F2018-055
I refer to our letter of 28 February saying that we needed more time to consider the balance of public interest in disclosing the information you requested.
I’m afraid we are still considering these issues and are not yet in a position to respond. We do hope to respond as soon as possible and plan to do so by 28 March. I can assure you we are trying very hard to get your response finalised.
If you are unhappy with the service we are providing and wish to make a complaint, you should write to the Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team at the address given below or e-mail foi@dfid.gov.uk
Yours sincerely
Nicole Murphy
DFID Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team

Department for International Development

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    F2018 055 extension template Chapter ID 178554 created at 28 03 2018.doc

    196K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Malvern,

Please see the attached letter regarding your FOI request.

Yours sincerely,

Nicole Murphy
Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

Dear Department for International Development,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for International Development's handling of my FOI request "Department for International Development's performance improvement plan for Unesco".

DFID's information rights and public inquiries team has repeatedly delayed its response beyond the deadline of February 27, first to March 14, then March 28 and now to April 13.

The most recent letter was a form letter that suggested that if I was unhappy then I should write to a non-existent email address:" [email address]".

I consider DFID to be in breach of the act and of unnecessarily delaying its provision of the information that it has acknowledged it holds.

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

Yours faithfully,

Jack Malvern

Jack Malvern left an annotation ()

DFID replied on March 28 that it was requesting more time (the third time it has done this). The text of the letter, which was a form letter and not properly filled in, is below. Note the nonsense email address provided for me to send a complaint: "xxx@xxxx.xxx.xx"

Dear Mr Malvern,

Freedom of Information Request F2018-055
I refer to our letter of 14 March 2018 saying that we needed more time to consider the balance of public interest in disclosing the information you requested.
I’m afraid we are still considering these issues and are not yet in a position to respond. We do hope to respond as soon as possible and plan to do so by 13 April 2018. I can assure you we are trying very hard to get your response finalised.
If you are unhappy with the service we are providing and wish to make a complaint, you should write to the Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team at the address given below or e-mail xxx@xxxx.xxx.xx

Yours sincerely

Nicole Murphy
DFID Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team

Department for International Development

Dear Mr Malvern,

I refer to your e-mail dated 28 March in which you asked for an internal
review of DFID's handling of your Freedom of Information request reference
F2018-055. I will carry out this review and write to you with the outcome
as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Kennedy
Information Rights Team

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

UK aid is helping the world's poorest people change their lives.
Follow us online: [1]http://www.gov.uk/dfid Twitter: @DFID_UK

References

Visible links
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Department for International Development

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    F2018 055 extension template Chapter ID 178554 created at 13 04 2018.doc

    194K Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Malvern,

Please see the attached letter regarding your FOI request.

Yours sincerely,

Nicole Murphy
Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

Jack Malvern left an annotation ()

DFID responded with another delaying letter on April 13, bringing the total number of missed deadlines to four (February 27, March 14, March 28, April 13). The new self-imposed deadline is April 27. The full text of the form letter below:

Dear Mr Malvern,

Freedom of Information Request F2018-055
I refer to our letter of 28 March 2018 saying that we needed more time to consider the balance of public interest in disclosing the information you requested.
I’m afraid we are still considering these issues and are not yet in a position to respond. We do hope to respond as soon as possible and plan to do so by 27 April 2018. I can assure you we are trying very hard to get your response finalised.
If you are unhappy with the service we are providing and wish to make a complaint, you should write to the Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team at the address given below or e-mail xxx@xxxx.xxx.xx

Yours sincerely

Nicole Murphy
DFID Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team

Department for International Development

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Malvern,

Please see the attached response to your request for internal review of
DFID's handling of your Freedom of Information request reference
F2018-055.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Kennedy
DFID Information Rights Team

Jack Malvern left an annotation ()

The internal review essentially says: sorry, we haven't got around to considering the public interest test. Given that DFID has released similar information in the past, I shall be complaining to the Information Commissioner if they do not release it.

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

Our attention has been drawn to the user complaining about an email address of the form xxx@xxxx.xx or similar. We at WhatDoTheyKnow.com remove email addresses from responses published on our site.

Users can contact us to ask us to re-publish them, which we can do,
but we don't have the resources to do that on a large scale.

Our published policy on this is at:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

Where possible we link to policy from removed email address; this isn't currently practical when the address appears within a Word document.

--
Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Department for International Development

6 Attachments

Dear Mr Malvern

Please find attached the Department for International Development's
response to your Freedom of Information request F2018-055.

Please note our email address may be removed in the response uploaded to
whatdotheyknow.com, this is part of [1]whatdotheyknow.com's publishing
policy.

Yours sincerely,

Nicole Murphy
Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

The attachment format may not be suitable for users of assistive
technology and mobile devices. Please email [2][DFID request email] to request
a different format.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
2. mailto:[DFID request email]?Subject=Alternative format request:F2018-055

Dear Department for International Development,

Please pass this on to Helen Kennedy, or any other person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for International Development's handling of my FOI request 'Department for International Development's performance improvement plan for Unesco'.

My request for information was blocked on two grounds. The first was Section 27 (1) (a) (b) (c) and (d) of the Freedom Information Act, which provide that information is exempt if its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the relations between the United Kingdom and any other state or international organisation, or the interests of the UK abroad, or the promotion or protection by the United Kingdom of its interests abroad.
I say that this is clearly inconsistent with DFID's previous willingness to publish reports that are highly critical of Unesco. I draw attention to the publication of documents such as its Multilateral Development Review (2016) and an Annual Review (Multilateral Organisation Core funding) that are critical of Unesco. Links here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
iati.dfid.gov.uk/iati_documents/4103686.odt
Furthermore, both Priti Patel and Penny Mordaunt have been vocal in their dissatisfaction with Unesco at several public meetings with the International Development Committee.

The second exemption cited by DFID for blocking my request was Section 43 (2) (Commercial interests), in particular the suggestion that disclosing the information would "damage the business reputation of DFID and make it less likely that organisations would share commercially sensitive information with DFID in future".
I say that this is irrelevant, as neither DFID nor Unesco are commercial organisations. They cannot have a business relationship as they are not businesses.

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

Yours faithfully,

Jack Malvern

Dear Department for International Development,

I submitted a request for an internal review on May 1, 28 working days ago. I have not received an acknowledgement.

The Information Commissioner's Office states that public bodies should carry out internal reviews within 20 days, or a maximum of 40 days in exceptional circumstances:
"The Commissioner considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer. In those circumstances, the public authority should, as a matter of good practice, notify the requester and explain why more time is needed. In our view, in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days. In such cases we would expect a public authority to be able to demonstrate that it had commenced the review procedure promptly following receipt of the request for review and had actively worked on the review throughout that period."
(ICO good practice guidance, February 2007)

Therefore I expect:
a) an acknowledgement of my request,
b) an explanation of why the review was not carried out within 20 days, and
c) a response with 40 working days of May 1, which is June 26.

I note that I submitted my original FOI request on January 30.
Yours faithfully,
Jack Malvern

foi, Department for International Development

Dear Mr Malvern,

My apologies for not acknowledging your request for internal review. I'm afraid I overlooked this. Although my consultations are taking longer to complete than I would have hoped, please be assured that I am carrying out the internal review and will respond to you as soon as possible and no later than 26 June.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Kennedy

Information Rights Team
Department for International Development

show quoted sections

Department for International Development

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Malvern,

Please see the attached response to your request for internal review of
DFID's handling of your Freedom of Information request reference
F2018-055. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Kennedy
Information Rights Team

Jack Malvern left an annotation ()

DFID responded to my request for an internal review on July 11, three weeks after the 20-day deadline set out as good practice by the Information Commissioner.
It apologised for the delay, which is the fifth time it has exceeded a deadline since the FOI request was first made in January.
It conceded that one of the exemptions on which it relied did not apply: Section 43 (2) (Commercial interests).
However, it refused to disclose information by upholding the exemptions in Section 27 (1) (a) (b) (c) and (d), which provide that information is exempt if its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the relations between the United Kingdom and any other state or international organisation, or the interests of the UK abroad, or the promotion or protection by the United Kingdom of its interests abroad.
I shall be referring the matter to the Information Commissioner.

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