Departmental name change

Waiting for an internal review by Department for Culture, Media and Sport of their handling of this request.

Dear DCMS,

I understand that the department has officially changed its name to "Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport" as of today.

I would like to request access to the ministerial submission concerning this decision. I assume that the decision was taken by the Secretary of State, though it may also have been taken by the Prime Minister. If the decision was taken by the Prime Minister, I assume that there was a ministerial submission (or equivalent) concerning a recommendation by the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister concerning this name change. Please provide either.

Secondly, if there was correspondence with the Cabinet Office concerning this departmental name change, please provide it.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Bimmler

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Mr Bimmler,

Thank you for your information request of 3^rd July as outlined below.

We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act).

We can confirm that DCMS holds information within the scope of your
request. However, we have determined that some of this information may be
exempt from release under section 36 (Conduct of public affairs) of the
Act. This is a qualified exemption and, as such, it is necessary to carry
out a public interest test to consider whether, in all the circumstances
of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs
the public interest in disclosing the information.

By virtue of section 10(3) of the Act, where public authorities have to
carry out a public interest test, they do not have to comply with the
request until such time as is reasonable in the circumstances. Due to the
need to consider where the balance of the public interest lies in relation
to the information that you have requested, the Department will not be
able to respond to your request immediately. However, we hope to let you
have a substantive response to your request by 31^st August.

Yours sincerely,

The FOI Team

no-reply@dcms.ecase.co.uk on behalf of Correspondence Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

FOI2017/01394

Mr Bimmler

[FOI #415776 email]

Dear Mr Bimmler,

Thank you for your information request dated 3 July, in which you asked
the following:

I understand that the department has officially changed its name to
"Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport" as of today.

I would like to request access to the ministerial submission concerning
this decision. I assume that the decision was taken by the Secretary of

State, though it may also have been taken by the Prime Minister. If the
decision was taken by the Prime Minister, I assume that there was a
ministerial submission (or equivalent) concerning a recommendation by the
Secretary of State to the Prime Minister concerning this name change.
Please provide either.

Secondly, if there was correspondence with the Cabinet Office concerning
this departmental name change, please provide it.

We have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act). I can confirm that the Department holds information within
scope of your request. However, we have determined that this information
is exempt from disclosure under section 35 (a) (formulation of government
policy) of the Act. Section 35 is a 'qualified exemption' and requires us
to carry out a public interest test to consider whether the balance of
interest lies in releasing or withholding the information. In considering
this, we have paid particular regard to the arguments in favour of
disclosure, including that disclosure may be of benefit because:

* greater transparency makes government more accountable to the
electorate and increases trust;
* the desirability of citizens being confident that decisions are taken
on the basis of the best available information;
* knowledge that the arguments relating to a debate will be released
will in fact improve the quality of those arguments. Far from
inhibiting the frank provision of advice, there might be circumstances
where the prospect of disclosure would enhance the quality of advice.

However, while acknowledging these benefits we consider that on this
occasion the arguments for upholding the exemption and withholding the
information outweigh those in favour of disclosure. In particular,
consideration of the following factors has led us to the conclusion that
the public interest requires the exemption in section 35 to be upheld
because:

* Ministers and their officials need space in which to develop their
thinking and explore different options in communications and
discussions. We are continuing to use the information at issue here to
inform the development of our ongoing policy;
* Ministers and their officials need to be able to think through all the
implications of different options. In particular, they need to be able
to undertake rigorous and candid assessments of the risks to
particular programmes and projects;
* good government depends on good decision making and this needs to be
based on the best advice available and a full consideration of all the
options - there may be a deterrent effect on external experts or
stakeholders who might be reluctant to provide advice because it might
be disclosed;

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

4th floor, 100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

www.gov.uk/dcms

Complaints and comments

As is customary in our replies, I would like to explain that if you are
dissatisfied with any aspect of our response to your request for
information and/or wish to appeal against information being withheld from
you please send full details within two calendar months of the date of
this email to: [DCMS request email]

You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to
investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is
likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted
before beginning an investigation.

Dear Department for Culture, Media and Sport,

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Culture, Media and Sport's handling of my FOI request 'Departmental name change', your reference FOI2017/01394

I would ask that you firstly review whether the exemption cited is indeed engaged and secondly review whether the public interest has been assessed properly.

I should point out that the request concerns a 'simple' name change. To hear that all information relating to that name change is covered by s35 FOIA is quite astonishing. Moreover, while your public interest test includes some "boilerplate" reasons for or against publication in situations where s35 may be engaged, the public interest test shows no evidence of actual application to and engagement with the information sought in this particular request.

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,

M Bimmler

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

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