Details of 'new measures' introduced to improve your (previously shambolic) FOI responses

The request was successful.

Dear Lewisham Borough Council,

PREAMBLE:

With respect to your Internal Review response to my recent FOI request (your ref: 2690468) [a copy of which can be found at the following link: https://bit.ly/2LI5Veb ] -

Thanks for admitting that you've not been allocating sufficient resources to meet your mandatory obligations for responding to FOI requests in a lawful manner. That's courageous of you indeed.

Subsequently, you wrote the following:
'We recognise that this is not ideal and have recently put
measures in place to attempt to rectify this and improve our response
times.'

Naturally, I'm overjoyed to read that you have *not* merely paid lip-service to your organisation's significant & chronic failure to meet the minimum statutory legal requirements - and instead you have *finally* introduced 'new measures' so that Lewisham residents no longer need to continually have their legal rights breached.
Splendid Work, Lewisham Council!

.

DATA REQUESTED NOW:

According to your records -

1) What are the specific details of these 'new measures' that you referenced?

2) On what date were they put into place?

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Williams

Foi, Customer, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Mr. Williams,

 

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Reference No: 3071565   

 

Thank you for your recent request.

 

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days, subject to the application of
any exemptions. Where consideration is being given to exemptions the 20
working day timescale may be extended to a period considered reasonable
depending on the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases
you will be notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be
indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the
earliest opportunity.

 

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information requested where the request exceeds the statutory limit or
where disbursements exceed £10. In such cases you will be informed in
writing and your request will be suspended until we receive payment from
you or your request is modified and/or reduced.

 

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public
authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred.

 

If we are unable to provide you with the information requested we will
notify you of this together with the reason(s) why and details of how you
may appeal (if appropriate).

 

Please note that the directorate team may contact you for further
information where we believe that the request is not significantly clear
for us to respond fully.

 

 

Kind regards

Corporate Complaints, Casework and Information Governance Team

 

 

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Foi, Customer, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Mr Williams
 
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Reference No: 3071565 
 
Thank you for your request for information held by London Borough of
Lewisham. I have included below a copy of your request, followed by the
Council’s response next to each heading.
 
1) What are the specific details of these 'new measures' that you
referenced?
 
We can confirm that these new measures include the following:
 
• A reduction in the time that services have to provide their drafts/
information. We have reduced this time from 10 working days to 7.
• A self-imposed 15 working day deadline for all FOI responses, as opposed
to the statutory 20 working days, allowing a grace period if absolutely
necessary.
• Thorough checks of all the information from services as soon as it comes
back to ensure it is adequate and answers all the questions.
• More regular chasers to the service responsible, and chasers at an
earlier stage.
• All overdue cases to be reported to the relevant Assistant Director
where services fail to provide their information within the new deadline.
• Reports of all overdue and open cases sent to Executive Directors on a
monthly basis, along with the standard performance reports
 
2) On what date were they put into place
 
Most of the above measures were put into place on 29 April 2019. However,
the process remains under review and is being monitored to ensure that the
above changes are successful in improving performance.
 
Further changes may be implemented as a result of this ongoing review, and
taking into consideration feedback from staff and services.
 
For example, the team are currently looking into a more robust approach to
triaging FOIs to ensure that :
 
• Requests are sent to the correct service as early on as possible
• Where a common exemption is applicable (eg. Section 21, Section 40) this
is relayed to the customer at the earliest opportunity rather than the
request being processed and sent to the service as normal, potentially
causing delays.
 
In addition, the Council is planning to publish the most common FOI
responses.  We are hopeful that this publication log, along with the
Authority’s Transparency Agenda (details of the current position available
via this link - [1]http://www.lewishamdemocracy.com/about/ ) will, in the
future, give requesters the information they need without the need to make
a formal request under Freedom of Information legislation.
 
We hope you will find this information helpful.
 
You are free to use the information provided for your own purposes,
including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes
of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication,
requires the permission of the copyright holder. You may apply for
permission to re-use this information by submitting a request to
[2][email address]
 
You have a right of appeal against this response which you can exercise by
writing to: Information Governance – 1st floor Town Hall Chambers,
Catford, London. SE6 4RU. Or at: [3][email address]
 
This must be requested within 40 working days of the date of this
response.
 
If you remain dissatisfied after receiving this decision, you then also
have a further right of appeal, which you can make in writing, stating
your reasons to the regulating body, the Information Commissioner's
Office. Contact details are outlined below:
 
[4]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
 
Telephone: 0303 123 1113.
 
Address: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
Corporate Complaints, Casework & Information Governance Team
London Borough of Lewisham
Address 5th Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU
 

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Dear Lewisham Council,

This is amazing. The new system appears to be working, as this is the first response I've received from you that has felt it was dealt with appropriately with respect to time.

Is there any possibility you could suggest this new protocol to your ALMO Lewisham Homes?.... Presently, LBLC has no Head of Strategic Housing - and - from what I can tell from what you've said - this leaves LH with zero oversight.
This lack of oversight seems to have left LH *even more* aberrant than usual and they are flagrantly disregarding their obligations under the FOI Act.

Could you perhaps simply let them know about your new system and invite them to adopt it if they so chose?

Kind thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams