Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
I write to request a copy of the Department's submission to the Independent Review on Administrative Law. Please treat this as a new request. Although this information has been previously requested (ref: IR2021/08399), section 14(2) of FOIA is not engaged as the information has been confirmed as being held but has not previously been provided by the Department. Further, a reasonable interval has elapsed since my request of 18 November 2020 during which time the Review has concluded, the Panel's Report has been published and the Lord Chancellor has announced the Government's response to the Report. The Department must therefore consider the current request in the usual manner.
The Department's previous refusal of an internal review request in relation to IR2021/08399 stated (on 1 March 2021):
"You have noted that the Panel has now reported to the Ministry of Justice.
Considering the request at the present date, we consider that the requested information is exempt from disclosure because it relates to the formulation or development of government policy, section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This exemption protects the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies without the risk of premature disclosure.
We understand that the Lord Chancellor is actively considering the Panel’s report and evidence that it has received.
Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information:
The Lord Chancellor has not yet reached any conclusions, and therefore the legitimate public interest in the release of the underlying evidence is not particularly strong at this time.
The Lord Chancellor must have a safe space in which to analyse and consider the Panel’s Report and evidence collected (including the submissions), away from the public gaze and to reach conclusions. The damage that would likely be inflicted by premature release of evidence collected would impact on the Lord Chancellor’s deliberations. It is not a credible use of the panel or government’s time if they spend time and effort defending and debating publicly options which are still being considered. "
Whilst the above public interest considerations are not accepted, in any event, matters have since moved on and the Lord Chancellor has now announced the government's response to the Panel's Report on 18 March 2021 and the Report was published on the same day.
I would be grateful if you could therefore provide the requested information.
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