Environmental Information in minutes and intranet documents

John Cross made this Freedom of Information request to House of Commons Commission

The request was partially successful.

From: John Cross

17 April 2010

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to request information from the House of Commons
Commission under The Environmental Information Regulations 2004
("the EIR").

Please can you provide me with:

(1) copies of any minutes for meetings of Commission meetings
taking place between 1 January 2009 and 16 April 2010 which contain
environmental information.

(2) copies of any document stored on an intranet accessible to
members of the Commission and/or the staff they appoint

For the purpose of these requests 'environmental information' means
the same as in the EIR.

Please acknowledge receipt.

Yours faithfully,

John Cross

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From: FOICOMMONS
House of Commons Commission

28 April 2010

Dear Mr Cross

Thank you for your request for information received by us on 17 April 2010. The House of Commons Commission is not a public authority therefore the response will be provided to you by the House of Commons, as described below.

When Parliament has been dissolved there is no ‘House of Commons’ for the purposes of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

As your request was received during the dissolution period, the time limit will commence on 18 May, being the day the new Parliament first meets. We will endeavour to respond to your request promptly but in any case within 20 working days i.e. on or before 16 June 2010.

If you have any queries about your request, please use the request number quoted in the subject line of this email.

Yours sincerely

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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From: John Cross

1 May 2010

Dear Sirs
The definition of public authority contained in the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 is different to the definition of
public authority contained in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please carry out an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

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From: FOICOMMONS
House of Commons Commission

27 May 2010


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Dear Mr Cross

I apologise if my previous response was ambiguous. For the avoidance of doubt the House of Commons Commission is not a public authority within the meaning of the Environmental Information regulations. If you wish it we will of course review the handling of your request, details of how to request such a review are provided at the end of the response.

In the interests of providing you with as much assistance as possible we have attempted to provide such information by other routes.

In part 1 of your request you asked for "...copies of any minutes for meetings of Commission meetings taking place between 1 January 2009 and 16 April 2010 which contain environmental information".

Copies of minutes of Commission meetings are already publicly available and easily accessible on line: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-o...

In part 2 of your request you asked for "...copies of any document stored on an intranet accessible to members of the Commission and/or the staff they appoint".

This part of your request been directed to the House of Commons and handled under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000

The intranet you describe contains around 1600 pages and 3000 documents. We estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit of £600. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for the House of Commons it is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in determining whether the House holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the House is not obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further.

If you were to make a new request for a more narrow category of information, it may be that we could comply with that request within the appropriate limit, although I cannot guarantee that this will be the case. In order to assist you to narrow down your request, copies of the intranet index pages are provided for your consideration.

To the extent to which any of the pages and documents contain information that might be classified as environmental information under Regulation 2(1) of the EIRs 2004, we have concluded that any requirement to search through the pages and documents described above to locate environmental information would be manifestly unreasonable. Therefore the exception described in Regulation 12 (4) (b) applies and we will not be processing your request further. While there is a public interest in providing access to environmental information we have concluded that the greater public interest in focusing resources effectively should prevail.

In addition, your request is formulated in too general a manner and, in accordance with Regulation 9(2) of the EIRs 2004, the provided index pages will assist you to identify information of interest.

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 SW1 OAA or [The House of Commons Commission request email]. Please ensure that you specify the nature of your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to make.

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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