Failure to comply with decision notices

Ganesh Sittampalam made this Freedom of Information request to Information Commissioner’s Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am looking for information about cases in which public authorities have failed to comply with a decision notice within the specified time limit and has thus become liable to being reported and dealt with as if in contempt of court under 54(1)(a) of the FOI act. This does not include situations where they have appealed the decision and thus caused the requirement to comply to be suspended.

1) Do you verify as a matter of course whether a public authority has complied in time?

2) Please could I have a list of cases where you are aware that the authority has failed to comply in time. Just the decision notice reference number would be sufficient, but if it is easy to provide then some information about the particular facts of the delay - e.g. what excuses the authority made and if/when they did eventually comply - would be helpful.

3) Have you ever reported an authority in such a case? Do you have any established procedure for deciding whether to do so, and if so what is it?

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Information Commissioner’s Office

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Thank you for your correspondence dated 20 February 2009, which contained
an information request.

Your request is being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  We will respond by 20 March 2009, which is 20
working days from the day after we received your request.

Yours sincerely

Richard Kerr

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

show quoted sections

http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: [email address]
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/radE3FED_files/filelist.xml

Information Commissioner’s Office

2 Attachments

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Further to my email of 20 February 2009 I am writing in response to your
request for information. As you are aware your correspondence has been
treated as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

I will address each of your questions in the order in which you raised
them;

1. The Information Commissioner’s Office does not routinely verify
whether a public authority has complied with a DN. (This office would
expect any delay to be subsequently reported by the original
complainant).

2.   This office is aware of two cases where the authority failed to
comply in time and   

      were subject to formal action by this office. The authorities
are as follows;

      Bridgnorth District Council. (Ref. No. FS50154310)

      North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries

      Committee. (Ref. No. FS50094592)

      Both authorities subsequently complied, without the need for
this office to certify

      non-compliance to the court. You mentioned information
concerning the facts of the

      delay and subsequent compliance. This is information that this
office would not usually

      make publicly available. As you have stated that you wished the
information only if

      “easy to provide” and thus I have not pursued this matter.
You are of course entitled to

      make a formal request for the information should it become more
relevant to your

      enquiries.

3.   From my enquires it would appear that, to date, the Information
Commissioner has not

            had cause to formally certify non-compliance to the
High Court. Our procedures

            concerned in doing so are laid out in section
4.7.4. of the ICO FOI Procedures

            Manual, a copy of which is attached.

I do hope that this information assists you. If you are dissatisfied with
the response you have received and wish to request a review of our
decision or make a complaint about how your request has been handled you
should write to the Internal Compliance Team at the address below or
e-mail [2][email address]

Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.

If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation.  To make such an application, please write
to the Case Reception Team, at the address below or visit the
‘Complaints’ section of our website to make a Freedom of Information
Act or Environmental Information Regulations complaint online.

 

A copy of our review procedure is attached.

Yours sincerely

Richard Kerr

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager.

show quoted sections

http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: [email address]
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/rad97674_files/filelist.xml
2. mailto:[email address]

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Mr Kerr,

Thanks for that information. My question was actually prompted by the BBC's disclosure in response to FS50133140, which was apparently made more than 35 days after the decision notice: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/77...

Some googling suggests that the requestor was in contact with you about this: http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum... - scroll down to "Reply #66".

So I'm a bit surprised not to see this case in the list you gave - is it an oversight, or did you mean something specific by "formal action" above that doesn't capture this case? If so, I believe my original request should cover this kind of case too.

By the way I'm sorry I didn't mention the case in my original request - I wasn't trying to catch you out, I just wanted to keep my request as simple as possible!

Regards,

Ganesh

Information Commissioner’s Office

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr Sittampalam

I refer to your recent query in respect of late compliance with DNs.

You are correct to identify that the discrepancy is due to the use of the
term ‘subject to formal action’. In the case you have mentioned a
brief short exchange took place between the ICO and BBC, concerning late
compliance, and the matter was very quickly (and informally) resolved.

I trust this answers your question.

Yours sincerely

Richard Kerr

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

show quoted sections

http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: [email address]
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/rad497F9_files/filelist.xml

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