Further Scientology information to release as a result of Information Tribunal decision

William Thackeray made this Freedom of Information request to City of London Corporation

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

City of London Corporation did not have the information requested.

William Thackeray

Dear City of London Corporation,

Does CoL intend to release further information concerning Scientology, in the light of the Information Tribunal's recent recommendation (Thackeray v CoL, para 46 - shown below) that it do so?

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Thackeray v CoL, para 46:

"46. The Tribunal upheld the IC’s Decision Notice and dismissed the appeal. It noted that Mr Thackeray sought an understanding of the reasons behind the decision taken by the Council that COSREC was entitled to rate relief. In the Tribunal’s view, this would be better satisfied by disclosure of the underlying facts taken into account by the Council. In its view the case for disclosure was likely to be stronger in relation to material that was not legally professionally privileged given the significant public interests that arise in this case. The Tribunal was aware however that the Council had refused disclosure of such information in response to Mr Thackeray’s further requests under FOIA. The Tribunal wished to recommend to the Council that it reconsider its position in the light of this Tribunal’s assessment of the public interests in favour of disclosure."

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your enquiry. It will be referred to the relevant officers.

City of London
T: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear COL - EB - Information Officer,

Awaiting your response (now overdue) on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

It has come to our attention that your enquiry of 31 May 2010, to which
your email of 30 July relates, has been sent as a separate Freedom of
Information (FOI) request via the "What do they know" public website
rather than as an enquiry relating to your ongoing FOI complaints. As
your email of 31 May 2010 only asks for our opinion, it is not a valid FOI
request. Therefore, we will not be writing further in response to this
enquiry. We will, of course, continue to deal with your other FOI
complaints separately whether via the appropriate "What do they know"
email addresses given for each request or in dialogue with the Information
Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

That seems unnecessarily pedantic.

I do not agree that my email of 31 May 2010 ("Does CoL intend to release further information concerning
Scientology, in the light of the Information Tribunal's recent recommendation (Thackeray v CoL, para 46 - shown below) that it do so?") did not constitute an FOI request.

To avoid the possibility of any more pedantry from CoL concerning the wording of my request, I hereby rephrase my FOI request in the following terms:

Please release further information concerning
Scientology, in the light of the Information Tribunal's recent recommendation (Thackeray v CoL, para 46 - shown below) that you do so.

I am also reporting this matter to the ICO, as I consider that your unnecessarily obstructive attitude in this matter to be at variance with your FOIA obligation to 'advise and assist'.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Thackeray v CoL, para 46:

"46. The Tribunal upheld the IC’s Decision Notice and dismissed the
appeal. It noted that Mr Thackeray sought an understanding of the
reasons behind the decision taken by the Council that COSREC was
entitled to rate relief. In the Tribunal’s view, this would be
better satisfied by disclosure of the underlying facts taken into
account by the Council. In its view the case for disclosure was
likely to be stronger in relation to material that was not legally
professionally privileged given the significant public interests
that arise in this case. The Tribunal was aware however that the
Council had refused disclosure of such information in response to
Mr Thackeray’s further requests under FOIA. The Tribunal wished to
recommend to the Council that it reconsider its position in the
light of this Tribunal’s assessment of the public interests in
favour of disclosure."

William Thackeray

Dear City of London Corporation,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of City of London Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Further Scientology information to release as a result of Information Tribunal decision'.

The reason for my internal review request is:

- I do not agree with the CoL's assertion that my FOIA request was invalid because of the way it was worded. A 'common sense' approach to interpreting the wording of my request makes it clear that I was requesting information.

- CoL's pedantry in this case breaches CoL's FOIA obligation to 'advise and assist' the applicant.

- The response to my FOIA request is overdue, and CoL is now in breach of law.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fu...

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

The City of London (CoL) acknowledges receipt of your request for
information of 6 August 2010.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

Thank you for acknowledging receipt of my FOIA request.

I do not agree that the request is dated 6 Aug 2010; the date of the request was 31 May 2010.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

The City of London (CoL) acknowledges receipt of your request for an
internal review in relation to your email of 31 May 2010.

As the CoL does not regard the email of 31 May 2010 as a valid request for
information (under the Freedom of Information Act) it will not be
conducting an internal review into the response it has made to it. The CoL
also notes from your subsequent communication of 6 August 2010 @ 13:39
(from the same email address) that you will in any case be referring the
matter to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

You've already acknowledged receipt of my FOIA request; now you're denying it was one.

Honestly, the mind boggles.

I'll certainly be referring this one to the ICO: good luck explaining it to them.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Referred to ICO.

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

Following your request of 6 August 2010, and our acknowledgement of the
same date, the City of London (CoL) responds as follows.

Your request is refused under section 14(2) of the FOIA as a repeated
request for information which is currently the subject of complaints you
have referred to the Information Commissioner and which are still being
considered by that Office (ie FS50252171 and FS50265544). The CoL is
therefore referring the correspondence relating to this most recent
request to the Information Commissioner's Office so that it can be
considered in conjunction with those complaints.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

I (again) request an internal review, on the following grounds:

1)

I do not agree that this is a repeated request.

2)

This is too late a stage in the process for CoL to begin raising new exemptions.

3)

Procedural problem with this request: CoL has not followed the legal process laid out in FOIA for dealing with this request.

4)

By its obstructive attitude, CoL has failed in its FOIA legal duty to 'advise and assist' the applicant.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

As requested in your email of 13 August 2010, the City of London (CoL) has
undertaken an internal review of the decision to refuse your request for
information of 6 August. The decision was upheld on the same grounds.
Please refer all further correspondence regarding this FOI request to the
Information Commissioner.

In relation to your comments regarding procedural matters, the CoL assumes
you are referring to your email of 31 May, which was sent using the same
"What do they know" email address as your FOI request of 6 August. The CoL
already advised you that the CoL does not consider your email of 31 May to
be a valid FOI request, and the reasons for this. We note that you
indicated in your emails of 6 August @13.39 and 9 August @15.32 that you
are referring the matter to the Information Commissioner.

In order to assist the Commissioner's investigation we have referred all
relevant correspondence, both regarding your email of 31 May and your FOI
request of 6 August, to the Commissioner's Office.

With regard to advice and assistance, please feel free to contact us any
time by phone, or to visit our offices. It is the CoL's experience that a
conversation is can be useful in administering requests in a manner which
is satisfactory to the applicant, both to clarify exactly the information
being sought and how the CoL is best able to respond.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

So you're still refusing to internally review your decision as to whether my FOIA request of 31 May was valid?

And the grounds you offer for this refusal to review your decision is that my FOIA request of 31 May was invalid?

This is a circular argument.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

The City of London explained to you its view that your communication of
31 May 2010 was not a valid request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act and that it would not be undertaking an internal review.
You indicated previously that you would be referring your complaint to
the Information Commissioner's Office and we welcome this approach if it
will assist in resolving this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

On what legal basis does City of London rest its apparent claims:

1) that Freedom of Information Act legal obligations (including internal review) do not apply to City of London if it declares a FOIA information request to be 'invalid'?

2) that the decision to declare a FOIA request 'invalid' is itself 'above the law' in respect of FOIA provisions (including internal review)?

Sir Humphrey would be proud.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

COL - EB - Information Officer, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your communication. The City of London considers that it has
explained its position. The FOIA provides a legal right to request any
recorded information held by a public authority, however your
correspondence of 31 May asked the public authority to offer an opinion.
You indicated previously that you would be referring your complaint to the
Information Commissioner's Office and, as mentioned, we welcome this
approach if it will assist in resolving this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Anonymous Information Officer,

Your position is perfectly clear. No doubt it is also perfectly clear that I disagree with that position, and therefore I again request that your decision be subject to an internal review.

Just for absolute clarity:

1. I understand that it is the City of London's position, and your position personally as an anonymous correspondent employed by City of London, that my FOIA information request of 31 May was not a legitimate request for information.

2. I do not agree: it was a request for information. The possible answers are "yes", "no", and "we haven't decided". I don't agree that that is a matter of opinion.

3. I have already requested - and continue to request - that your decision (1 above) be the subject of an internal review. I am astonished that you appear to consider yourself to be above the law in respect of FOIA.

Just as an aside, it is often considered polite to sign a business letter (or in this case an email) with your name. Other public authorities manage to reply to FOIA requests with professionalism and courtesy, in contrast with City of London which is consistently obstructive and rude.

I look forward to the Information Commissioner's involvement with this case; doubtless the ICO will disabuse you of your false impression that you are 'above the law' in respect of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Anastasia left an annotation ()

Linking this related FOI here http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ra...

Pietsch, Anne, City of London Corporation

Dear Mr Thackeray,

I write further to the Decision Notice in this matter and with reference
to your email of 31 May 2010 confirm no recorded information was held.
This email will be copied to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Your sincerely,

Anne Pietsch
Public and Corporate Law
for Comptroller and City Solicitor
City of London, PO Box 270, Guildhall EC2P 2EJ
PH: 020 - 7332 1633 (direct line)
FAX: 020 - 7332 1992
[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

show quoted sections