Gaining unfair commercial advantage through secret meetings

Waiting for an internal review by Prime Minister's Office of their handling of this request.

Dear Prime Minister's Office,


In 2015 the Appeal Court said the alleged meaning that "in return for cash donations to the Conservative Party, the Claimant [Mr Cruddas] corruptly offered for sale the opportunity to influence government policy and gain unfair advantage through secret meetings with the
Prime Minister and other senior ministers" was "substantially true".

Lord Justice Jackson wrote in a ruling: "Mr (Peter) Cruddas was effectively saying to the journalists that if they donated large sums to the Conservative Party, they would have an opportunity to influence Government policy and to gain unfair commercial advantage through confidential meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers." and "That was unacceptable, inappropriate and wrong."

FoI request: If they exist, please kindly provide records of procedures put into place since the above to stop people being able to influence government policy by those methods described.

For public reference:

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

Our ref: FOI2021/06306

Dear Amanda Hart,

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 19th
March. Your request is being handled under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ('the Act').

The Act requires that a response must be given promptly, and in any event
within 20 working days. We will therefore aim to reply at the latest by
20th April.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Dear Prime Minister's Office,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Prime Minister's Office's handling of my FOI request 'Gaining unfair commercial advantage through secret meetings'.

We understand there may be a delay in providing this information but as there have been no changes to the time limits at which we can request an internal review it must therefore be entered today.

You have breached Section 10 of the FoIA.
Section 10 of the Act sets out the time frames within which a public authority must respond to an FOIA request.

* It applies whenever the public authority has:
- a duty under section 1(1)(a) confirm or deny whether the information is held;
- a duty under section 1(1)(b) to provide information that is held to the requester;
- a duty under section 17 to issue a refusal notice explaining why a request has been refused.
* Authorities must respond to requests promptly, and by the twentieth working day following the date of receipt of the request.
* A working day is any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United Kingdom.
* Where required, an authority may claim a reasonable extension of time to consider the public interest test. An extension beyond an additional 20 working days should be exceptional.

You are also reminded it is the Information Commissioner who recommends internal reviews are requested when authorities fail to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. They state it is your chance to report on what went wrong and they see it as your opportunity to set things right.

You are under no legal obligation to complete an internal review, but it is considered 'good practice' to do so as it will help you to avoid further breaches. Should you inform us that you are not completing one, or claim there "is nothing to review", there is no further legal requirement for us to wait any longer. Be advised we would then pass the matter directly to the Information Commissioner.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

FOI Team Mailbox, Prime Minister's Office

Dear Amanda Hart, 
Thank you for your email.
Please accept our sincere apologies that we were unable to issue a
response to your request for information within 20 work days. Be assured
that your request is being dealt with and that we will issue a response as
soon as possible. 
We are unable to conduct an internal review into a FOI request while the
process of responding is still ongoing. Once a response has been issued
you will be able to request a review into that response. 
Kind Regards

FOI Team

Cabinet Office

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Amanda Hart left an annotation ()

Reported to ICO as criteria met. 13th May 2021.