How the ICO selects authorities for monitoring

The request was partially successful.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

Your document “How the Information Commissioner’s Office selects authorities for monitoring” ( https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... ) contains 'rules of thumb' on how you select Public Bodies (PB's) for timeliness monitoring.

One of these rules of thumb is that you may contact PB's if:

"[your] analysis of complaints received by the [you] suggests that [you] have received in the region of 4 to 8 or more complaints citing delays within a specific authority within a six month period."

1) Please provide the names of the PB's you have monitored based on this criteria/heuristic.

2) The monitoring period of the PB's in (1).

3) Is the six month period calculated using a fixed time period. e.g. 01 January 2015 to 30 June 2015, 01 July 2015 to 31 December 2015 etc., or does a Public Body fail to meet the benchmark if 4 to 8 or more request are not responded to within a random six month period. i.e. 23 February 2015 to 23 August 2015.

4) i) Names of PB's that have not met this rule of thumb according to your most recent analysis.

ii) Please indicate which of the PB's in (i) will NOT go through a monitoring exercise.

I note that as part of a previous request (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d... ) you have provided quite extensive information on the triggers for monitoring. However, as far as I'm aware the above particulars were not covered in that request.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Navartne

AccessICOinformation, Information Commissioner’s Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

 

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
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If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
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If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
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If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
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Information Commissioner’s Office

16 January 2017

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0662946

 

Dear Mr Navartne

Request for Information
 
Thank you for your correspondence which we received on 12 January, in
which you have made a request for information held by the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO). 
 
Your request has been passed to the ICO’s Information Access Team, and is
being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
under the reference number shown above. 
 
We will therefore respond to your request promptly, and no later than 9
February which is 20 working days from the day after we received your
request.
 
Should you wish to reply to this email please be careful not to amend the
information in the ‘subject’ field. This will ensure that your reply is
added directly to your case.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
 

Danny Langley
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 01625 545784  F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
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Information Commissioner’s Office

27 January 2017

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0662946

 

Dear Mr Navartne

Request for Information
 
Further to our acknowledgement of 16 January we can now respond to your
request for information of 12 January.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
 
Request & our response
 
In your email you asked:
 
“Your document ‘How the Information Commissioner’s Office selects
authorities for monitoring’ (
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
) contains 'rules of thumb' on how you select Public Bodies (PB's) for
timeliness monitoring.
 
One of these rules of thumb is that you may contact PB's if:
 
‘[your] analysis of complaints received by the [you] suggests that [you]
have received in the region of 4 to 8 or more complaints citing delays
within a specific authority within a six month period.’
 
1) Please provide the names of the PB's you have monitored based on this
criteria/heuristic.

2) The monitoring period of the PB's in (1)."
 
Our response: We hold information regarding the scope of this part of your
request dating back to April 2013.
 
I can confirm that this criterion was engaged for the public authorities
monitored in the following time periods:
 
1 April to 30 June 2013 
London Borough of Barnet
Manchester City Council
Metropolitan Police Service
 
1 July to 30 September 2013
Home Office
South Tyneside Council
Sussex Police
 
1 January to 31 March 2014
Cabinet Office
Crown Prosecution Service
Hackney Council
 
1 May - 31 July 2014
BBC
Essex Police
Greenwich Council
 
1 September - 30 November 2014
London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Wigan Council
Warwick District Council
 
1 February - 30 April 2015
Department of Finance and Personnel Northern Ireland
Cumbria County Council
Nottingham City Council
Salford City Council
 
1 September to 30 November 2015
Ministry of Justice
 
You asked: "3) Is the six month period calculated using a fixed time
period. e.g. 01 January 2015 to 30 June 2015, 01 July 2015 to 31 December
2015 etc., or does a Public Body fail to meet the benchmark if 4 to 8 or
more request are not responded to within a random six month period. i.e.
23 February 2015 to 23 August 2015."
 
Our response: The six month period is a fixed time period rather than any
given six month space. We undertake an analysis at the beginning of each
quarter for the sixth month period up to the end of the previous quarter.
So for example, the analysis we are working on at present will focus on
the period 1 August to 31 December 2016.
 
You asked: "4) i) Names of PB's that have not met this rule of thumb
according to your most recent analysis."
 
Our response: Our October 2016 analysis is the one falling within the
scope of this part of your request as it is the latest analysis available
at the time of your request.
 
I can confirm this contains a list of public authorities as having met the
timeliness ‘rule of thumb’, however it is being withheld in our response
to your request. This is because it is information held for future
publication.
 
The number of FOI complaints made against a public authority regarding the
time for compliance and within a given timeframe is information we publish
through our datasets. This list is therefore withheld under section 22(1)
of the FOIA as it is intended for future publication. I have given more
detail about this exemption below including the public interest test that
this exemption requires. 
 
You asked: 4) ii) Please indicate which of the PB's in (i) will NOT go
through a monitoring exercise.
 
Our response: This information is not held.
 
Section 22(1) FOIA (information intended for future publication)
 
Section 22(1) of the FOIA states:

“Information is exempt information if –
(a)    the information is held by the public authority with a view to its
publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date
(whether determined or not),
(b)    the information was already held with a view to such publication at
the time when the request for information was made, and
(c)    it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information
should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph
(a).”
 
I can confirm that the information within the scope of this part of your
request is held with a view to its publication. It is therefore necessary
to consider whether it is ‘reasonable in all the circumstances’ that the
information should be withheld until it is published.

The ICO wishes to control the date of release of this information to
ensure it is fair to those who have an interest in the information.
Premature release may be seen as unfair, and discourage further engagement
by organisations involved, impacting on our overall ability to improve
information rights.
 
As described above, it is necessary to consider the public interest in us
providing this information early in response to your request.
 
In this case the public interest factors in disclosing the information
are;
 
•       providing information regarding public authorities on whom
complaints have been made regarding their compliance with the FOIA and
encouraging openness.
 
The factors in withholding the information are;
 
•       by releasing this information at this time the ICO may be seen as
unfair (and this may discourage future engagement),
 
•       the ICO has committed to publishing relevant datasets which will
include the relevant information in the near future (and at that point the
information will be in the public domain anyway).
 
Having considered the public interest arguments, we have decided to
withhold the information within this part of your request as the public
interest in withholding this information at present outweighs the public
interest in providing it.
 
Review Procedure
 
I hope this provides you with the information you require. However, if you
are dissatisfied with this response 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 Information Access Team at the address below or e-mail
[1][ICO request email].
 
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 our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
A copy of our review procedure can be accessed from our website.
[2]here.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 

Danny Langley
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 01625 545784  F. 01625 524510  [3]ico.org.uk  [4]twitter.com/iconews
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navartne left an annotation ()

Just wondering if the ICO has proper grounds for refusing parts of this request. They've said the information is due to be published. (here they've not said when, but on a previous request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m... they said it'll be end of January 2017. See my annotation on that request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...

Going by ICO's previous behaviour on release of Public Body (PB) names. Sometimes they've released it at the start, sometimes at the finish of monitoring. e.g.
At start:

Ministry of Justice - monitoring period 1 September to 30 November 2015 -
released on public domain on 11 September 2015 -
http://www.wired-gov.net/wg/news.nsf/art...

Home office - monitoring period 01 July 2013 to 30 September 2013
public domain news released on 09 August 2013
http://www.itpro.co.uk/public-sector/203...

looks like Home Office Monitoring was extended after the three months and it ran until February 2014:

http://www.wired-gov.net/wg/news.nsf/art...

https://web.archive.org/web/201405290308...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/h...

PB name released nearing finish:

trafford council - monitoring period 1 May to 31 July 2016
public domain news released on 19 July 2016 :
https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-an...

My request was sufficiently close to the finish of the current monitoring period, so it's bizarre that the info wasn't released to start with. Even then to refuse release under s22(1) then not release on to public domain at all!.

Also I am little bit concerned about how the public interest test has been applied. Does it on balance favour non-disclosure?. (the FOIA says if the test is tied - it should favour disclosure)

By the way, I found a similar request to this, from 2009. I believe the ICO did release the PB type (e.g. Local authority, Central Government, Police, NHS Trust etc.) as part of the IR :

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

It boils down to the fact that the ICO would rather 'engage' with those who break the FoiAct than enforce its powers in favour of the public interest.

'Engagement' presumably is wasting public money with endless correspondence.And that is probably why that many government organisations now know that the ICO is essentially toothless,

As it's main thrust seems to be commercial - chasing commercial companies for infringements ....and extracting fines.

Sadly this means government organisations now know they can 'game' members of the public without admonition.

Look at the list above -Are these the ONLY public authorities which have transgressed the FOIA over the years?

And where are the fines for those who broke the law?

They can take public money, abuse the law ....and seemingly suffer no financial consequence..

Tim Turner left an annotation ()

It's worth noting that the ICO doesn't have the power to issue fines under the Freedom of Information Act. They can issue Enforcement Notices and they very rarely do (which is a problem), but the absence of monetary penalties is not significant in itself.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

The argument is that the absence of fines for Public Authorities (PA's) is exactiy why the ICO concentrates on commercial organisations.

In addition, fines mean nice headlines for the ICO and so good public relations for this organisation.

The complicated complaints against Public Authorities seem to be the Cinderellas.

Too complicated, take up too much time to investigate properly and the ICO doesn't seem now to have enough staff to cope adequately with the increasing complaint load.

:::

The Financial ombudsman is entirely self supporting - i.e. pays for itself via fines.

So its about time that other public organisations such as the ICO (around £4m) were similarly funded by Public Authority fines. The money could support more staff and change the emphasis to one where PA investigations into complaints gave the same, or improved, status.

And hopefully stop Public Authorities 'gaming' FOIA requests as they now appear to be doing so regularly -( and creating yet more work for the iCO ) ......simply because they have become confident that they can.

Tim Turner left an annotation ()

The problem with the ICO being funded by fines is that it becomes a perverse incentive to issue them. I'm not saying that there aren't organisations deserving of an FOI fine (I can name several and I imagine you would have a list of your own). However, if the ICO had to fine in order to survive, this would skew their decisions. However, it's extremely unlikely that FOI fines would ever be introduced. Whereas Data Protection and PECR fines don't affect government any more than any other sector (good and terrible practices are intermingled), the FOI fines would mainly be paid by government departments and agencies. No government is going to create a regime that will largely punish itself.

navartne left an annotation ()

Even with Data Protection Act (DPA) breaches, enforcement can vary considerably. From a heavy fine to a slap-on the wrist.

Take for example Hampshire County Council (https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... ), who misplaced some 100 data files. They got issued with a £100,000 fine.

Another Council, (https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak... ) who's social worker put files containing confidential documents (27 files - including that of 14 children) on the top of her car and drove off, invariably losing the files - council worker and Council got off scotch free. I think Council said they've sent the social worker for training, and ICO just issued an "undertaking" to comply with the DPA 1998.

The only difference I can see with the two incidents is that with the Hampshire one, there were more files at stake. (perhaps also the Hampshire one happened over a longer period of time)

They get handed a £100,000 fine whereas, the other council gets off scotch free.

navartne left an annotation ()

Here are some countries that have the ability to issue penalties for FOI breaches (source: http://www.freedominfo.org/documents/glo... ):

* Antigua and Barbuda
* India
* Bulgaria - minor fines against government official that don't follow the Act
* Ecuador - Public Employees can be fined one months salary or be suspended without salary for that period
* Jamaica
* Macedonia - fines imposed on officials not following the Act.
* Moldova -
* Pakistan - officials that destroy records with intent of preventing disclosure can be imprisoned.
* Serbia - PB can be held liable for damages, authorized official can be fined.

* Slovakia - public official violating act can be fined.
* Slovenia - fines for destruction of info or failure to disclose without authorization.
* South Africa - fines for those who destroy, alter, deface, or falsify records.

* Uganda - fine or imprisonment for those who destroys or damages records.

U.K - No direct fine or imprisonment - except for section 77 (https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui... )- a fine for altering, blocking, destroying or concealing info. However, it's never been enforced. (i.e. never been investigated or brought before a Court) Actually, it is possible (though unlikely - because presumably they comply with the decision notice) that a senior officer of a public body could land in Jail. That's if he/she fails to comply with a decision notice, enforcement notice, or information notice, thereby being found in contempt of Court.

As for the countries listed above, I've no idea how well the penalties are enforced.

In terms of (direct) monetary penalties for Public Body's (for FOI violations), I think if it ever were to come about, it should be complimented with rewards for those Councils performing well. i.e. central government up's the LA grant by 5% or something similar. So, Council's won't be just working towards avoiding punishment.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

I agree Tim. Absolutely unthinkable that a government would really want openess and transparency.
And an organisation with clout - to put secretive lawbreakers right. The direction is changing with more emphasis on secrecy. Especially towards nosy journalists .

But as the gvt is now intent on saving pence, as well as £'s , why should the taxpayer fund a negligent Public Authority, and then an organisation to tell it that it's wrong ? That's a double cost to the public purse.
And £'s more if it progresses to court. So why is the public paying for this skewed system?

Because, as you know, unless there is a financial cost, almost nothing happens.
Sad .....but that's the way it is.

:::
And the probity of the ICO?

It now seems to be so underfunded and understaffed that that complaints are being skated over asap in the attempt to hit internal targets.

This means gvt departments now know they can get away with 'gaming' requests.
Whereas say - 5 years ago -they didn't .....and were more likely to comply with the Act.

For example:
The section 22's - that are never semingjy going to be published .
The S16 help and assistance - that doesn't exist in the response.
The Original data - that turns into a drafted letter from PR - and created after the request has been made.
The hours -days- are stated to find files - which clearly could be located quite easily ( example expenses, which have to be presented for audit, or a few diary inputs ). Clerks looking for quill pen- written documents could move quicker.

From my perspective - putting my personal information FOUR times on WDTK ( WDTK cleaned it up).
As far as I know, ICO still hasn't said 'Four times? That just won't do ' to the the Public Authority concerned.
Which - incidentally- confidently assured me it wasn't subject to FOIA at all.

:::

So it won't matter if the ICO rebalances itself via fines - towards the public interest.

Nb Might even be a tad more fun to nail those Public Authorities that ICO investigators know don't comply - but can't spend the time to do so under the current process.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Thank you for your excellent research navartne - shows it can be done.

navartne left an annotation ()

If anyone is interested, here is a great website for comparing FOI laws across countries:

http://www.rti-rating.org/

You can download FOI laws by country, also download country specific data (http://www.rti-rating.org/country-data/ ) and compare scores for particular sections of the legislation (e.g. right of access, requesting procedures, sanctions/penalties etc.) - Although side by side comparison of two or more countries would be useful, but missing.

Nevertheless, the site does have some extensive data, with some news/reports on countries and regions. Enjoy!.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Information Commissioner’s Office's handling of my FOI request 'How the ICO selects authorities for monitoring'.

For question:
4) i) Names of PB's that have not met [the 4 to 8 or more complaints] rule of thumb according to your most recent analysis.

Your response said:

"I can confirm [our October 2016 analysis] contains a list of public authorities as having met the timeliness ‘rule of thumb’, however it is being withheld in our response to your request. This is because it is information held for future publication. "

a) Unfortunately, I cannot agree that section 22(1) has been applied correctly, as on a previous request [1] you told me the information is due to be released at the end of January 2017. We are well passed that date and the information has still not been published.

Furthermore, I am not convinced about your explanation that publication of the information at the time of your response would be seen as "unfair", and that it "may" discourage future engagement by public authorities. There simply isn't any evidence to substantiate these grounds.

Therefore I am not convinced that the public interest test has been applied correctly here.

b) Your publication 'Information intended for future publication and research information (sections 22 and 22A)' [2] says:

"The closer to the date of publication, the more reasonable it is likely to be for the public authority to withhold the information until publication has taken place."

It is six weeks since the date of your refusal, hence it has become less than reasonable that the information was withheld from publication.

If we are to go by what was implied in your reply to THIS request. i.e. the date of publication is in the future (and unknown). There will be a strong public interest in releasing the information. As per paragraph 31 of 'Information intended for future publication and research information (sections 22 and 22A)'. [2]:

“31. However, the public interest in releasing the information will often be stronger if the publication date is far in the future or where it isn’t set.”

I note from a previous request of this nature [3] you released the Public Authority type being monitored (e.g. Local Authority, Central Government, Police, Fire & Rescue Authority, NDPB’s & Others (Non-Departmental Public Bodies), Education, NHS Trust). Unfortunately, I was not offered any help or advice on how I could reformulate a fresh request asking for this level of detail only.

c) An ICO staff member in response to a related request [4] has said the following:

“"It may also be of interest that the names of the authorities monitored under the new Freedom of information regulatory action policy will be posted on the ICO website in October [2010] and updated on a quarterly basis."

Unfortunately, there is no last updated date on the ICO 'monitoring compliance' web page [5]. See screen shot: https://dl.orangedox.com/71RILn4xSBcWwTv...

It seems the last monitoring occurred between 01 May 2016 to 31 July 2016. [6] No further details are available.

c) Paragraph 46. of your document 'the public interest test' [7] says:

"The public authority should normally be able to publish some context or explanation with the information it releases. The argument that it would not be in the public interest to publish inaccurate or misleading data would usually only carry any weight if the section 22 exemption is claimed (information intended for future publication) and the public authority’s publication plans include providing the necessary context or explanation. In any other type of case, the argument may only be used if it is not possible to provide this explanation, or if the explanation would not limit any damage caused."

For my question:
4) ii) Please indicate which of the PB's in (i) will NOT go through a monitoring exercise.

Your response said:

"This information is not held."

a) Actually, from a previous request case reference: IRQ0665444 [8] it has been confirmed that you use the Cabinet Office statistics to gauge which authorities (central government and other departments) need to be monitored.

In that response your colleague has confirmed that all three criteria need to be met for an authority to undergo monitoring. His response states:

“It may be of interest if I add that [Scotland Office, National Savings and Investments or Royal Mint did not meet] either of the other ‘rules of thumb’ we use described in our document ‘How the information Commissioner’s Office selects authorities for monitoring’ that you refer to in your request and we have not undertaken formal monitoring of these public authorities.”

Please confirm, as part of the review, that you don't hold any data of public bodies meeting this rule of thumb (4-8 or more complaints) and yet have not been selected for a monitoring exercise. Does this mean all public bodies that meet this rule of thumb are monitored, even if they don't meet the other two rules of thumb?

b) It is not clear if what follows from the statement "this information is not held" is part of that statement or separate. i.e.:

" Section 22(1) FOIA (information intended for future publication)

Section 22(1) of the FOIA states: ....."

Please clarify if the information is not held because it's intended for future publication or whether the Section 22(1) only applies to part 4 (i) of the request. From your reply to part 4(i) it seems Section 22(1) only applies to part 4(i), since you say:

"I have given more detail about this exemption below including the public interest test that this exemption requires."

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

Yours faithfully,

Mr Navartne

[1] - Case Reference Number IRQ0660690. Your response available at:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...

[2] - https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

[3] - https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

[4] - https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

[5] - https://ico.org.uk/action-weve-taken/mon...

[6] - https://dl.orangedox.com/t7VRfOFsvEm9HNU...

[7] - https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

[8] - https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/h...

AccessICOinformation, Information Commissioner’s Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

 

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit [1]http://ico.org.uk/about_us/how_we_comply

 

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

 

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

 

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days.

 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

 

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

 

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

 

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

 

Yours sincerely

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

 

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Information Commissioner’s Office

8 March 2017

 

Case Reference Number RCC0671541

 

Dear Mr Navartne

Request for Review
 
Thank you for your email of 7 March. You have asked for a review of our
response to your information request provided under our reference
IRQ0662946. This will be dealt with under the ‘RCC’ reference number shown
above, in accordance with our review procedure. 
 
In line with our procedures we will respond by 5 April, which is 20
working days from the date we received your email.
 
If you wish to add further information or evidence to your case please
reply to this email, being careful not to amend the information in the
‘subject’ field. This will ensure that the information is added directly
to your case.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 

Danny Langley
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 01625 545784  F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
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Information Commissioner’s Office

5 April 2017

 

Case Reference Number RCC0671541

 

Dear Mr Navartne
 
I write further to your correspondence of 7 March 2017, requesting a
review of the decision to partially refuse your request of 12 January 2017
which we handled under reference IRQ0662946.

I am the Information Access Service Manager in the Information Access Team
and can confirm that I have had no prior involvement in the handling of
this request.
 
You are concerned that we have refused your request under section 22 of
the FOIA which states:
 
““Information is exempt information if –
(a)    the information is held by the public authority with a view to its
publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date
(whether determined or not),
(b)    the information was already held with a view to such publication at
the time when the request for information was made, and
(c)    it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information
should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph
(a).”
 
This is a qualified exemption so we are required to consider the public
interest.

As our original response indicates, when the request was received, the
datasets had not been completed or published. The April 2016 dataset was
subsequently published on 21 March 2017 and we are in the process of
preparing the rest of 2016/2017 for publication.
 
We considered the public interest test at the time of the request and took
the view that it was reasonable in this case to await the planned
publication of the datasets.
 
We considered arguments in favour of disclosure; that there was public
interest in providing information regarding public authorities on whom
complaints have been made regarding their compliance with the FOIA and
encouraging openness.

We balanced against those views that there were arguments to support the
use of the future publication exemption on the basis that the ICO is
committed to publishing the information and is in the process of doing so
and that release of the information at this stage may discourage future
engagement.
 
Having reviewed our response I consider that there are stronger arguments
in favour of withholding the information in that the best use of public
resources lay in putting this information together and publishing it in a
consistent and comprehensive format, in line with planned processes. The
process of compiling this information and preparing it for publication is
a lengthy and complicated one that requires the input of a number of
different teams. It would not be an appropriate use of our resources if,
in addition to this, we were duplicating our workload to respond to
individual requests.
 
I also consider that the delay that would be caused to the requestor by
reliance on section 22 would not create significant disadvantage. On
balance, therefore, I consider that section 22 was an appropriate
exemption to use in this case.
 
You have also questioned Mr Langley’s response to question 40 ii) “4) ii)
Please indicate which of the PB's in (i) will NOT go through a monitoring
exercise.”

To be clear the information is not held.
 
We do not hold information as to which public authorities will not go
through a monitoring exercise. I have inferred from your email that you
believe we could discount the ones we intend to monitor and then provide
you with a list of those that remain. However, the FOIA does not require
us to produce information in response to a request. It also does not
require us to speculate on what we may do in the future and we cannot say
with any surety which public authorities we will not monitor.
 
Next steps
 
I hope the above response is clear.
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of this review you can make a
formal complaint to the ICO as the regulator of the Freedom of Information
Act at the following link:
 
[1]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/
 
Yours sincerely
 
Ashley Duffy
Information Access Service Manager
Tel: 01625 545 625
 
 

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest.
To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to
our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

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