Dear National Archives,

Under FOI, I am requesting the below information:

Copies of all correspondence (this includes both physical and digital) to AND from the Infected Blood Inquiry since 1st January 2018 to present day.

Yours faithfully,

JJ Evans

foienquiry, National Archives

Freedom of Information Request: Reference F0055507
Dear JJ Evans,

Thank you for your enquiry of 04 January 2019.

Your request
Under FOI, I am requesting the below information:

Copies of all correspondence (this includes both physical and digital) to
AND from the Infected Blood Inquiry since 1st January 2018 to present day.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives you the right to know whether we
hold the information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject
to any exemptions which may apply.

I am very sorry but we are unable to provide you with a final decision on
your request within the 20-day time frame imposed by the Act.  We are
currently in consultation with other government departments whose opinions
must be sought before a decision can be made.

Please let me assure you that this case is still being progressed, and I
hope to have a final response on or before, 01 March 2019.

In the meantime, if you have any queries regarding this email please do
not hesitate to contact us.  Remember to quote the reference number above
in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

FOI manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0055507 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

[1]www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Dear foienquiry,

Do you have an update on this overdue FOI please? Many Thanks,

Yours sincerely,

JJ Evans

Dear foienquiry,

Can you respond please? The deadline was almost a month ago.

Freedom of Information Request: Reference F0055507

Yours sincerely,

JJ Evans

foienquiry, National Archives

Dear JJ Evans,

Thank you for your enquiry of 04 January 2019 in which you asked for
correspondence to and from the Infected Blood Inquiry since 1st January
2018.

I am writing to inform you that we are required to conduct a public
interest test in relation to your request and we will let you know the
result of this by 29 March 2019.  

This is because some of the information in scope of your request is
covered by section 31 (1) (c) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The FOI Act gives you the right to know whether we hold the information
you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any exemptions
which may apply.

Section 31(1) (c) of the Act exempts information if its disclosure under
this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the administration of
justice.  

When this exemption applies we are required to consider whether it is in
the public interest to release the information.  However, if it is decided
that the public interest would not be served by releasing the information
we will explain the reasons for this in our final response.

Some of the information in scope of your request is also covered by the
exemption at section 40 (2) of the FOI Act.  This exempts personal
information about a ‘third party’ (someone other than the requester), if
revealing it would break the terms of Data Protection Legislation. Data
Protection Legislation prevents personal information from release if it
would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where
the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause
them damage or distress. Personal information must be processed lawfully,
fairly and in a transparent manner as set out by Art. 5 of the General
Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We sincerely apologise for this delay. We will let you know the outcome of
the public interest test as explained above.  In the meantime if you have
any queries regarding this email please do not hesitate to contact
us.  Remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0055507 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

[1]www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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foienquiry, National Archives

Dear JJ Evans,

Thank you for your enquiry in which you asked for correspondence to and
from the Infected Blood Inquiry since 1st January 2018.

We wrote to inform you that some of the information in scope of your
request is covered by a qualified exemption under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  This requires us to carry out a public interest
test to determine whether the information can be released.

The test is still being considered and we hope to have reached a decision
on or before 30 April 2019.

We sincerely apologise for this further delay. To remind you, the
exemption being considered is section 31 (1) (c) and it exempts
information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to,
prejudice the administration of justice.  

Some of the information is also covered by the exemption at section 40 (2)
of the FOI Act.  This exempts personal information about a ‘third party’
(someone other than the requester), if revealing it would break the terms
of Data Protection Legislation. Data Protection Legislation prevents
personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with
the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially
served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.
Personal information must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a
transparent manner as set out by Art. 5 of the General Data Protection
Regulation (GDPR).

We would like to thank you for your continued patience in this matter.  In
the meantime if you have any queries regarding this email please do not
hesitate to contact us.  Remember to quote the reference number above in
any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0055507 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

[1]www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Dear foienquiry,

I am writing to advise you that I am not happy with the way this FOI request is being handled. Please note, this is NOT a request for Internal Review. I simply wish to point out to you that the ICO states that "The law says you can have a “reasonable” extension of time to consider the public interest test. We consider that this should normally be no more than an extra 20 working days, which is 40 working days in total to deal with the request. Any extension beyond this time should be exceptional". It has now been 90 days since this request was made, well over double the amount of time the ICO says is an expected maximum.

I have not yet lodged this as a complaint with ICO, however I would urge you to respond this week and in any event well ahead of your current estimate of 29th April, which would mean the total amount of time elapsed will have been 115 days, this is not acceptable.

Yours sincerely,

JJ Evans

foienquiry, National Archives

Dear J.J. Evans,

Thank you for your enquiry in which you asked for correspondence to and from the Infected Blood Inquiry since 1st January 2018.

We wrote to inform you that some of the information in scope of your request is covered by a qualified exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This requires us to carry out a public interest test to determine whether the information can be released.

The test is still being considered and we hope to have reached a decision on or before 30th May 2019.

We sincerely apologise for this further delay. To remind you, the exemption being considered is section 31 (1) (c) and it exempts information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the administration of justice.

Some of the information is also covered by the exemption at section 40 (2) of the FOI Act. This exempts personal information about a ‘third party’ (someone other than the requester), if revealing it would break the terms of Data Protection Legislation. Data Protection Legislation prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress. Personal information must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner as set out by Art. 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We would like to thank you for your continued patience in this matter. In the meantime if you have any queries regarding this email please do not hesitate to contact us. Remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0055507 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Dear foienquiry,

Please can you provide an update on this as you had said a response would be received by yesterday?

Yours sincerely,

JJ Evans

foienquiry, National Archives

Dear Mr Evans,

Thank you for your enquiry of 04 January 2019, in which you asked for
copies of physical and digital correspondence to and from the Infected
Blood Inquiry since 1st January 2018 to 4th January 2019 (the date your
request was received).

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act
2000. The FOI Act gives you the right to know whether we hold the
information you want and to have it communicated to you, subject to any
exemptions which may apply.

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to
your request and we are pleased to provide some of this information to
you.

We are unable to provide all of the information within scope as some of
the information you have requested is covered by the exemptions at
sections 31(1)(c), (administration of justice) section 36 (prejudice to
effective conduct of public affairs) and 40 (2) (personal data) of the FOI
Act.

Please see the link, which will take you to the redacted emails exchanged
between The National Archives and the Infected Blood Inquiry.  Redactions
have been made to these emails under the stated exemptions and we have
outlined below why this information has been withheld.

[1]https://tna.iweb-storage.com/s/IjVjZjE0Y...

Section 31
Some of the information is also exempt under section 31(1)(c) of the Act.

Section 31(1) is a qualified exemption.  It exempts information if its
disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice –
c) the administration of justice
For this exemption to be engaged it is necessary to consider if disclosure
would involve a level of harm; it involves the deliberation over risk to
law-enforcement matters, including the proper administration of justice.

We are also required to conduct a public interest test when applying any
qualified exemption.  This means if it has been decided that the exemption
is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be
considered.  If the public interest in disclosing the information
outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does
not apply and information must be released.  In the FOI Act there is a
presumption that information should be released unless there are
compelling reasons to withhold it.

The public interest has now been concluded and the balance of the public
interest has been found to fall in favour of non-disclosure.

Considerations in favour of the release of the information included the
principle that there is a public interest in showing a true and open
account of how government works with public inquiries, making for greater
accountability and increasing public confidence in the integrity of the
decisions made by authorities.  There is also a general public interest in
being able to evaluate government policy in relation to inquiries.

It is considered that the release of some of the information requested
would prejudice a current and ongoing Inquiry. Some of these e-mails
contain information collected for the Inquiry proceedings and if released
would be likely to harm the ability of the Inquiry to administer justice.
The Infected Blood Inquiry is a statutory inquiry and information either
produced for the Infected Blood Inquiry by Government, such as draft
statements or file lists, or to information produced by the Inquiry’s
staff (and then circulated internally within the Government) requires
protection, at least within the early stages.  While much of this
information will largely be shared with core participants in due course
and may ultimately, if determined relevant, be published by the Inquiry,
it is appropriate that the Inquiry team and Government finalise these
documents to the Inquiry’s satisfaction and for the Inquiry and its Chair
then to be able to consider the information fully before drawing its own
conclusions.

Currently while this is an active Inquiry we have concluded that the
administration of justice would be prejudiced by release of some of the
information and this would not be in the public interest. We are therefore
concerned that any release could, unwittingly, jeopardise or impede the
work of the Inquiry, and do not wish to take action that could impact the
critical work of the Chair and his Officers.

It is therefore our view that it is for the Inquiry Chair and his Officers
in conjunction with those affected by those matters being examined by the
Inquiry, to determine what information is released, when it is released
and in what sequence information is released, into the public domain.

After careful consideration, it has been decided that the balance of the
public interest lies in favour of withholding the information on this
occasion. Therefore, this information has been redacted from the attached
PDF document.

Further guidance on section 31 can be found here:
[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Section 36
Some of this information is also exempt under section 36(2) of the Act.

Section 36(2) (b-c) is a qualified exemption. It exempts information from
release if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of
the information would, or would be likely to; inhibit the free and frank
provision of advice, the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes
of deliberation, or would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely to
otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

With the agreement of the Qualified Person (for The National Archives this
is our CEO and Keeper), in whose reasonable opinion this exemption is
engaged, the public interest has now been concluded and the balance of the
public interest has largely been found to fall in favour of withholding
the information covered by the section 36(2) (b-c) exemption.

Considerations in favour of the release of the information included the
principle that there is a public interest in showing a true and open
account of government decision-making, making for greater accountability
and increasing public confidence in political life. Understanding how
government works with public inquiries and specifically for The National
Archives, how we advise on records management is important for
transparency and for trust in the public record, and future collections to
be held and accessed at The National Archives.

Through consultation internally and externally, we have established that
within the information we hold, a small amount of information would cause
prejudicial effects if released. The section 36 exemption has therefore
been applied to protect a small amount of information from release, from
within the redacted e-mails.

Release of this information would be seen to prejudice the effective
conduct of public affairs (section 36) by preventing the effective
function of working with the Infected Blood Inquiry. It must be open to us
to communicate confidentially in order to manage the process of sharing
information and providing advice on managing records/information. While
this is on-going, the need to ensure effective communications outweighs
any benefits of disclosure at this current time.

Further guidance can be found on the [3]ICO website.

Section 40(2)
Section 40 exempts personal information about a ‘third party’ (someone
other than the requester), if revealing it would breach the terms of Data
Protection Legislation. Data Protection Legislation prevents personal
information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason
why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice
that releasing it would cause them damage or distress. Personal
information must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
as set out by Art. 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In this case the exemption applies because the emails contain the names,
positions and contact details of junior officials.  Releasing personal
information about junior members of staff, who have not given express
permission, would be deemed to be unfair, as there is no expectation that
this information would be released into the public domain.  Therefore, the
names of all civil servants below Senior Civil Service grade have been
redacted from the attached documents. Further guidance can be found
[4]here.

Appeals process

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request or the decision
which has been reached, you have the right to ask for an internal
review.  Internal review requests must be submitted within two months of
the date of this response and should be addressed to:

Quality Manager
Programme Management Office
The National Archives
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU
[email address]

Please mark your complaint clearly. You have the right to ask the
Information Commissioner (ICO) to investigate any aspect of your
complaint. However, please note that the ICO is likely to expect internal
complaints procedures to have been exhausted before beginning her
investigation.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0055507 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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4. https://ico.org.uk/media/1187/section_40...

Dear National Archives,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of National Archives's handling of my FOI request 'IBI Corr - Nat Arc'.

Firstly, in relation to all redactions made under S31.1.c - this exemption refers to the "administration of justice", I believe this exemption to be invalid because "administration of justice" may be exercised only through duly-appointed judges and courts. Neither the National Archive, nor the Infected Blood Inquiry, fall into either of these categories and therefore the exemption cannot apply.

Some exemptions are made on grounds of S36.2 b&c however I would like you to reconsider all of these exemptions also because:

1) The policy advice, views or conduct in relation to these exact matters was complete at the time of the request. Therefore the safe space to formulate and debate the advice, views or conduct away from external comment and pressure was no longer required.
2) You have not provided any convincing arguments as to how disclosure of the requested information would be likely to impact on advice, views or conduct.
3) Disclosing the requested information would further understanding of and participation in the public debate
surrounding the issue of the Inquiry's transparency. It would allow the public to engage in a more informed debate of this issue.
4) Whilst the advice requested dates back to 2018, the issues surrounding it are still ongoing and the subject of widespread public debate. The issues still attract a substantial amount of media interest which in this case reflects the wider public concern surrounding this matter. Even though a substantial period of time has elapsed between January 2018 and now, as the issues covered by the Inquiry are ongoing, I believe that disclosure would enable the public to participate in current debate from a significantly more informed position. This is because disclosure would provide the contextual background and history to the current ongoing debate of the National Archives transparency and candour with the Inquiry.
6) I believe there is a high level of public interest in disclosure of this information as it would provide background which may enable the public to further feed into the current debate on this issue.
7) Disclosure would promote the accountability and transparency of the process of making decisions. Placing an obligation on Ministers and government officials and others to make reasoned decisions based on all available information will improve the quality of decisions and administration.
8) there is a significant public interest in releasing the requested information as it would help to provide a background of the information which was taken into account when these matters were live.
9) there is a strong public interest in ensuring transparency and accountability surrounding the response to these matters, particularly as the issues covered are the subject of current debate.
10) The issues covered by the requested information has a significant impact upon those individuals affected and their families and the I believe that there should be significant weight to the argument that they should be provided with as much information as possible to give them a clear understanding as to how decisions were reached historically and which also provides background to decisions which are currently under debate.

Yours faithfully,

JJ Evans

foienquiry, National Archives

Internal Review Reference: F0057592

03 June 2019

Dear Mr/Ms Evans,

We acknowledge receipt of your request dated 01 June 2019 for a review of
The National Archives' handling of your request for correspondence
relating to the Infected Blood Inquiry.

Your request has been forwarded to a Freedom of Information Manager, who
will review and respond in writing to your request within 20 working days
from the date of receipt – that is to say, on or before 01 July 2019.

If you are still dissatisfied, having followed all the stages of our
internal complaints process you should contact The Information
Commissioner at:

Wycliff House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,

Quality Manager
Quality & Excellence Department

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:
via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0057592 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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foienquiry, National Archives

Dear Mr Evans,

Review of complaint about access request: Appeal by Mr Evans against The National Archives’ decision to withhold information in relation to his FOI request F0055507 concerning Infected Blood Correspondence.

We wrote to you informing you that we would review and respond in writing to your request for an internal review by 1 July 2019

Your appeal is still being considered and I have not yet finished my review.

I anticipate being able to respond with my final decision within 40 working days from the date of receipt – that is to say, on or before 29 July 2019. This is in accordance with the Code of Practice on Internal Appeals:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

We would like to answer all internal appeals within 20 working days but, unfortunately, on this occasion it was not possible.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or(020 8876 3444)

Remember to quote your call reference number: F0057592 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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foienquiry, National Archives

Dear Mr Evans,

Review of complaint about access request: Appeal by Mr Evans against The
National Archives’ decision to withhold information in relation to his FOI
request F0055507 concerning Infected Blood Correspondence.
  
We wrote to you informing you that we would review and respond in writing
to your request for an internal review by 29th July 2019.

Unfortunately, due to a particularly high caseload your appeal has not yet
been finalised. However I hope to be able to respond fully by 27th August
2019, if not before.

Many thanks for your patience and my apologies for not being able to
provide a substantive response at this time.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding
this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0057592 in any
correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a
quick response.

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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foienquiry, National Archives

1 Attachment

Dear JJ Evans,

Please find attached a final response letter to your complaint about a decision under Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 relating to physical and digital correspondence to and from the Infected Blood Inquiry.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Programme Management Office
The National Archives

If you would like to contact us again regarding this request, please contact the helpdesk:

via e-mail: By replying to this e-mail
or (020 8876 3444)
Remember to quote your call reference number: F0057592 in any correspondence, as this will assist us in providing you with a quick response.

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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FOI Centre, National Archives

1 Attachment

Dear JJ Evans

 

Further to the outcome of your request for an internal review which was
sent to you on 27^th August 2019, I have noted that there was a small
error in our response to you.  Page 7 contained a link to ICO guidance
relating to Section 24 of FOIA.  The link that should have been provided
was, of course, s31 of FOIA.

 

Please find attached a corrected response letter and please accept our
apologies for this error.

 

 

 

Freedom of Information Manager

Programme Management Office

The National Archives

 

 

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