ICO performance Statistics

J A Giggins 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 partially successful.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

Please could you supply the following information relating to the administration of complaints referred to you under the FOI Act:

1 The departments/teams processes that a complaint passes through, from receipt to issue of a decision notice. ( eg acknowledgement, {pre-allocation review?} allocation, assessment, review, signature, publication etc)

2 The average time a complaint took to pass through each stage of the process as per the last three year's worth of recorded information.

3 The range of times taken for each stage of the process.

4 The number of decisions reversed on review. Please also supply decision notice numbers.

5 The name of the Senior Manager(s) at the ICO with operational responsibility for each department/team/process during the time period stated, including those who have left the ICO or moved to other roles within the ICO.

Please do not hesitate to contact me via the whatdotheyknow.com website if you require clarification of my request.

Many thanks,

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Information Commissioner’s Office

PROTECT

 

5 November 2013

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0518788

 

Dear J A Giggins

Request for Information

Thank you for your correspondence which we received on the 30 October
2013, in which you have made a request for information held by the
Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Your request has been passed to
the Information Governance Department to deal with.
 
Your request is being dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. We will respond promptly, and no later than the 27
November 2013 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 the information
is added directly to your case. However, please be aware that this is an
automated process; the information will not be read by a member of our
staff until your case is allocated to a request handler.
 
If you require any further advice or assistance please contact me on the
number below or our Helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

Michael Downs
Information Governance Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone: 01625 545332
 

show quoted sections

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.org.uk

Information Commissioner’s Office

PROTECT

 

15th November 2013

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0518788

 

Dear J A Giggins

Further to our acknowledgement of 5 November 2013, I am writing to seek
clarification of question 4 of your request.

Under question 4 you ask for:

" The number of decisions reversed on review. Please also supply decision
notice numbers."

I would be most grateful if you could clarify whether "decisions reversed"
refers to decision notices where we have upheld the complaint or you refer
to Decision Notices reversed by the Information Tribunal through appeal (
appeal allowed).

yours sincerely

Iman Elmehdawy
Lead Information Governance Officer

  
 

 

show quoted sections

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.org.uk

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

For clarification, I was seeking those decisions where the signatory disagreed with and/or reversed the decision notice as drafted by the case officer.

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

casework, Information Commissioner’s Office

Thank you for emailing the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).  This
is an automatic acknowledgement to tell you we have received your email
safely.  Please do not reply to this email.

 If your email was about a new complaint or request for advice it will be
considered by our Customer Contact Department.  One of our case officers
will be in touch as soon as possible. If you have sent us a complaint we
may need specific information from you before we are able to consider it. 
You can find out the type of information we would need from the
[1]complaints section of our website. 

 If your email was about an ongoing case we are dealing with it will be
allocated to the person handling your case.

If your email was about a case you have already submitted, but is yet to
be allocated to one of our case officers your email will be added to your
original correspondence and will be considered when your case is
allocated. Please note that further correspondence may not be viewed until
your case is allocated to a case officer.

 If you require any further assistance please contact our Helpline on
0303 123  1113 or [2]01625 545745 if you prefer to use a national rate
number.

 We will not respond to correspondence where the ICO is copied in. If
you have a matter you would like to discuss with us please call our
Helpline on the number above.

         Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner's Office

 ICO Customer Contact Department

 

Making a request for information held by the ICO?

For more information about the ICO’s handling of requests for information
please visit our [3]Information about us section of our website.

Equality and Diversity

The Information Commissioner’s Office is committed to providing equality
for all and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination. We
have produced a questionnaire to help us to produce a profile of our
customers. The questionnaire can be found on our [4]Equality and Diversity
webpage.

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our quarterly newsletter can be found at
[5]Information Commissioner's Office enewsletter.

Twitter

Find us on Twitter at [6]http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

 

show quoted sections

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.org.uk

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx
2. file:///tmp/blocked::tel:01625 545745
3. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/about_us.aspx
4. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/about_us/how_we_work/equality_and_diversity.aspx
5. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/tools_and_resources/enewsletter.aspx
6. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Information Commissioner’s Office

PROTECT

 

27th November 2013

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0518788

 

Dear J A Giggins

Further to our acknowledgement dated 5 November 2013 we are now in a
position to respond to your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. 
 
On 30 October 2013 you requested the following information:
 
Request
 
Please could you supply the following information relating to the
administration of complaints referred to you under the FOI Act:
 
1 The departments/teams processes that a complaint passes through, from
receipt to issue of a decision notice. (eg acknowledgement,
{pre-allocation review?} allocation, assessment, review, signature,
publication etc)
 
2 The average time a complaint took to pass through each stage of the
process as per the last three years’ worth of recorded information.
 
3 The range of times taken for each stage of the process.
 
4 The number of decisions reversed on review. Please also supply decision
notice numbers.
 
5 The name of the Senior Manager(s) at the ICO with operational
responsibility for each department/team/process during the time period
stated, including those who have left the ICO or moved to other roles
within the ICO.
 
On 15 November 2013 we wrote to you to seek clarification of question 4 of
your request.
 
 
"The number of decisions reversed on review. Please also supply decision
notice numbers."
 
You replied on 15 November 2013 with the following clarification:
“For clarification, I was seeking those decisions where the signatory
disagreed with and/or reversed the decision notice as drafted by the case
Officer.”
 
 
 
Response to request
 
 
 
1- The departments/teams processes that a complaint passes through, from
receipt to issue of a decision notice. (eg acknowledgement,
{pre-allocation review?} allocation, assessment, review, signature,
publication etc)

 5- The name of the Senior Manager(s) at the ICO with operational
responsibility for each department/team/process during the time period
stated, including those who have left the ICO or moved to other roles
within the ICO.
 
Firstly, we hold the FOI procedure manual. This a large document detailing
how we handle an FOI complaint from the preparation stage, through
investigations till the closure stage. Due to the size of the manual and
also due to the large number of links we can only provide it in a CD
format. We would be most grateful if you can provide us with a postal
address so we can send you a copy of this CD. Please send your email from
a private address directly to [1][email address] quoting IRQ0518788
in the subject area.

Please see below the explanation of the typical life cycle of a complaint.
This includes the departments and processes that a complaint can go
through.
 
All complaints go through an acknowledgment, classification and
preparation stage when they are first received by the ICO. This work is
completed by the First Contact team in the Customer Contact department. It
is completed within 3 calendar days of us receiving a complaint.

Some complaints are identified as ineligible, these include:-

 

* Where the ICO has not received enough relevant information to be able
to accept the complaint. 

 

* The complained about organisation is not a formal public authority as
defined by the FOI Act. 

 

* The matters raised are not eligible for consideration under the
complaints section of the FOI Act or Environmental Information
Regulations

 

* Where the complaint was raised with the ICO after an undue length of
time.

These complaints are dealt with by the First Contact team. The team also
deals with complaints about a public authority failing to respond to a
request for information in a timely manner. The team's aim when handling
these complaints is to secure a response from a public authority to any
legitimate requests for information under the FoIA or the EIRs.

All the work completed by our First Contact team is typically done within
30 calendar days of us receiving it.

Up to half of all the complaints we receive are dealt with by our First
Contact team. The person responsible for this part of our complaints
process is Paul Arnold. Paul is our Head of Customer Contact.
 
Where complaints require more time consuming consideration they are dealt
with by our Complaints Resolution department.  Complaints are progressed
to the department by our First Contact team with customers being informed
that their case is to be investigated further before it can be dealt with.
These complaints are passed to our Complaints Resolution department within
7 calendar days of us receiving them in the vast majority of cases. They
are then allocated to an officer as soon as possible based on the capacity
of each officer at any given time. 
 
For the complaints dealt with by our Complaints Resolution department our
process can be described as follows:
 
 

* We work with both parties to resolve complaints, sometimes complaints
can be resolved without a formal decision notice being served. On
occasions informal resolution does not resolve the complaint and these
are then progressed to a formal decision notice. 

 

* As part of the decision notice preparation process, decision notices
that cover new or complex issues are developed in conjunction with
colleagues in our Policy Delivery department. Once the case officer is
happy with the draft decision notice this is sent for sign off from an
authorised signatory. Once the decision has been signed off it is
ready to be served.

 
 

* Once a decision notice has been served it is published on our website.
 

Andrew Laing has overall responsibility for this second and final stage of
our process. Andrew is our Head of Complaints Resolution. 
We aim to deal with the vast majority of the complaints needing to pass to
this second stage of our process within a year of receiving them.  
 
Steve Wood is responsible for the provision of policy advice into our
complaints process. Steve is our Head of Policy Delivery. 
 
Robert Parker is responsible for the part of our process which sees our
decisions published online. Robert is our Head of Corporate Affairs.

2 The average time a complaint took to pass through each stage of the
process as per the last three years’ worth of recorded information.
 
3 The range of times taken for each stage of the process.
 
In response to question 2 and 3, we publish the time taken to complete our
FoI complaints process annually in our Annual Report. This information
shows the proportion of our complaints dealt with in under 30 calendar
days and the time taken to deal with those which take longer. These two
time frames are directly linked to the two stages of our process described
above.
 
Please find below a link to our annual reports for the years 10-11, 11-12
and 12-13.
[2]http://www.ico.org.uk/about_us/performan...
Please visit the section about Freedom of Information casework on each
report which provides the age distribution of received and completed
cases.
 
We also publish quarterly [3]performance information on our website
describing the time taken to complete our work and the outcome of the
complaints we deal with.
The performance statistics provide the age profile of caseload by quarter
(calendar days) and also the average age of caseload by quarter (calendar
days).
Our electronic case management system is set up to provide us with the
information we need for our day to day work. It is set up in a way which
allows us to extract what we deem key performance aspects. These are used
to produce statistics which support our operations and which we make
publicly available through our website.  The system can not for example
provide us with information on “pre-allocation review” times as these are
not recorded.
 
We don’t capture information about our service which tells us the discrete
time it takes to measure small steps of our service. We measure our
service based on the time it takes us to deliver completed products to our
customers. The targets we set and key performance indicators we use are
therefore external in their focus
Please note that the time taken for complaints to be completed at each
stage of our process can vary. For example, it is possible for complaints
closed by our First Contact team to be closed the same day they are
received by the team, or they may take nearer to 30 days. Likewise, with
our more complex complaints some may be resolved relatively quickly if an
informal resolution is possible. Where a formal decision notice is needed
however the process will take longer.

We aim to prioritise our work at all stages of our process to ensure
complaints are dealt with in line with the service standards we publish.
 
4"The number of decisions reversed on review. Please also supply decision
notice numbers."
 
We sought clarification and you replied on 15 November 2013 with the
following:
 
“For clarification, I was seeking those decisions where the signatory
disagreed with and/or reversed the decision notice as drafted by the case
Officer.”
 
 
 
In response to question 4, unfortunately we are not able to provide you
with the information you requested. This is in accordance with section 12
of the Freedom of Information Act which concerns cost of compliance.
 
More detailed explanations of why this is the case follow, but in brief,
section 12 of the FOIA makes clear that a public authority (such as the
Information Commissioner’s Office) is not obliged to comply with an FOIA
request if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the
request would exceed the ‘appropriate limit'.  The ‘appropriate limit’ for
the Information Commissioner’s Office, as determined in the ‘Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004’ is £450.  We have determined that £450 would equate to 18 hours
work.
 
Unfortunately, we are not able to conduct an electronic search
specifically for decisions where the signatory disagreed with and/or
reversed the decision notice as drafted by the case Officer. While this
information may sit within our electronic case management system, there is
no way to search electronically for it e.g. there is no tick box for the
signatory to fill indicating if they agree, disagree or are asking the
case officer to revise the drafted DN. In order to ascertain the number of
cases where it was clearly indicated that the signatory is disagreeing
with the case officer we need to check each case manually. We have handled
over 1700 complaints from April 2012. If we assume it will take us around
3 minutes, and it will certainly take well more than this to check longer
more complex cases, we will need 60 hours to check all cases. This is well
above the 18 hours required by the legislation.
 
 
 
Advice and assistance
 
If you are able to narrow your request we may be able to provide with this
information free of charge. For example if you narrow your request to
Decision Notices about a certain authority, we may be able to provide you
with the information if it will take us less than 18 hours to produce it.
Your reformulated request will be considered as a new request.
 
 
I hope you find the provided information of assistance
 
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 Information Governance
Department at the address below or e-mail
[4][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 the First Contact 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 available [5]here
 
 
 Yours sincerely

Iman Elmehdawy
Lead Information Governance Officer

show quoted sections

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.org.uk

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/about_us/performan...
3. http://www.ico.org.uk/about_us/performance
4. mailto:[ICO request email]
5. http://www.ico.gov.uk/about_us/~/media/d...

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

I refer to the following paragraph extracted from your response:

"Firstly, we hold the FOI procedure manual. This a large document detailing
how we handle an FOI complaint from the preparation stage, through
investigations till the closure stage. Due to the size of the manual and
also due to the large number of links we can only provide it in a CD
format. We would be most grateful if you can provide us with a postal
address so we can send you a copy of this CD. Please send your email from
a private address directly to [1][email address] quoting IRQ0518788
in the subject area."

As you can see the email address has been automatically removed by the site software, so I contacted the team at whatdotheyknow.com who have very kindly offered to help with the upload issue if you contact them directly and/or send the CD directly to them.

I am very grateful for the information and the links that you have supplied so far and the advice and assistance given regarding modification of my request but remain a little confused about the path of a FOI complaint. Until I am able to access the FOI rProcedure Manual I am unable to assess whether or not my questions have been answered ( or validly refused) and hence whether to request an internal review of your response. I trust that the Commissioner will take this into account if I exceed the 40 day time limit.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

casework, Information Commissioner’s Office

Thank you for emailing the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).  This
is an automatic acknowledgement to tell you we have received your email
safely.  Please do not reply to this email.

 If your email was about a new complaint or request for advice it will be
considered by our Customer Contact Department.  One of our case officers
will be in touch as soon as possible. If you have sent us a complaint we
may need specific information from you before we are able to consider it. 
You can find out the type of information we would need from the
[1]complaints section of our website. 

 If your email was about an ongoing case we are dealing with it will be
allocated to the person handling your case.

If your email was about a case you have already submitted, but is yet to
be allocated to one of our case officers your email will be added to your
original correspondence and will be considered when your case is
allocated. Please note that further correspondence may not be viewed until
your case is allocated to a case officer.

 If you require any further assistance please contact our Helpline on
0303 123  1113 or [2]01625 545745 if you prefer to use a national rate
number.

 We will not respond to correspondence where the ICO is copied in. If
you have a matter you would like to discuss with us please call our
Helpline on the number above.

         Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner's Office

 ICO Customer Contact Department

 

Making a request for information held by the ICO?

For more information about the ICO’s handling of requests for information
please visit our [3]Information about us section of our website.

Equality and Diversity

The Information Commissioner’s Office is committed to providing equality
for all and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination. We
have produced a questionnaire to help us to produce a profile of our
customers. The questionnaire can be found on our [4]Equality and Diversity
webpage.

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our quarterly newsletter can be found at
[5]Information Commissioner's Office enewsletter.

Twitter

Find us on Twitter at [6]http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

 

show quoted sections

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.org.uk

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx
2. file:///tmp/blocked::tel:01625 545745
3. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/about_us.aspx
4. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/about_us/how_we_work/equality_and_diversity.aspx
5. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.ico.gov.uk/tools_and_resources/enewsletter.aspx
6. file:///tmp/blocked::http:/www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Information Commissioner’s Office

PROTECT

 

3rd December 2013

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0518788

 

Dear J A Giggins

Thank you for your email.

I have now posted the CD containing the FOI procedures Manual to Mr
Sittampalam.

I hope you find it of assistance

Yours sincerely

Iman Elmehdawy
Lead Information Governance Officer

show quoted sections

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.org.uk

Dear Mr Elmehdawy,

Many thanks for your help.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

I have received the CD from the ICO and uploaded it.

It consisted of a single directory 'FOIProcedures' which seems to contain a lot of different things. I have uploaded the directory as-is for browsing, and also zipped it up so the whole thing can be downloaded.

The procedure manual itself is at:
http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

Note that there are a number of links that don't work as they point to the ICO's intranet. Many of the documents referred to are in this folder: http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

The whole directory can be browsed here: http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

The zipped version is here: http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

Ganesh - WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer

E. Colville left an annotation ()

Thanks you J.A. Giggins and Ganesh for these helpful undertakings which will benefit many.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

And thanks to Iman Elmehdawy too.

An officer that takes an even-handed and informative approach to information provision and doesn't see it as some kind of personal game to play - as some other officers at the Ombudsman's seem office do.

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org