Information on response rates to Freedom of Information Requests

Rodney Breen made this Freedom of Information request to Executive Office (Northern Ireland)

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 refused by Executive Office (Northern Ireland).

Dear Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (Northern Ireland),

I would like to know the following information about your response to the Freedom of Information Act. For the purposes of this request, please take this as including any requests responded to under the Environmental Information Regulations.

(a) For each calendar year from 2005 until the end of 2011, how many requests have you received? How many were answered within the statutory limits? Are any from this period still outstanding? (please indicate if any of these are because, say, clarification was asked for and not received).

(b) For the year from 1 January 2012 to the date of this request (but not including this request), please indicate how many requests were received.

(c) Please indicate how many requests under (b) were not answered within the statutory time limit. How many are still outstanding?

(d) For each of the requests covered by (c), please indicate :

- the date received,
- the number of working days overdue on the date of this request,
- the subject of the request,
- the type of requester (eg journalist, member of the public, etc)

I look forward to receiving a prompt response.

Yours faithfully,

Rodney Breen

Blakley, Carol,

1 Attachment

Mr Breen

 

Please see attached acknowledgement letter.

 

Many thanks.

 

Carol Blakley

 

OFMDFM
Information Management and Central Advisory Branch
Room A5.18
Castle Buildings
Stormont
Belfast
BT4 3SR

Dear Carol Blakley,

I have not so far received a response to my FOI request on response rates, which is now overdue.

Please note that if I do not receive a response by the end of this week I will be forced to appeal to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Breen

Blakley, Carol,

1 Attachment

Mr Breen

Please see attached response to FOI Request 2012-0121.

Apologies for delay.

Regards.

Carol Blakley

OFMDFM
Information Management and Central Advisory Branch
Room A5.18
Castle Buildings
Stormont
Belfast
BT4 3SR

Tel: 028 9052 2377
E-mail: [email address]

 

Dear Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (Northern Ireland),

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (Northern Ireland)'s handling of my FOI request 'Information on response rates to Freedom of Information Requests'.

Thank you for providing the information on annual reports and statistics of FOI from NI government departments. That provides much of the information I was looking for. However, I would like to ask you to review your refusal to disclose the statistics for 2012. As you will be aware, the UK Ministry of Justice produces corresponding figures for UK Central Government and has recently published statistics for July to September 2012. The OFMDMNI.gov.uk website has figures up to the fourth quarter of 2011 only.

I can see no reason why the Northern Ireland government departments cannot produce comparable statistics within the same period. The availability of timely statistics is an important element in public discussion of the operation of government. In particular, the failure of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to answer the majority of requests within the statutory timescale during the year 2011 ought to be a matter of public concern. When the most up to date statistics are almost a year out of date, this has a dampening effect on public discussion, which is inimical to transparency. For this reason, I would like you to reconsider your decision. I would like an explanation of why the Northern Ireland administration is unable to provide statistics until long after the comparable ones are available for UK Central Government. I suggest that it is in the public interest to disclose this information now, subject to any caveats regarding early disclosure.

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

Yours faithfully,

Rodney Breen

OFMDFM FOI,

1 Attachment

Mr Breen

Please see attached correspondence.

Regards
Scott

Anderson, Moira,

1 Attachment

Mr Breen,
Please see attached.

Moira Anderson
Information Management and Central Advisory Branch (IMCAB)
OFMDFM
Room A5.18
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
BELFAST
BT4 3SR

Dear Anderson, Moira,

Thanks for your response to my request for an internal review in which you have argued that although the information was held, it was exempt since it is clearly held with intention of future publication (Section 22 of the Act) and has not yet been 'validated' before publication.

While I agree that this is the case, I note that you have not applied the public interest test - you have not shown that any harm would be caused by disclosure of non-validated information, or that any harm so created would outweigh the public benefit of disclosure now. I believe a good case could be made for timely disclosure being in the public interest.

However, since you have discussed the process with the business area concerned and they are considering ways of hastening this, I will not take this further. Thanks for explaining the Department's position to me.

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Breen