Instant messages and Communication systems such as Lync

The request was partially successful.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

The DWP has informed me that:

'In answer to your request for the disclosure of instant messages, no information is held. All Lync data is automatically erased at the end of each business day. '

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

1. Please provide your most recent guidance for caseworkers on how to handle complaints concerning the use of instant messages and communication systems such as Lync by public authorities.

2. Please provide any information you hold on the legality of public authorities not retaining information created during the processing of FOI requests.

3. Please provide copies of your most recent five decision notices related to either instant messages or communication systems such as Lync.

4. Please provide your most recent guidance for ICO staff on how to use instant messages and communication systems such as Lync.

Yours faithfully,

D Moore

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
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The Information Commissioner’s Office

 

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Information Commissioner’s Office

2 Attachments

18 June 2018

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0747674

 

Dear D Moore

Information request
 
I write in response to your email of 19 May 2018 in which you submitted a
request for information to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Your request has been dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
 
Your request
 
“Dear Information Commissioner’s Office, The DWP has informed me that: 'In
answer to your request for the disclosure of instant messages, no
information is held. All Lync data is automatically erased at the end of
each business day.'
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...
 

 1. Please provide your most recent guidance for caseworkers on how to
handle complaints concerning the use of instant messages and
communication systems such as Lync by public authorities.

2. Please provide any information you hold on the legality of public
authorities not retaining information created during the processing of FOI
requests.
 
3. Please provide copies of your most recent five decision notices related
to either instant messages or communication systems such as Lync.
 
4. Please provide your most recent guidance for ICO staff on how to use
instant messages and communication systems such as Lync.”   
 
Our response
 
I can confirm we hold some information that falls in the scope of your
request.
 
In response to part one of your request, we do not currently hold guidance
for caseworkers that specifically addresses the use of instant message and
communications systems by public authorities. Whilst work has started on
the information rights implications of these types of communication
systems, there is not yet any published guidance available to internal or
external audiences.
 
However our guidance about ‘Official information held in private email
accounts’ may be relevant to you:
[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio....
In response to part two of your request we do not hold information
specifically on the ‘legality of public authorities not retaining
information created during the processing of FOI requests’. However, the
retention and destruction of information by public authorities is
considered more generally in our following pieces of guidance, which deal
with the requirements of section 1(4) and offences at section 77 of the
FOIA amongst other issues:
 
 

* ‘Retention and destruction of requested information’:
[3]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

* ‘Determining whether information is held’:
[4]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

 
The section 45 and 46 codes of practice and associated guidance may also
be helpful to you. These codes provide guidance in setting out good
request handling and records management practice. They are available here:
 
[5]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
 
[6]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
 
[7]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
 
[8]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
 
We understand part four of your request to be for guidance for our staff
on how we use instant messaging/communication services and what it
should/shouldn’t be used for (as opposed to the technical aspects of how
to set it up/perform certain functions etc.). The information we hold is
attached. This is an extract from our ‘Acceptable use policy’ and extracts
from an FAQ held on our staff intranet which was published prior to our
internal instant messaging system (Unified Communications/Skype for
business) being rolled out. Our retention schedule which details how long
we retain instant messages for can be found here:
[9]https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/p...
 
I can also advise that a more detailed policy regarding these matters is
planned, however is not yet available to staff.
 
The third part of your request is for the five most recent decision
notices (DNs) relating to instant message/communication systems. Although
we do not hold a separate record of this type of information and our case
management system is not set up to easily provide it, I have managed to
locate three DNs concerning the use of the ‘Slack’ messaging service by
the Cabinet Office which may be of interest to you. Links to these are
provided below:
 
[10]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
 
[11]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
 
[12]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
 
We also publish our DNs on our website and there is a search function
which you can use to search for key words or case references:
[13]https://icosearch.ico.org.uk/s/search.ht...
 
However, to identify the five most recent DNs issued (and to verify
whether the DNs linked to above would be included in the five most recent
DNs issued) will exceed the cost limit at section 12 of the FOIA.
 
As explained above, we do not hold a separate record of this type of
information and our case management system is not set up to easily provide
it.  Generally speaking this is not the sort of information we would need
for our own day to day business purposes. The system allows us to search
for the cases we have dealt with in a number of different ways, such as by
unique reference number the case was given, the name of any organisation
that complaints have been raised about or the case outcome. We can also
search for cases on the basis of the broad nature of the matter reported
to us, but we can only search on a limited number of fixed criteria which
are structured around the main sections of the FOIA.

In order to identify the information you have requested we would need to
manually review the details and correspondence on each FOI complaint case
concluded with a DN to identify whether the complaint concerned the use of
instant messages or communication systems by a public authority. Having
conducted a preliminary search, in the 2015/16 financial year alone, this
amounts to over 1200 cases. Assuming that it would take a minimum of 2
minutes per case, with some cases likely to take much longer, to carry out
these searches would take over 40 hours. This is well in excess of the
cost limits at section 12 of the FOIA.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (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 ICO, as determined in the ‘Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004’ is £450.  The ‘appropriate limit’ for the ICO, 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.

It is for this reason that we are not obliged to comply with this part of
your request for information.

I have given some consideration as to how you may be able to narrow the
scope of your request to bring this within the cost limit.
 
For instance, you may wish to identify a significantly narrower timeframe,
or a particular organisation you are interested in.
 
This concludes our response to your request. I hope the information
provided is helpful.
 
Review Procedure

If you are not satisfied that your request for information has been dealt
with correctly, please write to the Information Access Team at the address
below, reply directly to this email (with the reference number contained
within the square brackets left intact), or email us at
[14][ICO request email], quoting the reference number
IRQ0747674.

Your request for a 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.

Ultimately if you are not satisfied that your request for information 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
relevant legislation.  To make such an application, please write to our
Customer Contact Team at the address below, or visit the ‘Report a
Concern’ section of our website.
 
A copy of our review procedure is available here
[15]https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/p...
 
Yours sincerely
 
Ian Goddard
Senior Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 4146823  F. 01625 524510  [16]ico.org.uk  [17]twitter.com/iconews
For information about what we do with personal data see our [18]privacy
notice
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References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
3. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
4. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
5. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
6. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
7. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
8. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
9. https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/p...
10. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
11. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
12. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
13. https://icosearch.ico.org.uk/s/search.ht...
14. mailto:[ICO request email]
15. https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/p...
16. http://ico.org.uk/
17. https://twitter.com/iconews
18. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/

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