learning supports for request handlers

Mark made this Freedom of Information request to Prime Minister'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 refused by Prime Minister's Office.

Dear Sir or Madam,

On April 15, 2009 F. Irving made an FOI request to the Prime Minister's Office.
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/em...
The request is now overdue.

Please accept the following as a FOI request. For the period of April 15, 2008 to July 19, 2009, please send me a list of the names & dates of courses, seminars, or learning programs that employees who have been assigned to handling F. Irving's request have enrolled in. Amongst these employees please
include managers, supervisors, etc. who may be responsible or
delegating tasks.

Yours faithfully,

Mark

Mark left an annotation ()

This is in response to a request that is being struggled with by handlers at the Prime Minister's Office. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/em...

Prime Minister's Office

Dear 'Mark'

A response was issued to this request on 15 May and is available here:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/em...

The applicant submitted two requests, one to the Prime Minister's Office
and one the Cabinet Office. The wording of the request was exactly the
same in each case so one response was issued covering both requests, as
the Prime Minister's Office is part of the Cabinet Office for the
purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I will email the applicant shortly to confirm that the response to the
request that he thinks is outstanding (the request to the Prime
Minister's Office) was obviously included within the other response sent
to him.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for pointing out this
out.

Mike Pigott
FOI Team

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Dear Mr. Pigott,

Please don't put scare quotes around my name. I respond to either Mark or Sir.

Since someone at the Prime Minster's Office did handle the request, even if it was just to merge it with the request sent to the Cabinet Office, please proceed with responding to my request of July 19, 2009.

Yours faithfully,

Mark

Prime Minister's Office

Dear Mark

Thank you for your email.

Your request is not a valid request under the Act, as you have only
given your first name.

The Information Commissioner publishes guidance on this matter, which is
available here:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...
tailed_specialist_guides/name_of_applicant_fop083_v1.pdf

The top of the third page is the relevant part.

If you would like to make a request on this issue then you will need to
give further details, rather than just your first name.

I hope this is helpful.

Mike Pigott
FOI Team

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Dear Sir or Madam,

I have read the document you provided. Thank you.

On page 1, the Information Commissioner wrote,

"A public authority is entitled to treat as invalid a request where the real name of the applicant (whether an individual or a corporate body) has not been used"

This is probably the reason you are saying my request is invalid. However, the Information Commissioner also wrote on page 1 the following,

"Where a public authority knows that a pseudonym has been used, as a matter of good practice it should still consider the request, for example where identity is not relevant and it is content to disclose the"

Either the provided name is fictitious or incomplete (i.e., not having provided a last name). Since the Information Commissioner recognizes that it is good practice for public authorities to accept requests made in the former form (i.e., fictitious) would you assume the same recommendation would hold for requests in which the last name of the applicant is not provided? After all, a fictitious name is much more encompassing than an incomplete form.

Will you accept the Information Commissioner's guidance on good practices and accept this request?

Yours faithfully,

Mark

Prime Minister's Office

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your email.

We will not take forward your request at present as it is not a valid
request under the Act.

As I mentioned in my previous email, if you would like to provide
further details we will of course deal with any request then.

Mike Pigott
FOI Team

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Dear Mike, thank you for your continuing patience.

You have made an assumption. How do you know that Mark is my first name and not a full pseudonym?

The Information Commissioner's Office writes:

"Where a public authority knows that a pseudonym has been used, as a matter of good practice it should still consider the request, for example where identity is not relevant and it is content to disclose the"

The Information Commissioner is describing a "good practice" and has offered it to the Prime Minister's Office. Am I correct to write that you are disregarding the Information Commissioner's suggestion? If so, could you tell me what the Prime Minister's Office considers to be "good practice" in such situations?

Yours faithfully,

Mark

Prime Minister's Office

Dear Mark,

I'm afraid I don't have anything further to add to my previous emails.

So, unless you wish to provide the additional information as outlined
previously I will not be able to help.

I don't propose to get into any further correspondence with you on this
issue, unless of course you provide the necessary information to make
your request a 'valid' one under the Act.

Mike Pigott
FOI Team

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