Lines to Take

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Information Commissioner’s Office should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office

Please can you supply me with all of your current Line To Take documents, for the GDPR, Data Protection Act 2018 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations regimes, and also Casework Advice Notes.

I read that you committed to publishing these, but I can't find them on your website. In the event that they are published, then please accept my apologies and point me to them.

Thank you

Yours faithfully

Alan Shearer

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
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

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References

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2. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/
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Information Commissioner’s Office

18 September 2018

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0783363

 

Dear Mr Shearer,

Request for Information
 
Thank you for your email of 5 September 2018, in which you have submitted
a request for information to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
via What Do They Know.  Your request has been passed to the Information
Access Team to deal with.
 
You have requested:
 
“Please can you supply me with all of your current Line To Take documents,
for the GDPR, Data Protection Act 2018 and Privacy and Electronic
Communications Regulations regimes, and also Casework Advice Notes.

I read that you committed to publishing these, but I can't find them on
your website. In the event that they are published, then please accept my
apologies and point me to them.”
We will respond to your request for information under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) no later than 3 October 2018.
 
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.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
Joanne Wright
Lead Information Access Officer
 
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF

 
 
 

Information Commissioner’s Office

3 October 2018

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0783363

 

Dear Mr Shearer

Following our acknowledgement of your request which we sent on 18
September, we are not in a position to respond to your request today and
will therefore be responding late.
 
I am sorry for the delay and for not meeting our statutory deadline but we
need a little more time to consider the issues and the more fully respond
to your request.
 
We will respond as soon as possible.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 

Frederick Aspbury
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 414 6397 F. 01625 524510  [1]ico.org.uk  [2]twitter.com/iconews
Please consider the environment before printing this email
For information about what we do with personal data see our [3]privacy
notice

References

Visible links
1. http://ico.org.uk/
2. https://twitter.com/iconews
3. https://ico.org.uk/global/privacy-notice/

Information Commissioner’s Office

11 October 2018

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0783363

 

Dear Mr Shearer

Request for Information
 
We can now respond to your request for information dated 5 September.
 
We apologise for the delay in responding to this request.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) which
entitles you to information ‘held’ by a public authority.
 
Request
 
In your email you said:
 
“Please can you supply me with all of your current Line To Take documents,
for the GDPR, Data Protection Act 2018 and Privacy and Electronic
Communications Regulations regimes, and also Casework Advice Notes.”
 
Response
 
I can confirm that we hold information within scope of this request. We
hold Lines to Take notes (LTTs) and Casework Advice Notes (CWANs) in
relation to GDPR, DPA 2018 and PECR.
 
However, I have to confirm that the requested information is being
withheld in response to your request pursuant to section 36 of the FOIA.
 
The LTTs and CWANs are designed for an internal audience, curated on the
back of information brought to us from a variety of internal and external
sources and we consider that our published guidance on the GDPR, DPA 2018
and PECR is sufficient to enable detailed public understanding.
 
We consider that disclosure of the requested information would prejudice
the effective conduct of public affairs, and have therefore withheld the
information pursuant to the relevant exemption in the FOIA. 
 
I appreciate this will be disappointing but hope that our guidance on
[1]GDPR/DPA 2018  and [2]PECR  are helpful. I have expanded in more detail
below regarding the exemption at section 36, why it is necessary in this
case, and why the public interest favours the information being withheld
in this case.
 
FOIA section 36
 
 
Section 36(2)(b)(ii) and 36(2)(c) provides that –
 
“Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in
the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the
information under this Act- 
 
b) would, or would be likely to, inhibit-
 
(ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of
deliberation, or
 
(c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice,
the effective conduct of public affairs.
 
As stated above, we consider that disclosure of the LTTs and CWANs engages
the limbs of the exemption at points 36(2)(b)(ii) and 36(2)(c).
 
However, this exemption is not absolute. We have therefore considered
where the balance of the public interest lies.
 
The arguments in favour of disclosing the information: 
 
 

* There is a clear public interest in the ICO being a transparent entity
with our internal processes and thinking open to public scrutiny.

 
 

* The LTTs and CWANs are ultimately designed to inform the public and
their disclosure may help improve knowledge regarding the EIR, FOIA or
the new data protection legislation on which the public desire
information as evidenced by our increase in calls and enquiry
handling.

 

The arguments in favour of withholding the information:
 
 

* LTTs and CWANs form the building blocks of advice that we provide to
the public in our capacity as Regulator. But LTTs and CWANs are not
complete advice. They are provided to staff to support them in
supporting the public. They help us to write and publish the guidance
of which we have now created a great deal in relation to data
protection, PECR and the DPA 2018. LTTs and CWANs are internal
documents for an internal audience, and they exist as part of the
process by which we create guidance, not as guidance by themselves. We
have already published a good deal of guidance to support the public
and have committed to authoring and publishing more. But the LTTs and
CWANs are no substitute for that guidance.

 
 

* Many LTTs and CWANs are designed to help us deal with many of the more
sensitive and complex investigations we have undertaken. We consider
that these internal documents should be considered as such; that ICO
staff should have a safe space to provide colleagues with advice for
them to respond to challenges posed to us in a changing data
protection landscape. We also note that, following a disclosure of
such notes in the past, attempts have been made to utilise similar
documents to undermine our regulatory procedures.

 
 

* LTTs and CWANs are a curated embodiment of expertise, information and
opinion. Some of the information, presented to ICO staff on a
confidential basis, are views based on information that we have been
provided with an expectation of confidence by government departments,
external commercial entities or from expert legal advice. Disclosure
into the public domain would likely have a significant detrimental
impact on our ability to acquire such information in future, which –
given the role LTTs and CWANs play in our capacity to provide advice –
would have a detrimental knock on effect on the advice we would be
able to provide.

 
 

* Further, GDPR is new legislation. Lines to take offer our view based
on a wide foundation: our internal experience and knowledge but also
the advice we have been given by external entities. LTTs and CWANs are
often current thinking, some on GDPR written well in advance of the
Regulation coming in to force, and all are quite rightly can be
subject to drastic change as the law evolves. LTTs and CWANs placed in
the public domain could sit at odds with guidance we have yet to write
and in some cases even directly contradict it. The LTTs and CWANs in
the public domain could therefore prejudice our overall efforts to
fulfil our information rights strategy.

 
Our conclusion is that the weight in maintaining the exemption outweighs
that of disclosure as it would be likely to inhibit the free and frank
exchange of views and would be likely to otherwise prejudice the effective
conduct of public affairs.

Review Procedure

I know this response may be disappointing for you. If you are dissatisfied
with this response 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 Access Team at the address below or e-mail
[3][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 our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under either the Freedom of Information Act
or Environmental Information Regulations.
 
A copy of our review procedure can be accessed from our website
[4]here.
 
Yours sincerely

 

Frederick Aspbury
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 414 6397 F. 01625 524510  [5]ico.org.uk  [6]twitter.com/iconews
Please consider the environment before printing this email

 
 

References

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2. https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...
3. mailto:[ICO request email]
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5. http://ico.org.uk/
6. https://twitter.com/iconews

J Roberts left an annotation ()

You might like to read this decision:

http://informationrights.decisions.tribu...

24. The argument as to disclosure producing a “chilling effect” upon future advice or discussion has been ceaselessly presented to this Tribunal since it began its work in 2005. It is regularly advanced by government departments and other public authorities. Of course, each case must be scrutinised on its particular facts. Nevertheless, after thirteen years, no public authority has adduced before this Tribunal Judge or members evidence of research or even anecdotal evidence demonstrating that disclosure of advice or expressed opinions by civil servants or administrative staff has had or is likely to have had such an effect. Indeed, we are unaware of any published research supporting that contention. That does not mean that no such effect can occur, rather that it cannot be plausibly assumed as an unproven axiom of the behaviour of responsible advisers or officials dealing with sensitive and momentous public issues. They may well be more resilient and independent – minded than such arguments assume.

Jonathan Baines left an annotation ()

I thought this was such an extraordinary refusal, I blogged about it here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

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