Nuisance calling penalties and their recovery rate

The request was partially successful.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

Regarding this blog entry:
https://iconewsblog.org.uk/2016/04/25/nu...

I would like to understand whether and how the ICO has managed to extract payments from companies which are in liquidation or have been struck off the register.

Please provide:
- a list of companies who have been struck off or gone into liquidation against which the ICO has issued penalty notices for nuisance calling, and how much those penalty notices were for each company;
- for each of these companies, their assets and liabilities as reported prior to the first creditors' meeting;
- for each of these companies, the amount of money recovered by the ICO;
- the total external costs incurred by the ICO to date, including legal and accountancy fees, in pursuing payment of these penalty notices;
- copies of minutes, memos and correspondence relating to the ICO's pursuit of payment in these cases.

Yours faithfully,

Andy Grier

AccessICOinformation, Information Commissioner’s Office

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Information Commissioner’s Office

1 Attachment

12th December 2017

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0710904

 

Dear Mr Grier

Further to your email of 13 November 2017, we are now in a position to
respond to your request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA).
 
Your request
 
“Please provide: - a list of companies who have been struck off or gone
into liquidation against which the ICO has issued penalty notices for
nuisance calling, and how much those penalty notices were for each
company;
- for each of these companies, their assets and liabilities as reported
prior to the first creditors' meeting;
- for each of these companies, the amount of money recovered by the ICO;
- the total external costs incurred by the ICO to date, including legal
and accountancy fees, in pursuing payment of these penalty notices;
- copies of minutes, memos and correspondence relating to the ICO's
pursuit of payment in these cases.”
 
Our response
 
Please see attached CSV spreadsheet containing the list of companies, the
amount of the penalty, amount recovered and the external costs as
requested in the first and third parts of your request.
 
We do not hold any information relating to the companies’ assets and
liabilities in response to the second part of your request.
 
We do hold information that falls in the scope of the final part of the
request but we are not providing it to you as the exemption under section
31 of FOIA applies to it.
 
This is because these matters are ongoing and to provide this information
would or would be likely to prejudice the ICO’s efforts to recover monies
owing by revealing our internal considerations and processes.
 
As already explained, the ICO’s pursuance of outstanding penalties is
ongoing, so in respect of any non-criminal regulatory action we may choose
to take in the future, which is covered by the provisions at s31(2)(a) and
(c) above, we believe that disclosure of the information you have asked
for at this time would be likely to prejudice our ability to effectively
enforce the provisions of the DPA.
 
Section 31 FOIA:
 
31(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30
is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be
likely to, prejudice-
(g)  the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the
purposes specified in subsection (2)
 
Section 31(2) (a) and (c) provides that:
The purposes referred to in subsection (1)(g) to (i) are-
(a) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply
with the law,
(c) the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify
regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise,
  
When applying this exemption, we have to balance the public interest, ie
we must consider whether the public interest favours withholding or
disclosing the information you have asked for.

Public interest in favour of disclosure
 
 

* The ICO’s need to be open and transparent in the way it handles such
matters, which in turn helps to promote public awareness and
understanding of the ICO’s regulatory functions.
 

* Further information about the stage the investigation/recovery process
is at would help to demonstrate that the ICO is complying with its
duties.

 
Public interest in favour of maintaining the exemption
 
 
 

* Protecting the ability of the ICO as statutory regulator and the
authority with the power to levy civil monetary penalties to do so as
it sees fit, without external factors influencing or prejudicing a
particular case.
 

* Maintaining the confidentiality of information and evidence
considered.
 

* Ensuring that individuals are not deterred or inhibited from
participating fully and candidly with the investigation process,
either as part of this investigation or future investigations.

 
•   Ensuring that the ICO is able to have effective and productive
relationships with the data controllers we regulate and that they continue
to engage with us in an open, cooperative and collaborative way without
fear that information they provide to us will be made public prematurely
or, as appropriate, at all.
 
 

* To avoid the possibility that any information disclosed during the
course of the process could be used to the advantage of any
individual/organisation in similar circumstances.

 
We consider that the public interest is served by the fact that ICO
already publishes information about action taken, including penalties
issued, on its website.

In light of the above we believe that the public interest in maintaining
the exemption in section 31(1)(g) outweighs the public interest in
disclosure.
 
This concludes our response to your request, we hope that you find the
information provided to be useful.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Debi Petch     Lead Information Access Officer
 
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.
T. 01625 545221 F. 01625 524510 [1]www.ico.org.uk
ICO Helpline: 0303 123 1113 / 01625 545 745 (Ask for Information Access)
 
If you are dissatisfied with the response you have received under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 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: [email address]
 
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
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
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or Environmental Information Regulations complaint online.
 
More information about how to complain is available on our website
[2]here.
 
 

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