Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

I am making this request for information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Under the terms of the 2000 Act please provide me with the
following information:

1. The percentage of people summoned to court for offences under s.363 of the Communications Act 2003 who are found not guilty. Please provide this data annually from 2008 to date.

2. The percentage of people summoned to court for offences under s.363 of the Communications Act 2003 who have the case against them withdrawn by TV Licensing before it is heard. Please provide this data annually from 2008 to date.

3. The percentage of people summoned to court for offences under s.363 of the Communications Act 2003 who have the case against them withdrawn by TV Licensing before it reaches a final conclusion in court (e.g. before a judgement is made). Please provide this data annually from 2008 to date.

Anticipating that the BBC may attempt to use the "prejudicing law enforcement" exemptions of the 2000 Act to avoid answering, I draw your attention to the fact that I am only requesting percentage figures and not actual numbers. Having reviewed the wording of this request with a legal colleague I am confident it is perfectly valid.

I look forward to a candid and complete disclosure in accordance with the spirit of the Act.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Jones

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 4 February 2012. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20120137.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to let you know that unfortunately the response to your request is not yet ready. We aim to send the response by Friday 9th March; if this is not possible, we will write again then to update you.

Yours sincerely

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for updating me on the status of my request, RFI20120137.

As you have already acknowledged, it has taken the BBC longer to respond than the 20 working day limit imposed by the 2000 Act.

I am disappointed that the BBC has yet again failed in its statutory obligations to provide a timely response.

It seems to be a recurring theme at the moment.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Jones

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20120137. Please accept our apologies for the delay in
sending this response to you.

 

Yours sincerely

Rachel Hallett

 

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

Room 2252, White City

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TS, UK

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
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Dear FOI Enquiries,

Please note my request for an internal review of RFI20120137.

It is unfortunate that I am requesting yet another internal review, but I am consistently finding the BBC's responses fall short of the standard required by the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Indeed, contrary to the legal requirements of the 2000 Act, I am beginning to think that refusal is the BBC's default option whenever there is the slightest chance they'll be embarrassed by providing a complete response - an observation I have already drawn to the attention of the Information Commissioner.

The basis of my review request is that the BBC has incorrectly applied the s.31 exemptions of the 2000 Act when compiling their response to RFI20120137. That being the case the BBC should have given a full and complete response to question 2 raised in my initial request.

I believe the s.31 exemptions have been applied incorrectly for three main reasons:

1. By the time TV Licensing has the opportunity to withdraw the case against an alleged licence fee evader summonsed to court, they are already well into the prosecution process and expecting to attend court. Releasing the percentage figures requested is not going to change that fact, as anyone summonsed to court has no way of knowing TV Licensing’s true intent to follow through with the prosecution process.

2. The BBC Trust, in their “Review of Licence Fee Collection” dated March 2009, set a precedent by releasing very similar information to that requested in RFI20120137. Paragraph 186 of the Trust’s Review gives tabulated information showing the number of “Evaders Caught”, “Cases Heard” and “Convictions” in each of the years 2002/03 to 2007/08. It is a reasonable assumption that a significant proportion of “Evaders Caught” are summonsed to court for offences under s.363 of the Communications Act 2003. It is also quite clear from the Trust’s figures that considerably fewer than half of the “Evaders Caught” actually have their cases heard in court, with only about three quarters of those being convicted. Given the Trust’s willingness to release this information only a few years ago, I consider it unreasonable that the BBC’s Information Policy & Compliance Team, which is much further down the BBC pecking order, has decided to refuse my similar request for information now.

3. The public has a right to know if TV Licensing is placing an excessive burden on the court system by summonsing a much larger number of suspected licence fee evaders than they intend to pursue to conviction. If excessive numbers are being summonsed it could be an indication that TV Licensing lack confidence in their prosecution evidence, which they wish to avoid being scrutinised in the full gaze of the court. It could also be argued that TV Licensing view summonsing people to court as just another tactic to coerce fee payment from suspected licence fee evaders, when they have no real intention of pursuing the case. That would be a clear abuse of the legal process.

In writing this review request I am also very mindful of the fact that the BBC has demonstrably provided several misleading and substandard responses to my previous requests for information. I hope the BBC will carefully consider the obvious conclusions people (including the media) will draw if they persist in their obstructive refusal to respond in full to RFI20120137.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Jones,

We have received your request for an internal review relating your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The information you requested was about complaints regarding Television Licencing. Your request for an internal review was received on 11th March 2012; please accept our apologies for the delay in confirming receipt.

We shall deal with the review as promptly as possible and, at the latest, within 30 working days. If you have any queries please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your internal review is IR2012005.

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane,
London, W12 7TQS

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Enquiries,

I was expecting your review findings to IR2012005 by now, as it has been longer than 30 working days since I made my review request.

I appreciate there is no statutory timeframe for providing internal review responses, but nevertheless the ICO requires such requests be dealt with promptly.

Please indicate how much longer I will have to wait.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Dear FOI Enquiries,

On 11th March I requested an internal review of your initial response to my request for information, RFI20120137. I received an acknowledgement shortly afterwards, which allocated the reference number IR2012005 to my review request.

On 24th April I sent you an email reminding you that you had failed to provide a review response within the 30 working days you initially stipulated.

I have still not received my review response. Whilst I appreciate the BBC is under no legal obligation to provide their response within 30 working days, there seems little point in mentioning that time frame when you seem consistently unable to meet it.

As I'm sure you're aware, the Information Commissioner requires that internal review requests are dealt with in as timely a manner as possible.

I would hope to receive my review response very shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Hello... is there anyone actually there? Please can someone acknowledge the BBC's continued existence by replying to this.

In the unlikely event you did not receive my last email, I reproduce it below:

---BEGIN QUOTE---

Dear FOI Enquiries,

On 11th March I requested an internal review of your initial response to my request for information, RFI20120137. I received an acknowledgement shortly afterwards, which allocated the reference number IR2012005 to my review request.

On 24th April I sent you an email reminding you that you had failed to provide a review response within the 30 working days you initially stipulated.

I have still not received my review response. Whilst I appreciate the BBC is under no legal obligation to provide their response within 30 working days, there seems little point in mentioning that time frame when you seem consistently unable to meet it.

As I'm sure you're aware, the Information Commissioner requires that internal review requests are dealt with in as timely a manner as possible.

I would hope to receive my review response very shortly.

---END QUOTE---

I have many people eagerly awaiting the outcome of your review, who are at this moment drawing their own conclusions on the BBC's reluctance to respond.

I do hope they'll not have to wait too much longer, as some of them have deadlines to meet.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

Given that the BBC has failed to provide transparent disclosure to our request, we have joined the dots and written about it anyway. Read our suspicions about why the BBC has gone shy about TV Licensing all of a sudden:
http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...

Dear FOI Enquiries,

It has now been 4-months since I made my internal review request, IR2012005. I have not received a reply, despite assurances the review would be dealt with within 30 working days.

In the unlikely event you have mislaid my previous communications a full trail can be found here: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pe...

Please can you refer this case to a senior BBC executive who is detached from the Information & Policy Compliance Team, who may be able to view my request my subjectively and professionally.

Also please acknowledge that you have received this request (yet again).

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your email. We can confirm that we received and acknowledged your request for an internal review.

On this occasion we have failed to meet the 30 working day deadline, for which we apologise. We are actively working on your review and estimate that we should be able to provide you with a response next week. If this is not possible, we will write again then to update you.

Once again, please accept our apologies for the delay in receiving the internal review of your request.

Yours sincerely
BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Another week has passed and, contrary to your earlier assurances, I have heard nothing more about the decision on my internal review request, IR2012005

It has now been well over 3 months since I made my initial review request. Such a delay is excessive by anyone's definition, including the BBC's I would think.

I do hope I'll not have to wait much longer.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Another week has passed and, contrary to your earlier assurances, I have heard nothing more about the decision on my internal review request, IR2012005.

It is now more than a fortnight since the BBC promised me a response "next week" and well over 3 months since I made my initial review request. Such a delay is excessive by anyone's definition, including the BBC's I would think.

Everyone following my request is well aware of the BBC's incompetence in handling it. They are also well aware that you do not wish to provide an answer for fear of self-incrimination.

I do hope I'll not have to wait much longer.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Rob Willis left an annotation ()

Peter, why have you not referred this to the Information Commissioner? This is a flagrant disregard for FOI Rules as well as an appalling attitude to members of the public. By wilfully ignoring your follow up requests they are attempting to hold back the information illegally.

Personally, I'd sent them a high court writ, apply for compensatory damages for every reminder written, as well as make formal complaints against each named person in the FOI dept of the BBC.

This totalitarian broadcasting behemoth need to be taken to task and be on the receiving end of court action for a change.

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Another week has passed and, contrary to your earlier assurances, I have heard nothing more about the decision on my internal review request, IR2012005.

It is now more than three weeks since the BBC promised me a response "next week" and 4 months since I made my initial review request. Such a delay is excessive by anyone's definition, including the BBC's I would think.

Everyone following my request is well aware of the BBC's incompetence in handling it. They are also well aware that you do not wish to provide an answer for fear of self-incrimination.

If I do not hear from you within the next 48 hours (by the end of 3rd July) I will assume you wish me to refer this request to the Information Commissioner. I have little doubt the ICO will order full disclosure.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Please find attached the response to your request for an Internal Review,
reference IR2012005.

 

I sincerely apologise for the delay in providing you with a response; and
for any inconvenience this may have caused you. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

Room 2252, White City

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TS, UK

 

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 
[2]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01CD586C.EAD4CFA0
2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

The BBC again seems to have a lot to hide.
Don't worry. We'll keep at them.

Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for finally providing an internal review response to IR2012005, albeit delayed by several weeks.

For all your legal advisor has stuck to the default BBC party line of "no comment" I think it is safe to draw the following conclusion: An organisation as arrogant as TV Licensing, that thinks it makes the law, would surely be boastful if it secured convictions for high percentage of those summonsed.

Reading between the lines I think we can all assume that the amount of people summonsed and then "let off" by TV Licensing is actually quite significant, hence the BBC's reluctance to confirm the fact.

We'll agree to differ on the finer points of my observation.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Watchkeeper left an annotation ()

Don't know whether this is useful or not, but according to FoI request RFI20080413 the BBC states 312,715 evaders were caught in 2007 in England and Wales. The term "evaders" is defined as "people from whom prosecution statements have been taken".

According to a table provided by the Ministry of Justice in response to FOI/62333/09, the number of defendants found guilty at all courts for Television Licence Evasion, England and Wales, was 120,908 in the same year.

So around 2 in 5 evaders end up being convicted. I know this is not what you were asking, but this statistic is interesting nonetheless.

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