PR statement

Dr Emma L Briant made this Freedom of Information request to Cabinet Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Cabinet Office.

Dr Emma L Briant

Dear Cabinet Office,

I would like to please request information on the extent to which information officers handling FOI requests are allowed/asked to use information prepared for PR purposes in the Cabinet Office?
This seems to have occurred in the following case: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/7...
Information Officers usually deliver information in a dry and neutral way and it seems unusual for them to be delivering talking points with obvious spin, prepared for the government's comms as part of a FOI request - these normally are very straight.
Please could I see any specific guidance followed by individuals (who I believe to be civil servants) who handle FOI requests, and in particular any guidance which restricts or permits their delivering information influenced by prepared statements crafted for PR by the government of the moment.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Emma L Briant

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

Our ref: FOI2021/09389

Dear Dr Emma L Briant,

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 25th
April. Your request is being handled under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ('the Act').

The Act requires that a response must be given promptly, and in any event
within 20 working days. We will therefore aim to reply at the latest by
25th May.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Briant

The date that the response is due for your request, FOI2021/09389, has
been changed to 22nd June. Please see the attached letter.

Kind Regards

FOI Team

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Briant

The date that the response is due for your request, FOI2021/09389, has
been changed to 21st July. Please see the attached letter.

Kind Regards

FOI Team

Cabinet Office

Dr Emma L Briant

Dear Cabinet Office,

I know you would like more time, but this is not a complicated matter or a highly sensitive national security request. I am requesting some transparency over the involvement of PR in the Freedom of Information process! It is incredible that you are giving yourself no less than TWO extensions to delay this matter and I would like it escalated to an internal review please.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Emma L Briant

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Briant,

Please find attached our response to your recent Freedom of Information
request (reference FOI2021/09389).

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Dear Cabinet Office,

You responded to my request in part by saying "There is a public interest in the effective operation of government which would be prejudiced by the disclosure of some of the information in scope which is incomplete. Given the administrative nature of this information the public interest is best served by withholding the documents while they are still under consideration. If this information were to be published before it has been finalised and properly scrutinised then this would be likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of the advice and the way in which it is given." - Can I ask when the documents will have been scrutinized and finalized and when information will be obtainable please?

Yours faithfully,

Dr Emma L Briant