Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to submit a Freedom of Information request following up my requests F2009-154 and F2009-186.

For each record in the ARIES database, I would like to have a copy of all the information held under the fields relating to 'Project performance'. My previous enquiry indicates to me that the fields relating to 'Project performance' are:

# Performance Review: Is an Annual Review Req, Ann Review Exempt Just., Annual Review Due Date, Annual Review Prompt Date, Annual Review Authorised, Summary Review Authorised, Is a PCR Required?, PCR Exempt Justification, PCR Due Date, PCR Prompt Date, PCR Deferral?, Deferral Justification, PCR Authorised

# Output Scoring: Outputs, Impact Weight %, Output Performanc, Impact Weighted Score, Risk

# Project Scoring: Review Date, Total Impact Score, Output Risk, Project Purpose Score, Purpose Justification, Overall Risk score

# Method of Scoring: Sources of Information

# Scoring Responsibility: Partners Involved

# Knowledge Sharing/Lessons: Date, Lesson Category, Notes

# Conditionality Review: Disbursement Suspended, Cause, Date Suspended, Consequences

# Notes: Notes

I would be grateful if you could also include, for each record, the Project number, description and budget centre so that they can be identified.

Based on the answer to my previous enquiry I would expect to receive at least 3323 records. Please send these as a spreadsheet or database file.

Under the section 16 duty to provide advice and assistance please contact me if this requires clarification.

Yours faithfully,

Francis Bacon

foi, Department for International Development

Dear Mr Bacon

Thank you for your request for information which we received this
morning (2 September 2009). We're dealing with it under the terms of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will respond to you as soon as
possible and within 20 working days. In the meantime, if you've any
queries, please contact me quoting reference F2009-205.

Yours sincerely

Helen Kennedy
DFID Openness Unit
[DFID request email]

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John McGinn, Department for International Development

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bacon

I am writing to confirm that we are not yet in a position to respond to
your Freedom of Information request of 1 September 2009 for copies of
information held under the project performance fields of our ARIES
database. The attached letter gives specific details of the areas of the
FOi act we are still considering.

regards

John McGinn
Openness Unit
DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the UK
Government's fight against world poverty. Find out more at
http://www.dfid.gov.uk.

The road to Copenhagen: the UK Government's ambition for a global deal on
climate change. Find out more at http://www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk and
about DFID's work at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/climate.

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John McGinn, Department for International Development

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bacon

I refer to our letter of 25 September 2009 saying that we needed more time
to consider the balance of public interest in disclosing the information
you requested.

Please find attached a letter advising that we are still considering the
Public Interest test and hope to be in a position to respond by 28
October.

regards

John McGinn

Openness Unit

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the UK
Government's fight against world poverty. Find out more at
http://www.dfid.gov.uk.

The road to Copenhagen: the UK Government's ambition for a global deal on
climate change. Find out more at http://www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk and
about DFID's work at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/climate.

show quoted sections

Dear John McGinn,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate that making this decision may be tricky; I hope that you will find in favour of openness and transparency.

Yours sincerely,

Francis Bacon

Helen Kennedy, Department for International Development

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bacon

Please see the attached response to your Freedom of Information request
F2009-205.

Yours sincerely

Helen Kennedy
DFID Openness Unit

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the UK
Government's fight against world poverty. Find out more at
http://www.dfid.gov.uk.

The road to Copenhagen: the UK Government's ambition for a global deal on
climate change. Find out more at http://www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk and
about DFID's work at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/climate.

show quoted sections

Dear Mr McGinn,

Thank you for your letter of 28 October regarding my Freedom of Information request F2009-205. I would like to request an internal review of this decision.

Please could you ensure that the reviewer bears in mind the following points regarding the exemptions which were cited in your letter:

Section 27(1):
ICO Guidance on this exemption states that "the important point to note is that prejudice must be to the interests of the UK itself rather than simply to the public authority which holds the information." I think it is highly questionable that the information contained in ARIES would harm the UK's international relations, even if it might harm DfID's.

ICO guidance also states that "The issue of timing will affect the sensitivity of information requested, and the level of harm will be determined by the currency of the information in relation to wider international issues that may be prejudiced by the disclosure." I would like advice under FOI section 16 on whether my request would be likely to succeed if it was restricted only to projects which are no longer active.

Section 36:
I would like advice under FOI section 16 on whether my request would be likely to succeed if it omitted the fields relating to 'Knowledge Sharing/Lessons Learned'.

Section 40:
It is not clear which field(s) this exemption is being applied to. I am willing to accept the omission of some of the fields if this is the only way to ensure that individuals are not identified.

Public interest:
I would like the reviewer to consider the very considerable public interest in releasing this information when considering the Section 27 and 36 exemptions.
1) Disclosure would increase transparency of the way public money is spent and its effectiveness.
2) The amount of taxpayers' money in question is very significant - several hundred million pounds or more.
3) Disclosure would engage the public in the debate over aid spending and increase participation in decision-making.
4) Disclosure would enhance the quality of professional discussion and decision-making. It would reveal the types of aid projects which are successful and help others to learn from failures. It would also help practitioners to harmonise aid flows.

DfID acknowledges the importance of these arguments because it has agreed to the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and published a part of the ARIES database online. As a recent evaluation found, there is a risk here that DfID is being "over-sensitive to external criticism, and unwilling to engage the public in a frank debate on the effectiveness of external assistance."
http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publica...

Finally I would like to have more information on which of the fields in the database are (in DfID's view) breaching each of the exemptions. It would be helpful to know whether some fields can be dropped from the request so that it can proceed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pr...

Yours sincerely

Francis Bacon

foi, Department for International Development

Dear Mr Bacon

Thank you for your e-mail below requesting an internal review of our
decision and response to your FOI request F2009-205. We plan to respond
to you as soon as possible and within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Helen Kennedy
DFID Openness Unit

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Dear Ms Kennedy,

In your reply to my request for an internal review of this decision you indicated that I would receive a response within 20 days. This limit has now passed. Please can you tell me when I can expect to receive the result.

Yours sincerely,

Francis Bacon

foi, Department for International Development

Dear Mr Bacon

We are still working on your internal review.

I am really sorry for the delay and we do try to complete reviews within
20 days but in some cases we do have to take the time to ensure
investigations are thorough and complete in the interests of both the
requestor and DFID. We hope to have your review completed by 31 December
2009.

Regards

John McGinn
Openness Unit

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Helen Kennedy, Department for International Development

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bacon

Please see the attached response to your request for an internal review of
our response to your FOI request F2009-205.

Yours sincerely

Helen Kennedy
DFID Openness Unit

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the UK
Government's fight against world poverty. Find out more at
http://www.dfid.gov.uk.

The road to Copenhagen: the UK Government's ambition for a global deal on
climate change. Find out more at http://www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk and
about DFID's work at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/climate.

show quoted sections

Francis Bacon left an annotation ()

A complaint to the Information Commissioner about this request was sent on 24 Feb 2010. You can read the details here: http://thatsthewaythemoneygoes.blogspot....

Francis Bacon left an annotation ()

On 24 June 2011 the Information Commissioner found partly in my favour and ruled that DfID must release 64 of the 70 fields: http://thatsthewaythemoneygoes.blogspot....

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