Proposals for FOI charges

Tim Turner made this Freedom of Information request to Cabinet Office

The request was refused by Cabinet Office.

From: Tim Turner

6 April 2012

Dear Cabinet Office,

I would like to request any information held in documents, emails
or other correspondence which outline proposals for changes to the
fees and charging elements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
and which show who has been involved in those discussions, both
within the Cabinet Office and in other departments. I would also
like to receive any assessment or consideration that has been made
into the effect on the number of requests that these changes might
involve.

if you believe that to locate all of this information might risk
exceeding the FOI cost ceiling, the main focus of my request is the
proposals themselves.

If you are concerned about the effect that this might have on the
free or frank nature of ongoing discussions, or the effect on the
formulation of government policy, please take into account the
inevitably strong public interest in openness and transparency when
discussing changes to openness and transparency, particularly in
the light of the Prime Minister's assertion that the Coalition
would be the most transparent government in history. Given that the
Justice Committee is currently holding open and transparent
sessions into the operation of FOI, there is a huge public interest
in revealing whether the Government is separately and secretly
working on proposals for change without waiting for the
Parliamentary Committee to report.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Turner

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Jonny left an annotation ( 6 April 2012)

Quote-marks Tim,
Might be worth asking for Sue Gray's internal and external email correspondence concerning FOI from the past three months.
My understanding is that Sue (a senior director in the cabinet office) has extensive knowledge of these proposals.

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Becky Bbear left an annotation ( 9 April 2012)

Quote-marks Tim/Jonny - The Freedom of Information Act already contains provisions for authorities to charge for the cost of producing copy documents.

Although many authorities have not previously applied these charges, this is likely to - change due to the increased volume of requests being received and the reduced resources available for responding to them.

You may have noticed from viewing the automatic responses issued by authourities that these have changed over the past few months - many now state that if they consider a request falls outside FOIA then they may not provide any response.

This is directly related to the volume of requests being received and links to the likely introduction of charging for copy documents.

Seems clear that taken together the intention is to try and reduce volumes generally, particularly where 'ghost' requests (meaning requests with no real purpose/value) are involved.

Within the current framework of the Act authorities are able to do this based on ICO guidance, but this new approach will obviously mean everyone making a request will have to pay the admin charges before getting their response (where the response requires the authority to provide copies of documents).

Of course this also means that requestes will have to provide trackable forms of payment (cheque, card, paypal accounts) - meaning an end to 'anonymous' requests through pseudonyms.

My thoughts are that (where possible) requests specifically ask for the recorded information - not copies of the documents in which it is recorded.

Becky

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Cabinet Office

11 April 2012

Dear Tim Turner

The Cabinet Office does not hold information relevant to your request. Please be advised to contact the Ministry Of Justice regarding this request at www.justice.gov.uk/information-access-ri... as they are the body dealing with this.

Regards

FOI team

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From: Tim Turner

15 April 2012

Dear Cabinet Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Cabinet Office's
handling of my FOI request 'Proposals for FOI charges'.

Assuming such proposals exist and have been erroneously attributed
to the Cabinet Office instead of the Ministry of Justice, it is
surely possible - if not likely - that the MoJ have shared the
details with staff at the Cabinet Office by email, note or letter.
I am slightly concerned that you were able to establish that no
such information is held by the Cabinet Office in three working
days during a bank holiday week.

I would like a review of the search carried out to establish that
no information is held. I would also ask you to confirm that you
have not simply passed me over to the MoJ as the responsible
department, and that a reasonable and proportionate search was
actually carried out to answer my original request. Details of how
the search was carried out would assist with this.

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 faithfully,

Tim Turner

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Cabinet Office

17 April 2012


Attachment Internal review of Freedom of Information request Proposals for FOI charges.txt
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CABINET OFFICE REFERENCE:  IR316465

Dear TIM TURNER

Thank you for your request for information. Your request was received on 
16/4/2012 and is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

This email is just a short acknowledgement of your request.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Knowledge and Information Management Unit

Cabinet Office

E: [1][Cabinet Office request email]
<[2]mailto:[Cabinet Office request email]>

 

 

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Jonny left an annotation (18 April 2012)

Quote-marks Tim,

Sue Gray - Director, Propriety and Ethics and HMU for the Private Offices Group - was said by Newsnight to have direct knowledge of these proposals.
Keep going..

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Cabinet Office

8 May 2012


Attachment document2012 05 08 151405.pdf
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Dear Tim Turner

 

Please see attached the reply to your internal review request.

 

Regards

 

FOI Team

Knowledge and Information Management (CSG)

Room 1.35 |Admiralty Arch |London SW1A 2WH

Email: [1][Cabinet Office request email]

 

 

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Tim Turner left an annotation (21 May 2012)

Quote-marks I have now appealed this to the ICO. And the long wait begins.

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