Re-Use Request for Post Office Details

The request was partially successful.

Dear Post Office Limited,

Despite the subject line of this email, this is not an FOI request, but a request under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 (RoPSIR) at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/... .

I have consulted the Information Commissioner, and he considers that Post Office Ltd is a Public Sector Body for the purposes of these Regulations. The ICO has also said that my previous re-use request (made as part of a wider FOI request at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l... ) would have been valid, apart from my being not specific enough with the purpose for re-use under regulation 6(d). I am therefore making a fresh request to address this shortcoming.

In accordance with RoPSIR regulation 6, I would like to formally request permission to re-use the Post Office branch information (name, address, opening times, service details etc., but excluding the Google map) that is displayed in response to searches using your online "Branch Finder" tool at http://www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder . The purposes for which the information will be re-used are : (a) to help improve the mapping of Post Office branches in OpenStreetMap, and (b) to make a consolidated dataset available to others in a reusable electronic form under an open licence. I would therefore like to request that you grant permission to re-use this information for these purposes under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). Given my intended uses, any more restrictive licensing terms would be likely to "unnecessarily restrict" the way in which the information can be re-used, contrary to RoPSIR regulation 12.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Whittaker

PS: You may find it useful to refer to the ICO's guidance on RoPSIR at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the acknowledgement attached to your request.

 

Regards,

 

Remi Kersey
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

show quoted sections

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an update attached to your Re-Use of Public Sector Information
Regulations request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

show quoted sections

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please accept my sincere apologies for the continued delay.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for the update, though I must say that I am disappointed that you have still not reached a decision. It seems to me that 40 working days should be long enough, even for the most complex of cases.

In order that I may evaluate (and possibly contest) your application RoPSIR Regulation 8(2), could you please outline exactly what the "complex issues" are that apply to this case.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Under Regulation 8(2) your request for re-use has raised some complex
issues which we are currently still working to resolve. As such we do
require more time to respond and will aim to respond to your request at
the latest by 17 February 2016 being a further 20 working days. We will
however do all that we can to respond more promptly.

 

In the meantime we hope the list provided via the following link:
[1]http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/modern... is of some
assistance, this list can be re-used under the Non-Commercial Government
licence.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/modern...

Dear Mr Humphreys,

Many thanks for the update, though I am obviously disappointed still not to have a response.

Given my previous reply requesting details of the "complex issues" that are delaying your response, I do not feel that it is "reasonable in the circumstances" (the test required by RoPSIR 8(2)) for you to extend the response period further without providing a more detailed explanation for your reasons. I therefore believe that you have failed to comply with the regulations, and would request that you review your application of RoPSI 8(2) in accordance with your internal complaints procedure pursuant to RoPSIR 17.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your request for an Internal
Review.

 

Regards,

 

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Manager
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

show quoted sections

Martin Humphreys, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an update attached to your internal Review request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Martin Humphreys,

Many thanks for the update, I will look forward to receiving the response to your review in due course.

However, returning to my original request, it has not escaped my notice that you have still not provided a substantive reply. Your last message on this subject was dated 20 January 2016, and said

"Under Regulation 8(2) your request for re-use has raised some complex issues which we are currently still working to resolve. As such we do require more time to respond and will aim to respond to your request at the latest by 17 February 2016 being a further 20 working days. We will however do all that we can to respond more promptly."

The 17 February has come and gone, and yet you have neither provided your response nor sent another holding message to explain the further extended additional delay. You have now been dealing with my request for over four months. No matter how complex the issues, I do not feel that such a delay is in any way reasonable. Please add this complaint to your review, and please provide an updated estimate of when you will actually be providing me with a substantive response to my original request.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the response attached to your request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Robert Whittaker

Dear Post Office Limited,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts reviews under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations.

I am writing to request an internal review of Post Office Limited's decision in response to my Re-Use Request for Post Office Details' made under RoPSIR. A full history of this request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

First, referring to your response of 14th March 2016, I must ask you to reconsider the licence under which you are allowing re-use of the information, pursuant to whether or not you are complying with RoPSI r12(2)(a).

You will note that in my request I specifically asked for permission to re-use the information under the terms of the Open Government Licence (OGL) v3 [1], since my intended re-uses were (a) to help improve the mapping of Post Office branches in OpenStreetMap, and (b) to make a consolidated dataset available to others in a reusable electronic form under an open licence. Use (a) requires a licence which is forwards compatible with the Open Database Licence (ODbL) [2], while use (b) requires a licence which is "Open" (e.g. according to the Open Definition [3]). The OGL would be sufficient for both of these uses.

The licence that you offered me was the Non-Commercial Government Licence [4]. Unfortunately this licence is neither forwards compatible with the ODbL nor Open (as it restricts usage to non-commercial endeavours). Therefore neither of my intended re-uses would be possible under this licence. Thus it is clear that your imposition of this licence restricts the way in which the information can be re-used.

To comply with RoPSI r12(2)(a), any such restrictions must be "necessary". In your response you have not made a case for this restriction to be "necessary" at all, and indeed I can see no reason why it would be. Surely it can only be in your interests to have information about the locations of your Post Office Branches as widely available as possible, so why you are deliberately trying to hamper the efforts of OpenStreetMap to better map your branches is beyond me.

Secondly, under RoPSIR r11(1)(b) could you please now make all the information available through your branch-finder also available in an open and machine-readable format. I would suggest that a CSV file containing all the displayed records from your Branch database would be most appropriate. However, if that is not practicable, then a raw database dump (as required by r11(1)(a)) would probably do instead. (I am aware that you already make some of the information available at http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/modern... , but I believe that you are now required by RoPSI to make the rest similarly available.)

Yours faithfully,

Robert Whittaker

PS: Please don't forget that I am still waiting for a response to my earlier request of 28th January and 25th February for a review into your failure to respond to my RoPSIR request within a reasonable amount of time. I trust that your response to these complaints will be forthcoming. I also note that my request of 28th December for the details of the "complex issues" that delayed my RoPSIR request has yet to be unanswered. Technically this request meets the requirements of FOIA, and hence you are required to provide a response. I trust you will do so as part of your review.

[1] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
[2] http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/
[3] http://opendefinition.org/
[4] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/n...

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your update Internal Review
request.

 

Regards,

 

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Manager
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

 

show quoted sections

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an update attached to your Internal Review request.

 

Regards,

 

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Manager
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

 

show quoted sections

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the response attached to your internal review request.

 

Regards,

 

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Manager
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Robert Whittaker

Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for completing your internal review and communicating the results. I'm obviously disappointed with the outcome. I'm even more disappointed that despite quoting the text of my review request, you have completely failed to address either of the points I raised in my final two paragraphs, namely your lack of compliance with RoPSIR r12(2)(a) and r11(1). I shall therefore be taking this matter up with the Information Commissioner.

While we are waiting for that investigation to conclude, I would invite you to reconsider your response, and in particular to justify why the restrictions on re-use imposed by your licence are "necessary" (as required by RoPSIR r12(2)(a)) and to provide the information you made available for re-use in the formats required by RoPSIR r11(1).

Finally, in my message to you of 18th December I requested details of the "complex issues" that delayed your response to my original request. On 14th March I noted that this request met the requirements of FOIA and requested that you respond. You have still not provided these details or a valid response to this request under FOIA, so I will also be complaining to the Information Commissioner on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

My complaint has now been accepted for further investigation by the Information Commissioner, with case reference number FS50630368.

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

My complaint to the ICO has now been allocated to a case officer to investigate. The investigation is going to consider:

* The time Post Office took to respond to the request

* Its position that the requested information is available for re-use under the Non-Commercial Government Licence

* The format in which Post Office has provided the information

* The time Post Office took to respond to the request for an internal review and the content of that review

* Post Office’s non response to an FOIA request (re ‘complex issues’) that was submitted as part of the correspondence with Post Office, on 8 December 2015.

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

On 12th October, the ICO wrote to Post Office requesting that they responded to the FOI request I'd made regarding the 'complex issues' within 10 working days. That time has now passed, and I have still yet to receive a response.

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an update attached to your internal review request.

 

Regards,

 

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Manager
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials
20 Finsbury Street

London EC2Y 9AQ

033 3665 3951

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

I've just received the ICO's Decision Notice for this case (FS50630368):

"The Commission's decision is that the Post Office breached regulation 12(2) by placing unnecessarily restrictive conditions on re-use. The Commissioner has also found that the Post Office breached regulation 11(1) by failing to make the information available in a machine readable format; regulation 8(1) by failing to respond to the request within a reasonable time; and regulation 17(3) by failing to complete an internal review within a reasonable time."

Unless they decide to appeal the decision, the Post Office is required to permit re-use under the Open Government Licence and to make the requested information available in an open and machine readable format.

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

The full Decision Notice can now be viewed at https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Robert Whittaker left an annotation ()

I've just received a letter from the ICO notifying me that Post Office Ltd are appealing the Decision Notice to the First-Tier Tribunal. It's not on the Tribunal Case list at https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio... yet, but I believe the case number will be EA/2017/0016.

Matt Kane left an annotation ()

It's up, with the case number is EA/2017/0116. I have to say the history of this case is just incredible. Well done for pursuing it so doggedly!

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org