Request for documents and clarification of Visiting Procedures

The request was partially successful.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

1. I refer to Hillas Disclosure Document 1 released under RFI20130974 which includes a section titled "TV Licensing Enforcement Visiting Procedures (Chapter 16 – Section 2) – Requesting and Executing a Search Warrant". Paragraph 2.13 states:

"If access is gained to the premises, a copy of the Warrant and the Notice of Powers and Rights must be handed to the householder or left in a prominent position in the premises. (Note - In Scotland, a copy of the Warrant is shown to the householder, but no documents are left at the premises.)"

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 please provide copies of both of the documents mentioned.

2. I now refer to the TV Licensing Visiting Procedures document released under RFI20110540. In a similar section to that quoted above, Paragraph 2.10 contains the following:

"Should the occupant refuse to give their name to the EO when executing the warrant, the accompanying Police Officer should be asked to intervene and request the information before the search begins. (If a person refuses to give their name to a Police Officer when asked to do so, a separate offence has been committed which the Police will normally prosecute for). The name & number of the Police Officer must be noted."

This paragraph is missing from Hillas Disclosure Document 1. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 please provide relevant portions of any minutes of meetings, discussion documents, letters, e-mails or other recorded information relating to the elimination of this paragraph.

Yours faithfully,

Watchkeeper

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Sir,

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 17th September 2013. 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 RFI20131347.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

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

Tel: 020 8008 2882

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Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of the British Broadcasting Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Request for documents and clarification of Visiting Procedures', RFI20131347.

The information requested has not been provided promptly nor within the statutory "long stop" of 20 working days. This is despite your unequivocal promise that "We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days".

I remind you of what appears on your Website's Freedom of Information page:

"As a publicly funded organisation, the BBC is fully committed to meeting both the spirit and the letter of the Act".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi/

Please provide the information requested without further delay, ascertain why the BBC failed to keep its promise and state what mechanisms you will put in place to prevent a recurrence. A statement of the obvious ("the BBC has, on this occasion, failed to comply with statutory requirements") will not do.

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

Yours faithfully,

Watchkeeper

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

3 Attachments

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find attached the response to your request for information, reference RFI20131347.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in getting this reply to you.

Yours sincerely,

The Information Policy and Compliance Team

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
BC2B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP, UK

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for belatedly providing some of the information requested. I reject your apology for missing the statutory deadline as being insincere and insubstantial. In any case, it is not me you have offended but the Law. Please confirm that you are, as requested, reviewing the handling of this Freedom of Information request.

I note that you have refused to provide the search warrant pro forma:

"I can confirm that we hold a copy of the blank form but consider that the information requested is exempt under section 31(1)(a) and c) of the Act which relates to law enforcement; specifically, on the grounds that disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime ..."

Since redacted specimens of search warrants are already in the public domain (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/luxy8y7 and http://i47.tinypic.com/2v7tkjr.jpg) I suggest your argument is without merit and in light of that I further suggest you might like to reconsider your decision.

I also note that you admit to having failed to fully disclose information under RFI20130974 due to "an oversight". One can only wonder a) how that happened, and b) what other information has been omitted due to "an oversight". I presume the paragraph in question was "Redacted under section 31 (“law enforcement”) of the Freedom of Information Act", as indicated. This shows the BBC can be a little overzealous in applying that derogation and again one wonders how much information the BBC incorrectly withholds. Will you now be supplying Mr Hillas with a more complete disclosure in response to his request?

I would be grateful if you would now turn your attention to RFI20130233.

Yours sincerely,

Watchkeeper

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

They're very good at "oversights", "omissions" and "clerical errors". As recent Parliamentary Select Committee performances have shown, the BBC is also very good at being "selective" with the truth.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Please find attached the response to your request for an Internal Review,
reference IR2013095

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay providing you with this review,
which was due to a temporary lack of available reviewers.

 

Yours sincerely

 

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

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Dear FOI Enquiries,

In my request for an internal review of the BBC's handling of my request I specifically said "A statement of the obvious ('the BBC has, on this occasion, failed to comply with statutory requirements') will not do". This is exactly what you have done, viz:

Quote:
I find that the BBC has:
a. Failed to keep the requester up to date with the progress of their request and has therefore not met their duties under section 16 (1) of the Act to advise and assist the applicant.
b. Failed to respond to this request within the statutory timeframe, in breach of section 10 (1) of the Act.
Endquote

I repeat - this is not a review but a statement of the obvious. The world and his wife already knew you had failed to keep me up to date with the progress of their request because the evidence is right here on the page. Similarly, the world and his wife already knew you had failed to respond to this request within the statutory timeframe because the evidence is right here on the page. To simply report these things serves no useful purpose. How many knuckles have been rapped? How many heads have rolled? What have you DONE?

I further asked that the reviewer "ascertain why the BBC failed to keep its promise ..." This you have failed to do.

I also asked the reviewer to "state what mechanisms you will put in place to prevent a recurrence". This you have also failed to do.

Yours sincerely,

Watchkeeper

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