Scientology application for charitable status

The request was partially successful.

William Thackeray

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,

Please release documents (including but not limited to internal communications, agenda, minutes and communications with other government departments and agencies) relating to the following decision of the Charity Commissioners:

DECISION OF THE CHARITY COMMISSONERS FOR ENGLAND AND WALES
MADE ON 17TH NOVEMBER 1999
APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION AS A CHARITY BY
THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY (ENGLAND AND WALES)

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Web Enquiries, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission.

We aim to give you a full and clear response within fifteen working days
from receipt of your email. We will ensure that our response is both
accurate and appropriate.

This is the same service standard we apply to letters and faxes but
Charity Commission Direct will usually respond to general email enquiries
within five working days where there is no need for referral to one of our
specialist operational teams.

If we cannot give you a full response within fifteen days, we will contact
you and let you know the reasons why this is not possible and indicate
when we expect to be in a position to give you a full response. We will
also let you have the name and contact number of the person dealing with
your query.

You can find the Commission's contact details on our website at
[1]http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/...

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and
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show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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References

Visible links
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CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 26/01/2010 where you requested documents
(including but not limited to internal communications, agenda, minutes and
communications with other government departments and agencies) relating to
the following decision of the Charity Commissioners:

DECISION OF THE CHARITY COMMISSONERS FOR ENGLAND AND WALES
MADE ON 17TH NOVEMBER 1999
APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION AS A CHARITY BY
THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY (ENGLAND AND WALES)

I write to inform you that your request for information will be refused on
cost grounds.

From our preliminary assessment, it is clear that the cost of locating,
retrieving and preparing the information for release will exceed the
appropriate limit as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and
Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004 which is currently set at £600 for
government departments. This limit represents the estimated cost of one
person spending 24 hours in determining whether the Commission holds the
information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the Commission is not
obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your
request further.

You may wish to refine your request by narrowing its scope. I am happy to
assist to enable you to describe more clearly the information requested
and clarify the nature of the information sought. Please do not hesitate
to contact me.

You will also find that a copy of the Commissioner’s decision on the
application for charitable status by The Church of Scientology is
available on the Commission’s website under “Decisions of the
Commission” as follows:

Full Document
[1]http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Libr...

Summary
[2]http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Libr...

If you are unhappy with our response to your FOI request, have a complaint
or wish to request a review of our FOI decision, you should write to:
Charity Commission Direct, PO Box 1227, LIVERPOOL, L69 3UG. Please state
what it is you are dissatisfied with, which will assist us when we review
our response.

If after this you remain unhappy with the decision, you may apply directly
to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our complaints
procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Many thanks for your reply to my FOI query.

I've seen the full document and the summary, but thank you nontheless for providing links to them.

I'm interested in background information and discussion, and information received from other bodies (e.g. other government departments and agencies), which informed the decision.

Could you suggest ways in which I could narrow down the scope of the request? E.g. would it be helpful for me to specify a date range, or a particular department?

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for e-mail.

If you could please narrow you request down to a specific date range and
particular department, hopefully this will result in a more manageable
request.

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Thanks Joanne.

Re restricting by department:

What are the different departments, and which one was responsible for considering the application?

Re restricting by date:

If you could let me know the date on which the application was made, then I could set that as the start date, and set the date the decision was published as the end date.

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Awaiting your response to my query dated 18 Feb.

Thank you again for your assistance with this case.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Web Enquiries, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission.

We aim to give you a full and clear response within fifteen working days
from receipt of your email. We will ensure that our response is both
accurate and appropriate.

This is the same service standard we apply to letters and faxes but
Charity Commission Direct will usually respond to general email enquiries
within five working days where there is no need for referral to one of our
specialist operational teams.

If we cannot give you a full response within fifteen days, we will contact
you and let you know the reasons why this is not possible and indicate
when we expect to be in a position to give you a full response. We will
also let you have the name and contact number of the person dealing with
your query.

You can find the Commission's contact details on our website at
http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/...

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and
delete
the original message from your system.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray

Please accept my apology for such a late reply. This is owing to the
intervening break caused by the recent union action of two days.

I have spoken to our lawyers about this request and it is considered that
the your new criteria, Restricting by Date and department, still
encompasses all the data we hold. We are now trying to arrange for our
legal team to assist us in vetting the data we hold to enable us to
identify more easily what can and cannot be released. However, owing to
the volume of data this will not be achieved easily or quickly.

We will contact you again as soon as possible to assist you in your
request.

Tony Egan

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Tony,

Many thanks for the update on my FOIA request.

I appreciate that if there is a large amount of information then this will necessarily take some time for you to review.

If you could provide an estimated date when you expect to be able to provide the information, I would appreciate that.

Thank you again for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Pinnington, Joanne, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Unfortunately due to the volumes of
information that we are dealing with it is very difficult to estimate a
date when we could provide you with the information you have requested.

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager
------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Any progress?

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Charity Commission for England and Wales's handling of my FOI request 'Scientology application for charitable status'.

My reason for requesting an internal review is:

No substantive response received. The time limit set out by law has now expired.

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

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,

Have you received my request for an internal review under FOIA? If so then I would be grateful for an acknowlegement of receipt.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Your request for a review of your outstanding Freedom of Information
request has been referred to Sheila Birch, Head of Information Resources.
She will be in touch with you shortly.

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Sheila Birch, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,
Thank you for your email of 22nd April 2010 requesting an internal review
of the Commission's handling of your Freedom of Information (FOI) request
"Scientology application for charitable status."

Your request has been passed to me as Head of Information Resources.
I have considered your reason for requesting an internal review which is
that you have not received a substantive response within the set legal
time limit for FOI requests.

Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 sets out the time frame
for compliance with a request and states that "a public authority must
comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the 20th
working day following the date of receipt."

I have reviewed the correspondence to date and it is the case that we have
not been able to provide you with a substantive response within the
required timescale. Please accept my apologies for this. I note that my
colleagues have explained in their letters that due to the volume of
information associated with your request, a response will take some time.
Of course, it is entirely reasonable for you to ask when a substantive
reply might be expected. Unfortunately, we have not been able to give you
an estimate yet. I am sorry this has been the case.

I have discussed this with the Deputy Corporate Information Manager who
has been handling your request and I understand that your request can only
be progressed with considerable input from our Legal advisers. It has
simply not been possible to expedite your request more quickly because of
the sheer volume of papers concerned. I have recommended that as soon as
we have an estimate of how long it will take to review the paperwork, we
will let you know. I also think in the circumstances it may be
appropriate for us to contact you again to discuss refining the scope of
your request further. I have asked to be kept informed of progress and
expect us to keep in regular contact with you to update you on your
request.

This letter concludes my consideration of the matter. If you remain
dissatisfied about the handling of your request, you should now write to
our Customer Service Manager who can be contacted at:
[Charity Commission request email]

Yours sincerely,
Sheila Birch
Sheila Birch
Head of Information Development and Resources
Charity Commission
3rd Floor, 12 Princes Dock, Princes Parade, Liverpool, L3 1DE
T 0151 703 1591 E [email address]

On track to meet your deadline? Visit [1]www.charitycommission.gov.uk
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show quoted sections

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William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Sent to the ICO:

I wish to make a complaint under FOIA.

My name: William Thackeray

My email address: [email removed]

Public authority:
Charity Commission
3rd Floor, 12 Princes Dock, Princes Parade, Liverpool, L3 1DE

Full details of my information request can be found here:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sc...

After internal review, and after the expiry of the statutory deadline, the public authority has neither released the disputed information nor claimed an exemption under FOIA.

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your patience with this matter and please accept my sincere
apologies for the not providing you with a substantive response within the
required time scales.

Your initial request (received 26/01/2010) was asking for documents
(including but not limited to internal communications, agenda, minutes and
communications with other government departments and agencies) relating to
the following decision of the Charity Commissioners:

DECISION OF THE CHARITY COMMISSONERS FOR ENGLAND AND WALES
MADE ON 17TH NOVEMBER 1999
APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION AS A CHARITY BY
THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY (ENGLAND AND WALES

In response we advised that your request would be refused on costs
grounds. Subsequently your request was narrowed when you made a new
request on 09/02/2010 for ***background information and discussion, and
information received from other bodies (e.g. other government departments
and agencies), which informed the decision (The Charity Commissioners
decision regarding the charitable status of the Church of Scientology). We
advised you that due to the volume of information associated with your
request there would be a delay in our response.

On 22/04/2010 you requested a review of the handling of your request and a
response was sent to you from Sheila Birch, Head of Information
Development and resources, apologising for not responding to your request
within the required time scales due to the volume of information
associated with your request.

Section 12 of the Act makes a provision for public authorities to refuse
requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed
the appropriate limit, which for central government (including the Charity
Commission) is set at **600. This represents the estimated cost of one
person spending 3.5 working days in determining whether the department
holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the
information.

We estimate that it will take us in excess of 3.5 working days to
determine appropriate material and locate, retrieve and extract the
information in reference to your request. Therefore, your request will not
be processed further.

However in accordance with our duty under the Freedom of Information Act
to give advice and assistance, I have considered all the information we
hold and have provided below a list of background information that we
hold:

o 15 documents relating to application for charitable status
o Departmental Policy file containing 22 documents
o Departmental file containing 9 documents *** Board of Commissioners
Meetings
o 8 documents relating to German Courts looking at the Religiosity of
Scientology (dated 1993-1995)
o 9 documents relating to written confirmation of 3 decisions in Spain,
Denmark and France (dated 1995)
o 42 academic articles relating to drug and alcohol addiction (including
6 published by the US Department of Justice) (dated 1973-1995)
o 3 MP Correspondence files dated 08/07/94, 24/08/94 and 21/09/94
o 10 Publications relating to Saint Hill
o 22 Expert reports on Scientology
o 64 academic articles relating to various medical conditions (dated
1952-1991)
o 85 testimonials from individuals who have received Scientology
services
o 24 documents containing judicial and other regulatory comment in
relation to Scientology (dated 1969-1999)
o File of summary information (provided by the Church of Scientology)
including correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service USA
o 18 videos (containing television programmes regarding Scientology, 1
CD and 1 optical storage disk containing background information
relating to the Church of Scientology
o 3 Books- What is Scientology, Scientology *** Theology and Practice of
a Contemporary religion, The Truth About Drugs *** the body, mind and
you.

I hope the above list will help you in refining your request to enable us
to deal with it within the limits set out in the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. We will then be able to consider any new request for disclosure
of information in accordance with the terms of the Freedom of Information
Act.

If you are unhappy with our response to your FOI request, have a complaint
or wish to request a review of our FOI decision, you should write to:
Charity Commission Direct, PO Box 1227, LIVERPOOL, L69 3UG. Please state
what it is you are dissatisfied with, which will assist us when we review
our response.

If you request a Decision Review you will be notified of our final
decision. Please note that we will accept requests for a Decision Review
up to a maximum of 3 months after the original decision. The 3 months will
be calculated from the date on which you receive written notification of
the original decision. You will be deemed to have received written
notification on the day after the letter enclosing the decision was sent
or the same day if the decision was sent by email.

If after this you remain unhappy with the decision, you may apply directly
to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our complaints
procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner***s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Many thanks for your response containing additional info re my FOIA request.

I'd like to refine my request.

Please release the following:

o 15 documents relating to application for charitable status
o Departmental Policy file containing 22 documents
o Departmental file containing 9 documents *** Board of Commissioners
Meetings
o 3 MP Correspondence files dated 08/07/94, 24/08/94 and 21/09/94
o 22 Expert reports on Scientology
o 85 testimonials from individuals who have received Scientology
services
o 24 documents containing judicial and other regulatory comment in
relation to Scientology (dated 1969-1999)
o File of summary information (provided by the Church of Scientology)
including correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service USA

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

Thank you for your refined FOI request, whilst this is still a
considerable amount of information I will endeavour to provide you with a
substantive response as soon as possible.

As all the documents that we hold relating to the Church of Scientology
are held in paper format, can please forward details of your postal
address to enable me to send you the information that we are able to
release under FOI? The additional work required to provide the information
in a electronic format would exceed the **600 appropriate limit.

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Many thanks for your response to my FOIA request.

Concerning electronic copies of the information:

Might I suggest that a scanner with a sheet feeder is the solution to this problem? That way the time and effort involved is the same as photocopying the information, and the expense is less (because no cost for paper or postage). With the information in electronic format, other people apart from myself will be able to peruse it online, and the Commission will be spared the potential extra expense of photocopying it repeatedly.

Such scanners are widely and inexpensively available. If the Commission does not own a scanner, perhaps I could arrange for one to be donated.

Thank you again to your and your colleagues for your time and attention on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,

Awaiting your response on this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Web Enquiries, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission.

We aim to give you a full and clear response within fifteen working days
from receipt of your email. We will ensure that our response is both
accurate and appropriate.

This is the same service standard we apply to letters and faxes but
Charity Commission Direct will usually respond to general email enquiries
within five working days where there is no need for referral to one of our
specialist operational teams.

If we cannot give you a full response within fifteen days, we will contact
you and let you know the reasons why this is not possible and indicate
when we expect to be in a position to give you a full response. We will
also let you have the name and contact number of the person dealing with
your query.

You can find the Commission's contact details on our website at
http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/...

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and
delete
the original message from your system.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

As per my last e-mail I am unable to provide you with this information
electronically within the **600 appropriate limit. Can you please forward
details of a postal address as I will shortly be in a position to provide
you with a substative response to your FOI request?

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Many thanks for getting back to me.

I'm sorry, I'm failing to understand why it would be cheaper for you to photocopy the information than to scan it.

It seems to me that photocopying would be more expensive (as well as less environmentally friendly) than scanning, due to the necessary expense for paper, toner and postage, which would not be incurred in the case of scanning.

I would expect that the amount of staff time used would be the same in both cases.

Perhaps you could explain?

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray,

I will be in a position to provide you with a substantive response by the
end of next week.

Whilst my letter of response will be sent electronically, can you please
forward details of a postal address to send the information you have
requested to? Due to documents being of different sizes, formats and hand
written it has been easier to photocopy them than to scan them.

Kind regards,

Joanne Pinnington

Deputy Corporate Information Manager
------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

I'm afraid I still need them electronically.

I don't see why a document being (for example) handwritten makes it difficult to scan.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Joanne,

Awaiting your response on this matter.

If necessary I'll write a new FOIA request specifying that the information must be provided electronically, since this is clearly "reasonably practicable" as set out in the ICO's Guidance #29, 'Means of Communication'.

I'd like to avoid doing that as far as possible, since clearly it would use more of the Charity Commission's doubtless scarce resources.

I therefore look forward to your response to my recent email.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Web Enquiries, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission.

We aim to give you a full and clear response within fifteen working days
from receipt of your email. We will ensure that our response is both
accurate and appropriate.

This is the same service standard we apply to letters and faxes but
Charity Commission Direct will usually respond to general email enquiries
within five working days where there is no need for referral to one of our
specialist operational teams.

If we cannot give you a full response within fifteen days, we will contact
you and let you know the reasons why this is not possible and indicate
when we expect to be in a position to give you a full response. We will
also let you have the name and contact number of the person dealing with
your query.

You can find the Commission's contact details on our website at
http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/...

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and
delete
the original message from your system.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

CI Information Development, Charity Commission for England and Wales

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thackeray

Please find attached the response to your FOI request sent on behalf of
Joanne Pinnington.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Eccleston

Corporate Information Manager

------------------- Original Message

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Thank you, Margaret.

Dear Joanne,

Could you please explain your statement that the scanner can't scan handwritten documents?

This is likely to be incorrect - could you please check with your IT department?

Handwritten documents are not normally a problem to scan. It doesn't make any difference to the scanner where the ink is on the page - the scanner just takes a picture of the page.

For the purpose of scanning, there is no material difference between handwritten and typewritten documents.

For OCR (Optical Character Recognition), I agree that handwritten documents would be a problem, but I'm not asking for that.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Their email of the 21st said:

Charity Commission Direct
PO Box 1227, Liverpool L69 3UG
Mr W Thackeray
t: 0151 703 1609
f: 0151 703 1556
By Email Only
Your Ref:
Our Ref:
JP-FOI-3040003
Date:
21 September 2010
Dear Mr Thackeray,
Request for Information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
I write further to your revised Freedom of Information request as per your e-mail dated 4 June
2010. Please accept my sincere apology for the delay in responding to your request. Your revised
request took longer than anticipated to search the Commission’s records and prepare the relevant
documents for release. This is mainly because of the age of the files and the amount of documents
held.
The Commission holds the information you have requested and is able to provide you with the
significant proportion of the information requested in hard copy format.
I have interpreted your request as being that you would like the information in electronic form. As I
have advised in previous correspondence, is not reasonably practicable for the Commission to
provide this information in an electronic format due to the number and nature of the documents,
some are handwritten and the scanner cannot easily read these documents. Therefore much more
resource would be required to produce scanned rather than photocopied documents.
If we did digitalise these documents it would be to meet your FOI request. There are no other
business reasons for the Commission to hold these documents electronically and therefore the
cost of creating electronic files, which would be significant, would be disproportionate to the
resources available to the Commission. There are also time and cost implications of sending this
information electronically because the information could not be attached to one email but would
require numerous emails as there are limitations on the size of the emails that can be handled by
the Commission’s systems. Under section 11(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, the
Commission can have regard to all the circumstances including cost in determining whether it is
reasonably practicable to provide the information in the format requested.
On receipt of your preferred postal address, the disclosable information can be provided to you.
On track to meet your deadline?
General Enquiries:
0845 300 0218
Visit www.charitycommission.gov.uk for help
Textphone:
0845 300 0219
on filing your annual return and accounts
Website: www.charitycommission.gov.uk
On receipt of the information, you will note that some information has been redacted. This
information is exempt from disclosure under the following sections of the Act:
Section 40 Personal Information –
I have redacted information which constitutes personal data; ‘Personal data’ is defined in section 1
of the Data Protection Act 1998 as:
 data which relate to a living individual who can be identified – from those data, or
 from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into
the possession of, the data controller,
and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of
the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.
The definition of 'personal data' is very wide. For example, it could include the fact that a particular
person is the author of a document and the fact that a person attended a particular meeting.
Under section 40(2) of the FOIA, personal data of a third party will be exempt if its disclosure to a
member of the public would contravene any of the ‘data protection principles’. In my view
disclosure would not be in accordance with the First Data Principle which requires personal data to
be processed lawfully and fairly.
Section 40 is an absolute exemption and does not require the application of the public interest test.
Section 42 - Legal professional privilege-
Information has been withheld which constitutes a request for legal advice or is the legal advice
provided. Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) is a legal rule which protects the confidentiality of
legal communication. It covers all communications between a lawyer and their client provided the
communications are directly related to the performance by the lawyer of their professional duty as
legal adviser.
Section 42 is a qualified exemption and I have therefore considered the public interest test.
The Commission recognises that there is a general public interest in public authorities being
transparent and accountable, and providing assistance to members of the public with regard to
information held by them as far as possible.
However it is also in the public interest that the decisions taken by the Commission are taken in a
fully informed legal context. The Commission therefore need high-quality, comprehensive legal
advice for the effective conduct of its business. That advice needs to be given in context, and with
a full appreciation of the relevant facts. If details of all communications between the legal advisors
are routinely disclosed, this may effect open and frank discussions with the Commission which
would adversely affect the Commission’s ability to regulate effectively.
page 2 of 3
Without comprehensive advice the quality of the Commission’s decision-making would be much
reduced since it would not be fully informed and this would be contrary to the public interest.
It is the Commission’s view that on balance the public interest lies in not disclosing the privileged
legal information we hold.
If you are unhappy with our response to your FOI request, have a complaint or wish to request a
review of our FOI decision, you should write to: Charity Commission Direct by email to
[Charity Commission request email] or by post to P.O. Box 1227, LIVERPOOL, L69 3UG.
Please state what it is you are dissatisfied with, which will assist us when we review our response.
If you request a Decision Review you will be notified of our final decision. Please note that we will
accept requests for a Decision Review up to a maximum of 3 months after the original decision.
The 3 months will be calculated from the date on which you receive written notification of the
original decision. You will be deemed to have received written notification on the day after the letter
enclosing the decision was sent or the same day if the decision was sent by email.
If after this you remain unhappy with the decision, you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Yours sincerely,
Joanne Pinnington
Deputy Corporate Information Manager
[email address]
page 3 of 3

William Thackeray

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,

Awaiting your response.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Web Enquiries, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission.

We aim to give you a full and clear response within fifteen working days
from receipt of your email. We will ensure that our response is both
accurate and appropriate.

This is the same service standard we apply to letters and faxes but
Charity Commission Direct will usually respond to general email enquiries
within five working days where there is no need for referral to one of our
specialist operational teams.

If we cannot give you a full response within fifteen days, we will contact
you and let you know the reasons why this is not possible and indicate
when we expect to be in a position to give you a full response. We will
also let you have the name and contact number of the person dealing with
your query.

You can find the Commission's contact details on our website at
http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/...

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Margaret Eccleston, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Dear Mr Thackeray

Further to your email of 8 October 2010, a full response was sent on the
21 September 2010, please see below.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Eccleston
Corporate Information Manager

show quoted sections

William Thackeray

Dear Margaret,

Thank you for your response to my FOIA request.

Some confusion here I think? I don't believe I sent an email dated 8 October re this request, as you can see on our correspondence history at:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sc...

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Margaret Eccleston, Charity Commission for England and Wales

I am away from the office until Tuesday 19 October 2010. If the matter is
urgent please contact Joanne Pinnington on 0151 703 1609.

Your email has not been fowarded.

Regards

Margaret Eccleston
Corporate Information Manager

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James Kilby, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Mr Thackeray,

I have been asked to conduct a review of the decision made in response to
your request (dated 4 June 2010) for information regarding the application
for registration of the Church of Scientology.

In your e-mail of 15 November 2015 you asked for an internal review of the
Commission's handling of your FoI request, on the basis that "no
substantive response has been received".

I am not entirely clear why you say that you have received no substantive
response. In our letter of 21 September 2010, which I see is available at
[1]http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/27...,
the Commission informed you that it held the information which you had
requested and was able to provide you with the information (redacted to
protect personal data and excluding legally-privileged information) in
hard copy.

The information has been photocopied and will be sent to you as soon as
you provide the postal address for which we asked in our e-mail of 27
August 2010.

The letter of 21 September informed you that the information for which you
have asked is held in paper documents and that the cost of providing the
information in electronic form would exceed the statutory limit of £600.
I understand that the documents in question extend to 1533 pages and that
it has been estimated that scanning them will take nearly 30 hours. In
the circumstances, it seems to me that it is not reasonably practical to
provide the documents by the means for which you have expressed a
preference.

It is open to you to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision
whether your request has been dealt with in accordance with the
requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Contact details were
provided in our letter of 21 September.

James Kilby
Head of Legal Compliance

On track to meet your deadline? Visit [2]www.charitycommission.gov.uk for
help on filing your annual return and accounts
To avoid any delay in dealing with specific queries please use email at
[Charity Commission request email]

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William Thackeray

Dear James,

My mistake; I accept that a substantive reply has been provided in this case.

As I still disagree with the Commission's cost estimate for scanning (I would expect it normally to be cheaper than photocopying), and also disagree with the Commission's assertion that its scanners cannot scan handwritten documents, I'll take this matter up with the Information Commissioner's Office as you have suggested.

My thanks to you and your team for your time and attention on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

Referred to ICO 16 December 2010.

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

From ICO:

15 July 2011

Case Reference Number: FS50365354

Dear Mr Thackeray

I have been allocated the above case and am writing to define the scope of your complaint.

The request

On 26 January 2010 you asked the Charity Commission to provide you with the following information:

‘Please release documents (including but not limited to internal communications, agendas, minutes and communications with other government departments and agencies) relating to the following decision of the Charity Commissioners:

Decision of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales
Made on 17th November 1999
Application for registration as a charity by the Church of Scientology (England and Wales)’

The response of the Charity Commission

On 26 January 2010 the Charity Commission acknowledged your request.

On 9 February 2010 it informed you that it was refusing the request on the grounds of cost. It explained that the cost of locating, retrieving and preparing the information for release will exceed the appropriate limit as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004 which is currently set at £600 for government departments.

The Charity Commission suggested you might wish to refine your request by narrowing its scope.

It sent you a link to a full copy and a summary of the Decision.

On 9 February 2010 you asked the Charity Commission for help in narrowing the scope of the request.

On 18 February 2010 the Charity Commission suggested that you should narrow the request to a specific date range and particular department.

You asked it to specify the different departments and to tell you the date the application was made.

On 3 March 2010 you asked the Charity Commission for an update. This was acknowledged on the same date.

On 10 March 2010 the Charity Commission explained that it now considered that your new criteria restricting by date and department still encompassed all the data that it held. It was arranging for its legal team to vet the data so that it could identify what could and what could not be released.

On 11 March 2010 you asked the Charity Commission to estimate when it might be able to provide the information. On 25 March 2010 it explained that this was not possible.

You asked for an update on 10 April 2010 and for an internal review which would consider the lack of a substantive response and the delay. This was acknowledged on 28 April 2010.

Procedural internal review

On 17 May 2010 the Charity Commission reviewed its handling of your information request. It found that it had failed to provide a substantive response within 20 working days, as required under section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the ‘Act’). It apologised for the delay and explained that this was due to the volume of papers concerned.

You complained about this response to the Information Commissioner’s Office (the ‘ICO’) on 17 May 2010.

Response

On 3 June 2010 the Charity Commission refused your refined request again under section 12 of the Act. It listed the relevant documents that it held and asked you to refine your request further.

On 4 June 2010 you listed the documents which you required. This was acknowledged on 2 July 2010.

Request for the documents in electronic format

On 2 July 2010, the Charity Commission explained that all the documents it held were in paper format and asked for your address so that they could be sent to you. It explained that the extra work that would be required to provide the information in electronic format would exceed the £600 limit.

On the same date you suggested that the information could be scanned by a scanner with a sheet feeder. This would involve the same effort as photocopying and the expense is less (no paper or postage). You offered to arrange for a scanner to be donated if the Charity Commission did not own one.

On 30 July 2010 the Charity Commission informed again asked you for your postal address.

On 6 August 2010 you again asked the Charity Commission why it considered that it would be cheaper to photocopy the information rather than scan it. You argued that photocopying would be more expensive and the staff time would be the same.

The Charity Commission again asked for your postal address on 27 August 2010.

You replied on the same date and asked for the information to be sent electronically.

On 7 September 2010 you reminded the Charity Commission that you were waiting for a response and stated that if necessary you would submit a new request which specified that the information should be provided electronically. You argued that this would be “reasonably practicable” as set out in the ICO’s guidance number 29.

Response

On 21 September 2010 the Charity Commission informed you that it could provide a significant amount of the information requested in hard copy format. The Charity Commission explained that it was not reasonably practicable for it to provide the information in electronic format due to the number and nature of the documents. It explained that some of the documents are handwritten and cannot be easily read by the scanner. It would take much more resource to scan the documents rather than photocopy them.

The Charity Commission explained that there were time and cost implications of sending the information electronically: it could not be attached to one email as there were limits to the size of emails that could be handled by their systems.

The Charity Commission argued that under section 11(2) of the Act, it could have regard to all the circumstances including cost in determining whether it is reasonably practicable to provide the information in the format requested.

It would provide you with the requested information when it received your postal address.

Section 40(2): personal information

The Charity Commission explained it had redacted information which constitutes the personal data of a third party. It considered this information to be exempt under section 40(2) of the Act as disclosure would contravene the First Data Protection Principle which requires personal data to be processed lawfully and fairly.

Section 42: legal professional privilege

The Charity Commission explained that it had withheld information which falls under legal professional privilege (‘LPP’). It explained that this exemption protects the confidentiality of legal communication between a lawyer and their client provided the communications are directly related to the performance by the lawyer of their professional duty as legal adviser.

The Charity Commission considered the public interest test and concluded that on balance the public interest lies in not disclosing the privileged legal information that it holds.

Further correspondence

On 12 September 2010 you asked the Charity Commission to again explain why the scanner could not scan handwritten documents and asked it to check with its IT department.

On 2 October 2010 you asked for a response.

On 14 October 2010 the Charity Commission informed you that a full response was sent on 21 September 2010. It explained that this was a response to your email of 8 October 2010.

On 15 October 2010 you informed the Charity Commission that you had not sent an email on 8 October 2010.

On 15 November 2010 you asked the Charity Commission for an internal review of its handling of your request on the basis that ‘no substantive response had been received’.

Internal Review

On 14 December 2010 the Charity Commission performed an internal review of its response to your request.

It explained that it had sent you a substantive response on 21 September 2010. It would send you the photocopied information when you provided a postal address.

It explained that the information is held in paper documents and the cost of providing it in electronic format would exceed the limit of £600. The documents in question extend to 1533 pages and it estimated that scanning would take nearly 30 hours. It did not consider that it was reasonably practicable to provide the documents in the preferred format.

On 16 December 2010 you explained that you still disagreed with the Charity Commission’s assertion that its scanners could not scan handwritten documents.

Complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office

On 16 December 2010 you complained to the ICO about the failure of the Charity Commission to provide you with the requested information in electronic format.

On 4 January 2011 you complained to the ICO about the Charity Commission’s cost estimate. You did not accept that the Charity Commission’s estimate of £600 for 1522 pages of information was reasonable. You argued that commercial scanning services are widely available at a cost of 1p per page or less which would make the cost of scanning the document a maximum of £15.22.

You did not accept that handwritten documents cannot be scanned.

The ICO wrote to you and the Charity Commission on 29 January 2011 to confirm that your complaint had been progressed.

On 1 March 2011 you informed the ICO that you wished to challenge the Charity Commission’s applications of section 40 and section 42.

On 3 March 2011 you complained to the ICO that the Charity Commission had released some information but that some had been withheld. You required the remaining information to be released.

You did not consider that the internal review had been completed within a reasonable time.

On 2 June 2011 you complained to the ICO about the failure of the Charity Commission to provide the requested information and you noted that 6 months had elapsed.

Scope of the case

The Commissioner will consider the Charity Commission’s response to your request, and its application of section 11. He will also raise with the Charity Commission any procedural breaches of the Act or instances of non-conformity with the associated codes of practice that come to his attention during the investigation of this complaint.

The Commissioner will not consider the Charity Commission’s application of section 40(2) and section 42 until you have obtained the requested information. If you then wish to complain about the redacted information, you should first ask the Charity Commission to review its application of these exemptions. This will give it the opportunity to present further arguments to you with respect to the withheld information.

Once you have received an internal review from the Charity Commission regarding the application of these exemptions, if you are still not satisfied, please then complain to the ICO about this aspect of your request. Your case would then be reopened.

Likely outcome

In order to deal with cases swiftly and to make the most appropriate use of his resources, the Commissioner aims to resolve all complaints informally where possible.

If the Commissioner finds that that the Charity Commission was correct to apply section 11 to your request, he will ask you to provide a postal address for delivery of the information. You will then be asked to withdraw the complaint.

If the Commissioner finds that the Charity Commission was not correct to apply section 11 to your request, he will ask it to email redacted copies of the information to you. If the information is provided, it is unlikely the ICO will take any further action.

Form of information requested

Section 11(1) of the Act states that:

“Where, on making his request for information, the applicant expresses a preference for communication by one or more of the following means, namely

(a) the provision to the applicant of a copy of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant,

(b) the provision to the applicant of a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information, and

(c) the provision to the applicant of a digest or summary of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant.

the public authority shall so far as is reasonably practicable give effect to that preference.”

Section 11(2) of the Act states that:

“In determining for the purposes of this section whether it is reasonably practicable to communicate information by a particular means, the public authority may have regard to all the circumstances, including the cost of doing so.”

The Commissioner’s guidance on this issue, (Awareness Guidance 29, Means of Communication) states that, “An authority may take into account all of the circumstances when deciding whether it is reasonably practicable to agree to the preference”. It gives examples of such circumstances including where the amount of work required to meet the applicant’s request would exceed the appropriate fees limit and whether the information is available elsewhere.

This guidance can be found on the ICO website at:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/l...

FS50241605

In the Decision Notice for the case FS50241605, the Commissioner concluded that in the circumstances of that case, it would not be reasonably practicable to provide the document in electronic format. The public authority was unable to convert the document into electronic format internally. It argued that the document in question was too large for its systems to scan straightforwardly.

It was 200 pages long and due to the scanning system in place would have to be scanned and emailed on a page by page basis. It explained that it had previously tried to scan and email large documents but their system blocked the sending of anything over around 20 pages. It originally estimated that it would take approximately 2 hours to scan the document and send in a number of different emails.

The public authority explained that it would have to contract an external company to do the work and considered this to not be reasonably practicable.

In coming to his conclusion in that case, the Commissioner in particular was mindful that the public authority was unable to convert the document into electronic format internally and it had offered to provide an updated document (which it did hold in electronic format) to the complainant. In addition, the complainant already had a copy of the document in hard copy.

The position of the Commissioner

In this case the Charity Commission has also argued that it is unable to convert the documents into electronic format internally and has offered you a hard copy of the information. The Commissioner considers the circumstances to be similar.

He will therefore now investigate whether it would be ‘reasonably practicable’ in this case for the Charity Commission to provide the requested documents in electronic format.

Progression of this case

I have written to the Charity Commission to begin this investigation.

In line with our current procedures I have asked it to respond to the Commissioner within 20 working days. I shall write to you again when I have received a response and had the opportunity to consider it.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Nicola Humphries
Case Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

To the ICO:

Dear Nicola,

Received with thanks, and understood.

Concerning the previous, similar, case FS50241605:

If the Commissioner were to come to the same conclusion in this
case - that is is not 'reasonably practicable' for a public
authority to use a private-sector scanning service - then I would
be inclined to appeal that conclusion to the Tribunal, probably on
grounds such as these:

I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be reasonably practicable,
given that the public sector buys products and services from the
private sector all the time.

For example, it would clearly be absurd for the public authority to
argue that it must undertake its own postal delivery, rather than
outsourcing this service to the Royal Mail; neither would it be
reasonable for the public authority to argue that it must
manufacture its own paper or ink - these products and services are
bought in from the private sector.

In fact even where scanning facilities are available in-house it
would likely be less expensive for public authorities to outsource
the work, because large-scale commercial scanning providers can do
it very cheaply indeed.

Thank you for your help with this case.

Kind regards,
William.

Lin Chedzoy, Charity Commission for England and Wales

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thackeray

Further to our letter of 21 September 2010 regarding your request for
information under the freedom of information, and your subsequent
complaint to the Information Commissioner. We have reassessed the
estimated time it would take to scan the information which we have
prepared to send to you. I have attached a copy of our reply to the
Information Commissioner which explains how we have reassessed the time.

I am therefore pleased to attach the information referred to in our letter
of 21 September 2010.

<<20110811 - Response to ICO>>
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Kind regards

Lin Chedzoy (Mrs)
Charity Commission
Taunton

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Lin Chedzoy, Charity Commission for England and Wales

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<<email 6.pdf>>
Are you following us on Twitter? Get short, timely messages from Charity
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William Thackeray

Dear Lin Chedzoy,

14 emails, with attachments, received with thanks.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

William Thackeray

Dear Lin,

Could I ask you to clarify whether there are any additional documents (not supplied to me) which have been withheld under the exemptions mentioned?

Or do the exemptions only apply to the redacted material within the documents which have been supplied?

Many thanks for your assistance with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Web Enquiries, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission. We aim to give you a
full and clear response within fifteen working days from receipt. Please
note it is not necessary to also send us a paper version unless this has
been specifically requested by us.

Very often the fastest way to answer your enquiries will be to look at the
frequent questions and guidance on our website
[1]www.charitycommission.gov.uk. You can also view the Welsh version of
our website by clicking on 'Cymraeg' in the top right-hand corner of our
home page.

Are you following us on Twitter? Get short, timely messages from Charity
Commission. Twitter is a rich source of instantly updated information.
It's easy to stay updated on an incredibly wide variety of topics. Go to
<[2]http://twitter.com/chtycommission> and sign up.

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

Diolch am eich e-bost i'r Comisiwn Elusennau. Rydym yn anelu at rhoi ateb
llawn a chlir o fewn pymtheg diwrnod gwaith o dderbyn eich e-bost. Nodwch,
os gwelwch yn dda, nid ydym angen fersiwn bapur hefyd oni bai ein bod wedi
gofyn amdano.

Yn aml y ffordd gyflymach i ateb eich cwestiynau yw drwy edrych ar ein
gwefan [3]www.charitycommission.gov.uk. Gallwch hefyd weld fersiwn Gymraeg
o'n gwefan gan glicio `Cymraeg' sydd wedi ei leoli i'r dde ar frig y
dudalen cartref.

A ydych yn ein dilyn ar Twitter? Cewch negeseuon amserol a byr gan y
Comisiwn Elusennau. Mae Twitter yn ffynhonnell o wybodaeth sy'n diweddaru
ar unwaith. Mae'n hawdd i gadw eich hun yn ddiweddar gyda amrywiaeth eang
o bynciau. Ewch i <[4]http://twitter.com/chtycommission> i gofrestru.

Ystyriwch yr amgylchedd. Peidiwch â printio'r e-bost yma oni bai fod
gwir ei hangen os gwelwch yn dda.

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and
delete
the original message from your system.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.charitycommission.gov.uk
2. http://twitter.com/chtycommission
3. http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/
4. http://twitter.com/chtycommission

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

ICO case ref FS50365354

William Thackeray left an annotation ()

From ICO:

2 September 2011

Case Reference Number: FS50365354

Dear Mr Thackeray

Further to my letter of 15 July 2011, I understand that the Charity Commission has reviewed its response to your information request of 26 January 2010 and that it has now scanned and emailed you the relevant information.

I should be grateful if you would confirm that you have received this emailed information. Once I have received your confirmation, I should like to close this case.

As I explained in my last letter, should you remain dissatisfied with the Charity Commission’s application of section 40(2) and section 42 to the requested information, the next step would be to request an internal review of this response.

Once you have received an internal review regarding the application of these exemptions, if you are still not satisfied, please complain again to the Information Commissioner’s Office (the ‘ICO’). Your case would then be reopened.

In the meantime, I shall log the delay in providing you with this information with our Enforcement Team here at the ICO. The Enforcement Team will review the case and decide whether to take any action. This could range from writing to the Charity Commission to remind it of its obligations, asking for policies and procedures with regards to request handling to be reviewed, or the serving of a Practice Recommendation or Enforcement Notice.

You can find further detail of the action the ICO might take on its website at:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/prom...

If the Enforcement team chooses not to take any action at this time, it will, at the very least, log the issues raised and monitor any future complaints made to the ICO about this particular public authority. You will not be contacted directly to be informed of what, if any, action the Enforcement team intends to take.

I should be grateful if you would confirm that you have received the emailed information and are content that this case should be closed within the next ten working days (ie. by 16 September 2011). I would appreciate an earlier response.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Nicola Humphries
Case Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office

---

(replied requesting DN as this case has implications for future cases re 'reasonable' cost of scanning documents under FOIA)

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