Shale Gas Round Table

Richard Bales made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy,

In a Parliamentary debate on July 10th 2018, Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth referred to a “very effective Shale Industry round-table” which she had held.

Would you please provide details of attendees and agenda for said meeting (and any similar group discussions with shale gas operators and the industry trade body) together with any and all minutes and other notes taken as a record of the meeting(s).

This information is requested in order that I and other interested members of the public may have full visibility and transparency of discussions that have influenced the Government’s policy decisions in relation to shale gas exploration and development.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Bales

BEIScorrespondence@beis.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Requests,

BEIS ref: FOI2018/17049

Dear Mr Bales

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 25th
July. Your request has been passed on to the appropriate official at the
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deal
with.

Your request is being considered under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and we will reply at the latest by 22nd August.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact the Information
Rights Unit at BEIS. Please remember to quote the reference number above
in any future communications.

Kind regards,

Information Rights Unit

Information Rights Unit | Department for Business, Energy and Industrial
Strategy | 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET | www.gov.uk/beis |
[email address] |

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is
making a difference by supporting sustained growth and higher skills
across the economy. BEIS: working together for growth

FOI Requests, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Bales,

Please find attached our response to your FOI request, FOI2018/17049.

Kind regards,

Information Rights Unit
Corporate Services
Operations Directorate
[BEIS request email]
1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET
www.gov.uk/beis | https://twitter.com/beisgovuk

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Dear Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy,

Please pass this on to the Information Rights Unit and/or the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's handling of my FOI request 'Shale Gas Round Table'.

My complaints are as follows:-

1. It is inconceivable that a Minister of State can hold a scheduled meeting with a formal agenda, attended by senior members of her department and other outside parties, without a record of attendees being kept. Security alone should dictate that attendees would sign-in, with prior notification of expected attendance, to ensure that participation is limited to those with a valid invitation or reason to be there. I would suggest that insufficient attempts have been made to identify and disclose the requested information.

2. Section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act has been used to justify non-disclosure of references to parts of the Minister’s presentation to the meeting. The argument used is that the public’s interest in information being disclosed for reasons of transparency and understanding of Government policy is in itself an impediment to the decision making process. The implication is therefore that no visibility of the decision-making process is to be allowed and that the public interest in disclosure of relevant Government process is to be continually denied. I would suggest that this is not the intention of Section 35(1)(a) and would request that the balance of interests in this regard can be reconsidered. In particular, I will seek absolute confirmation that the redacted references to the Minister’s presentation are of such sensitivity that disclosure to the public would impede ongoing formulation of Government policy.

3. Section 41(1) is used to withhold all notes taken after the Minister’s presentation. This is a catch-all response that Is only justifiable if all such notes relate to input from third parties to whom disclosure would represent a breach of confidence. Ministerial and Government Department comments would not be so protected and I must therefore ask that the reference notes are re-examined in line with my original request.

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

Yours faithfully,

Richard Bales

BEIScorrespondence@beis.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Requests,

BEIS IR ref: IR2018/18710 Original FOI ref: FOI2018/17049

Dear Mr Bales

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on
21st August. Your request has been passed on to the appropriate official
at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to
deal with.

In line with the Information Commissioners guidance, internal reviews
should be responded to within 20 working days unless they are complex, in
which case a response should be sent within 40 working days. Please be
aware that this does not include weekends and bank holidays. The
Department aims to respond to requests for internal reviews as quickly as
possible. We hope to be in contact with you again shortly with a decision
on your request.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact the Information
Rights Unit at BEIS. Please remember to quote the reference number above
in any future communications.

Kind regards,
Information Rights Unit

Information Rights Unit | Department for Business, Energy and Industrial
Strategy | 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET | www.gov.uk/beis |
[email address] |

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is
making a difference by supporting sustained growth and higher skills
across the economy. BEIS: working together for growth

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Requests,

It is now 25 working days since you received you received my request for an internal review, which is beyond the target 20 days and would therefore indicate that you consider my request to be complex in nature. Would you please confirm when I might expect a reply, with some explanation of the complexity that you believe is relevant in this instance. I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bales

FOI Requests, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Dear Mr Bales

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. Unfortunately, this request has taken longer than we would have liked to administer.

The draft response to your Internal Review request is with an independent BEIS Director for approval and sign-off. I hope to let you have this response in the next few days.

Yours sincerely,

Information Rights Unit

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Orchard 2, 2nd Floor
1 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0ET
www.gov.uk/beis

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Dear FOI Requests,
(For the attention of Information Rights Unit)

The response to my request for Internal Review is now considerably overdue and I have been given no substantive reason as to why it has been further delayed. Your previous reply indicated that a draft response was with an independent BEIS Director for approval and sign-off, with a response expected 'in the next few days'. Those 'few days' have now elapsed and I would request that the response be released in line with your obligations.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bales

Dear FOI Requests,

Re BEIS IR ref: IR2018/18710 Original FOI ref: FOI2018/17049

You received my request for an Internal Review of the above FOI request on 21st August. Forty working days have now elapsed and I should, by law have received your reply. You indicated on September 27th that:

“The draft response to your Internal Review request is with an independent BEIS Director for approval and sign-off. I hope to let you have this response in the next few days.”

I have received no further update, nor have I been given any explanation as to why the normal target response time of 20 days should have been exceeded.

Please take this letter as a final prompt for the response that you are legally obliged to provide. If I have not had an acceptable reply by close of play on Friday, 19th October, I shall refer this matter to the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bales

FOI Requests, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Bales

 

 

Please find attached a response to your recent Internal Review request,
reference IR2018/18710.

 

If you have any queries about this email, please contact the Information
Rights Unit at BEIS.

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Information Rights Unit

 

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Orchard 2, 2^nd Floor

1 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0ET

[1]www.gov.uk/beis

 

 

 

 

References

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Alison Pollard left an annotation ()

Following with interest.