Style Manual

Richard Killip made this Freedom of Information request to Local Government Ombudsmen

The request was successful.

From: Richard Killip

Delivered

Dear Sirs

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

I require a copy of any "style manual", "style guide", "style sheet" or any other guidance issued in any format to your employees regarding the tone, content, layout, design, salutation, valediction, etc. of the correspondence they send.

Yours faithfully

Richard Killip

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From: Foi Officer
Local Government Ombudsmen

Dear Mr Killip

This is to acknowledge your request for information below.

The information you have requested is only available on our staff intranet, which we cannot make available externally. I can print off the pages and send them to you, but in order to do so, I'll need a postal address. If you could supply this, I will get the material to you as soon as I can.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

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From: Richard Killip

Delivered

Dear Hilary

Thank you for your email.

Section 8.1.b of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 asks only for an "address for correspondence". It does not distinguish between a physical and an electronic address, and guidance from the Ministry of Justice corroborates this position with the following statement:

"As well as hard copy written correspondence, requests that are transmitted electronically (for example, in emails) are acceptable ... If a request is received by email and no postal address is given, the email address should be treated as the return address."

Furthermore, the Information Commissioner is of the opinion that a postal address is not required to comply with Freedom of Information requests:

"Any correspondence could include a request for information. If it is written (this includes e-mail), legible, gives the name of the applicant, an address for reply (which could be electronic), and includes a description of the information required, then it will fall within the scope of the legislation."

As the information I have requested is already held electronically it seems ludicrous, not to mention wasteful, that the only way you can send it to me is by producing a hard copy and forwarding it in the post. It should be perfectly possible for the information to be sent to me without metamorphasising it from its original format.

I look forward to receiving your response, electronically, promptly and candidly in accordance with the law and statutory guidance.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip

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From: Richard Killip

Delivered

Dear Hilary

Thank you for your response.

Section 8.1.b of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires only an "address for correspondence" - it does not distinguish between physical and electronic addresses. The Ministry of Justice's procedural guidance corroborates this position:

"As well as hard copy written correspondence, requests that are transmitted electronically (for example, in emails) are acceptable ... If a request is received by email and no postal address is given, the email address should be treated as the return address."

The Information Commissioner has also published advice in this regard: "Any correspondence could include a request for information. If it is written (this includes e-mail), legible, gives the name of the applicant, an address for reply (which could be electronic), and includes a description of the information required, then it will fall within the scope of the legislation."

As this information is held by the Local Government Ombudsman service it seems ludicrous, not to mention wasteful, that the only way you can send it to me is to create a hard copy and forward it by post. There appears to be no reason why you would need to metamorphasise it into an alternative form.

I look forward to your candid, electronic and prompt response in accordance with the law and statutory guidance.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip

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From: Foi Officer
Local Government Ombudsmen

Dear Mr Killip

There is no dispute that you request is a valid request.

It may seem ludicrous to you, but the material is held as web pages and as I cannot make those web pages available to you, if you want them electronically, I will have to print them out, scan them and then send them to you. I thought it might have been easier just to print them out and send you the print-outs, but if this is not acceptable, I will do as you wish.

I will respond to your request within the 20 working day limit, ie by 6 December. I assume that responding to one of your two very similar messages is sufficient at this stage.

Yours sincerely

Ms H J Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

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From: Richard Killip

Delivered

Dear Hilary

Thank you for your email.

Thank you also for agreeing to send the information electronically.

In response to your penultimate paragraph, I would have thought that the easier solution would have been to save the web page(s) as a Web Archive Single File (*.mht) and forward that (those) as an attachment, rather than print them out and scan them in.

This would not only be quicker but would also be less wasteful in terms of resources such as paper and toner used.

It may well, of course, be the case that the Local Government Ombudsman service does not have the necessary technology to save files in the *.mht format, however, as it is a standard feature in most browsers including Internet Explorer I would not have thought that to be likely.

Further to your final paragraph, I sent two emails to you as the service I am using, www.whatdotheyknow.com, timed out when I sent the first message. I then checked the request page and my first email was not showing, therefore I assumed it had not sent so composed a substantially similar email again to ensure it would be received. When I then re-checked the page it seems that the first email had in fact been sent. As I cannot identify any inconvenience that may stem from my mistakenly sending two emails I trust that an apology and assurance that one response is quite sufficient will suffice.

Yours sincerely

Richard Killip

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From: Foi Officer
Local Government Ombudsmen


Attachment CS 11 081 Killip.doc
53K Download View as HTML

Attachment CS 11 081 Guidance on producing documents.doc
271K Download View as HTML

Attachment cs 11 081 guidance on writing plain words.pdf
17K Download View as HTML

Attachment CS 11 081guidance on writing sample letters.pdf
31K Download View as HTML

Attachment CS 11 081Style guide.pdf
1.6M Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Killip

I attach a letter in response to your request, along with four other items referred to in the letter.

Yours sincerely

Hilary Pook
Communications & Records Manager | DL: 020 7217 4734 |
Local Government Ombudsman's office | 10th Floor |
Millbank Tower | Millbank | London | SW1P 4QP |
www.lgo.org.uk |

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