Supply of Post Office Branch Lists to Third Parties

Robert Whittaker made this Freedom of Information request to Post Office Limited

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 Post Office Limited,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would like to know the details of any supply by you of bulk information about your Post Office Branches (such as names, locations, types, addresses, etc.) to third parties over the last three years (or some shorter period if the cost for this period would exceed the appropriate limit) .

Please let me know the number of different third parties you have supplied any such data to in this time period. Then for each instance, I would like to know: the approximate date of supply, the name of the third party, what data/information was supplied, what form it was supplied in, for what purpose it was supplied, and a general indication of the terms of the supply and any permitted re-use.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find attached an acknowledgement to your recent Freedom of
Information request.

 

Regards

 

Anna Gos I Information Rights Team Support

[1]split

1^st Floor, Old Street Wing, 148 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HQ

020 7250 2647

[2]Footer 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the response attached to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

 

Anna Gos I Information Rights Support

[1]split

1^st Floor, Old Street Wing, 148 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HQ

020 7250 2647

[2]Footer 5

 

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Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for your reply and the detailed information it contained about the information supplied to PointX.

You will see that in my original request, I specifically asked for the number of third-parties you supplied such information to. You did not explicitly provide an answer to this, but should I infer that this number is 1, since you have only provided details for PointX? If so this is slightly surprising, since I have reason to believe that information has also been supplied to at least one (and possibly two) other organizations.

Pursuant to my original request, could you please confirm whether or not PointX is the only third party that bulk post office data has been supplied to in the last three years. If not what is the actual number of third parties, and what are the corresponding details for your arrangements with them.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

Dear Mr Whittaker,

As stated we have only supplied information to one third party organisation, PointX, under a commercial licence has been renewed each year.

Hope this clarifies your understanding of our reply.

Regards,

Kerry Moodie I Information Rights Manager

1st Floor, Old Street Wing, 148 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HQ
020 7250 2647

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Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for the clarification. However, just be be clear (as your most recent reply is still slightly ambiguous) I am interested in any supply of bulk data to a third party, not just supply under a commercial licence.

If you are saying there have been no other such supplies in the last three years, then could you explain where the information returned by the Royal Mail's Post Office branch finder at http://www.royalmail.com/branch-finder comes from? (I guess it is possible that updates are provided by diffs, but I would have thought it much more likely that the Post Office has supplied Royal Mail with bulk datasets.)

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Regards,

 

Anna Gos I Information Rights Support

[1]split

1^st Floor, Old Street Wing, 148 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HQ

020 7250 2647

[2]Footer 5

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an update attached to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

 

O. Olabopo
Information Rights Support
1st Floor, Old Street Wing

148 Old Street
London EC1V 9HQ

020 7250 2647

 

 

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Dear FOIA,

Re requests FOI201412150915 and FOI201501161211

I am afraid I am rather confused by your latest reply to me dated 13th February. Could you confirm whether this relates to my original request (which you numbered FOI201412150915) or my more recent question (which you numbered FOI201501161211)?

The more recent question concerned how Royal Mail got their Post Office Branch data, given your previous response to FOI201412150915 that didn't list them as a third party that received any bulk lists of Post Office Branches. I was only expecting an overview answer along the lines of "we send them a full electronic list every quarter" or "we provide them with a list of changes each month" or "they get their data from a third-party supplier, such as PointX". I'm afraid I fail to see how there could be any commercial prejudice in revealing such information.

Moreover, the point of my question wasn't really to gain specific information under FOI, but to clarify whether or not your original response to FOI201412150915 was accurate. To this end, I am now in possession of some pretty conclusive evidence that Post Office Ltd has indeed been supplying at least one additional third party with bulk lists of Post Office Branch information over the last three years. This third party is a non-commercial organization, which is not PointX nor Royal Mail.

In view of FOIA s77, I expect you will want to urgently review your original response to FOI201412150915. Since I have already given you two opportunities to clarify your reply, I think the end of this week would be a reasonably timescale for you to confirm that your original response of 14th January was incomplete. I will then give you another week (until 28th February) to provide a full corrected response.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find a response attached to your Freedom of Information request,
please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

 

 

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Robert Whittaker

Dear Mr Humphreys,

Many thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find an actual response in your message. Maybe it is in a separate document that you accidentally forgot to attach to the email?

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find a response attached to your Freedom of Information request,
please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Regards,

 

[1]cid:image002.png@01D06199.075ADBF0 Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

 

 

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Robert Whittaker

Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for your reply. I understand that searching through contracts could indeed take a lot of time. However, bulk supply of data to such service providers isn't really what I wanted to know about.

So let's exclude the supply of data to such providers in connection with the provision of their services. Please reconsider my original request for any other supplies of bulk Post Office Branch data that you have made, (including both commercial and non-commercial terms). Also please include the particular case of how you supply data to Royal Mail for use in its online branch-finder.

If the same data is supplied to any party more often than annually, I will be happy with a summary of the dates/frequency of supply and details of the typical data contained in each batch, rather than a full description of each individual supply.

In view of the length of time taken to get to this point, and the inaccuracy of your original answer, I would hope that this refined request could be dealt with somewhat more speedily than before.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the response attached to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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Robert Whittaker

Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for your reply. However, it would appear that you have forgotten about your duty to provide "advice and assistance" under FOIA s16 -- I would have expected to help from you as to how I could narrow down or refine my request to fall within the cost limits. I am also struggling to understand how it could have taken exactly 20 working days for you to come up with this reply, and why you believe it would take more than 18 hours to find the information I am requesting.

Accordingly, I would like to request an internal review of your decision, on the following grounds:

1/ Your failure to provide advice and assistance as to how the request could be rephrased so as to fall within the cost limits.

2/ Your assertion that the cost limits would be exceeded.

3/ The time take for you to reply not being consistent with your duty to respond promptly.

In relation to points 1 and 2, please supply a full copy of the time estimates you used as the basis for your decision. For 3 please provide a full history of your handling of my request of 18th March, on a day-by-day basis. I'm looking for things like when was the request considered, how long the cost estimates took to obtain, when the reply was drafted, and when it was signed off and sent.

Secondly, to save time, I would like to attempt to re-phrase my request so you can deal with it within the cost limits.

First please provide the requested information from my original request of 13 December (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...) in relation to just your supply of data to Royal Mail for the provision of their online Post Office Branch Finder tool. If there are multiple essentially identical supplies, then please just provide the full details for the most recent, and just give an approximate idea of the frequency of the other supplies.

Secondly, please provide a list of as many other organisations (excluding those who are given the information solely in conjunction with the provision of services within Post Office Branches) who have been supplied with bulk post office branch information within the last 18 months, as you can in the remaining time available. (This does not necessarily have to involve an exhaustive search of all your records -- you could just ask the relevant members of staff for their knowledge, and then find the records based on what they tell you to search for.)

Finally, if there is any time left, please provide the details of the most recent supply of data to each organisation in the list above, as per my original request.

Please do not let consideration of the internal review delay your response to this refined request.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement 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

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the response attached to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an updated 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

 

 

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Robert Whittaker

Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for your reply, and for providing some information about how you supply branch information to Royal Mail. However, if you read my initial request I said:

"I would like to know: the approximate date of supply, ... what data/information was supplied, what
form it was supplied in, ..."

In response to my specific request for this information relating to your supply of data to Royal Mail for use in its online Branch Finder, you said the following:

"I can advise that we provide updates for Branch Finder via the Royal Mail website daily."

This is rather non-specific, and does not provide any detail about what information you provide and what form it is supplied in. So could you please clarify:

1/ What information is transferred --- I am not asking for the data itself but a list of what fields are provided. I would guess this would be similar to the fields shown in their Branch Finder tool (branch name, address, opening hours, etc), but may include extra fields, such as the FAD code;

2/ How the information is transferred --- do you submit it via a form or API on Royal Mail's website, do you email a spreadsheet/data-file to them, or does Royal Mail access an API on your website; what format is the API/form data and/or spreadsheet in;

3/ Whether you provide a full complete list of branches each time, or just details of any changes from the previous supply;

4/ Exactly what you mean by "daily" --- is this every working day, or just each day whenever something has changed and an update is needed?

Many thanks,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an update attached to your Internal Review request, I will be
in a position to provide a response to you shortly.

 

Regards

 

Kerry Moodie
Information Rights Manager
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find the response attached to your Freedom of Information request,
please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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FOIA, Post Office Limited

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find a 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

 

 

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Robert Whittaker

Dear FOIA,

Many thanks for providing me with the outcome of your internal review. However, it would appear that you have neglected to respond to the two specific requests for information that I made in my message to you of 29th April (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...). In that message I said:

"In relation to points 1 and 2, please supply a full copy of the
time estimates you used as the basis for your decision. For 3
please provide a full history of your handling of my request of
18th March, on a day-by-day basis. I'm looking for things like when
was the request considered, how long the cost estimates took to
obtain, when the reply was drafted, and when it was signed off and
sent."

I trust this was simply an oversight, and that you will be able to supply this information without further delay. In the event that you do not hold some or all of this information, then perhaps you would like to reconsider some of the positions taken in your internal review.

Finally, regarding your response to the "Help and Assistance" part of my complaint, I am afraid I still do not understand what you meant in your response of 17th April by "Your request does not set a particular date by which Post Office could anchor a comparison" -- my original request clearly identified the time period as "over the last three years (or some shorter period if the cost for this period would exceed the appropriate limit) ." If you genuinely wanted to be helpful, you could have let me know what time period could be achieved, or suggested how I might narrow down the request so that you need only request information from, or search the records of, specific departments / individuals who might deal with certain types of data supply.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find an acknowledgement attached to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Regards,

 

Martin Humphreys
Information Rights Team
1^st Floor

Finsbury Dials

20 Finsbury Street

London

EC2Y 9AQ

Telephone 033 3665 3951

 

 

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Robert Whittaker

Dear FOIA,

I think there is some confusion here. My message to you on 20th July (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...) is not a new FOI request. It contained two parts:

First I provided a reminder that you need to respond to a request I made previously on 29th April, which I was expecting you to respond to as part of your internal review. So if you do wish to record this as a new request the date received should be sent to 29th April, and I will expect a response much sooner than 17th August.

Secondly I made a criticism of your internal review. You need not respond to this part if you do not want to as it is not a request for information. It's just a comment that may be useful to you when dealing with requests and reviews in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Whittaker

FOIA, Post Office Limited

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Whittaker,

 

Please find a response 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

 

 

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