Treatment of Freedom of Information Requests - Subjects - Outcomes - Time to Respond

Marlon Campbell made this Freedom of Information request to Croydon Borough Council

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 Croydon Borough Council,

For the 100 most recent FOI requests which the council considers closed, be that because the request was rejected, met, or declared "not held", please provide the following information:

(1) The date the request was received by the council.

(2) The summary subject of the request - in less than 20 words

(3) The date the request was acknowledged.

(4) The date the initial final response was given

(5) The status of this response, ie met, not held, rejected

(6) Whether an Internal Review was requested, and if so the date on which this was completed and the outcome status

(7) Whether the FOI Request to the council's knowledge was referred to the ICO.

(8) Whether the ICO issued any guidance or instruction to the council following this referral.

(9) The final outcome after the ICO referral.

It is understood that a case may be referred to the ICO after the council regards it a closed, and so this list request may not be final and definitive, but at any given time, a FOI Request must be either open or closed as far as the council, is considered.

This FOI Request is asking about the situation when it is processed, and a snapshot should be taken, with the date of this recorded in the reply.

As most of this information must already be held electronically for administrative reasons by the council, it should not be onerous to provide it.

Please provide this electronically, preferably in an XLS spreadsheet.

Yours faithfully,

Marlon Campbell

Morris, Valerie, Croydon Borough Council

Hello Mr Campbell

Thank you for your letter email/letter dated 19 January 2010 in which you
have requested, among other matters details of the 100 most recent FOI
requests which the council considers closed.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, either
myself or a colleague will let you know the likely charges before
proceeding.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely

Valerie Morris

Contract Monitoring Officer

Chief Executive's Office

Democratic & Legal Services Division

5th Floor South Side

Taberner House

Park Lane Croydon

CR9 3JS

Tel: 0208 686 4433 ext. 62676

Fax: 0208 760 5679

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Dear Morris, Valerie,

I note that the 20 working day deadline has passed without any response being provided to my FOI Request.

This is very disappointing.

The Request was a straight forward one, and I see no reason why the council could not provider its response within the statutory limit of 20wd.

Please give an indication of a date by when the council expects to provide its reply - as otherwise a reference to the ICO will become necessary.

Yours sincerely,

Marlon Campbell

Marlon Campbell left an annotation ()

Far past 20wd deadline despite reminder so case sent to ICO on 15-3-10

Derby, James, Croydon Borough Council

Hello Mr Campbell

Thank you for your letter email dated 19 January 2010 in which you have
requested, among other matters details of the 100 most recent FOI requests
which the council considers closed. We have considered your request under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and apologise for the
delay in replying.

We have conducted a search into our records and confirm that we do hold
the information you have requested, however we are unable to disclose the
information to you as it falls under the exemption provided in Section 12
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

To provide the information you have requested, Council officers would need
to go through a large amount of information and data on its systems in
order to extract all of the information that you have requested in a
permanent form. The cumulative time it would take Council officers to do
this would exceed the "appropriate limit".

The appropriate limit has been specified in the Freedom of Information
(Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004 and for local authorities it
is set at £450. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending
2½ working days in locating, retrieving and extracting the information
from where it is stored. Under Section 12 of the FOIA the Council is not
obliged to comply with your request as it falls within the Section 12
exemption and we will not be processing your request further.

If you are dissatisfied with the way the department has handled your
request under the Freedom of Information Act, you may ask for an internal
review. You can do this by outlining the details of your complaint by
either:

e-mailing us at [1][Croydon Borough Council request email]

faxing us on 0208 760 5679

writing to FOI Complaints, London Borough of Croydon, Democratic and
Legal Services, Croydon, CR9 3JS

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

James Derby

Corporate Solicitor

Legal & Democratic Services

London Borough of Croydon

Taberner House

Park Lane

CR9 3JS

Tel: 020 8760 5768 Ext. 61359

Fax: 020 8760 5679

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1. mailto:[Croydon Borough Council request email]

Marlon Campbell

Dear Croydon Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Croydon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Treatment of Freedom of Information Requests - Subjects - Outcomes - Time to Respond'.

I am conducting research into the ways that councils in London handle FOI Requests.

I made the same request as I made to you to each of the 33 London boroughs, and to TfL and the GLA.

Every other council has managed to provide some useful information and nearly all have provided most or all of what they were asked without difficulty or delay.

Under ICO and MoJ guidance, councils are required to log their FOI requests so that they can report on them.

It would appear that Croydon, alone among all London councils, has such an incompetent system that it cannot answer the most simple and basic request in any way.

I note your duty to assist under §16 of the Act, and note that you have failed to offer any way forward.

It is quite absurd to imply that it needed to take you 2 months to give this wholly unsatisfactory response, and so you are already in breach of the law which requires a "prompt" response, and in no more than 20wd.

I suggest that you review your systems, so that you can provide this basic information in a straight-forward way, even if it requires resources.

Please think again about my request, as otherwise this will be referred again to the ICO.

Note, in view of the extreme delays so far, I expect a result from this Internal Review in no more than 10 working days.

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

Yours faithfully,

Marlon Campbell

Marlon Campbell left an annotation ()

No reply received to Internal Review request.

Referred on 13-9-10 to ICO for enforcement action.

Derby, James, Croydon Borough Council

7 Attachments

Dear Mr Campbell

I write regarding your complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office
(ICO) about your Freedom of Information request sent to Croydon Council on
19^th January 2010. The ICO wrote to the Council on 15 September 2010. In
your Freedom of Information request to the Council you asked for the
following information:

"For the 100 most recent FOI requests which the council considers closed,
be that because the request was rejected, met, or declared "not held",
please provide the following information:

(1) The date the request was received by the council.

(2) The summary subject of the request - in less than 20 words

(3) The date the request was acknowledged.

(4) The date the initial final response was given

(5) The status of this response, i.e. met, not held, rejected

(6) Whether an Internal Review was requested, and if so the date on
which this was completed and the outcome status

(7) Whether the FOI Request to the council's knowledge was referred
to the ICO.

(8) Whether the ICO issued any guidance or instruction to the council
following this referral.

(9) The final outcome after the ICO referral".

On 01 October 2010, we replied the ICO and provided some information to
them. We informed the ICO that we had no objection that the information
provided to them should be disclosed to you.

On 14 December 2010, the Council received another letter from the ICO;
relating to your FOI request. They acknowledged receipt of our letter of
01 October 2010 and the attachments to the letter. In their letter, the
ICO advised that it was unable to supply the information contained in our
letter to you and asked that we disclose the information directly to you.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to do this prior to now. Kindly find
attached copy of our letter to the ICO and the attachments.

For clarity, the word "finalised" used in the spreadsheets means the date
when the Council completed its response and it does not necessarily mean
the case is closed. In our letter to the ICO, we explained why we are
unable to supply the specific information you have requested in your FOI
request. In order to assist we have now provided to you another
spreadsheet showing information about the first 100 FOI requests received
by the Council in 2010.

The new spreadsheet contains date of receipt for the first 100 FOI
requests, summary subject of the requests, date the requests were
acknowledged and date responses were sent. We do not record the status of
a request to show whether it was met/not held or rejected.

Prior to 31 August 2010, the Council did not routinely seek to record in a
single place requests for internal reviews, dates of the requests and
outcomes. Internal reviews were carried out by different officers of the
council and these were usually recorded in varied folders on the system.
The date upon which responses were sent out and the response times for
matters which had been recorded and logged as formal FOI requests.
Accordingly, in order to provide data on internal reviews on the first 100
FOI request, we will have to conduct a search in different folders on the
system. This exercise will take us over the appropriate limit set under
the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

We have had complaints about compliance with FOI requests referred to the
ICO and we have corresponded with the ICO ion these complaints; however,
due to the reason provided above, we are unable to provide the information
about referrals to the ICO. We realised that systems and processes in
place to ensure accurate recording and monitoring of this data were not
fully effective.

In view of this, from 01 September 2010, we have taken steps to improve
and make good the situation so that the Council will provide a better
service to its customers in future. These steps included reassessing the
manner in which we record FOI and internal review requests with revised
processes and procedures for dealing with and recording such requests.

I trust this response is satisfactory, however, If you remain dissatisfied
you have the right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,

James Derby

Corporate Solicitor

Legal & Democratic Services

London Borough of Croydon

Taberner House

Park Lane

CR9 3JS

Tel: 020 8760 5768 Ext. 61359

Fax: 020 8760 5679

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