TV Licensing Harassment Information

Peter Jones made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

I am making this request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Under the terms of the Act please provide the following information:

1. In its response to RFI20100387 the BBC confirmed that between 2004 and 2009 there were four legal claims citing harassment brought against TV Licensing. One of those claims was outstanding at the time of the BBC's response. Please provide the outcome of that outstanding claim, plus information about any similar legal claims made between 2009 and the present time.

2. In its response to RFI20121554 (one of my previous requests) the BBC provided information about a TV Licensing staff member who used what I shall politely describe as "unauthorised tactics" during his visit to a Hartlepool property on 9th October 2012.

I am told that the BBC's Pipa Doubtfire entered into correspondence with the occupier of that property in the aftermath of the 12th October incident. Please provide copies of all correspondence between Ms Doubtfire and the occupier.

If it may be of assistance, I can tell you that the occupier emailed Ms Doubtfire on 2nd January 2013 and she replied by email on 23rd January 2013.

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Jones

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

This request was brought to you by the TV Licensing Blog: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk

We're here to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing and the BBC.

Anyone seeking further information please contact us via the blog.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 28th September 2013. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20131404.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20131404.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The Information Policy and Compliance Team

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

Room BC2 B6 Broadcast Centre

Wood Lane

London W12 7TP

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]Description: Description: \\BBCFS2025\UserData$\myrien01\Documents\My
Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

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Dear FOI Enquiries,

Thank you for your partial response to my FOIA request, RFI20131404.

Unfortunately I am dissatisfied that you have failed to respond to the second point of my request relating to email information.

Please begin an internal review into the BBC's handling of this request.

Just a quick reminder that the second part of my request sought information held in email correspondence between the BBC's Pipa Doubtfire and the occupier of a Hartlepool property.

On 9th October 2012 a TV Licensing employee visiting that property behaved in what can only be described as an aggressive manner. The entire incident, which is apparently not disputed by the BBC given their previous response to RFI20121554, was captured on CCTV and uploaded to YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQCdKqVJSy4

The basis of my review request is as follows:

1. I have spoken to the occupier of the Hartlepool property in question. He informs me that the emails that exist are in an easily-redactable format with minimal personal information in the body of their texts. Indeed, he tells me quite adamantly, that the overwhelming majority of text in those emails contains no personal information at all. He is confused, as I am, about how the BBC can possibly justify total non-disclosure on the basis of protecting his third-party personal information.

2. The occupier also confirms to me that he is perfectly happy for redacted versions of the emails (with names and addresses removed) to be released by the BBC in response to my request. I have asked him to contact Mrs Doubtfire directly and confirm that is the case.

To assist you in your search, he has told me that the following emails exist:

- An email from the occupier to Pipa Doubtfire, dated 2nd Jan 2013.
- An email from Pipa Doubtfire to the occupier, dated 23rd Jan 2013.
- An email from the occupier to Pipa Doubtfire, dated 31st Jan 2013.
- An email from Pipa Doubtfire to the occupier, dated 28th Feb 2013.

3. The occupier, although happy for me to receive this information via the WhatDoTheyKnow.com platform, has refused to send it to me directly. His reasons for doing that are irrelevant and of no concern to the BBC.

In closing I would just remind you that the balance of the Act lies in favour of disclosure and assisting the applicant. That being the case the BBC should be providing as much information as it reasonably can. Simply saying "can't give you any information" is both unacceptable and misleading.

I do greatly look forward to the outcome of your internal review, which you can be sure I will scrutinise very closely.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Watchkeeper left an annotation ()

Thank you for your tenacity, Mr Jones.

In a document entitled "Instruction [sic] For Freedom of Information Requests"(Disclosure Document 3, RFI20130094) BBC FoI handlers are enjoined to "Only pass the minimum necessary information". This is the culture with which we have to deal, and that internal attitude stands in stark contrast to the published statement "the BBC is fully committed to meeting both the spirit and the letter of the Act".

I trust you will be successful in pursuing this, and admire your doing so.

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

You're very welcome Watchkeeper. Holding the BBC to account is a satisfying past-time of mine.

My guess is that they will release the information.

Let's put it this way - if they don't, and it later transpires they were making up reasons to avoid disclosure (which it will), then it will look very bad for them.

Peter Jones left an annotation ()

Have just spoken the occupier in this case. You might remember the BBC gave the following excuse for failing to provide the emails I asked for:

"Personal information about living individuals is exempt under the Act if disclosure to a third party would breach one or more principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. As the occupier of the property referred to in your request does not expect their details to be disclosed in this context, to do so would be unfair. Therefore, disclosure would breach the first principle of the Data Protection Act 1998 which requires data to be processed fairly and lawfully."

The occupier has now told the BBC the following:

"I have no objections to the emails between ourselves being made public via WDTK, as I believe it to be in the public interest and I would assume that it is a simple matter for the BBC to redact my name, address and email address, if the BBC are worried about contravening the DPA. In the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, I respectfully request the BBC to release the emails."

I think that leaves the BBC in a pretty awkward position, should they wish to continue in the pretence they are trying to protect his best interests.

I would now expect one of two possible outcomes:
1. The BBC release the information as requested.
2. The BBC, who clearly aren't keen on releasing the information, trot out a new reason for refusal.

Watchkeeper left an annotation ()

The BBC ties itself in knots as it tries to justify withholding information, viz:

"Please note that this information constitutes third party personal information and we are withholding this information under section 40(2) of the Act.

Personal information about living individuals is exempt under the Act if disclosure to a third party would breach one or more principles of the Data Protection Act 1998."

It's clear that the party in the first paragraph (about whom the BBC holds information) differs from the party in the second paragraph (from whom the BBC is withholding the aforesaid information) yet both are referred to as "third party". It really is a shambles.

As I see it, the BBC now having been urged by the person concerned to publish the correspondence, it realistically has no alternative but to do so.

Dear FOI Enquiries,

I note that you have not acknowledged or responded to my internal review request of 26 October 2013 (your ref: RFI20131404).

It is now 25 working days since I made that review request, which I do not doubt you received.

The ICO is of the opinion that 20 working days is a reasonable amount of time for a public authority to reply to an internal review request.

Please issue your review response at the earlier opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Dear FOI Enquiries,

I note that you have not acknowledged or responded to my internal review request of 26 October 2013 (your ref: RFI20131404).

It is now more than 40 working days since I made that review request, which I do not doubt you received.

The ICO is of the opinion that 20 working days is a reasonable amount of time for a public authority to reply to an internal review request.

Please issue your review response at the earlier opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Jones

Watchkeeper left an annotation ()

Is it now time to involve the ICO?

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Reference IR2013087

 

We attach the BBC’s decision following   your request for an Internal
Review.

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay in providing you with this
decision, which was due to the temporary unavailability of   internal
reviewers at the BBC.  

 

Yours sincerely

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

Room 2252, White City

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TS, UK

 

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 

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