Wales Internet capability - households connected and complaints

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Welsh Government should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Welsh Government,

This is an open government request for all the
information to which I am entitled under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

Please send me recorded information, which includes information
held on computers, in emails and in printed or handwritten
documents as well as images, video and audio recordings.

If this request is too wide or unclear, and you require a
clarification, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I
understand that under the Act, you are required to advise and
assist requesters.(Section 16 / Regulation 9).

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify
all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I
will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve
the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to
charge excessive fees.

If any of this information is already in the public domain, please
can you direct me to it, with page references and URLs if
necessary.

Please confirm or deny whether the requested information is held ( section (Section 1(1)(a) and consider whether information should be provided under section 1(1)(b), or whether it is subject to an exemption in Part II of the Act.

If the release of any of this information is prohibited on the
grounds of breach of confidence, I ask that you supply me with
copies of the confidentiality agreement and remind you that
information should not be treated as confidential if such an
agreement has not been signed.

I would like the above information to be provided to me as
electronic copies, via WDTK. The information should be immediately
readable - and, as a freedom of Information request, not put in a PDF or any closed form, which some readers may not be able to access.

I understand that you are required to respond to my request within
the 20 working days after you receive this letter. I would be
grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received
this request.

::::::::

Please consider the ICO's Decision on the provision original documents on file, rather than newly written letters of response.

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

This request does not require a letter, drafted by the external affairs department, or any other written input by reputational defence employees, and purporting to be the response to a FOIA response.

::::

Request Title/summary within scope.

A The number of households in Wales.

1. I would like to know how many households in Wales are connected to the Internet.

2. How many complaints about the Wales' Internet has the Welsh government received in the past year?

3. From which counties - and also areas within counties - have these complaints originated?

4. And the numbers from each county - and area within?

For example: Newport county - 200 complaints Abergaveny 23 complaints.

:::

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Please find attached an acknowledgment letter to your recent request for
information.  Please direct any replies to [1]es&[email address]
.  
 
 
Kind Regards
 
 
Gemma Thomas
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth/ Department for Economy,
Science and Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:es&[email address]

Dear Welsh Government,

Please do not leave parts out.(A)

Your desired clarification:

The Internet :

Internet
ˈɪntənɛt/
noun
a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

Thus:....

Definition: Wales internet system - provides Internet capability to people resident in Wales - referenced by the above definition.
It's owned by BT, with which the WG has a contract, serviced by Openreach and customers have contracts with commercial companies such as , BT Sky.

To assist you :

Foia information may be gained from the WG/ BT contract,

Once again.....Point A is also within the request.

A The number of households in Wales.

The Request Title/summary is within scope.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Please find attached a reply to your recent request for information. 
Please direct any replies to [1]es&[email address].    
 
Kind Regards
 
Gemma Thomas
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth/ Department for Economy,
Science and Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:es&[email address]

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

NB The Welsh intenet network is owned by BT. Engineering on the network is done by by Openreach, which is part of BT, with a 'Chinese walls' arrangement.

::::

This is one piece of information that seems to have been excluded - but states that the WG receives 'regular correspondence' on Internet capability. ...

'The Welsh Government has regular correspondence from consumers and businesses alike that say that Openreach engineers have not kept appointments and that it has taken numerous engineer visits to resolve issues with often conflicting advice given to the consumer as to the cause and solution for the problems'

:::::

Ofcom – Strategic Review of Digital Communications – Discussion Document

Welsh Government Response

8 October 2015

Set out below is the Welsh Government response to the Strategic Review of Digital Communications discussion document.

Mobile

The rural and very rural nature, scattered population centres, and topography of much of Wales means that in spite of a competitive market across the UK large areas of Wales remain unserved by usable mobile. In many parts of Wales competition has failed in terms of availability of service.

A usable level of service should be one where the service is such that it meets the needs of most users. For instance it is the ability to make uninterrupted voice calls, from wherever the caller is, whether they are static or on the move. Similarly it is the ability to use data services to transfer data, use the internet etc. without interruption in service on the move or statically.

We anticipate that the announcement by the UK Government in late 2014 that mobile operators had agreed to extend mobile coverage to 90 per cent of landmass promises to go a long way to addressing these issues. The coverage obligation on Telefonica through the 4G auction also contributes to coverage. Nevertheless, this will still leave 10 per cent of the landmass of Wales without a usable mobile signal for data or for voice. Unfortunately the UK Government’s Mobile Infrastructure Project has not yet delivered the expansion in mobile coverage first envisaged.

Competition can only go so far in ensuring investment in rural and very rural areas. As with broadband, there may be a case for Government intervention to address market failure in 4G, 3G and voice coverage beyond centres of population, however, this will always be an act of last resort given the multiple competing pressures on the public purse. Government has a role to play in engaging with network operators and may have justifiable case to support improved coverage through capital investment in infrastructure. However, regulatory intervention has the potential to yield a stronger and more sustainable long term impact and should be considered, possibly on a geographic basis, to support and encourage investment by network operators now and into the future. This may be increasingly important in light of mergers, particularly BT and EE.

There are two key issues for mobile in Wales. The first is providing coverage to those areas without or with very poor mobile coverage. The second is the need to ensure that customers are able to use devices across Wales regardless of the network operator they are contracted to.

The first issue is one of economic viability. Network operators are understandably unwilling to commit to capital costs and more importantly the operating costs associated with running and maintaining masts where they will never get a return on their investment.

With network operators requiring fibre to provide backhaul, there is an opportunity, particularly given the significant investment of public funds in the Openreach network via the superfast broadband programmes, to create a class of price regulated fibre products for use by MNOs in rural areas. This could reduce operating costs and make investment a more realistic proposition.

BT has a near monopoly position in Wales with businesses and other communications providers almost entirely reliant on BT for fixed fibre infrastructure provision.

The acquisition by BT of EE, and the potential for cross subsidising backhaul costs for one operator at the expense of the others, brings this issue into sharp relief.

At present mobile network operators invest in their own infrastructure and while sharing agreements are in place for economic and technical reasons operators are very reluctant to share infrastructure with the whole market. Price regulation of fibre for use by mobile networks will also help encourage wholesale infrastructure providers to invest in those areas that are currently economically marginal.

Geographic coverage obligations should be built into future auctions of spectrum to encourage a move towards coverage as close to 100 per cent as practicable and to ensure that key communications routes, such as the road and rail networks, have consistent coverage.

Secondly, enabling customers to connect with whatever network is available and to switch seamlessly between networks would greatly improve the usability of mobile across Wales and therefore the customer experience. The introduction of mobile roaming would be welcome in rural areas where, for example, there may only be a usable signal available from one network operator. MNOs will no doubt argue that rural roaming is a disincentive to investment in rural areas. However, given the commitments already made by MNOs to achieve 90 per cent geographic coverage, and the likelihood that once achieved, this level of coverage is likely to stabilise and plateau, then there is a case for considering alternative approaches for the final 10% outside that agreement .

Consideration should also be given to explore the benefits and challenges of establishing a supplier neutral wholesale network for mobile infrastructure. The introduction of price regulated fibre products, particularly for rural areas as outlined above, would help to make this a more attractive option for potential infrastructure suppliers.

Broadband

With significant investment in superfast broadband by both the public and private sectors in Wales, broadband availability is gradually being addressed.

However, there is still an argument for the introduction of a broadband USO to ensure that premises beyond the reach of private and public investment are able to receive a usable level of broadband. For fixed broadband a usable service is one which meets the needs of most users most of the time.

The current USC only focuses on telephony, a usable level of service is just as important for broadband if not more so. We believe that the bandwidth goals of current UK public sector broadband delivery projects are directly relevant to a discussion on USO. If Governments are investing in infrastructure capable of extending the reach of 24Mbp-30Mbps services as far as possible through the public purse, then this must surely become the de facto starting point for a debate on the USO. If a USO is restricted to 5- 10Mbps there will be a perpetual gap which Government will come under pressure to fill.

The USO level should not be cast in stone but should be annually reviewed and updated to maintain its ongoing relevance to an ever-innovating market. A broadband USO would have the direct benefit in terms of a usable broadband at new build premises negating the impact on homebuyers where developers and the telecoms market have fail to provision modern services.

Access to dark fibre is of direct interest to the Creative Industries, ICT and Financial and Professional Services sectors in Wales and these sectors. Diversity and resilience of supply of these services is an issue in Wales. This will be brought into sharper relief by the acquisition of EE by BT.

Ofcom should mandate BT to offer open and equal wholesale access to dark fibre services on a price regulated basis. This would allow other businesses to quickly gain access to these services and other providers to compete on a more level playing field. The UK is reliant on BT’s competitors to offer dark fibre services. Areas beyond London are poorly served by these competitors, so businesses which require such service are far less likely to invest in other parts of the UK beyond London.

Providing access to Openreach dark fibre would have positive economic benefits in helping attract major organisations to base headquarters and major operational functions in Wales.

Openreach

The apparent lack of accountability of Openreach, and a lack of competition, is causing concerns among consumers and businesses. Slippage of dates for completion of work is a particular issue.

The Welsh Government has regular correspondence from consumers and businesses alike that say that Openreach engineers have not kept appointments and that it has taken numerous engineer visits to resolve issues with often conflicting advice given to the consumer as to the cause and solution for the problems. Retail providers sometimes seek to blame Openreach for delays in rectifying service issues.

Welsh Government would want to see a greater focus on scrutiny of the performance of Openreach by Ofcom.

Welsh Government would want to see Ofcom produce a detailed analysis of the relative merits and disadvantages of structural separation versus the current functional separation to inform a revised position.

Consumer issues

In the current competitive broadband retail market there are a range of deals for consumers which at first glance seem very attractive. However, Welsh Government feel it would be much more transparent if the headline advertised monthly costs contained all of the relevant costs, for example, line rental rather than just a headline figure.

Also, the bundled nature of many consumer packages makes it difficult for consumers to determine the best option for them. They are faced with up to four services (TV, phone, broadband and mobile) with a range of offers often expressed through myriad numbers such as speeds, usage limits, call packages etc. Work should be undertaken to standardise the information given to consumers in much the same way as has happened in the energy market.

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binarie...

Dear Welsh Government,

Could you also confirm that you do not know the number of households in Wales - as per request?

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

NB

AN FOIA request is made by a member of the public - under the Act,

The responder can't choose to chop bits out of the request, without agreeing that they should be deleted with the requester. Otherwise the requester would not be allowed to make their own request and public requests could always be re-written by public authority respondees.

Seemingly my request has been rephrased and edited, without agreeing with me that it should be done so.

I have provided a clarification - as requested - as to the scope, including title and the contents of my request.

And stated that my request should not be edited - by the respondee ignoring the stats on the number of households.
Clearly the number of Internet households and households (in general) are germain to the request,

Under section 16 the WG has to assist further if the clarification has not proved to simplify matters. Clearly it did not as the response was to state that I had not clarified my request enough.

I could not understand why anyone could not understand why the the title of the request and following parts could be misunderstood , so I helpfully gave a dictionary definition - as a clarification in my reply, being genuinely at a loss to understand what more was needed in order to process my request.

:::

There is already information written by the WG on the Internet about Internet complaints to the WG. And the WG has stated its has received complaints.

My request asks was for the information on WG file.Yet the response details none.

The response to this request is therefore not only obstructive - but fails to stick to the the basic requirements of the FoiAct.

Dear Welsh Government,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Welsh Government's handling of my FOI request 'Wales Internet capability - households connected and complaints'.

Please refer to my original request - and do not edit the request, as you have done.

You will note that I did not agree that any parts of my request should be edited out,

Please read the whole request....as on WDTK - and the annotations, as the WG has already admitted complaints in the intenet services in Wales. Therefore at least some exist.
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binarie...

Once again, if the WG responders do not know what the Internet is, here's another definition:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

:::

My understanding frm the response is that the WG position is that it has had no complaints on any internet service in Waies.

It does not know the number of households in Wales, as it has chosen to ignore this part of the request.

It has no way of auditing the expenditure of the £3m of taxpayers' money contracted to BT to upgrade Wales Internet to Superfast broadband.

It has no idea which areas are still affected by poor internet service - and which areas have improved by monitoring the statistical number of complaints.

The WG has no idea how it might respond to any MP's request for information on the statistical performance of the intenet in their constituency, as it keeps no complaint statistics.

Could you please confirm, or deny (if deny - in that case provide some facts within the review , as previously requested) that the above response is the WG's formal statistical position on the Internet in Wales.

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

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Please find attached an acknowledgement of your recent request for an
internal review.
 
Kind Regards
 
Gemma Thomas
 
Gemma Thomas
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth/ Department for Economy,
Science and Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Welsh Government,

Thank you.

I can only say that I am astonished that the WG has never had one single complaint about the Internet services in Wales.

It must be superlative - in all locations throughout Wales - to have such an immaculate and distinguished record.

::::

Although I am somewhat perplexed the the WG refused to answer the request about the number of households in Wales.

I would have thought that was basic information for any proper government.

When reviewing the request, could you please therefore supply the FOIA Section that precludes giving out such confidential information?

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Please find attached a response to your request for an internal review in
relation to your Freedom of Information Request.
 
Kind Regards
 
 
Gemma Thomas
Uned Busnes y Llywodraeth / Government Business Unit
Adran yr Economi a’r Seilwaith/ Department for Economy and Infrastructure
Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government
QED Centre, Treforest, RCT, CF37 5YR
 
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Welsh Government,

Your response :

13 June 2016

Complaint in respect of Request for Information – reference ATISN 10404

I wrote to you on 18 May regarding your request for an internal review. I explained that I would be conducting an internal review of your request for information, in accordance with the procedure outlined in the Welsh Government’s Practical Guide for Making Requests for Information, which is available by post on request, or via the internet.

I note in your original request you asked for information relating to the Wales Internet.

In response to your request, you were advised that the information was not held by the Welsh Government.

I have reviewed your request and the reply that you received and have concluded that the omission of household data, part A of your original request was an error. Please accept our apologies for this. I understand you have received a response to this question via a separate request for information, ATISN 10403.

You also sought the following information:
1. I would like to know how many households in Wales are connected to the Internet.

Our reply correctly stated that we do not hold this information and signposted you to Ofcom. I have concluded, however that signposting to the Welsh Government's National Survey for Wales may also have been appropriate. Please see the attached link. http://gov.wales/docs/statistics/2015/15... access-en.pdf

The remaining questions proved challenging to answer constructively despite officials’ attempts to seek clarification from you on key definitions.

2. How many complaints about the Wales' Internet has the Welsh government received in the past year?
3. From which counties - and also areas within counties - have these complaints originated?

4. And the numbers from each county - and area within?

The "Wales internet" is not a recognisable or familiar term - though the individual words, as pointed out by you in clarification, are clearly familiar and meaningful in their own right.

The internet is not bounded by geography with a different internet in Wales to that in Spain or that in Germany - the internet is a global entity. The corresponding clarification received from you is also ambiguous but suggests that your actual line of enquiry may be about connectivity to the internet - i.e. broadband networks.

As stated in our earlier response we don't hold any information about the ”Wales internet” so we couldn't therefore identify complaints about it. Had your request asked for copies of correspondence received by the Welsh Government relating to, for example, broadband, then there may have been scope to provide a more informative response. While we can surmise, it was not clear exactly what information you were asking for.

Given the lack of clarity, and given our attempt to clarify the request, I am content that the answer provided to questions 2, 3 and 4 was correct in response to what you actually asked for.

:::

My response:

Thank you for the two apologies.

And the information previously erroneously withheld

You might realise the extra effort it has taken to obtain two simple pieces of information,

:::

Number of households in Wales:

I am glad that there has now been an effort to respond to my request for the number of households in Wales.... which was totally overlooked for so long. ...Adding to the extra amount work that I had to do.

However, as far as I can see, there is no response on this part of the request on the WDTK request chain of communication.

You will know an FOIA response is public information, which can be read -by all and is on WDTK Internet site for general public use.

ATISN 10403 - Your response has no link.

This is a FOIA request - so where could a member of the public read it?

:::

And, unfortunately the statistics provided were from 2O14 - and therefore not up to date, as requested.

As my understanding is that they are updated annually, (2015/6) please therefore provide the requested statistics, or the correct FOIA section under which they are excluded from public view.

::::

Wales internet

You state:
'As stated in our earlier response we don't hold any information about the ”Wales internet” so we couldn't therefore identify complaints about it. Had your request asked for copies of correspondence received by the Welsh Government relating to, for example, broadband, then there may have been scope to provide a more informative response. While we can surmise, it was not clear exactly what information you were asking for'.

If only the initial respondee had been able to fathom that ' Wales' internet' ..which I'd asked for in my clumsy way - was in fact 'Wales' Broadband internet'.

I'm sure that the request could have been answered very much more speedily and saved the public money used in doing so.

You will have noted this in this the request:

'If this request is too wide or unclear, and you require a
clarification, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I
understand that under the Act, you are required to ADVISE and
ASSIST requesters.(Section 16 / Regulation 9).

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify
all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act'.

---

However, I must point out that if a proper application of FOIA Section 16 'help and assistance' had been made I would have understood the specific WG ' Broadband internet ' term correlated with the term that I used.

You will be aware that the ordinary requester cannot possibly be expected to know that WG officials simply cannot understand the term 'internet', without it being preceded by the word 'broadband'.

That is the reason for public authorities to attempt to comply with Section 16 in a reasonable and sensible way.... To save time, public money and requester misunderstanding.

Translation of in-house terms is sometimes needed, and the requester should not be in the position of having to undertake a series of blind guessing games to clarify a point.

Common Parlance

Section 16 makes the onus on Public Authority FOIA respondees to help the requester to define terms which are used by the PA in-house - and which correspond to those used externally and in common parlance.

Presumably 'the internet' it is not an internally understood in-house specification and also one which WG officials do not use in their private lives, so were unable to define the specified type of internet used in people's homes, as per request scope.

Although, helpfully, perhaps I might point out that the common usage is:

'Oh dear! The Internet is off yet again'

...said by a householder to other occupants,.

Who are NOT normally completely totally baffled by the lack of the adjective ' broadband'.

I hope you find this point helpful for the confused FOIA officials, who were from your response, were totally unable to understand , or define, the concept of a 'household internet' ...and may like to add it to WG-used terms for the clarity of any future requests on the subject.

;::::

Complaints received from Welsh households

From your explanatory response on WG terms, it would seem that WG officials are also unable to understand complaint letters from disgruntled internet customers without the specification of the word 'broadband ' .

And therefore this might be the reason why the request response states that not ONE single complaint has been received, or enumerated by the WG.

I would helpfully suggest that the WG review its filing system immediately in order to consider if the word 'internet' in a complaint made by a member of the public could have possibly be used to describe a ' broadband internet' complaint,as the WG understands it.

For it would seem that WG officials might have been looking in the wrong place for this FOIA requested complaint letters...

....Under B - instead of I - where complaints might even now reside unlocated.

Missing information response:

This quote, which is already a clarification in my request, but seems to have been ignored in the response, might still help locate the missing information requested:

'The Welsh Government has regular correspondence from consumers and businesses alike that say that Openreach engineers have not kept appointments and that it has taken numerous engineer visits to resolve issues with often conflicting advice given to the consumer as to the cause and solution for the problems'

Surely the Secretary of State for Wales had some information on this situation, since the statement comes from within?

:::

'Single Household internet' and broadband networks - the confusion.

In addition, I had no idea that the terms which would confuse officials would be 'broadband network' and a 'household internet', ( the term specified in the request).

I had formally assumed that an entire broadband network, was NOT capable of being run from a single 'household' and presumed that one household telephone line - one broadband provider.

So thank you for correcting my ignorance with that interesting new information that one household internet can be support the plural 'connectivity to the internet - i.e. broadband networks'.

And that was why the WG respondees were so confused.

BT, Sky and plusnet must be extremely proud with this enormous downsizing.

:::

Ofcom

You state: 'The internet is not bounded by geography with a different internet in Wales to that in Spain or that in Germany - the internet is a global entity'.

Thank you - but that is why the request was scoped to Wales, with its geographical physical boundaries ...and not the entire global network.

Ofcom CLEARLY understands the term ' Wales internet' - With its statistical information given in the link provided.

Personally I'm sad to see that the total incomprehension of this term would seem to reside solely in Wales.

But, once again, thank you for the information that Spain and Germany are different countries.
And consequently play no part in this request.

:::::

Therefore please supply the missing information - as originally requested - now that the terms have been clarified.

Please let me know whether you intend to do so - as I will refer to the busy ICO if there is another refusal.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Dear Welsh Government,

Please consider the ICO's Decision on the provision original documents on file, rather than newly written letters of response.

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

This request does not require a letter, drafted by the External Affairs department, or any other written input by reputational defence employees, and purporting to be the response to a FOIA request.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley

As per our internal review response, if you remain dissatisfied with our response then you can complain to the ICO.

Kind Regards

Economy and Infrastructure FOI Team

show quoted sections

Dear Welsh Government,

I will.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

To: casework@ico.org.uk

Report a concern about how an organisation handled your information

Please refer to my file reference in any communication,which is :
Wales Internet capability - households connected and complaints

Please only reply by email to save postal visits and the environment.

1. Details of the organisation your concern is about
Organisation:    Welsh Government  
Contact name:   Adam Butcher  
Address:   EST FOIA Team Welsh government Treforest QED Centre Main Avenue Treforest Industrial Estate Caerphilly

Postcode:   CF37 5 YR  
Telephone:   not supplied
  
Email:  Appears none given. Request made via WDTK.
    
2. Your relationship with the organisation
     
Member of the public
3. What is your concern?

Wales Internet capability - households connected and complaints
The reason for this request:

It's a genuine matter of public interest to know how Wales compares to other parts of the UK in the provision of a vital method of communication - internet to its households.

:::

I cannot believe that the Welsh Government does not have a single complaint on file about the use of the Internet in Wales.
You will note that I am asking for original documents.

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
It provided no section 16 help and assistance to define 'Wales internet -for households'.
And left out parts of the request. At one stage claiming that it didn't know the number of households in Wales -despite later providing an old annual total is in indication that it was deliberately ignoring this request.
How can any government not have this sort of basic information?

It is a current matter of public interest:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politi...

And Government press release:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/half-...

With the addition of pretending not to understand what the 'Welsh internet provided to households' is.
If it didn't understand the terminology used by a member of the non-technical public, then it should of helped define it.
I think it is one of the most unhelpful and tortuous courses of responses to an FOIA request to provide relatively simple information that I have ever read.
:::
The grounds:

Thank you for the two apologies.

And the information previously erroneously withheld

You might realise the extra effort it has taken to obtain two simple pieces of information,

:::

Number of households in Wales:

I am glad that there has now been an effort to respond to my request for the number of households in Wales.... which was totally overlooked for so long. ...Adding to the extra amount work that I had to do.

However, as far as I can see, there is no response on this part of the request on the WDTK request chain of communication.

You will know an FOIA response is public information, which can be read -by all and is on WDTK Internet site for general public use.

ATISN 10403 - Your response has no link.

This is a FOIA request - so where could a member of the public read it?

:::

And, unfortunately the statistics provided were from 2O14 - and therefore not up to date, as requested.

As my understanding is that they are updated annually, (2015/6) please therefore provide the requested statistics, or the correct FOIA section under which they are excluded from public view.

::::

Wales internet

You state:
'As stated in our earlier response we don't hold any information about the ”Wales internet” so we couldn't therefore identify complaints about it. Had your request asked for copies of correspondence received by the Welsh Government relating to, for example, broadband, then there may have been scope to provide a more informative response. While we can surmise, it was not clear exactly what information you were asking for'.

If only the initial respondee had been able to fathom that ' Wales' internet' ..which I'd asked for in my clumsy way - was in fact 'Wales' Broadband internet'.

I'm sure that the request could have been answered very much more speedily and saved the public money used in doing so.

You will have noted this in this the request:

'If this request is too wide or unclear, and you require a
clarification, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I
understand that under the Act, you are required to ADVISE and
ASSIST requesters.(Section 16 / Regulation 9).

If my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify
all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act'.

---

However, I must point out that if a proper application of FOIA Section 16 'help and assistance' had been made I would have understood the specific WG ' Broadband internet ' term correlated with the term that I used.

You will be aware that the ordinary requester cannot possibly be expected to know that WG officials simply cannot understand the term 'internet', without it being preceded by the word 'broadband'.

That is the reason for public authorities to attempt to comply with Section 16 in a reasonable and sensible way.... To save time, public money and requester misunderstanding.

Translation of in-house terms is sometimes needed, and the requester should not be in the position of having to undertake a series of blind guessing games to clarify a point.

Common Parlance

Section 16 makes the onus on Public Authority FOIA respondees to help the requester to define terms which are used by the PA in-house - and which correspond to those used externally and in common parlance.

Presumably 'the internet' it is not an internally understood in-house specification and also one which WG officials do not use in their private lives, so were unable to define the specified type of internet used in people's homes, as per request scope.

Although, helpfully, perhaps I might point out that the common usage is:

'Oh dear! The Internet is off yet again'

...said by a householder to other occupants,.

Who are NOT normally completely totally baffled by the lack of the adjective ' broadband'.

I hope you find this point helpful for the confused FOIA officials, who were from your response, were totally unable to understand , or define, the concept of a 'household internet' ...and may like to add it to WG-used terms for the clarity of any future requests on the subject.

;::::

Complaints received from Welsh households

From your explanatory response on WG terms, it would seem that WG officials are also unable to understand complaint letters from disgruntled internet customers without the specification of the word 'broadband ' .

And therefore this might be the reason why the request response states that not ONE single complaint has been received, or enumerated by the WG.

I would helpfully suggest that the WG review its filing system immediately in order to consider if the word 'internet' in a complaint made by a member of the public could have possibly be used to describe a ' broadband internet' complaint,as the WG understands it.

For it would seem that WG officials might have been looking in the wrong place for this FOIA requested complaint letters...

....Under B - instead of I - where complaints might even now reside unlocated.

Missing information response:

This quote, which is already a clarification in my request, but seems to have been ignored in the response, might still help locate the missing information requested:

'The Welsh Government has regular correspondence from consumers and businesses alike that say that Openreach engineers have not kept appointments and that it has taken numerous engineer visits to resolve issues with often conflicting advice given to the consumer as to the cause and solution for the problems'

Surely the Secretary of State for Wales had some information on this situation, since the statement comes from within?

:::

'Single Household internet' and broadband networks - the confusion.

In addition, I had no idea that the terms which would confuse officials would be 'broadband network' and a 'household internet', ( the term specified in the request).

I had formally assumed that an entire broadband network, was NOT capable of being run from a single 'household' and presumed that one household telephone line - one broadband provider.

So thank you for correcting my ignorance with that interesting new information that one household internet can be support the plural 'connectivity to the internet - i.e. broadband networks'.

And that was why the WG respondees were so confused.

BT, Sky and plusnet must be extremely proud with this enormous downsizing.

:::

Ofcom

You state: 'The internet is not bounded by geography with a different internet in Wales to that in Spain or that in Germany - the internet is a global entity'.

Thank you - but that is why the request was scoped to Wales, with its geographical physical boundaries ...and not the entire global network.

Ofcom CLEARLY understands the term ' Wales internet' - With its statistical information given in the link provided.

Personally I'm sad to see that the total incomprehension of this term would seem to reside solely in Wales.

But, once again, thank you for the information that Spain and Germany are different countries.
And consequently play no part in this request.

:::::

Therefore please supply the missing information - as originally requested - now that the terms have been clarified.

Please let me know whether you intend to do so - as I will refer to the busy ICO if there is another refusal.

:::::

     
Please send us copies of relevant documents that support your concern.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

4. What have you done to raise your concern with the organisation?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
     
Please send copies of any documents you have showing how you raised your concern with the organisation.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
5. What did the organisation say?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
     
Please send copies of any documents you have showing the organisation’s response to your concern.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
6. Reference number

Ein cyf/Our ref ATISN 10404

Please tell us any reference number that the organisation has given you, eg account number, policy number etc.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

ICO Decision

Reference: FS50634101

lnformation Commlssloner's Office

Date: 19 December 2016

Freedom of Information Act 2OOO (FOIA) Decision notice

Welsh Assembly Government Cathays Park
Cardiff cFlO 3NQ

Decision (including any steps ordered)
1. The complainant has requested various items of information regarding the 'Wales Internet' including the number of complaints that the Welsh Government had received in the past year. The Welsh Government made one attempt to clarify with the complainant the nature of her request, however although it was still uncertain regarding the information she was seeking, it informed the complainant that it did not hold relevant information.

2. The Commissioner has determined than, on an objective reading, the clarification provided by the complainant was open to more than one interpretation, and her approach to section 1(3) of the FOIA is that a public authority must seek clarification of a request whose meaning is not clear or is open to more than one objective reading. As the Welsh Government made no further attempt to clarify with the complainant which interpretation she intended, it has failed to comply with section 16(1) of the FOIA. The Welsh Government's failure to respond to part A of the request also represents a breach of section 1(1) of the FOIA.

3. The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation.
Issue a fresh response to the complainant after having clarified with her the exact nature of her request.

4 The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.

Request and response
5. On 23 April 2OL6 the complainant wrote to the Welsh Government and requested the following information :
The number of households in Wales.
7. I would ike to know how many households in Wales are connected to the Internet.

2. How many complaints about the Wales'Internet has the Welsh government received in the past year?

3. From which counties - and also areas within counties - have these co m plai nts originated ?

4. And the numbers from each county - and area within?"

6. The Welsh Government contacted the complainant on 28 April 2016 to clarify her request, and in particular what she meant by'Wales internet'.

On the same day, the complainant confirmed that she meant the following:
"Definition: Wales internet system - provides Internet capability to peopte resident in Wales - referenced by the above definition. It's owned by BT, with which the WG [Sic] has a contract, serviced by Openreach and customers have contracts with commercial companies such as BT Sky.'

7. The Welsh Government sent its substantive response to the request on 11 May 2O16 informing the complainant that she may wish to redirect question one of her request to Ofcom and in respect of items 2-4 confirming that it does not hold any relevant information.

8. . Following an internal review the Welsh Government wrote to the complainant on 13 June 2016.In relation to item A of the request, the Welsh Government confirmed the following:
"...the omission of household data, part A of your original request was an error. Please accept our apologies for this. I understand you have received a response fo this question via a separate request for information..."

9. In respect of item one, it confirmed that its original reply that it does not hold the information, and its signpost to Ofcom was correct. However, it further stated that it may also have been appropriate to have signposted the complainant to its National Survey for Wales and attached the relevant link. 


10. In respect of items 2-4, the Welsh Government upheld its original response that it does not hold information. It added that the'Wales internet'is not a recognisable or familiar term. It further stated that the clarification of the request was also ambiguous but suggested that the complainant's actual line of enquiry may be about connectivity to the internet i.e. broadband networks, and had the request asked for copies of correspondence relating to broadband, then there may have been scope to have provided a more informative response. 


Scope of the case
11. The complainant contacted the Commissioner on 17 June 2016 to complain about the way her request for information had been handled.

12. In particular, she stated that it was a genuine matter of public interest to know how Wales compares to other parts of the UK in the provision of a vital method of communication - internet to its households. She added that she :
"...cannot believe that the Welsh Government does not have a single complaint on fite about the use of the Internet in Wales."

13. The complainant further added that the Welsh Government provided no section 16 help and assistance to define 'Wales internet - for households'and left out parts of her request.

14. The scope of the Commissioner's investigation is to consider whether the Welsh Government has complied with its obligations under section 1(1) of the FOIA in terms of its response regarding item A of the request, and whether its response in respect of items one to four complied wíth section 16(1).

Reasons for decision
Section 1 - general right of access to information held
received a response fo this question via a separate request for information..."

15. Section 1(1)(a) of the FOIA states:

"Any person making a request for information to a public authority, is entitled -
a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and
b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.'

16. However, the Welsh Government did not respond to part A of the complainant's request in its response of 11 May 2016. The Welsh Government therefore failed to comply with section 1(1) of the FOIA in respect of this item of the request.
Section 1(3)

17. Section 1(3) of the FOIA provides that where a public authority reasonably requires further information in order to identify and locate the requested information, and it requests this from the applicant, it need not comply with section 1 until further information is supplied. The Commissioner's approach is to expect the public authority to seek clarification of a request where its meaning is not clear or where its meaning is capable of more than one objective reading. 


18. The Commissioner notes that the Welsh Government did initially seek clarification of the request. However, even though it remained uncertain regarding the exact nature of the request following the complainant's clãrificat'lon, it issued its substantive response maintaining that it did not hold relevant information. 


19. Indeed, the Welsh Government itself stated in its internal review that the complainant's clarification was ambiguous as referred to in paragraph 10 of this notice. It further added that: 
" we don't hotd any information about the'Wales internet' so we couldn't therefore identify comptaints about it. Had your request asked for copies of correspondence received by the Welsh Government relating to, for example, broadband, then there may have been scope to provide a more informative response. White we can surmise, it was not clear exactly what information you were asking for"' 


Section 16 - advice and assistance
2O. Section 16(1) of the FOIA provides that a public authority should give advice and assistance to any person making an information request.

21. The Commissioner has no hesitation in concluding that, on an objective reading, the request was open to more than one interpretation. As the Welsh Government itself pointed out, the request could relate either to the'Wales internet'or connectivity to the internet i.e. broadband networks. The Commissioner considers that the Welsh Government should have clarified this with the complainant before it responded to her request.

22. By failing to give appropriate advice and assistance to the complainant, the Welsh Government breached section 16(1) of the FOIA.

23. Either party has the right to appeal against this decision notice to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights). Information about the appeals process may be obtained from:
First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) GRC & GRP Tribunals,
PO Box 9300,
LEICESTER,
LEl 8DJ

Email : GRC@hmcts.qsi.gov. uk
We bsite : www.j u stice. oov. u k/tri b u n a I s/g enera l - reg u latory- chamber
24. If you wish to appeal against a decision notice, you can obtain information on how to appeal along with the relevant forms from the Information Tribunal website.
25. Any Notice of Appeal should be served on the Tribunal within 28 (calendar) days of the date on which this decision notice is sent.
Signed
AW - 
Group Manager
 Information Commissioner's Office

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley,
 
You will recall the exchange of correspondence with regard to the above
FoI request.
 
One element of the request hung on the definition of ‘Wales internet’ and
the complaints we have received regarding it.
 
I would be grateful if you could consider below the definitions below and
respond outlining which if any most closely meet your requirements:
 

* Complaints about not being able to access the internet at home because
of a lack of broadband infrastructure
* Complaints about internet content i.e. violence, pornography
* Complaints about the speed of the internet service available at a
household
* Complaints about the time taken to rectify infrastructure problems
affecting an internet connection.

 
If none of the above apply I would be grateful if you could provide
further clarification.
 
Regards
 

Adam

 
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Adam ( Welsh Government),

Thank you for your reply.

I am interested complaints about service, rather than content.

I cannot know your filing system, so I have no idea of the amount of work needed to find the criteria given.

But presumably you have already scoped an estimate of the work before making your response so that it can be straightforwardly fulfilled.

So please contact me again if you have not done so and it looks like you need to reduce the workload of the three descriptions given in any way:

The three:

1. * Complaints about not being able to access the internet at home because
of a lack of broadband infrastructure

2. * Complaints about the speed of the internet service available at a
household

3. * Complaints about the time taken to rectify infrastructure problems
affecting an internet connection.

The point of the request is to find out how Wales - with its specific topography (.....and I understand how this can constrain services), is still without proper household internet services.

This time, I would therefore very much appreciate S16 help and assistance within the request.

Nb Your definition - broadband internet.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

:::::::::

The ICO Decision:

Decision (including any steps ordered)
1. The complainant has requested various items of information regarding the ‘Wales Internet’ including the number of complaints that the Welsh Government had received in the past year. The Welsh Government made one attempt to clarify with the complainant the nature of her request, however although it was still uncertain regarding the information she was seeking, it informed the complainant that it did not hold relevant information. 

2. The Commissioner has determined than, on an objective reading, the clarification provided by the complainant was open to more than one interpretation, and her approach to section 1(3) of the FOIA is that a public authority must seek clarification of a request whose meaning is not clear or is open to more than one objective reading. As the Welsh Government made no further attempt to clarify with the complainant which interpretation she intended, it has failed to comply with section 16(1) of the FOIA. The Welsh Government’s failure to respond to part A of the request also represents a breach of section 1(1) of the FOIA. 

3. The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation. 

• Issue a fresh response to the complainant after having clarified with her the exact nature of her request.
4. The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.

5. On 23 April 2016 the complainant wrote to the Welsh Government and requested the following information:
“A The number of households in Wales.
1. I would like to know how many households in Wales are connected to the Internet. 

2. How many complaints about the Wales’ Internet has the Welsh government received in the past year? 

3. From which counties – and also areas within counties – have these complaints originated? 

4. And the numbers from each county – and area within?” 

5. The Welsh Government contacted the complainant on 28 April 2016 to clarify her request, and in particular what she meant by ‘Wales internet’. On the same day, the complainant confirmed that she meant the following: 
“Definition: Wales internet system – provides Internet capability to people resident in Wales – referenced by the above definition. 
It’s owned by BT, with which the WG [Sic] has a contract, serviced by Openreach and customers have contracts with commercial companies such as BT Sky.” 

6. The Welsh Government sent its substantive response to the request on 11 May 2016 informing the complainant that she may wish to redirect question one of her request to Ofcom and in respect of items 2-4 confirming that it does not hold any relevant information. 

7. Following an internal review the Welsh Government wrote to the complainant on 13 June 2016. In relation to item A of the request, the Welsh Government confirmed the following: 
“...the omission of household data, part A of your original request was an error. Please accept our apologies for this. I understand you have received a response to this question via a separate request for information...” 

8. In respect of item one, it confirmed that its original reply that it does not hold the information, and its signpost to Ofcom was correct.

9. However, it further stated that it may also have been appropriate to have signposted the complainant to its National Survey for Wales and attached the relevant link.
10. In respect of items 2-4, the Welsh Government upheld its original response that it does not hold information. It added that the ‘Wales internet’ is not a recognisable or familiar term. It further stated that the clarification of the request was also ambiguous but suggested that the complainant’s actual line of enquiry may be about connectivity to the internet i.e. broadband networks, and had the request asked for copies of correspondence relating to broadband, then there may have been scope to have provided a more informative response.
Scope of the case
11. The complainant contacted the Commissioner on 17 June 2016 to complain about the way her request for information had been handled. 

12. In particular, she stated that it was a genuine matter of public interest to know how Wales compares to other parts of the UK in the provision of a vital method of communication – internet to its households. She added that she : 
“...cannot believe that the Welsh Government does not have a single complaint on file about the use of the Internet in Wales.” 

13. The complainant further added that the Welsh Government provided no section 16 help and assistance to define ‘Wales internet – for households’ and left out parts of her request. 

14. The scope of the Commissioner’s investigation is to consider whether the Welsh Government has complied with its obligations under section 1(1) of the FOIA in terms of its response regarding item A of the request, and whether its response in respect of items one to four complied with section 16(1). 


Reasons for decision
Section 1 – general right of access to information held
15. Section 1(1)(a) of the FOIA states:
“Any person making a request for information to a public authority, is entitled –


a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and
b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.”

16. However, the Welsh Government did not respond to part A of the complainant’s request in its response of 11 May 2016. The Welsh Government therefore failed to comply with section 1(1) of the FOIA in respect of this item of the request.
Section 1(3)
17. Section 1(3) of the FOIA provides that where a public authority reasonably requires further information in order to identify and locate the requested information, and it requests this from the applicant, it need not comply with section 1 until further information is supplied. The Commissioner’s approach is to expect the public authority to seek clarification of a request where its meaning is not clear or where its meaning is capable of more than one objective reading. 

18. The Commissioner notes that the Welsh Government did initially seek clarification of the request. However, even though it remained uncertain regarding the exact nature of the request following the complainant’s clarification, it issued its substantive response maintaining that it did not hold relevant information. 

19. Indeed, the Welsh Government itself stated in its internal review that the complainant’s clarification was ambiguous as referred to in paragraph 10 of this notice. It further added that: 
“ we don’t hold any information about the ‘Wales internet’ so we couldn’t therefore identify complaints about it. Had your request asked for copies of correspondence received by the Welsh Government relating to, for example, broadband, then there may have been scope to provide a more informative response. While we can surmise, it was not clear exactly what information you were asking for.” 

Section 16 – advice and assistance
20. Section 16(1) of the FOIA provides that a public authority should give advice and assistance to any person making an information request. 

21. The Commissioner has no hesitation in concluding that, on an objective reading, the request was open to more than one interpretation. As the Welsh Government itself pointed out, the request could relate either to the ‘Wales internet’ or connectivity to the internet i.e. broadband networks. The Commissioner considers that the Welsh Government should have clarified this with the complainant before it responded to her request.
22. By failing to give appropriate advice and assistance to the complainant, the Welsh Government breached section 16(1) of the FOIA.

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley,
 
Sorry, further clarification, by complaint do you mean formal complaints
received under our complaints procedure. Also, and my apologies if you
have confirmed this previously, are you looking at a specific timescale
i.e. in the last year?
 
I look forward to receiving your reply.
 
Adam
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Welsh Government,

I made a complaint to the ICO.
The ICO upheld my complaint.
Please comply with its advice.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

I understand you have now responded to the below to the FoI email address.
 
Just to clarify, I want to understand in relation to your request
regarding complaints about the internet do you mean complaints about the
internet received through the Welsh Government formal complaints
procedure. Also, over what timeframe?
 
Thanks
 
Adam
 
Dear Jt Oakley,
 
Sorry, further clarification, by complaint do you mean formal complaints
received under our complaints procedure. Also, and my apologies if you
have confirmed this previously, are you looking at a specific timescale
i.e. in the last year?
 
I look forward to receiving your reply.
 
Adam
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Welsh Government,

The request cannot be re-made.

Please now correspond with the ICO for further information if you do not understand what a decision is ....and why you must comply with it.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley
 
Thank you for your further response. 
 
You will recall that paragraph three of the Decision Notice required Welsh
Government to:
 
“Issue a fresh response to the complainant after having clarified with her
the exact nature of her request”.
 
In complying with that Notice I am seeking clarification from you of the
exact information you are seeking; is the information you require solely
in relation to formal complaints received through our complaints process.
I am unable to do this from the wording of your original request.
 
I have contacted you twice today as follows requesting clarification:
 
Dear Jt Oakley,
 
Sorry, further clarification, by complaint do you mean formal complaints
received under our complaints procedure. Also, and my apologies if you
have confirmed this previously, are you looking at a specific timescale
i.e. in the last year?
 
I look forward to receiving your reply.
 
Adam
 
 
I understand you have now responded to the below to the FoI email address.
 
Just to clarify, I want to understand in relation to your request
regarding complaints about the internet do you mean complaints about the
internet received through the Welsh Government formal complaints
procedure. Also, over what timeframe?
 
Thanks
 
Adam
 
I would be grateful if you could clarify at your earliest convenience.
 
Regards
 
Adam
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Butcher, Adam (ESNR-ICT Infrastructure)
Sent: 18 January 2017 09:48
To: '[FOI #330350 email]'
Subject: RE: Freedom of information request - ATISN 10404
 
 
I understand you have now responded to the below to the FoI email address.
 
Just to clarify, I want to understand in relation to your request
regarding complaints about the internet do you mean complaints about the
internet received through the Welsh Government formal complaints
procedure. Also, over what timeframe?
 
Thanks
 
Adam
 
Dear Jt Oakley,
 
Sorry, further clarification, by complaint do you mean formal complaints
received under our complaints procedure. Also, and my apologies if you
have confirmed this previously, are you looking at a specific timescale
i.e. in the last year?
 
I look forward to receiving your reply.
 
Adam
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Welsh Government,

Please just read the request and make your response

On it has had a Decision by the ICO, you must go back to the ICO if you wish to dispute it.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley
 
I can confirm that Welsh Government is not trying to re-make your request
- the Decision Notice from the Information Commissioner required Welsh
Government to “Issue a fresh response to the complainant after having
clarified with her the exact nature of her request”. We are trying to
clarify the nature of your request.
 
You have requested information about complaints received by Welsh
Government regarding the Wales Internet in the past year. Whilst we have
clarified the definition of ‘Wales internet’, we are still unclear over
other elements of your request and require further clarification.
 
In terms of ‘past year’, and as your request was received April 23 2016,
can you confirm if you require information for the whole of 2015,  if you
require it for the time period April 23 2015 – April 23 2016, or if you
have a different time frame in mind?
 
The noun ‘Complaint’ can be defined as “A statement that something is
unsatisfactory or unacceptable”. Can you confirm that by ‘complaint’ you
are in fact seeking all such statements that have been received by Welsh
Government in your specified timeframe? If so, then from my preliminary
assessment I estimate that it will cost more than the appropriate limit
set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to answer your request.  This is because
we would need to interrogate each piece of correspondence that we have
received regarding the broadband contract within the stated timeframe to
ascertain whether it contains expressions of dissatisfaction. The
appropriate limit specified for central government is £600. This
represents the estimated cost of it taking over 24 hours of time to
determine whether we hold the information and to thereafter locate,
retrieve and extract it. 
 
In order to avoid breaching the appropriate limit, you may wish to refine
your request by narrowing its scope by being more specific about what
information you particularly wish to obtain. As per my previous
correspondence, if the definition of ‘complaint’ is limited to those
complaints that have been received via the Welsh Government’s official
complaints procedure then we would be able to process your request without
exceeding the appropriate limit. Alternately, you may have a different
definition in mind.
 
Regards
 
Adam
 
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ffôn/phone: 03000 258852
Ffôn symudol/mobile: 07837 000378
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Welsh Government,

I have already sent a reply. But it seems to have got lost. Thefore apologies to f this s the second reply you receive.

::

Dear Adam Butcher

Thank you for your reply.

Please conform to the FOIA request.

The date period is already stated in the request

Therefore please do not ask me to change the date - to any of your own choosing.

:::

Thank you for your explanation of what a noun is - and how it might be applied.

Fortunately I am already aware of the grammatical concept....as I am of adjectives and prepositions.

However, that does not get us any further.

:::

I am interested complaints about service, rather than content.

However, I CANNOT know your filing system, so I have no idea of the amount of work needed to find the criteria given.

But presumably you have already scoped an estimate of the work before making your response - so that it can be straightforwardly fulfilled. I would therefore suggest that you give me S16 help and assistance and be more explicit as to the categories of complaints that you hold since your Response has altered from being :

1. Not one single complaint held

To ....

2. The work is above the cost limit.

The three categories:

1. * Complaints about not being able to access the internet at home because of a lack of broadband infrastructure

2. * Complaints about the speed of the internet service available at a
household

3. * Complaints about the time taken to rectify infrastructure problems
affecting an internet connection.

However, you have not given any specific guidance of the criteria involved in your scoping exercise therefore I cannot be more specific without knowing exactly how complaints are filed, so I can narrow the request.

The point of the request is to find out how Wales - with its specific topography (.....and I understand how this can constrain services), is still without proper household internet services.

This time, I would therefore very much appreciate S16 help and assistance within the request.

Nb Your definition - broadband internet.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Dear Welsh Government,

FYI

This is the previous response that seems to be absent from the WDTK site.

Please do not confuse the matter once again by offering alternative dates and therefore appearing to seek to delay the response any longer.

I have previously asked you not to change my request to one of your own choosing and this includes the date of the request.

* As previously stated, I have provided a clarification - as requested - as to the scope, including title and the contents of my request.

Therefore the request date of April 23, 2015 is the date germain to the FOIA -as you should now be well aware.

::::

In addition, now it appears that having managed to understand the term 'household internet', you are now seeking a definition of the word 'complaint' .

I would remind you that I am not privy to WG files. Neither is any other requester. Therefore it cannot be presumed that I have any idea how complaints data is filed, or how to narrow my request without some basic and intelligible information.

And since the WG seemed to be previously stating that 'no complaints' were received on the request matter at all, clearly you will have to describe what types of data is available - before seemingly now turning down the request on grounds of excessive data being available.

For the response has changed from of 'no complaints data on file' rto a scenario where presumably a S12 ( as I note that you have not stated the application of any Section to the request ) status - where is too much data involved. And therefore you need not respond.

You have also not provided the cost basis in your reply of the Section 12 application ( ?) in your reply.

:::

Please understand that you have S16 duty to help and assist a requester, instead of merely disabusing a request by offering NO explanation of how WG files record complaints - so that the request can be narrowed if need be.

Please therefore clearly state the complaint data alternatives to which you refer.

I await the prompt response - within the correct timeframe - before referring back to the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley,
 
I refer to our previous correspondence on this matter.
 
As we have explained in our previous correspondence, our obligation under
the ICO’s decision notice is to “Issue a fresh response to the complainant
having clarified with her the exact nature of her request”. We cannot
issue a fresh response until we have clarified the exact information that
you require.
 
We have explained that the word ‘complaint’ can have more than one
interpretation. On the one hand it can mean formal complaints about
broadband infrastructure (the definition of which we set out and described
as ‘broadband internet’ in previous correspondence)  that have been
handled under the Welsh Government’s complaint process, whilst on the
other a ‘complaint’ can refer to any statement we have received that
expresses dissatisfaction over the broadband contract.
 
We have provided advice and assistance on the different considerations
that would be relevant to take into account depending on the particular
definition of ‘complaint’ that is applied. The considerations associated
with these two definitions are set out below:
 
1) Formal complaints about the broadband contract handled under the Welsh
Government’s complaint process
 
The Welsh Government holds a central record for formal complaints that
have been received about  broadband infrastructure. As we have explained
previously, we could answer your request with reference to the information
held on that central record if this is the information that you require. 
 
2) Any statement that the Welsh Government has received which expresses
dissatisfaction over the broadband contract.
 
If this is the information that you require, the Welsh Government can
undertake a search for the recorded information that we hold. This is
because such expressions of dissatisfaction could have been received by
Welsh Government in any piece of correspondence over the stated time
frame. Such complaints are not categorised or separately filed and, in
order to ascertain if a piece of correspondence expressed any
dissatisfaction about  broadband infrastructure, we would need to
interrogate each piece of correspondence that we have received regarding
broadband infrastructure. As the request captures correspondence received
by Welsh Government as a whole, it is also possible that such a comment
could have been made in correspondence not directly related to the
broadband contract.
 
I note your comments regarding our section 16 obligation to provide advice
and assistance and the fact that you are not aware of our filing system. I
can confirm that other than the formal complaints files, there is no
central filing system which records expressions of dissatisfaction.
 
We believe this cross Welsh Government approach would clearly exceed the
appropriate time limit for responding to enquiries . Even limiting the
request to those complaints received by the division managing the
broadband contract would necessitate a search of all correspondence we
have received – as explained above, there is no central or dedicated
filing system for correspondence of this type. A preliminary search has
identified over 2800 individual documents and emails which could
potentially contain an expression of dissatisfaction about the broadband
contract and so each would need to be interrogated individually. In a
sampling exercise, the time taken to interrogate 28 of these documents of
these documents took 20 minutes. Interrogating 2000 would take 24 hours,
meaning to go through the whole of the information would clearly exceed
the appropriate limit.
 
We would be grateful if you could clarify which interpretation of
‘complaint’ you would like us to apply in order that we may take forward
your request.
 
Regards
 
Adam
 
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Welsh Government,

Contract

Thank you - but I do not understand the context of the word 'contract' in your response.

My understanding ( and indeed I had presumed to be the scope of this request) Is that the public complain about about their inability to receive be internet broadband.

Therefore who are the parties to the 'contract' in your reply?

And why is this particular contract germain to my request?

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley,
 
In my most recent correspondence the references to ‘broadband contract’
should read ‘broadband infrastructure’. Sorry for any confusion caused.
 
Adam
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ffôn/phone: 03000 258852
Ffôn symudol/mobile: 07837 000378
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Welsh Government,

Thank you for your correction.

But I've referred the matter back to the ICO -as I cannot understand the context of your replies.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) Decision notice
19 December 2016
Welsh Assembly Government Cathays Park
Cardiff CF10 3NQ

Decision (including any steps ordered)

1. The complainant has requested various items of information regarding the ‘Wales Internet’ including the number of complaints that the Welsh Government had received in the past year. The Welsh Government made one attempt to clarify with the complainant the nature of her request, however although it was still uncertain regarding the information she was seeking, it informed the complainant that it did not hold relevant information. 

2. The Commissioner has determined than, on an objective reading, the clarification provided by the complainant was open to more than one interpretation, and her approach to section 1(3) of the FOIA is that a public authority must seek clarification of a request whose meaning is not clear or is open to more than one objective reading. As the Welsh Government made no further attempt to clarify with the complainant which interpretation she intended, it has failed to comply with section 16(1) of the FOIA. The Welsh Government’s failure to respond to part A of the request also represents a breach of section 1(1) of the FOIA. 

3. The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation. 

• Issue a fresh response to the complainant after having clarified with her the exact nature of her request.

4. The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.

5. On 23 April 2016 the complainant wrote to the Welsh Government and requested the following information:
“A The number of households in Wales.
1. I would like to know how many households in Wales are connected to the Internet. 

2. How many complaints about the Wales’ Internet has the Welsh government received in the past year? 

3. From which counties – and also areas within counties – have these complaints originated? 

4. And the numbers from each county – and area within?” 

5. The Welsh Government contacted the complainant on 28 April 2016 to clarify her request, and in particular what she meant by ‘Wales internet’. On the same day, the complainant confirmed that she meant the following: 
“Definition: Wales internet system – provides Internet capability to people resident in Wales – referenced by the above definition. 
It’s owned by BT, with which the WG [Sic] has a contract, serviced by Openreach and customers have contracts with commercial companies such as BT Sky.” 

6. The Welsh Government sent its substantive response to the request on 11 May 2016 informing the complainant that she may wish to redirect question one of her request to Ofcom and in respect of items 2-4 confirming that it does not hold any relevant information. 

7. Following an internal review the Welsh Government wrote to the complainant on 13 June 2016. In relation to item A of the request, the Welsh Government confirmed the following: 
“...the omission of household data, part A of your original request was an error. Please accept our apologies for this. I understand you have received a response to this question via a separate request for information...” 

8. In respect of item one, it confirmed that its original reply that it does not hold the information, and its signpost to Ofcom was correct. However, it further stated that it may also have been appropriate to have signposted

the complainant to its National Survey for Wales and attached the relevant link.
10. In respect of items 2-4, the Welsh Government upheld its original response that it does not hold information. It added that the ‘Wales internet’ is not a recognisable or familiar term. It further stated that the clarification of the request was also ambiguous but suggested that the complainant’s actual line of enquiry may be about connectivity to the internet i.e. broadband networks, and had the request asked for copies of correspondence relating to broadband, then there may have been scope to have provided a more informative response.
Scope of the case
11. The complainant contacted the Commissioner on 17 June 2016 to complain about the way her request for information had been handled. 

12. In particular, she stated that it was a genuine matter of public interest to know how Wales compares to other parts of the UK in the provision of a vital method of communication – internet to its households. She added that she : 
“...cannot believe that the Welsh Government does not have a single complaint on file about the use of the Internet in Wales.” 

13. The complainant further added that the Welsh Government provided no section 16 help and assistance to define ‘Wales internet – for households’ and left out parts of her request. 

14. The scope of the Commissioner’s investigation is to consider whether the Welsh Government has complied with its obligations under section 1(1) of the FOIA in terms of its response regarding item A of the request, and whether its response in respect of items one to four complied with section 16(1). 

Reasons for decision
Section 1 – general right of access to information held
15. Section 1(1)(a) of the FOIA states:
“Any person making a request for information to a public authority, is entitled –

a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and
b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.”

16. However, the Welsh Government did not respond to part A of the complainant’s request in its response of 11 May 2016. The Welsh Government therefore failed to comply with section 1(1) of the FOIA in respect of this item of the request.
Section 1(3)
17. Section 1(3) of the FOIA provides that where a public authority reasonably requires further information in order to identify and locate the requested information, and it requests this from the applicant, it need not comply with section 1 until further information is supplied. The Commissioner’s approach is to expect the public authority to seek clarification of a request where its meaning is not clear or where its meaning is capable of more than one objective reading. 

18. The Commissioner notes that the Welsh Government did initially seek clarification of the request. However, even though it remained uncertain regarding the exact nature of the request following the complainant’s clarification, it issued its substantive response maintaining that it did not hold relevant information. 

19. Indeed, the Welsh Government itself stated in its internal review that the complainant’s clarification was ambiguous as referred to in paragraph 10 of this notice. It further added that: 
“ we don’t hold any information about the ‘Wales internet’ so we couldn’t therefore identify complaints about it. Had your request asked for copies of correspondence received by the Welsh Government relating to, for example, broadband, then there may have been scope to provide a more informative response. While we can surmise, it was not clear exactly what information you were asking for.” 

Section 16 – advice and assistance
20. Section 16(1) of the FOIA provides that a public authority should give advice and assistance to any person making an information request. 

21. The Commissioner has no hesitation in concluding that, on an objective reading, the request was open to more than one interpretation. As the Welsh Government itself pointed out, the request could relate either to the ‘Wales internet’ or connectivity to the internet i.e. broadband networks. The Commissioner considers that the Welsh Government 

should have clarified this with the complainant before it responded to her request.
22. By failing to give appropriate advice and assistance to the complainant, the Welsh Government breached section 16(1) of the FOIA.

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Welsh Government

Dear Jt Oakley,
 
As you are aware, the Welsh Government is in receipt of the Information
Commissioner's Decision Notice FS50634101 regarding our handling of your
request (ATISN 10404). The Notice required the Welsh Government to “Issue
a fresh response to the complainant after having clarified with her the
exact nature of her request”. 
 
As the wording of your request was unclear we sought to clarify the exact
information that you require. We have provided you with advice and
assistance on the different considerations that would be relevant to take
into account depending on the definition of ‘complaint’ that is applied to
your request.
 
Despite repeated attempts to provide advice and assistance, we have been
unable to clarify exactly what information you are seeking. Accordingly,
we are unable to  take your request any further.
 
We are, however, able to provide you with the information we hold that we
have successfully identified. This consists of the number of formal
complaints received about the broadband infrastructure handled under the
Welsh Government’s complaint process during the stated timeframe.
 
2. How many complaints about the Wales' Internet has the Welsh government
received in the past year?
 
I can confirm that the Welsh Government has received three complaints in
the past year.
 
3. From which counties  - and also areas within counties -  have these
complaints originated?
 
4. And the numbers from each county - and area within?
 
Carmarthenshire 1 complaint (from Bancyfelin)
Gwynedd 1 complaint (from Blaenau Ffestiniog)
Wrexham 1 complaint (from Redbrook Maelor)
 
If you remain dissatisfied with this response you also have the right to
complain to the Information Commissioner at: 
 
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
Tel: 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510
Email: [email address]
 
Also, if you think that there has been maladministration in dealing with
your request, you have the option to make a complaint to the Public
Services Ombudsman for Wales who can be contacted at:
 
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
Pencoed
Bridgend
CF35 5LJ 
 
Telephone: 0845 6010987 (local rate)
Email: [email address]
 
Regards
 
Adam
 
Adam Butcher
Yr Adran Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth
Department for Economy, Science & Transport
Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Ebost/Email:[email address]
Defnyddiwr iShare/iShare user
Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a byddwn yn ymateb i unrhyw
ohebiaeth a gaiff ei derbyn yn y Gymraeg. Ni fydd gohebu â ni yn y Gymraeg
yn arwain at unrhyw oedi.
 
Correspondence in Welsh is welcomed and we will respond to any
correspondence received in Welsh. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to
any delay.
Dylai'r datganiadau neu'r sylwadau uchod gael eu trin fel rhai personol ac
nid o reidrwydd fel datganiadau neu sylwadau gan Gynulliad Cenedlaethol
Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff sy'n gysylltiedig ag ef.
Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as
personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any
constituent part or connected body.
 
 
 
On leaving the Government Secure Intranet this email was certified virus
free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored
and/or recorded for legal purposes.
Wrth adael Mewnrwyd Ddiogel y Llywodraeth nid oedd unrhyw feirws yn
gysylltiedig â’r neges hon. Mae’n ddigon posibl y bydd unrhyw ohebiaeth
drwy’r GSi yn cael ei logio, ei monitro a/neu ei chofnodi yn awtomatig am
resymau cyfreithiol.

Dear Welsh Government,

Thank you but please could you specify the criteria that you have applied to the request more fully, as I cannot understand how three complaints can take over 24 hours to count. Or more than an entire day to find.

Particularly as no help and assistance as to why the 24 hours could be reduced - by your previous definitions.

You will recall that you asked me to define the application of the word 'complaint' .

How exactly are complaints filed?
Where are they filed ...
What references are attached when they are received for easy retrieval?
And how can the term 'complain' or ' complaint' be located with regard to the term 'internet' or 'internet broadband' be tracked?

This is the sort of information which I would consider would be helpful - and would have assisted me to refine the request.

You will also notice that I have stated in my request that I do not require a letter of response - which is what you have provided...... as your letter of response could not have existed as data when the request was made, and within the time period specified. The request clearly specifies The original data on file.

You stated:

' then from my preliminary
assessment I estimate that it will cost more than the appropriate limit
set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to answer your request. This is because
we would need to interrogate each piece of correspondence that we have
received regarding the broadband contract within the stated timeframe to
ascertain whether it contains expressions of dissatisfaction. The
appropriate limit specified for central government is £600. This
represents the estimated cost of it taking over 24 hours of time to
determine whether we hold the information and to thereafter locate,
retrieve and extract it.

In order to avoid breaching the appropriate limit, you may wish to refine
your request by narrowing its scope by being more specific about what
information you particularly wish to obtain. As per my previous
correspondence, if the definition of ‘complaint’ is limited to those
complaints that have been received via the Welsh Government’s official
complaints procedure then we would be able to process your request without
exceeding the appropriate limit. Alternately, you may have a different
definition in mind.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

The response states - ' the last year'

The request was clearly dated from the date it was made - and confirmation given.

The request would logically include any petitions ...and therefore the number of petitioners would be counted as complaints, rather than a single petition.

Dear Welsh Government,

FYI - complaints ennumerared from my own MP regarding the time period:

'I can confirm we contacted the Minister for Skills and Science on 13 occasions during the period you mentioned below. The majority of representations we have made to the Minister on behalf of constituents has been after the end of April 2016, with a total of 46 times' .

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Petition of 60 complaints -

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssue...

Petition wording:
Superfast Cymru is coming to the Maerdy Exchange but will we get an improved service?  Some locations will not benefit at all because they are too far from the cab and the cable is aluminium which does not conduct broadband properly.  The real answer is a cab in the village.  Please sign to support this petition.
 
Petition raised by: Geraint and Jane Evans
Date petition first considered by Committee: TBC
Number of signatures: 60 – Paper Petition

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documen...

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Dear Welsh Government,

It has been over four weeks over my request for for a review.

Do you intend to respond to it or not?

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Welsh Government

1 Attachment

Please see attached correspondence.
Thanks
Richard Sewell
Dirpwy Cyfarwyddwr ¦ Deputy Director
Is-adran Isadeiledd TGCh ¦ ICT Infrastructure Division
Economi ac Isadeiledd ¦ Economy and Infrastructure
Llywodraeth Cymru ¦ Welsh Government
Ffôn ¦ Tel: 030 0025 8866
 
 
 
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