WDTK’s automatic reminders are ‘unhelpful’ - ICO.

Waiting for an internal review by Information Commissioner's Office of their handling of this request.

Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

The ICO has stated :

‘What Do They Know are unhelpful in prompting people to request a review if a response is late.

’ I can appreciate that this can confuse the issue somewhat’.

Yours sincerely
ICO

==

My request:

Please provide data on file:

Reasoning:

1. To clear up the ‘confusion‘, as stated, on the legal time limits for requests.

2. Why wdtk’s automatic request date reminders are considered ‘ unhelpful’ by the ICO.

3. The number of times a requester can - or has to - CONTINUE to ask for reviews, after the initial review has received a negative response ( Ie ‘There is no data on file’).

A Could you please provide data on file that states why wdtk are ‘unhelpful’ in providing an automatic responses, when organisations fail to response within the legal time limit of 21 working days?
- And has wdtk been informed that its automatic reminders are wrong?

B Has the initial time limit been extended, or can the ICO override the Act ....at its discretion, so leaving the working day time limit redundant?

C And once a request has been put into review and the review received a reply, is this considered a reply to the requested review - or to the original request ....so that a second review request has to be made.

D How many reviews can a requester request?

- C/D being especially difficult ....to avoid becoming considered vexatious for asking for two reviews.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Information Access Inbox, Information Commissioner's Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
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If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
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Information Commissioner's Office

1 Attachment

4th December 2019

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0892073

 

Dear JT Oakley,

Thank you for your recent request for information. We received your
request on 20 November 2019 and we are now in a position to respond.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
  
Request
 
In your request you asked:
 
Dear Information Commissioner's Office, The ICO has stated: ‘What Do They
Know are unhelpful in prompting people to request a review if a response
is late. I can appreciate that this can confuse the issue somewhat. Yours
sincerely ICO 
 
My request:
 
Please provide data on file:
 
Reasoning:
 
1. To clear up the ‘confusion’, as stated, on the legal time limits for
requests.
2. Why wdtk’s automatic request date reminders are considered ‘unhelpful’
by the ICO.
3. The number of times a requester can - or has to - CONTINUE to ask for
reviews, after the initial review has received a negative response ( Ie
‘There is no data on file’).
 
A Could you please provide data on file that states why wdtk are
‘unhelpful’ in providing an automatic responses, when organisations fail
to response within the legal time limit of 21 working days? - And has wdtk
been informed that its automatic reminders are wrong?
 
B Has the initial time limit been extended, or can the ICO override the
Act ....at its discretion, so leaving the working day time limit
redundant?
 
C And once a request has been put into review and the review received a
reply, is this considered a reply to the requested review - or to the
original request ....so that a second review request has to be made.
 
D How many reviews can a requester request? –
 
C/D being especially difficult ....to avoid becoming considered vexatious
for asking for two reviews.
 
Response
 
We can confirm that we hold some information in scope of your request.
 
In relation to (A) the ICO met with MySociety, which operates the
WhatDoTheyKnow website, on 23 January 2019 to discuss the issue of
internal review requests for section 10 (time for compliance) reviews.
Please find attached the minutes taken from this meeting.
 
MySociety has recently made some changes to the website which may be of
interest to you. They have published a blog about how to proceed when a
request is overdue here:
 
[1]https://www.mysociety.org/2019/12/02/whe...
 
In relation to (B) (C) and (D) we consider these enquiries about the
legislation we regulate, rather than requests for recorded information. As
we’ve advised you previously, we do respond to questions like this, but
not through WDTK. If you have questions we would encourage you to contact
our Advice Service helpline on 0330 123 1113 or via email at
[2][email address]. Alternatively, if you have raised an FOI complaint
with our FOI Complaints Department, a case officer will be able to provide
you more advice.
 
However, we hope the attached information and the associated MySociety
blog post will assist with any confusion you may feel about when may be
best to request an internal review from a public authority, and the
difference between a review in respect of timeliness (section 10) as
opposed to a review of a substantive response.

This concludes our response to your request. We hope the information
provided is helpful.
 
Review Procedure
 
However, if you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to request a
review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been
handled you can write to the Information Access Team at the address below
or e-mail [3][ICO request email].
 
Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response.  Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.
 
If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation. To make such an application, please write
to our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act.
 
A copy of our [4]review procedure can be accessed from our website.

Yours sincerely
 

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Service
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 313 1636  F. 01625 524510  [5]ico.org.uk  [6]twitter.com/iconews
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Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Information Commissioner's Office's handling of my FOI request 'WDTK’s automatic reminders are ‘unhelpful’ - ICO.'.

Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

The request :

The ICO has stated :

‘What Do They Know are unhelpful in prompting people to request a review if a response is late.

’ I can appreciate that this can confuse the issue somewhat’.

Yours sincerely
ICO
==
Review:

The meeting data returned was dated January, 2019.

The comment made by the ICO was made in early December 2019.

Therefore there must STILL be issues with wdtk as the which the ICO still considers it ‘unhelpful’.

My request:
Please provide data on file:
Reasoning:
1. To clear up the ‘confusion‘, as stated, on the legal time limits for requests.

- The ICO seems to be stating that organisations should be given extra time over the legal 21 days.

- Is this now the case, as the data returned seems to suggest that the ICO can extend the 21 day legal date, as it wishes?

2. Why wdtk’s automatic request date reminders are considered ‘ unhelpful’ by the ICO.

- The data of the January meeting returned seems to suggest that wdtk does not give reminders. ...It does.

- And any ICO employee investigating a complaint, with wdtk given as the reference, would be able to see this.

- The logical conclusion is that ICO employees do not have access to wdtk when a complainant refers it within a complaint on wdtk.

- Could it therefore be confirmed that employees CAN access wdtk during complaint investigations?

3. The number of times a requester can - or has to - CONTINUE to ask for reviews, after the initial review has received a negative response ( Ie ‘There is no data on file’).

- How many times does a requester have to request a review - by law?

- The ICO now seems to be suggesting that complainants go on to make a request for a review two, or three times, to the organisation - before it is considered that they have not replied, or given a review. And therefore it can investigate a complaint.

- Could the ICO confirm how many times the requester has to ask for a review before it will accept a complaint?

A Could you please provide data on file that states why wdtk are ‘unhelpful’ in providing an automatic responses, when organisations fail to response within the legal time limit of 21 working days?

- Has wdtk been informed that its automatic reminders are wrong?

- Has there been any communication between the ICO and wdtk pointing out WHY it is ‘unhelpful’ after last January?

- Because if the only data on file is that provided to this request , how would wdtk KNOW it’s website is ‘unhelpful’.
Surely there must be more communication on file?

- As Wdtk can hardly be made aware of its continuing ‘ unhelpfulness’ if it is unaware that it is.
Other than employees telling complainants that it is ..and complainants passing on the criticism to wdtk.

- As the point of meetings is to sort out issues, could you please check to see if anything was done to alert wdtk to its ‘unhelpfulness’ after last January?

B Has the initial time limit been extended, or can the ICO override the Act ....at its discretion, so leaving the 21 working day time limit redundant?

- The meeting data supplied I’d not relevant to this issue.

- Do the ICO’s internal policy decisions on response dares now override FOIA law?

- I am requesting a change of internal policy decision, since this seems to be the current case.

C And once a request has been put into review and the review received a reply, is this considered a reply to the requested review - or to the original request ....so that a second review request has to be made.

D How many reviews can a requester request?
- C/D being especially difficult ....to avoid becoming considered vexatious for asking for two reviews.

- Please clarify how many times a complainant has to ask for a review.

And the number of days between first, second and possibly third requests....to complete the review process.

Yours faithfully,
Jt Oakley

=

For clarification.

Could you please out this data in English, without acronyms, for public use?

Thankyou,
==

Internal reviews on s10 cases 
  VP/SOC clarified that in cases of non-response, requesters are not required 
to obtain an internal review before coming to the ICO. If IR is requested for 
non-response it gives a PA another 40 working days, in which time the ICO 
could have dealt with the non-compliance. 
  If a response is subsequently provided and the requester complains to the 
ICO we will ask them to request an IR of the substantive response, but at 
present requester believes they have already completed IR process - may 
be negative/frustrating experience for requesters. 
  ICO would prefer WDTK to offer a chaser email to confirm receipt and 
remind PA of duty to respond.   
  LC confirmed that WDTK should be able to change non-response prompts to 
chase the PA and then complain to ICO, rather than prompt to request IR.  
  SOC said it is helpful when requesters explain to PA why they are 
requesting IR as it gives the PA something to address.  Also technically 
required under EIR. 
  LC confirmed that it may be possible to prompt requesters to include 
grounds for dissatisfaction during the request for IR.  

A 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

Information Access Inbox, Information Commissioner's Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/our-inf...

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days. 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

For information about what we do with personal data see our [2]privacy
notice.

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Yours sincerely

The Information Commissioner’s Office

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter can be found
[3]here.

Twitter

Find us on Twitter [4]here.

 

References

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Information Commissioner's Office

9 December 2019

 

Case Reference Number RCC0896158

 

Dear JT Oakley,

I write in response to your email of 4 December 2019, in which you request
a review of our response to your information request (our reference:
IRQ0892073).

This review has been set up under the new reference number above. We will
be in contact within 20 working days from the date of your request, which
is 7 January 2020.  
 
Yours sincerely

Shannon Keith
Senior Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office
 

Information Commissioner's Office

7 January 2020

 

Case Reference Number RCC0896158

 

Dear J Oakley

Review of response to information request
 
I write further to your message of 4 December, sent via
WhatDoTheyKnow.com. This requests an internal review of our handling of
our response to your request of 20 November and which we handled under the
reference number IRQ0892073.
 
I have reviewed our handling of the above request but find that our
response was the appropriate one to provide to you.
 
The only information falling within the scope of your request was the copy
of the meeting note provided.
 
The changes made by WhatDoTheyKnow.com are relatively recent, indeed the
blog advising of the changes was published on 2 December.
 
The ICO comment you refer to – which I have not seen – was made before
these changes came in to effect, according to the information that you
have provided.
 
I can confirm therefore that no further information falls within the scope
of your request. We hold no further correspondence or meeting notes on
this matter.
 
I note that you have complained about the use of abbreviations in the
meeting note. However, I believe that, given the context, it is not
necessary to explain what abbreviations such as “ICO” and “WDTK” stand
for, nor FOI or EIR. While the initials of the attendees (“SOC, LT”) are
used in the note, it is a simple matter to correlate these to the full
description of the name of attendees which is provided in the note.

Complaint procedure
 
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this review you can make a
formal complaint with the ICO in its capacity as the regulator of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please follow the link below to submit
your complaint:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/concerns/

Yours sincerely
 
 

Danny Langley
Information Access Service Manager
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 414 6784  F. 01625 524510  [2]ico.org.uk  [3]twitter.com/iconews
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Dear Information Commissioner's Office,

Thank you.

But that’s a very personal response , rather than a Freedom of Information one.

Q. HOW would you know the acronyms that I know, or I don’t know?

....Unless you are stating that you can read my mind.

As you seem to be stating that you have that specific talent.

Can you confirm, or deny please?

...Or please address me in less personal terms and stick to a professional FOIA response.

===

But please note.. this is a request that the general PUBLIC can read.

And it is displayed on wdtk, on an internet site for that reason.

It will come up every time a member of the public Google’s the subject.

So my request was for the clarification of your terms, some internal.

Which really doesn’t seem to much to ask.

So isn't that a tad arrogant to assume that all members of the public understand your business?

Kindly provide a professional review and not one intended to demean a requesting individual.

Yours faithfully,

Jt Oakley

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

The request was made to determine WHY the Information Commissioner’s Office was stating wdtk’s autimatic relies were unhelpful.

This would potentially affect anyone making a request and following FoI timescales it by reminders.

The assumption by the ICO was that I knew all the terms in the Information Commissioner’s Office reponse.

I didn’t.

And I didn't expect all wdtk users to know them either.

My observation is that the Information Commissioner’s Office must Be embarrassed about dissing wdtk’s system and so have answered this as a ‘personal’ letter, rather than giving me a proper FOIA review.