February 2009 Archives

Another 12 weeks wasted in the Information Commissioner's Office complaints queue:

The original FOIA request was made back on Wednesday 14th November 2007

23rd February 2009
CASE REFERENCE NUMBER FS50198733
Dear XXX
We last wrote to you on 25 November 2008 about the Freedom of
Information Act complaint you made to the Information Commissioner.
This complaint concerns the request you made to the Home Office on 14
November 2007. This request concerns the number of authorisations
under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Your case remains in the queue of Team 2 (Police and Justice).
Please accept my apologies for the delays that you are experiencing.

The ICO allocated a case number to this complaint back on Tue, 06 May 2008

The Freedom of Information Act is not working properly !

Your case will be allocated when it reaches the front of our queue
and a Complaints Officer has capacity to investigate it in full
detail. We are unfortunately unable to provide updates about either
the content or progress of your case until it is allocated.
I will write to you every twelve weeks prior to allocation and a
Complaints Officer will write to you to inform you when your case is
allocated.
I hope this email is clear and helpful.
Yours sincerely
David McNeil

Complaints Officer

THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE.
____________________________________________________________________

The ICO's vision is a society where information rights and
responsibilities are respected by all.
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__________________________________________________________________
http://www.ico.gov.uk or email: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510

The Information Tribunal, re-constituted after the previous one was overruled by the High Court, on the grounds of Parliamentary Privilege, has yet again ruled in favour of the publication of the the by now very out of date, but still important, Office of Government Commerce Gateway Reviews into the early stages of the Home Office's controversial ID cards Programme and centralised biometric database.

Information Tribunal Appeal Number: EA/2006/0068 & EA/2006/0080 Information Commissioner's Ref: FS50070196 & FS50132936 (.pdf)

JUDGMENT

The Tribunal upholds the Decision of the Information Commissioner in his Decision Notice dated 31 July 2006 and orders the disclosure of the two Gateway Reports there set out save that the names of all other parties to the said Reports, both interviewees and reviewers, be redacted and/or deleted, the said disclosure to take place within 28 days of the promulgation of this Decision.

i.e. publication by the 19th March 2009.

If the OGC does not appeal against this Judgment again, thereby wasting even more public money, given the forensic detail in which the legal issues have been examined, multiple times now,, it will be over 4 years since the initial Freedom of Information Act request.

N.B. it is what is not included in these reports, which may prove to be as interesting as what they actually do say.

Thr OGC's claim that they do not operate a blanket ban on disclosure of Gateway Reviews, is rather contradicted by the evidence of their senior witnesses, which showed that not a single Gateway Review had ever been disclosed to the public.

As a follow up to the Spy Blog article

Where are all the Home Office press releases ? 177 spin doctors but only 5 press releases a week ?

another WhatDoTheyKnow.com FOIA request has been submitted to the Home Office:

Press Office output for week of Mon 9th Feb 2009

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog has been spawned from Spy Blog, and is meant to provide a place to track our Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to United Kingdom Government and other Public Authorities.

If you have suggestions for other FOIA requests,  bearing in mind the large list of exemptions, then email them to us, or use the comments facility on this blog, and we will see  what we can do, without you yourself having to come under the direct scrutiny of  "Sir Humphrey Appleby" or his minions.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog @spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

WhatDoTheyKnow.com

WhatDoTheyKnow.com - FOIA request submission and publication website from MySociety.org

Campaign Buttons

cfoi_150.jpg
Campaign for the Freedom of Information

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

irrepressible_banner_03.gif
Amnesty International 's irrepressible.info campaign

Yes, Minister

Yes, Minister Series 1, Episode 1, "Open Government" First airtime BBC: 25 February 1980

"Bernard Woolley: "Well, yes, Sir...I mean, it [open government] is the Minister's policy after all."
Sir Arnold: "My dear boy, it is a contradiction in terms: you can be open or you can have government."

FOIA Links

Campaign for the Freedom of Information

Office of the Information Commissioner,
who is meant to regulate the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish Information Commissioner,
who similarly regulates the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals against decisions by the Information Commissioners.

Freedom of Information pages - Department for Constitutional Affairs

Friends of the Earth FOIA Request Generator and links to contact details for Central Government Departments and their Publication Schemes

UK Government Information Asset Register - in theory, this should point you to the correct Government documents, but in practice...well see for yourself.

Access all Information is also logging some FOIA requests

foi.mysociety.org - prototype FOIA request submission, tracking and publication website

Blog Links

Spy Blog

UK Freedom of Information Act Blog - started by Steve Wood, now handed over to Katherine Gundersen

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

Open Secrets - a blog about freedom of information by BBC journalist Martin Rosenbaum

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

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