August 2010 Archives

We seem to be going down the same path of deliberate delay and obstruction, with the Home Office breaching the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as before.

Remember, all that we are asking to be published is the bare minimum laid down in the text of the Terrorism Act 200 sections 44 and 45 and 46 i.e. the time and duration and geographical location of each Authorisation to suspend the normal rule of law regarding Stop and Search Without Reasonable Suspicion.

Given the recent revelations of thousands of clerical errors with the Authorisations, rendering thousands of Stops and Searches illegal and the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition policy changes and promises to review this legislation, surely the Public Interest is now even more in favour of full publication.

The unnecessary secrecy appears to have been used for political coverup purposes rather than for any demonstrable national security benefit.

Office for Security and Counter Terrorism
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
E-mail: Website:

{email address]


FOI Reference: [nnnnn]
4 August 2010

Dear [name]

I am writing in relation to your information request dated 11 June 2010 and further to my letter of 6 July 2010. I can confirm receipt of your email dated 6 July 2010.

In keeping with the decision of the ICO (ref: FS50198733) we need to consider fully the use of the exemption in section 24 (1) of the Act, which relates to information supplied by or relating to national security. I have noted the point you have made about section 31 in your email of 6 July. As you are aware, however, the ICO did not consider use of the exemption at section 31(1) (a), (b) and (c). We will still need to address the use of this exemption when responding to your request. To take account of the points raised in your most recent email we need more time and will need a further extension. We now aim to let you have a full response by 2 September 2010.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the delay in replying to your request and assure that we will respond as quickly as possible.

Should you have any queries about the handling of your information request then please do not hesitate to contact me quoting reference [nnnnn]

Yours sincerely

[name of civil servant]

A reminder to the Home Office, from the previous ICO Decision Notice:

69. Although they do not form part of this Decision Notice the Commissioner wishes to highlight the following matters of concern.


Information Notice

75. During the course of his investigation, the Commissioner has encountered considerable delay on account of the Home Office's reluctance to meet the timescales for response set out in his letters. The delays were such that the Commissioner found it necessary to issue an Information Notice in order to obtain details relevant to his investigation.

76. Accordingly, the Commissioner does not consider the Home Office's approach to this case to be particularly co-operative, or within the spirit of the Act. As such he will be monitoring the authority's future engagement with the ICO and would expect to see improvements in this regard.

See ICO Decision Notice FS50198733 - Home Office: Terrorism Act 2000 s44 stop and search Authorisations

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. - FOIA request submission and publication website from

Campaign Buttons

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.

Amnesty International 's 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 - 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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November 2010

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