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back to article Watchdog drags Home Office to naughty step for dragging feet on FOIs

The Home Office may face sanctions if it fails again to reply to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests on time, the Information Commissioner warned today. The department - run by Home Secretary Theresa May - will be monitored by the watchdog to see how fast it responds to FOIs received between 1 July and 30 September this year …

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Gold badge
Gimp

Tranparency over the Data Communication Bill form the Home Office.

Yes I too would like to know.

A) How this "filtering" works?

B)Where does that figure for £150m/year savings come from?

The HO have claimed that but there seems to be nothing to explain it.

Funny how when data fetishists have to provide information they seem strangely reluctant to do so?

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Silver badge
Meh

Re: Tranparency over the Data Communication Bill form the Home Office.

Maybe they're like the NSA and don't know how to search their own internal information:

http://www.propublica.org/article/nsa-says-it-cant-search-own-emails

Incompetence is designed into the system here in the States to allow the goverment to sidestep oversight. Don't know why it'd be any different over there.

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Bronze badge

500 days?

How does that happen "do you think he's given up today?" "nope" "do you think he's given up today?" "nope" "do you think he's given up yet?" "nope" "shall we give an answer then?" "nope"

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Who pays the fine?

I'm tempted to suggest flooding the home office with FOI requsts just to highlight their incompetence. The fine is irrelevant to them as the tax payer picks up the tab.

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Silver badge

Re: Who pays the fine?

Because nothing proves incompetence like deluging an organisation with bullshit FOI requests that they cannot keep up with, eh?

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Flame

Just another industry

Lets employ another army of people to monitor the performance of the army of FOI compliance officers.

Its a bit like the CQC and the NHS - one is meant to monitor the behaviour and perfomance of the other.. But now that the CQC has been shown colluding with the NHS to cover up failings we will need another quango to oversee the CQC.

Here's a novel idea - have some laws - if they break the laws take 'em to court. Forget all these ofcoms and ICOs and CQCs - they are all positions which owe their existence to parliament and their individual appointments to ministers. Whatever it is that they do they certainly don't have your best interests at heart.

Anyone who has faith in any regulator after the performance of the FSA on PPI (half a dozen cases could be "misselling" - millions of pounds worth of unjustifiable policies is a criminal conspiracy) is deluded. Sack em all and put the money into proper legal systems.

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Some observations

Public bodies have 20 days to provide a response. If they decide that there is a case for refusal, they can respond saying they are doing a public interest test and thus have another 20 days before they have to provide the next response, thus in reality they have 40 working days for complicated FOI requests.

They can legitimately go past that 40 day deadline if there are good reasons, for example having to consult with a foreign government or a company before releasing a document. They need to try to avoid having to do this though and at all times they should be telling the FOI requestor what is going on.

An open and transparent government is great until you realise that you actually need to pay for it! Cutting the staff means people actually doing the work have to stop and deal with the FOIs. Morally fine from a transparancy point of view, but in reality FOI is much abused by journos and other interest groups who are trying to get civil servants to do the bulk of the work for their benefit. The whole process is bureacratic as hell. Having said all that, the Home Office is notoriously incompetent and no doubt deserves the kicking it is getting from the ICO.

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Anonymous Coward

or ATOS ...

Am still waiting for a Subject Access Request from 2012 with ATOS.

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Home Office underperformance on FOI's

25% cuts in the Public Sector mean that many areas are likely to fail due to lack of staff, or lack of experience because trained staff have left and the remaining staff don't have time (or incentive) to train. This is but one manifestation of cuts 2 years ago.

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