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Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Review

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Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Review

Postby south1 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:09 pm

I made a Freedom of Information request to my council because it smells bad near of my council library. I was dissatisfied with the result and I made a request for an Internal Review of the handling of my FOI request. Unfortunately the council told me that it has no obligation to reply to this request for an Internal Review because it has considered my Freedom of Information Request under the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004 and under Regulation 11 of this act a request for Internal Review should be made within 40 working days of the last correspondences of the council concerning my Freedom of Information request and I have made my request 50 working days after the last correspondence.

I made my request for an Internal Review 50 working days after the last correspondence of the council because I was not aware that my FOI request was considered under the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004 and that there is a 40 working days deadline.

1.
In the email that I received from the council acknowledging receipt of my Freedom of Information Request and giving me a reference number it is stated that my request will be considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 but it is not stated that it will be considered also under the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004 because in the acknowledgement email of the council it is stated the following:

“I am responding to your request under the Freedom of lnformation Act 2000, which we received on 10 May 2016, for information held by the Council”

However I have found in the Internet that contrary to my council when other councils acknowledge a Freedom of Information request and consider it under the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004 they inform the applicant of this fact because I find the following in the Internet

“Thank you for your request for information regarding the conservation area in Parkgate, which we received on 07 October 2015. We are dealing with your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004”


Therefore the council did not inform me that it will consider my FOI request under the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004. I would like to know if it is at the time that the council receives a FOI request that it has to decide whether or not to treat it as environmental information request and if it has a legal duty to inform the applicant of its decision in its acknowledgment email? I learnt it only because I made a request for an Internal Review.

2.
The only deadline to which the council makes reference in its emails is that he will reply to my FOI within 20 workings days but no reference is made to a 40 working days deadline.
Contrary to other councils in the website of my council it is not made any reference to this 40 working days deadline
In none of the emails that I received from the council about my Freedom of Information request it is made reference to the Environmental Information Regulation Act 2004 and to this 40 working days deadline.
Nowhere in the complaint form for Internal Review it is made reference to this 40 working days deadline.
In the last email that I received from the council about my Freedom of Information request the council advises me that I can make a request for an Internal Review of the handling of my Freedom of Information request but the council did not advise me to do this within 40 working days.

I would like to know if because it has made reference to a deadline of 20 working days the council had a legal duty to make reference also to all deadlines including the 40 working days deadline?

3.
I would like to know if the fact that the council does not say in its acknowledgement email and in none of its correspondences that my FOI request is considered under the Environment Information Regulations Act 2004 means that the council did not consider it under this act and has changed its mind later when I made my request for Internal Review to use as an excuse the 40 days deadline to refuse me this request because it is too embarrassing?

4.
I would like to know if the 40 days deadline starts when I was aware that my FOI request was considered under the Environmental Information Regulation Act 2004 i.e. when I was told that my request for Internal Review was refused? For the reason that paragraph 2 of this act says

“Representations under paragraph (1) shall be made in writing to the public authority no later than 40 working days after the date on which the applicant believes that the public authority has failed to comply with the requirement”

5.
I made my request for an Internal Review of the handling of my FOI request only few days after the 40 working days deadline, In this circumstance I would like to know if I can advise the council to accept to process my request for Internal Review and to amend its website and to inform properly the applicant in case his Freedom of Information Request is considered under the Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004 and that there is an important 40 working days deadline
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby atticus » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:17 am

Is a council entitled to ignore requests from persistent timewasters and trouble makers?
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:51 am

If it is, then who is to decide how a timewaster is defined?

I suggest that "trouble makers" ought not be allowed to be ignored: it would be too easy to class one who is noticing trouble that is there into that category and wrongfully ignore them.
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby dls » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:46 am

The cases are full of the rejection of claims/requests for frivolity or vexatory characteristics
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby atticus » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:05 pm

Hairy - Why should hard pressed cash strapped local authorities devote further resources to persistent time wasters?
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby atticus » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:10 pm

Why does the OP think that his is a human rights question?
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby south1 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:17 pm

The council has not rejected to reply to my FOI request. What is evidence that the council has not considered me as a time-waster. It has refused to reply to my request for Internal Review about the handling of my FOI request because my FOI request has raised embarrassing issues after it was made

This issue of smell is important for the health of the people.

Putting aside this issue of whether or not I am a time waster. I think that this thread raises interesting questions and it will be good that you reply to my questions because this could be very helpful also to others members of this forum what the main purpose of this forum
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:19 pm

atticus wrote:Hairy - Why should hard pressed cash strapped local authorities devote further resources to persistent time wasters?


Time wasters like the ones complaining about child abuse in Rotherham, or those that the police did a sub-standard job at Hillsborough for example?
Those are certainly the kind of trouble makers that want to be ignored.
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:21 pm

south1 wrote:This issue of smell is important for the health of the people.

Then the first course of action is a report to Environmental Health, not a FOI request.
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Re: Environmental Information Regulation Act and Internal Re

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:26 pm

If the Council considers a FOIA request to be vexatious, it doesn't have to respond: it can just ignore you. The Council is entitled to consider the context of the request, including your identity and your history of contact with them.

The main purpose of this forum is to discuss the law: giving advice is against the rules.
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