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Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

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Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby Denning » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:06 am

Under FOIA practice is there any restriction on the number of Internal Review a Public Authority is allowed to undertake and if so is there any case law in support of such approach?
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby Goldensyrup » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:04 pm

One assumes only one and if not happy you elevate a complaint to the ICO.
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby dls » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:40 pm

you do not say whether the reviews are of the very same request.
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby b1969 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:52 am

Goldensyrup is right. ICO says "make sure it is a straightforward, single-stage process".

That said, I can imagine that in some cases if the public authority says "give us another chance to review this and put things right" the ICO might agree.
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby Denning » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:15 pm

b1969 wrote:Goldensyrup is right. ICO says "make sure it is a straightforward, single-stage process".

That said, I can imagine that in some cases if the public authority says "give us another chance to review this and put things right" the ICO might agree.

@Goldensyrup and @b1969 - If the requester wants a Decision Notice and the ICO agrees with the PA in the scenario b1969 presented what can the requester do?

@dls Is within the same FOIA request.
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby Goldensyrup » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:50 pm

You have the right to request a decision notice from the ICO and of course you know they will investigate the evidence before arriving at their conclusions. If the public body acknowledges prior that they are wrong and will right matters before a DN is presented to them and published which presumably will inform them of what they must do, even though they may know what they should be doing, all well and good. Frankly, it is a simple track if the public body have not produced up as they should - request - internal review - complaint to the ICO - request DN. Generally if a public body want to get things right they wont wait for a DN that can take six to twelve months and is published for all to see.
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby dls » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:13 pm

Generally if a public body want to get things right they wont wait for a DN that can take six to twelve months and is published for all to see.


But that does not stop them doing it (failing) at every verse end.
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby Denning » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:27 pm

@Goldensyrup - What if the PA appeared not willing to release the requested data on time and the ICO is not willing to progress the Decision Notice on request to do so after the PA reported the result of the Internal Review with no response, and the PA suggested that they would give another opportunity for another Internal review at a later stage should they provide a response the requester was unhappy with?

What if through privilege information it turns out that the PA and the ICO is being advised by the same firm of external solicitors in which the probable inference is that the data is being tactically delayed?
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Re: Internal Review - How many is permissible under FOIA?

Postby b1969 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:37 am

Realistically, there is nothing more that can be done than make these arguments to the ICO. By section 50 of the FOI Act the ICO has to serve a decision notice, unless the complainant has not exhausted the public authority's complaints procedure. In your scenario the complainant feels he has, while the public authority and the ICO say he hasn't: the complainant must, therefore, persuade the ICO round to his point of view, or be patient and allow the procedure to run its course.

I guess he could raise a complaint with the ICO about its handling of his case, and ultimately complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, but that would not be likely to speed things up, and I doubt it would be fruitful.
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