MoJ Under ICO Observation After Delaying FOI Responses

Sep 15, 2015

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is being monitored by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after what has been referred to as "unacceptable delays to freedom of information (FOI) responses." 

The ICO will be reviewing the MoJ's performance in relation to FOI responses between the 1st September and 30th November 2015 after a number of cases where the Ministry had exceeded the 20 working days statutory time limit.  

The MoJ quarterly statistics indicate that it is well below 85% which is one of the triggers for formal monitoring to be considered.  

"Transparency is a cornerstone of modern democracy and public authorities must respect people's rights of access to information," claimed Deputy Commissioner and Director of FOI Graham Smith

"That means responding to FOI requests within the statutory timeline of 20 working days or with a short permitted extension where weighing up the public interest is particularly complex.  

"We hope the MoJ uses this monitoring period to bring about significant improvements in this aspect of its service to the public. Statutory time limits are not optional," he added.  

The Met Under Scrutiny  

The Metropolitan Police Service is also of concern to the ICO and is being monitored to ensure potential improvements are actually achieved.  

However, the London Borough of Greenwich, Cumbria County Council, Nottingham City Council and Salford City Council have all been taken off formal monitoring.  

"The improvements we've seen at [these local authorities] are very welcome and I hope these service levels will be maintained," claimed Smith.  



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