It's not clear from the request and answer whether the individual involved has agreed not to make any Data Protection Act request about him/herself or not to make an FOI request or both.
I would have thought there is little point in getting someone to agree not to make an FOI request, since anyone else can make the same request and then pass the information on. There would be much more point in asking someone not to make a DPA request.
As far as FOI is concerned, if the individual does then make a request, the reply "you have agreed not to make any FOI requests" is not a valid basis for refusal under the FOI Act, unless such a request was then considered to be "vexatious" (which would certainly make an interesting case). But even if the request had to be answered nevertheless, what making one might do to the terms of the compromise agreement is another matter.
However in these three cases the data does not go back all the way to 2005, so the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital information may still be a unique public dataset for comparisons throughout the entire period of freedom of information.
You are both right that exceeding the cost threshold is actually described in the FOI Act as an “exemption”, and I’m grateful to you for pointing this out. Apologies for the error. However, I can’t agree with secretgeek’s next point. The fact that the cost of compliance is defined in the narrow way it is seems to me to be totally relevant, and it’s extremely misleading if this is not made clear.
And just because the media sometimes make errors, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t draw attention to the errors of others. I’m pleased to say the Cabinet Office has now sent me an e-mail, promising that it will amend the text of the manual in response to my blog entry. It states:
“This section of the draft Cabinet Manual was intended to be a summary rather than a detailed description of the law, but we agree that we need to revisit the text and will make amendments to Chapter 11 of the draft Cabinet Manual to address these points when the final version is published next year.”
Westland cabinet minutes released 11:00am on 25 Oct 2010Notabelieva: If you want to put an FOI request to the BBC you can do so via here. I didn't include this in my previous reply because I explained that the information you wanted didn't actually exist, so I assumed you wouldn't want to devote your time to asking for it. If you really think that the Westland affair is no more important or deserving of journalistic scrutiny than the colour of David Cameron's underpants or Humphrey's preferred brand of cat food, then you are entitled to that opinion but it is not one which I share.
Westland cabinet minutes released 10:17am on 15 Oct 2010Notabelieva: I can't answer your question as I haven't kept a record over the past six years of how much of my time has been devoted to this. Sorry to disappoint you but that's because it wouldn't really be a good use of licence fee money to maintain detailed records of how many minutes of my time I spend on each particular FOI request. In any case you might want to bear in mind that the large majority of whatever cost there was follows from the government's refusal to release the information, a refusal which both the Information Commissioner and the Tribunal ruled was a failure to apply the FOI law correctly.
Tribunal orders Westland disclosure12:01pm on 15 Sep 2010Tomscott, there is no formal right of appeal but the coalition government could, if it wanted, reverse that decision and release the minutes. The two coalition parties took opposite stances towards Jack Straw's veto at the time. The Conservative shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve, who is now attorney general, backed Straw's decision. The Lib Dem justice spokesperson David Howarth, who left the Commons at the election, condemned the veto as having "more to do with preventing embarrassment than with protecting the system of government."
FOI finds out what MP couldn't 12:09pm on 17 Jun 2010Masterofspeed raises a very interesting issue. It is correct to say that a request for information doesn't have to be explicitly stated as an FOI request for it to come under the Freedom of Information Act. But the information commissioner has ruled that a Parliamentary Question is not a valid request for the purposes of the Act. If a PQ were a request under the FOI Act, MPs and peers could appeal to the commissioner for a decision on whether it had been properly answered in accordance with freedom of information law. Any attempted decision from the commissioner on such a matter would raise the issue of the infringement of Parliamentary privilege.
I should also report a further development. We also sent our FOI request in the wake of Tom Watson's tweet to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to which his Parliamentary question was addressed. The department has now replied to say it doesn't actually hold the information; it was Arts Council England which responded to us and to What Do They Know with the figures referred to in the post above - MPs can't put PQs direct to a quango like the Arts Council. Yet that was not what the DCMS told Mr Watson in the written answer, which stated instead that the information was commercially sensitive.
You are basing your analysis on the data for total CO2 emissions, which are naturally greater for larger buildings. This is clearly a less fair comparison, as comment #7 helps to explain. I did point out that many of the buildings with very high total emissions are hospitals, which may reflect their size.
So, despite what you say, I have actually got the facts straight and used the data which provides the fairest comparison.
thomasak001: Asks how can the Commons redact information so widely without being in contempt of last year's court decision forcing disclosure of MPs' expenses. The Commons did comply with that decision last year, which only concerned 14 MPs, by releasing all the data about them, including addresses for example. Parliament has since changed the Freedom of Information Act so that there is now no obligation to reveal MPs' addresses and other material which it is said could imperil their security. (It is not obvious how this can extend to the model number of a dishwasher).
jfpollard: Complains that the Commons Fees Office is escaping without criticism. One of the things I've found interesting from the Telegraph's coverage is the apparent inconsistency of attitudes adopted by the Fees Office. In some cases they clearly did battle with MPs to reduce their claims; in other cases they clearly encouraged MPs to put in dubious claims for well in excess of the MPs' intentions. This may reflect different approaches from different staff in the office. I've been told that some junior staff there sometimes felt that their superiors did not support them properly when they were trying to cut back an MP's claim.
splendidhashbrowns: Asks if you could you use an FOI request to find out what MPs actually spend their salaries on. The answer is no. The information about the money they claim for expenses from the House of Commons is held by the administration of Parliament and is subject to FOI because Parliament is. Individual MPs do not come under the Freedom of Information Act, and in any case what they spend their personal salaries on would generally be private information as it would be for any other public official.