Cabinet Office has to improve information performance

 
Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence and Birmingham council have been forced to sign undertakings with the Information Commissioner to promise to improve the way that they handle freedom of information requests.

These are the three public authorities which have given the Information Commissioner Chris Graham most concern over their especially poor record at administering FOI.

The Cabinet Office and the MoD will be formally monitored for six months by the Commissioner's enforcement team. Birmingham council will be monitored for three months.

This is particularly embarrassing for the Cabinet Office, given it is meant to be at the heart of the government's drive towards greater public sector openness.

This fits with my own experience as an FOI requester, which is that the Cabinet Office and MoD are often less efficient and helpful than their colleagues in other government departments.

This announcement follows discussions between Mr Graham and the three authorities over the improvements necessary. He has decided for the moment not to take firmer regulatory action against them, but states he will take further steps if the changes they introduce do not result in satisfactory results.

The Information Commissioner's Office has already obtained undertakings from four other local councils - Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Westminster and Wolverhampton - which needed to improve their FOI performance.

 
Martin Rosenbaum, Freedom of information specialist Article written by Martin Rosenbaum Martin Rosenbaum Freedom of information specialist

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    IN & BACK WITHIN TIME LIMITS:
    Fearful of provoking further public resistance to naked airport body scanners, the TSA has been caught covering up a surge in cases of TSA workers developing cancer as a result of their close proximity to radiation-firing devices, perhaps the most shocking revelation to emerge from the latest FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.


  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 4.

    I guess Birmingham City Council is just too big to have sorted out its inefficiencies. The Cabinet Office and MoD, however, might perhaps think themselves too Big and Important, and dealing with too many Serious Things which could pertain to National Security, simply to respond to requests from the people who pay their salaries: us. This will not do: without accountability there's no democracy.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 3.

    Congratulations. I look to see improvement soon.
    What I hate about FOI are the black-outs. Even if you get what you are looking for within the time frame set, the black-outs can leave you as shut-out, ignorant, & frustrated as when you began.
    Will monitoring include quality of the reply in accordance with the Request?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    I wish FOI had never happened. All it results in are frankly tedious stories like the above and the endless pseudo-public-interest stories from the BBC that are nothing more than tacky showboating at best. It makes me yearn for the halcyon days before FOI when journalists had to at least try to pretend to do a job, rather than simply sending the odd snotty FOI email to some department or other.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1.

    Before people start saying things about frivolous FOI requests, I think they should take a browse of the publically available requests at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com - few are frivolous and we have a right to know.

 
 

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