Home Secretaries In Glass Houses……..
A while ago I wrote a blog on the irony of the Home Office’s attitude towards Freedom of Information Requests.
You can find that here if you’re interested. I did ask the Home Office how many FOI requests they actually refused in a year, but they refused to answer that question.
In her speech to the 2015 Police Federation Conference she reminded us all that it was her intention to make the Police Federation subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (an Act that her government don’t particularly like if I recall). So with this in mind I thought I’d take a trawl through the 2014 stats, which are the latest states on the subject that govt has released.
In 2014 the Home Office received 3041 Requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
The law allows them 20 Working Days to respond under normal circumstances.
As of 23rd April 2015 2869 Requests had been processed, with 172 still being processed. (i.e. late, out of time for whatever reason)
The 20 Working Day deadline was met in 2384 cases (78.5%)
An Extension was applied in 260 cases. (397 were late with no lawful extension applied).
87% of total number of requests were processed within 20 days OR the extended time period)
Of the 3041 Requests received, 555 (18%) were resulted Information Not Held for whatever reason.
2159 of the 3041 (71%) were potentially ‘resolvable”
Only 843 of the 3041 (28%) were answered IN FULL
A further 307 (10.1%) were answered Partially, meaning that only 38.1% requests received by the Home Office received any kind of meaningful answer at all.
A massive 837 (27.5%) were FULLY REFUSED
According to the govt stats 38% of ‘Resolvable Requests’ were answered in full.
Of the Refusals, 480 were refused for Exceeding the Cost Limit, 321 had an Exemption of some sort applied to them, 24 were deemed Vexatious and a mere 12 were Repeat Requests.
There then follows a whole load of psychobabble about which Exemptions and been applied and how often. Bearing in mind that multiple Exemptions can (and are) applied to a single request, the most frequent Exemption applied was Law Enforcement on 189 occasions.
In 2012 23% of all Requests were Refused, in 2014 it was 28%.
In 2012 the 20 Working Day deadline was met in 80%, in 2014 78.5%
In 2012 16.6% of requests missed the 20 Day limit and an Extension, in 2014 that was only 13%
In 2012 34% of Requests were answered IN FULL, in 2014 that was 28%.
So, it would appear that between 2012 and 2014 the Home Office has got WORSE at responding to Freedom of Information Act Requests, not better, so if I was an officer of the Police Federation of England and Wales I wouldn’t be taking any lectures from Mrs May on being subject to the Freedom of Information Act, as her Department seems to do its best NOT to answer a huge percentage of Requests
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