Thursday, 30 August 2012

MOD in breach of undertaking to the Information Commissioner.

It is becoming clear that the MOD is in breach of duties under the Freedom of Information Act and the Undertaking given to the Information Commissioner in June 2011.

In the undertaking signed by the MOD's  Permanent Under Secretary undertook to

"take steps to ensure the appropriate resource is allocated to request handling and this resource regularly reviewed for effectiveness"

In the undertaking the Information Commissioner said

"having regard to the available evidence, considers that the Ministry of Defence needs to take steps to ensure that requests for information are dealt with appropriately. In particular he considers that the public interest statement of intent, facilitated by this Undertaking, will provide assurance that the authority has embraced the culture of openness and transparency the legislation seeks to promote"

Examples of failure of the MOD to comply with the FOI Act and the Undertaking

We advised that we hoped to have a response to you by 29th August 2012. 
Unfortunately it will not be possible to make this date due to a combination of unavailability 
of subject matter expertise through leave and sickness. We hope to have a final response 
to you by 21st September 2012.

“In the case of your request for the DNESB 2011 report (we have interpreted this as a
request for the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator Annual Report 2011), as there is
information contained within the report which may need to be withheld from the document
for its release under FOIA, a public interest test is required.

Unfortunately the Public Interest Test is taking longer to carry out than anticipated at the
time; this is in part due subject matter expert unavailability. I am therefore unable to
provide you with a substantive response to the second part of your request at this time.
I will write to you again by Wednesday 4 July, by which time I expect to be able provide
you with a final response to your request for information. ”

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