Information Commissioner's Office
BBC monitored over response times: third of all broadcaster’s FOI complaints relate to timeliness
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that the BBC, Essex Police and Greenwich Council are being monitored over the timeliness of their responses to freedom of information (FOI) requests
The BBC is being monitored after the ICO responded to 84 complaints about their handling of FOI requests between 1 July and 30 December 2013. Almost one in three (32%) of these complaints related to concerns over the broadcaster’s response times, with no response being provided either within the statutory time limit of 20 working days, or after 40 working days where the law allows a public authority to extend the deadline.
Essex Police and Greenwich Council are also being monitored after the authorities were the subject of a significant number of complaints to the ICO over delays in their response times.
The ICO will now examine the timeliness of the three organisations’ responses to FOI requests received between 1 May and 31 July 2014. Failure to show signs of improvement during this period may result in enforcement action.
Announcing the publication of today’s monitoring list, the ICO’s Deputy Commissioner and Director of Freedom of Information, Graham Smith, said:
“While we recognise that high profile events at the BBC have resulted in a rise in the number of FOI requests received, it has become clear that the organisation is consistently failing to meet its legal requirements to respond to FOI requests in a timely manner.
“We expect the BBC, along with Essex Police and Greenwich Council, to use the monitoring period to tackle these delays and get their house in order.”
Results of monitoring period 1 January to 31 March 2014
The ICO is currently reviewing the performance of the Cabinet Office, Crown Prosecution Service and Hackney Council, who were monitored during the first three months of this year following previous delays in their FOI responses.
Continued monitoring of Metropolitan Police and Home Office
The ICO remains concerned about the performance of the Metropolitan Police Service. The force, again, failed to make satisfactory improvements to its performance during the extended monitoring period that occurred between 1 July and 30 September 2013.
The force has provided details of changes it plans to introduce to improve its performance and the ICO is currently considering whether these proposals are sufficient, or whether further action is required. In the meantime, the ICO will continue to monitor the timeliness of the force’s responses to FOI requests until a final decision has been reached.
Following an extended period of monitoring the Home Office has made significant improvements to the timeliness of its responses. In January, the authority responded to 85% of FOI requests received within the statutory time limit and over 87% within the time limit in February 2014. As a result of these improvements the ICO has closed its formal monitoring of the authority.
Notes to Editors
1. The Information
Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest,
promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. In Scotland, freedom of information is a devolved matter and Scottish public authorities are subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 which is regulated by the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner in St Andrews.
4. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides individuals or organisations with the right to request official information held by a public authority. The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) provide access to environmental information. The ICO’s policy on enforcing public access to official information and the powers at its disposal are set out in its Freedom of information regulatory action policy.
Latest News from
Information Commissioner's Office
Data breaches put domestic abuse victims’ lives at risk, UK Information Commissioner warns28/09/2023 13:15:00
The UK Information Commissioner has today called on organisations to handle personal information properly to avoid putting victims of domestic abuse at the risk of further danger.
“This needs to be dealt with.” - ICO issues Enforcement Notice to City of York Council over FOI backlog21/09/2023 16:25:00
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued an Enforcement Notice to City of York Council to clear its backlog of 261 unanswered Freedom of Information requests
ICO issues half a million pounds in new fines as fight to tackle illegal nuisance calls continues21/09/2023 15:25:00
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued fines totalling £590,000 to five companies for collectively making 1.9 million unwanted marketing calls which targeted the elderly and people with vulnerabilities.
Share information to protect children and young people at risk, urges UK Information Commissioner15/09/2023 10:15:00
Organisations will not get in trouble if they share information to protect children and young people at risk of serious harm, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has promised.
Former social services council employee fined for unlawfully accessing sensitive personal data14/09/2023 09:15:00
A former family intervention officer at St Helens Borough Council has been sentenced for unlawfully accessing social services records.
UK Information Commissioner and NCSC CEO sign Memorandum of Understanding13/09/2023 13:10:00
The UK Information Commissioner, John Edwards, and the Chief Executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Lindy Cameron, yesterday signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that sets out how both organisations will cooperate.
ICO to review period and fertility tracking apps as poll shows more than half of women are concerned over data security07/09/2023 16:20:00
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is reviewing period and fertility apps as new figures show more than half of women have concerns over data security
ICO publishes new guidance on sending bulk communications by email31/08/2023 16:20:00
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) yesterday issued a warning to organisations to use alternatives to the blind carbon copy (BCC) email function when sending emails containing sensitive personal information, following a catalogue of business blunders.
Joint statement on data scraping and data protection25/08/2023 09:10:00
The Information Commissioner’s Office and eleven other data protection and privacy authorities from around the world have today published a joint statement calling for the protection of people’s personal data from unlawful data scraping taking place on social media sites.