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Border Agency and Cardiff fail on FoI reviews

Keeping info in lock-down

The Information Commissioner's Office has ordered two public bodies to improve the way they deal with internal reviews

It has issued practice recommendations to both the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Cardiff Council over internal reviews, which someone refused data under Freedom of Information can require. Such reviews normally precede a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) about an FoI refusal.

The ICO said that UKBA has "failed numerous times" to conduct such reviews. Between January 2007 and July 2008, it completed just 17 of 46 reviews within the 40 working days allowed for exceptionally difficult reviews, while between August 2008 and January 2009 it only completed 10% of reviews within the 20 working days normally allowed, while more than half missed the 40 day deadline.

Cardiff was criticised for failing to complete internal reviews, with some open for more than two years, for failing to log and track requests and for holding inaccurate statistics. The ICO had already asked the council to clarify its processes for internal reviews, but it failed to do so within the required time.

"Authorities must understand that, although we will work with them to improve their practice, the informal resolution of compliance or conformity issues will not be pursued indefinitely," said assistant information commissioner Gerrard Tracey.

"We will take action against those who show a lack of progress, commitment and engagement with regards to their responsibilities under the Act."

This article was originally published Kable.

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