The ICO exists to empower you through information.

Enforcement notices

Click the reference number to view the full enforcement notice for that case.

About enforcement notices

An Enforcement Notice (EN) may be served where the Commissioner is satisfied that a public authority has failed to comply with any of the requirements of Part I of FOIA. In practice the Commissioner issues ENs where there are repeated and/or significant or systemic issues in compliance with any of the requirements of Part 1 of FOIA.

If a public authority fails to comply with an EN the Commissioner may commence Court proceedings under section 54 of the Act, which may be dealt with as contempt of Court.

In the interests of transparency the Commissioner proactively publishes ENs served.

Public authority

Reference

Date issued

Bristol City Council 

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Bristol City Council (the Council) has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act. At the date of the notice the Council had a significant backlog of requests.

The Enforcement Notice requires the Council to provide responses to requests that are over 20 working days old and to devise and publish an action plan to mitigate delays.

ENF0988354

14 March 2024

South Yorkshire Police

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South Yorkshire Police (SYP) has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of Information Act. At the date of the notice SYP was answering fewer than 18% of requests within 20 working days. It also had a significant and rapidly-expanding backlog of requests. The Enforcement Notice requires SYP to provide responses to all requests that are currently more than 20 working days old by 31 August 2024.

ENF0988352

14 February 2024

Sussex Police

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Sussex Police (SP) has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of Information Act. At the date of the notice SP was answering just 27% of requests within 20 working days. It also had a significant backlog of older requests. The Enforcement Notice requires SP to provide responses to all requests that are currently more than 20 working days old by 31 August 2024.

ENF0988353

14 February 2024

Greater Manchester Police

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GMP has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of Information Act. At the date of the notice GMP had a significant backlog of requests, dating back to 2021. The Enforcement Notice requires GMP to provide responses to all requests that are currently more than 20 working days old within seven months.

ENF0988351

 

14 December 2023

City of York

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City of York Council (the Council) has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act. At the date of the notice the Council had a significant backlog of requests, dating back to 2021. The Enforcement Notice requires the Council to provide responses to requests that are over 20 working days old and to devise and publish an action plan to mitigate delays.

ENF0988350 13 September 2023

Environment Agency

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The Environment Agency has been served with an Enforcement Notice because of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act. The Enforcement Notice requires the Environment Agency to devise and publish an action plan to ensure it complies with its legal duties under Part 1 of FOIA to respond to information requests in a timely fashion.

ENF0987659 1 August 2023

Ministry of Defence

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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been served with an Enforcement Notice because of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act. The MOD has 73 unanswered requests from the period 2018 to 2021. The Enforcement Notice requires the MOD to provide responses to all these requests.

ENF0987658

 

30 June 2023

London Borough of Croydon

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The London Borough of Croydon (the Council) has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act. At the date of the notice the Council has not demonstrated sufficient progress in its FOIA compliance since the Commissioner issued a Practice Recommendation in September 2022. For Q4 of the financial year 2022/23 it only responded to 63.64% of requests within the statutory 20 working days.

The Enforcement Notice requires the Council to provide responses to requests that are over 20 working days old and to devise and publish an action plan to mitigate delays.

ENF0987657 26 June 2023

Shropshire Council

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Shropshire Council (the Council) has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act. At the date of the notice the total number of overdue requests was 143, 23 of which were over 12 months old. The oldest unanswered request was submitted to the Council on 13 April 2021.

The Enforcement Notice requires Shropshire Council to provide responses to requests that are over 20 working days old and to devise and publish an action plan to mitigate delays.

ENF0987656 26 April 2023

London Borough of Lewisham

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The London Borough of Lewisham has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of the evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act (FOIA). Specifically:

At the end of 2022, the total number of overdue requests was 338, 221 of which were over 12 months old. The oldest unanswered request was submitted to the Council on 3 December 2020; and

The failure by the London Borough of Lewisham to provide sufficient mitigation for its performance in its response to our enquiries regarding this performance.

The Enforcement Notice requires the London Borough of Lewisham to provide responses to requests that are over 20 working days old and devise and publish an action plan to mitigate delays.

ENF0987655 17 March 2023

Department for International Trade

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Enforcement notices are used where there are repeated and/or significant or systemic issues in compliance with any of the requirements of Part 1 of FOIA.

The Department for International Trade has been served with an Enforcement Notice as a result of the evidence seen by the Commissioner about its performance in relation to its statutory duties under the Freedom of information Act (FOIA). Specifically:

  • In June 2022, the Central Government Q1 2022 stats were published, which saw DIT meet only 19% of FOI requests in 20 days with 55% of requests receiving a late response; and 
  • The failure by DIT to provide sufficient mitigation for its performance in its response to our enquiries regarding this performance.

The Enforcement Notice requires the DIT to provide responses to requests that are over 20 working days old and devise and publish an action plan to mitigate delays.

ENF0987654 5 September 2022

Practice recommendations

Click the reference number to view the full practice recommendation for that case.

About practice recommendations

A Practice recommendation may be served where the Commissioner has reached a view that the handling of requests by a public authority does not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice. The Commissioner will issue a practice recommendation under section 48(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Commissioner will outline the steps that ought to be taken by the public authority in order to promote conformity with the Freedom of Information Code of Practice.

If a public authority does not take steps to improve conformity with a practice recommendation this may lead to failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, which in turn may result in the issuing of an enforcement notice. A failure to take account of a practice recommendation may lead in some circumstances to an adverse comment in a report to Parliament by the Commissioner.

We proactively publish practice recommendations in the interests of transparency and as a learning tool for public authorities.

Public authority

Reference

Date issued

Applicable code of practice

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
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The FCDO has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of the time limit for complying with information requests. This has been highlighted by the number of complaints the Commissioner has received about timeliness, data contained in the central government FOI performance statistics, and wider commentary from the information rights community about the FCDO’s performance. The Commissioner also has concerns about the time it takes the FCDO to complete internal reviews. Following engagement by his staff with the FCDO about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the FCDO’s request handling practices do not conform to parts 1, 4 and 5 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987677

29 February 2024

CoP: Section 45

Parts: 1, 4 and 5

Department for Education

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Since 2019 and the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Department for Education (DfE) has had a declining level of performance overall in terms of the timeliness of its responses to requests for information. The statistics published on the FOIA performance of central government bodies show that DfE has responded to less than 80% of requests within the statutory timeframe in 2020, 21 and 22. As recently as November 2023, DfE advised the Commissioner that it was responding to just 75% of requests within the required time limit.

DfE is taking action, however, and has reported that senior level interest in FOIA has had a positive impact on its performance recently. Amongst other FOIA support it now offers its staff, DfE has developed and is rolling out relevant training. The age profile of requests where responses are overdue isn’t high overall, although one response was reported as being more than 12 months overdue at January 2024. The Commissioner’s staff have engaged with DfE about the underlying reasons for its failure to lift its overall response rate to an acceptable and sustained level of compliance. Improvements have been made as outlined above and early data from 2024 has seen performance creep up to 81%. Given the timeliness issues DfE has experienced over what is now a prolonged period, however, it’s clear that DfE’s request handling practices does not consistently conform to Part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987675

21 February 2024

CoP: Section 45

Part: 4

Financial Ombudsman Service Ltd

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The Financial Ombudsman Service Ltd (FOS) advised the Commissioner of the challenges it was facing in respect of its level of performance, particularly in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. Following engagement with the FOS about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the FOS’ request handling practices do not conform to Part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987676

20 February 204

CoP: Section 45

Part: 4

Southend-on-Sea City Council

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Southend-on-Sea City Council (the Council) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted by a significant increase in the frequency of decision notices that have been issued against the Council recording a breach of section 10 of FOIA. Following engagement by his staff with the Council about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987674

19 December 2023

CoP: Section 45

Part: 4

Chief Constable of Humberside Police

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Chief Constable of Humberside Police (Humberside Police) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted by the disproportionately high number of complaints about response times being submitted to the Information Commissioner, as well as a substantial backlog of outdated requests developing at Humberside Police. Following engagement by his staff with Humberside Police about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that its request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987673

26 October 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

Devon County Council

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Devon County Council (“the Council”) has a poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted following an introductory meeting between the Commissioner’s representative and the Council, when it was discovered that a backlog of overdue requests had accumulated and the number of requests not being responded to within the statutory timeframe had been consistently increasing month on month throughout 2023. Following engagement by his staff with the Council about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Information Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987671 30 August 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

Bristol City Council

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Bristol City Council (the Council) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted by the disproportionately high number of complaints about response times submitted to the Information Commissioner. Following engagement by his staff with the Council about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987672 30 August 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

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Prior to 2021 MHRA had manageable levels of information requests and systems in place which were sufficient to cope with those volumes. However, volumes and the complexity of information requests (especially with the introduction of covid vaccines) has increased from 2021/2022 onwards and it has become increasingly apparent that its systems and procedures are no longer fit for purpose or sufficient to meet increased volumes and increasing levels of complexity.

MHRA has therefore shown a declining trend in performance in terms of the time limits for complying with information requests. It has also consistently failed to carry out internal reviews within the recommended timeframes. Following engagement by his staff with MHRA about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that MHRA’s request handling practices do not conform to parts 4 and 5 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

PR0987670 1 August 2023 CoP: Section 45
Parts:
4, 5

Liverpool City Council

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Liverpool City Council (the Council) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted by the disproportionately high number of complaints about response times submitted to the Information Commissioner, as well as the number of decision notices he has had to issue to the Council to compel it to respond to outstanding requests. Following engagement by his staff with the Council about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987668 31 July 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

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The London Borough of Tower Hamlets (the council) has consistently failed to meet the expected level of performance in terms of responding within the statutory timeframe and the number of overdue requests has increased in the first half in 2023. This has been highlighted following correspondence between the Commissioner and the council. Following engagement by his staff with the council about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the council’s request handling practices do not conform to section 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987669 10 July 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

NHS England

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Data from the ICO’s casework and NHS England’s statistics showed that it was failing to respond to a significant volume of information requests within the statutory time limit.

The Commissioner is also concerned about a failure to carry out internal reviews. The Commissioner has reached the view that NHS England’s request handling practices do not conform to parts 4 and 5 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice.

FPR0987667 4 July 2023 CoP: Section 45
Parts:
4, 5

Department for Work and Pensions

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Section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowers the information Commissioner (the Commissioner) to issue a practice recommendation where it appears to him that a public authority has failed to conform, specifically, to the FOIA Codes of Practice. These failures are addressed in the recommendations section of the practice recommendation. Section 47 of FOIA also makes clear that the Commissioner has a duty to promote the following of good practice beyond just the requirements of the Codes of Practice. The wider concerns the Commissioner has in this case are addressed in the “Other matters” section of the practice recommendation to keep them distinct from the Section 48 related recommendations he has made.

In respect of the FOIA cases submitted to the Commissioner for a decision, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its request handling, specifically in relation to determining whether information is held and the conduct of internal reviews. This has been highlighted in those cases where it has been necessary for the Commissioner to intervene in order to ensure DWP’s compliance with FOIA. Following engagement by his staff with DWP about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that DWP’s request handling practices do not conform to parts 1, 5 and 10 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987666 23 March 2023 CoP: Section 45
Parts:
1, 5, 10

Department for Work and Pensions

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Section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowers the information Commissioner (the Commissioner) to issue a practice recommendation where it appears to him that a public authority has failed to conform, specifically, to the FOIA Codes of Practice. These failures are addressed in the recommendations section of the practice recommendation. Section 47 of FOIA also makes clear that the Commissioner has a duty to promote the following of good practice beyond just the requirements of the Codes of Practice. The wider concerns the Commissioner has in this case are addressed in the “Other matters” section of the practice recommendation to keep them distinct from the Section 48 related recommendations he has made.

In respect of the FOIA cases submitted to the Commissioner for a decision, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its request handling, specifically in relation to determining whether information is held and the conduct of internal reviews. This has been highlighted in those cases where it has been necessary for the Commissioner to intervene in order to ensure DWP’s compliance with FOIA. Following engagement by his staff with DWP about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that DWP’s request handling practices do not conform to parts 1, 5 and 10 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987666 23 March 2023 CoP: Section 45
Parts:
1, 5, 10

The National Archives

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Since 2020 The National Archives (TNA) has shown a declining trend in performance in terms of the time limit for complying with information requests, despite the occasional quarterly improvement. This has been highlighted by recent figures showing a further fall that is not simply attributable to the pandemic. In many instances TNA has been unable to meet the statutory timeframe for responding to requests that relate wholly or partly to archived information. In 2022, according to the FOI statistics published on the GOV.UK website, there was a significant drop (below 60%) in compliance from previous highs of over 70% during the worst of the pandemic and well in excess of 90% in 2017 and 2018.

Following engagement by his staff with TNA about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that TNA’s request handling practices do not conform to Part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

Whilst the Commissioner has decided to make this practice recommendation, he wants to acknowledge the very real constraints that TNA has been operating under in the last few years. TNA is obliged to consult with whichever is the ‘responsible authority’ for a record that has been transferred. This can result in delays in such matters as carrying out the public interest test when the exemption is qualified. TNA (and not the authority consulted) has the duty to comply, but their performance is affected by the timeliness (or lack thereof) of the bodies it is required to consult with.

The Commissioner recognises that TNA is also facing a very specific challenge following its agreement to take a significant number of military personnel files that are in the process of being transferred from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). It is planned for these records to be transferred over six years, with around four million (of almost 10 million) records having been transferred so far. TNA describes this process as “the biggest and most complex transfer of public records in our history”. These records require preserving and storing safely to archival standards. The records are closed until 115 years after the individual service personnel’s date of birth. This material includes personal data (and special category data) which needs to be assessed as to whether it can be open or closed fully/in part. At the same time the records are subject to information requests which TNA projects will increase to 6000 in 2023, solely for this collection, effectively tripling the usual rate of requests TNA receives. The Commissioner is aware that the transfer of these records has seriously impacted on TNA’s ability to meet its statutory obligations under the FOIA and has taken this into account as part of his considerations.

FPR0987665 14 March 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

Greater Manchester Police

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Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted by the disproportionately high number of complaints about response times submitted to the Information Commissioner, as well as the high number of decision notices he has had to issue to GMP to compel it to respond to outstanding requests. The Commissioner has reached the view that GMP’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987663 3 February 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part: 
4

Three Rivers District Council

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Section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowers the information Commissioner (the Commissioner) to issue a practice recommendation where it appears to him that a public authority has failed to conform, specifically, to the FOIA Codes of Practice. These failures are addressed in the recommendations section below. Section 47 of FOIA also makes clear that the Commissioner has a duty to promote the following of good practice beyond just the requirements of the Codes of Practice. The wider concerns the Commissioner has in this case are addressed in the “Other matters” section below to keep them distinct from the Section 48 related recommendations he has made.

Three Rivers District Council (the Council) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests as well as demonstrating poor engagement with the Commissioner. This has been highlighted by the number of complaints about response times submitted to the Commissioner as well as the lack of communication from the Council when case officers, on behalf of the Commissioner, have been in contact to raise such issues. The Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

FPR0987664 3 February 2023 CoP: Section 45
Part:
4

Oxford City Council

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Oxford City Council (the Council) has had a consistently poor level of performance in terms of its response times to FOIA requests. This has been highlighted by the disproportionately high number of complaints about response times submitted to the Information Commissioner, as well as the high number of decision notices he has had to issue to the Council to compel it to respond to outstanding requests. The Commissioner is also concerned about a failure to carry out internal reviews. The Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to part 4 and part 5 of the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice.

FPR0987662 20 December 2022 CoP: Section 45
Parts:
4, 5

London Borough of Hackney

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Data from the ICO’s casework and the London Borough of Hackney’s (the Council’s) statistics showed that the Council was failing to respond to a significant of information requests within the statutory time limit. For the first six months of 2022 on average only 64% of requests were responded to within these time limits.

The ICO acknowledges that the Council has begun to implement measures designed to address these performance issues. However, the situation has not improved sufficiently and the practice recommendation finds that the Council’s practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice.

The practice recommendation sets out the steps the Council should take including the development of an action plan detailing how it will improve its performance. It also makes clear that this plan should be published.

FPR0987661 26 September 2022 CoP: Section 45
Part: 4

London Borough of Croydon

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This Practice Recommendation is issued in relation to a consistently low level of overall performance in respect of the timeliness of the London Borough of Croydon’s responses to FOI requests. Following the engagement by his staff with the London Borough of Croydon about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that the London Borough of Croydon’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code). The Commissioner considers that the London Borough of Croydon’s practices do not conform with part 4 of the Code relating to time limits for responding to requests. Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of FOIA, the Commissioner has elected to issue the foregoing practice recommendation.

FPR0987660 26 September 2022 CoP: Section 45

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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This Practice Recommendation is issued in relation to a consistently low level of overall performance in respect of the timeliness of BEIS’s responses to FOI requests. Following the engagement by his staff with BEIS about the underlying reasons for these failings, the Commissioner has reached the view that BEIS’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code). The Commissioner considers that BEIS’s practices do not conform with part 4 of the Code relating to time limits for responding to requests. Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of FOIA, the Commissioner has elected to issue the foregoing practice recommendation.

FPR0987659 5 September 2022 CoP: Section 45

Department of Health & Social Care

Click for summary

In response to the notices that we issued, the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) sent out a questionnaire to a wide range of staff to identify information that may be caught within their scope. As part of this exercise, DHSC notified us that it had identified that official information had been shared through:

  • 29 private WhatsApp accounts;
  • 17 private text accounts;
  • 8 private email accounts; and
  • 1 private Linkedin account
Behind the screens 11 July 2022 CoP: Section 45
Parts: 1, 4, 10

Chief Constable of Sussex Police

Click for summary
  1. Following a number of complaints regarding Sussex Police’s handling of freedom of information requests, the Information Commissioner has reached the view that Sussex Police’s request handling practices do not conform to the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).
  2. The Commissioner considers that Sussex Police’s practices do not conform with the following sections of the Code
    • Part 2 – Advice and assistance – clarifying requests
    • Part 4 – Time limits for responding to requests
    • Part 5 – Internal reviews
    • Part 10 – Communicating with requesters
  3. Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Commissioner has elected to issue this practice recommendation.
  4. In the ‘Other matters’ section of this recommendation, the Commissioner has highlighted matters which do not fall within the scope of the Code, but which bear, more generally, on Sussex Police’s compliance with FOIA. Accordingly, those elements of this recommendation are issued under section 47(2) of FOIA.in ’s request with
FPR0987657 8 July 2021 CoP: Section 45
Parts: 2, 4, 5, 10

Bicester Town Council

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This Practice Recommendation is issued in relation to actions taken by a representative of Bicester Town Council (the Council) during an investigation carried out by the Information Commissioner under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). In light of this event, the Commissioner has reached the view that the Council’s request handling practices do not conform to the section 45 Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code). The Commissioner considers that the Council’s practices do not conform to the following sections of the Code: Part 1 of the Code relating to right of access and part 4 of the Code relating to time limits for responding to requests. The Commissioner also finds that the Council’s actions did not meet her reasonable expectations as to how public authorities will engage with her office during section 50 FOIA investigations.

FPR0987658 1 December 2021 CoP:Section 45
Parts:
1, 4

Gloucestershire Constabulary

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Gloucestershire Constabulary (GC) made a self-referral to the Information Commissioner (the Commissioner) regarding the timeliness of its responses to freedom of information requests. On the basis of the information received during the monitoring of GC’s timeliness compliance, the Commissioner has reached the view that GC’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code). The Commissioner considers that GC’s practices do not conform with part 4 of the Code relating to time limits for responding to requests. Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of FOIA, the Commissioner has elected to issue the foregoing practice recommendation.

FPR0987655 15 October 2020 CoP: Section 45

Northamptonshire Police

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Northamptonshire Police (NP) made a self-referral to the Information Commissioner (Commissioner) regarding the timeliness of its responses to freedom of information requests. On the basis of the information received during the monitoring of NP’s timeliness compliance, the Commissioner has reached the view that NP’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code). The Commissioner considers that NP’s practices do not conform with part 4 of the Code relating to time limits for responding to requests. Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of FOIA the Commissioner has elected to issue the foregoing practice recommendation.

FPR0987654 15 October 2020 CoP: Section 45

Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police

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North Yorkshire Police (NYP) made a self-referral to the Information Commissioner (the Commissioner) regarding the timeliness of its responses to freedom of information requests. On the basis of the information received during the monitoring of NYP’s timeliness compliance, the Commissioner has reached the view that NYP’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code). The Commissioner considers that NYP’s practices do not conform with part 4 of the Code relating to time limits for responding to requests. Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of FOIA, the Commissioner has elected to issue the foregoing practice recommendation.

FPR0987656 15 October 2020 CoP: Section 45

London Borough of Waltham Forest

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Following a number of recent complaints regarding freedom of information requests made to the London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF), the Information Commissioner has reached the view that the LBWF’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

In particular, the Commissioner considers that the LBWF’s practices have not conformed with the following parts of the Code:

  • Part 1 – Right of Access, Information
  • Part 1 – Right of Access, Means of communication
  • Part 4 – Time limits for responding to requests
  • Part 5 – Internal reviews
  • Part 6 – Cost limit

Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA), the Commissioner has elected to issue a practice recommendation (hereafter “recommendation”).

In the ‘Other matters’ section of this recommendation, the Commissioner has highlighted matters which do not fall within the scope of the Code, but which bear, more generally, on the LBWF’s compliance with the FOIA. Accordingly, those elements of their recommendation are issued under section 47(2) of the FOIA.

Section of Act/EIR and Finding: FOI 48(1), FOI 47(2)

FPR0918092 14 July 2020 CoP: Section 45
Parts: 1, 4, 5, 6

Information notices

About information notices

An Information Notice (IN) may be served where the Commissioner has received an appeal about a public authority’s handling of an information request under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or reasonably requires information from a public authority in order to enforce the requirements of the Act. In practice the Commissioner generally issues INs where recourse to a formal notice to obtain information is considered appropriate.

The IN will explain what information is required, the reasons why we require it and the timescale within which it must be provided. If a public authority fails to comply with an IN the Commissioner may commence Court proceedings under section 54 of the Act, which may be dealt with as contempt of Court.

In the interests of transparency the Commissioner proactively publishes INs served once the case to which it relates has been concluded.

 

2024

Authority

Date

Home Office 29 February 2024
Home Office 18 January 2024
Cabinet Office 29 January 2024
Cabinet Office 29 January 2024
Cabinet Office 30 January 2024
Cabinet Office 30 January 2024
Cabinet Office 30 January 2024
HM Treasury 6 March 2024
NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board 11 March 2024
Oxford City Council 2 April 2024
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 19 April 2024

2023

Authority

Date

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 11 January 2023
West Oxfordshire District Council 17 January 2023
Department for International Trade 6 February 2023
HM Treasury 14 February 2023
London Borough of Croydon 7 March 2023
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office 11 April 2023
The University Council of the University of
Southampton
13 April 2023
Canal and River Trust 13 April 2023
London Borough of Merton 18 April 2023
Weydon Multi Academy Trust 12 May 2023
Department of Health and Social Care 16 May 2023
Department for Energy Security & Net Zero 1 June 2023
Department for Energy Security & Net Zero 1 June 2023
Home Office 5 June 2023
Department of Business and Trade 5 June 2023
Northern Ireland Assembly 6 June 2023
Health and Safety Executive 16 June 2023
Home Office 26 June 2023
Home Office 26 June 2023
London Ambulance Service NHS Trust 27 June 2023
Home Office 10 July 2023
Department for Business & Trade 13 July 2023
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office 20 July 2023
Department for Business & Trade 1 September 2023
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office 20 October 2023
London Borough of Bexley 9 November 2023
Home Office 12 December 2023
Chief Constable of Northumbria Police 13 December 2023
North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 20 December 2023

2022

Authority

Date

Ministry of Defence 28 February 2022
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency 25 March 2022
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency 4 April 2022
Birmingham City Council 11 May 2022
Department of Health and Social Care 12 May 2022
Health and Safety Executive 16 May 2022
Ministry of Defence 16 May 2022
Bedfordshire Police 1 June 2022
NHS Commissioning Board (NHS England) 29 June 2022
Health and Safety Executive 4 July 2022
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 15 August 2022
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 18 August 2022
Department for Education (DfE) 7 September 2022
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 16 September 2022
Home Office 27 September 2022
Metropolitan Police Service 10 November 2022
Department of Health and Social Care 11 November 2022
Department of Health and Social Care 27 September 2022
Department of Health and Social Care 27 September 2022
Department of Health and Social Care 27 September 2022
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis 27 September 2022
UK Health Security Agency 7 October 2022
Natural England 10 October 2022
Maritime and Coastguard Agency 24 November 2022
Home Office 23 November 2022
The Governing Body of the University of
Sheffield
26 February 2024