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  • More than 400 appeals fester with the ICO for more than a year

    Posted on May 6th, 2009 admin 2 comments

    The Information Commissioner’s Office has come back to me and provided an answer for the number of appeals it has had now for more than a year. The answer is a staggering 416 of which 25 haven’t even been dished out to an officer to start the process of an investigation.

    The BBC comes out top of the list - unsurprising really as they try to avoid almost all requests by claiming the Act does not apply to them and referring those complaints straight on to the ICO without offering an internal appeal.

    You can find the answer to the question at this link and the spreadsheet shows all the organisations that have an appeal stuck in the ICO’s pipeline. But here are the highlights.




    The Public Authorities with the most appeals lodged with the ICO that have been there for more than a year:

    BBC (32)

    Cabinet Office (21)                                                            

    Home Office (18)                                             

    Ministry of Defence (17)                                        

    Department of Health (13)                                                                 

    DEFRA (12)         

    Ministry of Justice (12) + 5 (National Offender Management Service)

    Metropolitan Police Service (10)                                                                         

    Foreign & Commonwealth Office (8)                                                                           

    Department for Culture Media and Sport (7)                                     




    Wakefield Metropolitan District Council (5)                                           

    Brighton & Hove City Council (3)                                               

    Buckinghamshire County Council (3)                                                            

    Cambridge City Council (2)                                         

    Ferryhill Town Council (2)                                         

    Kent County Council (2)                      

    Liverpool City Council (2)                                                         

    London Borough of Bromley (2)                                                                

    London Borough of Camden (2)                                                                       

    London Borough of Enfield (2)                                                                   

    London Borough of Islington (2)                                                                    

    Shotteswell Parish Council (2)                                                                  

    West Sussex County Council (2)                                                                     

    Winchester City Council (2)                                                                 

    Wokingham District Council (2)



    Metropolitan Police Service (10)

    Chief Constable Lancashire Constabulary (3)                                       

    Cambridgeshire Constabulary (2)                                                                        

    Chief Constable Greater Manchester Police (2)                                                 

    Police Service of Northern Ireland (2)                                               

    National Policing Improvement Agency (2)



    Newcastle College (2)

    Oxford University (2)


    2 responses to “More than 400 appeals fester with the ICO for more than a year”

    1. The BBC’s continuing flawed interpretation of the legislation is a worry to me. It seems to me that their standard response template letter states “…the information is held for the purposes of journalism, literature or art, and therefore outside the scope of the Act”.

      One of those 32 BBC cases is mine - the ICO received my letter of complaint in May 2007, exactly 363 days ago. My complaint was only assigned a case officer in December 2008, and I’ve yet to hear anything. Hardly reassuring, esepcially for cases where the release of information may be time-sensitive.

      I wonder how many more times the ICO will have to rule that the BBC has falsely claimed that requested information is held for journalism, literature or art before they take some sort of action against the BBC…

    2. Instead of forcing change at the BBC with a practice recommendation, there needs to be a change in the law. Why not get a SI passed removing the derogation and adding a qualified/prejudicial exemption instead. That way the BBC would be forced to consider all requests under FOIA and provide an appeals process and also force them to provide a PIT in favour of non-disclosure. Why should a public body supported by taxes not be answerable to the public? Better still, class programming as emissions (radio waves?) and make the requests under EIR - no derogation there to hide behind!

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