200824 The ICO and 40-Day Internal Review Extension

IC-53464-D2X3 FoIA Request

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

This request results from repeated references by the ICO to a 40-day rule for an Authority to complete an Internal Review(IR) in contradiction to the 20-day ‘reasonable’ period and seemingly the ability of a Public Authority to take 40 days without explanation. For example, as can be found here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c…

1. In how many has the Authority, Highways England, undertaken an IR within 20 working days or less
2. With regard to those outside 20 working days, what explanation was provided by the authority?
3. Please provide me with an (anonymised) spreadsheet of the complaints you have received about the Highways England form 01/01/2017 to the present detailing:
a. Date of original FoIA request
b. Date of Authority response
c. Date of IR request
d. Date of IR response
e. Date to the ICO
f. ICO reference
g. Date ICO responded to the complainant
h. Date ICO wrote to the Authority
i. Date ICO received a reply from the Authority
j. Present position

If there are other dates held, these would be appreciated

4. With regard to the 20 day period for an IR, I ask to be provided:
a. The ICO policy with regard to this – the monitoring, enforcement and complaints about Authorities failing to respond within 20 working days
b. The enquiries the ICO makes of an Authority when they fail to complete and IR within 20 working days

I am seeking to understand the ’20 day rule for an IR’ as it appears this is not the period to which the ICO works, an Authority has carte blanche to respond and the 20 days stipulation is misleading, unrealistic and not enforced.

Any information to the contrary would also be appreciated.

“… significant or repeated unreasonable delays in dealing with internal reviews by public authorities are monitored and where appropriate further action may be taken. “

5. What is considered ‘significant’ and what is considered ‘repeated’ (how may occasions
6. what Authorities have had action taken against them for repeated unreasonable delays
7. what action is available to the ICO
8. what action has been taken against Highways England

It appears there is no monitoring, that the 20 days is unenforced and that the reasons given are not considered by the ICO. I would welcome any information that contradicts this appearance.

Yours faithfully,

Mr P Swift

22/09/2020 from the ICO:

Our response

In this instance, we are refusing your request under section 14(1)
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
This refusal has been made having carefully considered the ICO’s
published guidance on the application of section 14 FOIA:
We do have a full response explaining our reasons – however, we
don’t think it would be appropriate for us to communicate this to
you via the WDTK website. Please contact the Information Access
Team at the following address: AccessICOinformation@ico.org.uk
confirming your preferred personal contact address.

Frederick Aspbury
Senior Information Access Officer, Risk and
Governance Department
Corporate Strategy and Planning Service
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 0330 4146397 F. 01625 524510

IR sought – click here for the request history