Spy Blog is interested in the legal and procedural immunities offered to whistleblowers etc. Unless these are fair and sufficient, they will not allow whistleblowers to use the normal or extraordinary channels with the system to make their allegations, in the public interest.

However, if carte blanche immunity is given to secret informers and agents provocateurs then the most basic principles of justice are abandoned.

If you are a police or intelligence agency or military insider, would you be satisfied that the very limited legal immunity offered on behalf of this QC-led review is sufficient for you to testify in safety, especially where your current or former colleagues have the power to threaten you with criminal charges from their vast array of legal powers, regardless of the wrongs you may be exposing in the public interest ? ,

In this case, the identity of Peter Francis was public, but what if other of his, still anonymous, former undercover police colleagues, wish to speak up about the same or similar allegations of corruption, incompetence and political smear campaigns ?

To really "get at the truth", especially about secretive police / intelligence / military etc. operations, any QC-led or former / currently serving Judge-led or Privy Councillor - led Inquiry or Review. needs to have limited legal immunities for witnesses, made clear from the very outset,

c.f. the previous blog entry

FOIA Attorney General - full copy of "limited immunity" secured for witness(es) by Michael Ellison QC review of Police Corruption / spying on Stephen Lawrence family etc. allegations

Freedom of Information request - Our ref: FOI/13/14

I am writing in response to the Freedom of information request you submitted to this Office by email dated 14th January, the detail of which is copied below.


1) A full copy of the "limited immunity" undertaking by the Attorney General secured by Mark Ellison QC, who is reviewing police corruption and allegations of police spying on the Steven Lawrence family & campaigners

2) Does this "limited immunity" apply only to the Official Secrets Act 1989 or does it cover other potential charges e.g. Terrorism Act 2000 section 58a Eliciting. publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc. ?

3) Does this "limited immunity" apply only to former undercover police officer Peter Francis, or does it cover other potential witnesses or whistleblowers who may wish to communicate with the Ellison review ?

I have now been able to consider your request, It is probably worthwhile to make it clear that this was not an immunity from prosecution. limited or otherwise. The Attorney General provided an undertaking that within certain parameters, evidence given by Peter Francis would not be used against him in any prosecution. The purpose of an Inquiry, public or otherwise, is to get to the truth of what happened. The Attorney General is often asked by the chair of an inquiry to provide an undertaking so that witnesses may be able to give full and frank evidence to the inquiry without fearing that what they say may subsequently be used against them in a prosecution Although the evidence given by an individual cannot be used against them in a prosecution, it does not follow that a prosecution cannot follow The same evidence may be available elsewhere or from some other source, That is why these are undertakings as to the use of evidence and not an immunity from prosecution

I attach the two letters sent from this office to the Ellison Inquiry. Personal contact details of AGO officials have been redacted, You will note that it is limited to Mr Francis and is in respect solely of information about which he had already spoken to the media.

Home Secretary Theresa May's statement announcing that the existing QC-led review by Mark Ellison would now look into the media reports of undercover police surveillance & smears against the Lawrence family and supporters. Undercover Policing - HC Deb, 24 June 2013, c25

This QC-led Review into police corruption around the Lawrence case was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May back in July 2012 - Stephen Lawrence - HC Deb, 11 July 2012, c30WS

With regard to your request under point 2. I would like to note the following. Section 1 of the FOI Act 2000 confers an entitlement. where you have requested recorded information from a public authority, to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in your request, and in cases where the relevant public authority confirms that it holds information, you are entitled to have that information communicated to you.

As point 2 does not appear to be a request for 'recorded information', but rather seeking legal advice, it does not fall under the scope of the Freedom of Information Act

No, this was not "seeking legal advice", it was asking about the scope of the "limited immunity", just like point 3, which is obvious from the text.

The letters clearly state " in any criminal proceedings." which obviously covers point 2 entirely.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request. you have the right to ask for an internal review Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to Rowena Collins Rice. Director General. at the above address.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review. you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision The Information Commissioner can be contacted at' Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House. Water Lane. Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Guy Flitton
Freedom of Information Officer



letter 1 - Attorney General Office to Mark Ellison QC 21Nov2013 (.pdf):


Attorney General's Office
20 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0NF

tel: [redacted]
fax: +44 (020) 7271 2433
www.gov.uk/ago


Mark Ellison QC
The Stephen Lawrence Review
QEB Hoiiis Whiteman.
1 - 2 Laurence Pountney Hill
London
EC4R 0EU

21st November 2013

Dear Mr. Ellison

Thank you for your letter of 23rd October concerning the possibility of an undertaking being offered to Peter Francis should he agree to assist your review. Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service the Attorney General is prepared to offer Mr Francis an undertaking in the following terms:


This is an undertaking provided to Peter Francis in respect of his provision of evidence to the Stephen Lawrence Review being carried out by Mark Ellison QC. 'Evidence' includes oral evidence, any written statement made by Mr Francis preparatory to giving evidence to the Review or during the course of his testimony to the Review, and any document or information produced to the Review by him.

This undertaking applies only to evidence given about matters which are within the terms of reference of the Review and limited to what has been published In the media as to what Mr Francis has said regarding his tasking and reporting connected to the Lawrence campaign.

No evidence Mr Francis may give before the Review, nor any evidence as defined above. will be used against Mr Francis in any criminal proceedings.

The Attorney General is content for you to make public the existence of the undertaking should you wish.

Yours Sincerely

Kevin McGinty
Deputy Legal Secretary


letter 2 - Attorney General Office to Mark Ellison QC 12Dec2013 (.pdf):

Attorney General's Office
20 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0NF

tel: [redacted]
fax: +44 (020) 7271 2433
www.gov.uk/ago


Mark Ellison QC
The Stephen Lawrence Review
QEB Hoiiis Whiteman.
1 - 2 Laurence Pountney Hill
London
EC4R 0EU


12 December 2013

Dear Mr. Ellison

l understand that the solicitors acting for Mr Francis have sought clarification of the of the Attorney General's undertaking that evidence Mr Francis may provide to the Inquiry will not be used against him in any criminal proceedings. I can confirm that the undertaking will cover any evidence given by him that supplements the issues already published in the media and is within the terms of reference of the Inquiry.

Yours Sincerely

Kevin McGinty
Deputy Legal Secretary

It is significant that Peter Francis' solicitors felt the need to seek further clarification that their client would not face criminal charges if he chose to give evidence to the QC-led Review.

Freedom of Information Act requests
Attorney General's Office
20 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0NF

via email to: correspondence@attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk
cc: SLMEQC@qebhw.co.uk


Monday 14th January 2014

Dear Sirs,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please disclose the following information:

1) A full copy of the "limited immunity" undertaking by the Attorney General secured by Mark Ellison QC, who is reviewing police corruption and allegations of police spying on the Stephen Lawrence family & campaigners

2) Does this "limited immunity" apply only to the Official Secrets Act 1989 or does it cover other potential charges e.g. Terrorism Act 2000 section 58a Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc. ?

3) Does this "limited immunity" apply only to former undercover police officer Peter Francis, or does it cover other potential witnesses or whistleblowers who may wish to communicate with the Ellison review ?

Background:

This article in The Guardian newspaper

"Police demand notes from Channel 4 on Lawrence spying whistleblower
Chief constable wants broadcaster to hand over material about revelations that undercover officers spied on Lawrence family

Rob Evans
The Guardian, Monday 13 January 2014 21.00 GMT"

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/13/police-channel-4-stephen-lawrence-undercover-spying

which mentions:

"After Creedon's team said they could not give him immunity from an Official Secrets Act prosecution, Francis said he was not happy to speak to their inquiry.

However, Francis is due to give evidence this week to an associated official inquiry that has been asked by the home secretary, Theresa May, to examine the undercover infiltration of the Stephen Lawrence campaign and other allegations.

He is doing so as Mark Ellison, the barrister heading this inquiry, secured from the attorney-general, Dominic Grieve, limited immunity to enable him to speak to his inquiry."

Please provide the requested information, ideally by publishing it on your public world wide website, or alternatively by email.

Ideally this should *not* be in the form of a "copy and paste" locked Adobe .pdf file, or similar, attachment.

In the unlikely event that this information is not already available in a standard electronic format, then please explain the reasons why, when you provide the information in another format.

If you are proposing to make a charge for providing the information requested, please provide full details in advance, together with an explanation of any proposed charge.

If you decide to withhold any of the information requested, you should clearly explain why you have done so in your response, by reference to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 legislation.

If your decision to withhold is based upon an evaluation of the Public Interest, then you should clearly explain which public interests you have considered and why you have decided that the public interest in maintaining the exception(s) outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.

I look forward to receiving the information requested as soon as possible and in any event, within the statutory 20 working days from receipt of this email i.e. no later than Tuesday 11th February 2014


Yours Sincerely,

[name]
[address]
email: [email]

This constitutes a valid Electronic Signature, as per the
Electronic Communications Act 2000 section 7,
Electronic Signatures and related certificates

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/7/section/7

Spy Blog has re-submitted our FOIA Request which was refused over 6 months ago, on the grounds of imminent publication.

Cabinet Office - 6 F Off IA exemptions not to publish Detainee (Torture) Inquiry Interim Report requested back in December 2012..

Whitehall securocrats and politicians are making themselves look unprofessional or inept or corrupt, over the non-publication of the interim report by the Detainee Inquiry, which hardly got going (no witness evidence sessions) before it was abandoned.

How can it take longer to redact and censor what is likely to have been a very bland and content free report, than it actually took to produce in the first place ?

UNCLASSIFIED

Freedom of Information Team
Knowledge and Information Management Unit
Cabinet Office

1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ

E-mail: foi.team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 7276 2294
Web: www.cabinet-office.gov.uk


[name]
[email address]


FOI Reference: FOI318159
18 July 2013

Dear [name]

ef: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

I refer to your request of 14 July 2013 re-submitting your previous request of 9 December 2012 where you asked for a copy of:

"The interim report of the Detainee Inquiry sent to the Prime Minister on 27 June 2012, with any necessary redactions clearly marked and with an explanation of which FOIA Exemptions, if any, are being relied on for each redaction."

As you already know, the Cabinet Office holds the requested information. However, the whole of the interim report remains exempt information for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA). Insofar as the requested information is exempt information only by virtue of one or more qualified exemptions, the public interest in maintaining the exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

For a full explanation of our reasoning in this regard, we refer you to our letter of 8 January 2013, a copy of which is enclosed, for ease of reference. The reasoning set- out in that letter is equally applicable at today's date.

The process of clearing the report for publication has taken longer than envisaged, but it is important for the Government to be able to publish as full an accounting of the Inquiry's work as possible, without compromising national security and consistent with its legal obligations. Discussions with the Inquiry about clearing the report for publication are nearing a conclusion and it is hoped that the Government will be in a position to publish as full a version of their report as possible in the autumn, although no date has been set.

" in the autumn, although no date has been set."

It is now over a year since this report was submitted to the Prime Minister / Cabinet Office.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the FOI team. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request or wish to request an internal review, you should write to:

Roger Smethurst
Head of Knowledge and Information Management
Cabinet Office
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ

email: foi.team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

You should note that the Cabinet Office will not normally accept an application for internal review if it is received more than two months after the date that the reply was issued.

If you are not content with the outcome of your internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by Cabinet Office. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

FOI Team
Cabinet Office


It is now over 3 years since Prime Minister David Cameron announced the the setting up of Detainee Inquiry on 6th July 2010

Second Internal review by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, this time by the Head, rather than the Deputy Head of the Information Rights Team

[FCO logo]

Information Rights Team
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
London SW1A 2PA

[name]
[postal address]

17 January 2013

Dear [name]

INTERNAL REVIEW OF FOI REQUEST REF: [ref. no.]

Thank you for your email of 3 January asking for an internal review of the decision conveyed to you in our email dated 31 December 2012.

I am writing to confirm that I have conducted a full examination of how your request was
handled. I apologise for the delay in replying substantively to your initial request of 6th
October 2012.

Search for information

My team have spoken to the relevant department which issues the updates of the London
Diplomatic List and the List of Consular Offices outside London.

There were no updates made in August and September 2012 due to staff shortages. All the information collected during the period since the July 2012 update was put into the October 2012 update. The lists are working documents and are continually updated. The
department do not keep copies of the updates once these have been published on the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

If there were no updates in August and September due to "staff shortages", then why not say so in October ?

By not being transparent and open , this generated the suspicion that the London Diplomatic List were censored due to the Olympic Games.

I am therefore content that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold the
documents that you have requested.

Does the FCO really not have any backups of their internal computer systems, on which the various versions of the London Diplomatic List is compiled ?

Are there really no versions of the London Diplomatic List (.pdf) files held in the backups taken of the Protocol Directorate's section on the FCO website, in case of human error or deliberate cyber attack ?


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk

That is very hard to believe.

Your specific queries
I appreciate your feedback, I have reflected on the points that you have made and I accept to a large extent what you have said -your request was a valid one under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and should have been treated as such. If we had dealt with it as an FOI request we would have told you whether or not we held the information and we would have cited any relevant exemptions.

I apologise for the provision of the link to the printed document when you were asking about online monthly updates.

Therefore, after careful consideration of the original handling of the request and on the basis of the findings above, this internal review has overturned the original decision and dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The email from the Deputy Head of the Information Rights Team back in October 2012 was an Internal Review under Freedom of Information Act of the original rejection, especially as it mentioned FOIA Exemptions that could have been in the original Rejection, but wern't

I hope you are satisfied with the process of this review and the outcome. However, if you feel we have applied the exemptions incorrectly or we have not handled your internal review correctly and you wish to make a complaint, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Barry Proudfoot
Head, Information Rights Team
Information Management Department

[Freedom of Information logo]

We keep and use information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. We may release this personal information to other UK government departments and public authorities.

Why should it take so long for the Prime Minister / Cabinet Office to publlsh a censored version of the Detainee (i.e. Torture involvment ) Inquiry Interim Report ?

http://detaineeinquiry.org.uk

At least £1.3 million pounds of taxpayers' money has been spent, but not a single word has been published, of even the Interim Report.

Remember the Full report should have been published in July 2011, but the Inquiry has been nobbled.before actually questioning any witnesses.

The Cabinet Office have used no fewer than 6 Exemptions to deny this request under the F Off Information Act 2000:

Cabinet Office
1 Horse Guards Parade
London
SW1A 2HQ
Telephone: 020 7276 2294
Email: FOI.Team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
Web: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk

[name]
(by email only)

[email address]

8 January 2013

Dear [name]

I refer to your request of 9 December 2012 where you asked for a copy of:

"The interim report` of the Detainee Inquiry sent to the Prime Minister on 27 June 2012, with any necessary redactions clearly marked and with an explanation of which FOIA Exemptions, if any, are being relied on for each redaction."

I can confirm that the report is held by the Cabinet Office. However, the whole of the report is exempt information for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Insofar as information in the report is exempt information only by virtue of one or more qualified exemptions, in all the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining those exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosure (s.2 FoIA).

Section 22

Most of the report is exempt information by virtue of s.22 FoIA (information intended for future publication): the report is held by the Cabinet Office (and has been held at all times since it was received from the Inquiry) with a view to the publication of as much of it as possible at a future date. This has been made clear by statements made by Mr Kenneth Clarke, on behalf of the Government, to Parliament on 18 January 2012 and 17 July 2012.

section 22 Information intended for future publication.

On 18 January 2012, Mr Clarke said:

"...following consultation with Sir Peter Gibson, the chair of the inquiry, we have decided to bring the work of his inquiry to a conclusion. We have agreed with Sir Peter that the inquiry should provide the Government with a report on its preparatory work to date, highlighting particular themes or issues which might be the subject of further examination` The Government are clear that as much of this report as possible will be made public, We will continue to keep Parliament fully informed of progress..."

(emphasis added)

On 17 July 2012, Mr Clarke said (in a written statement to Parliament):

"In my Statement on 18 January 2012, announcing the Government's decision to bring the Detainee inquiry to a conclusion, I said that Sir Peter Gibson, the inquiry chair, had agreed to provide the Government with a report on its preparatory work to date, highlighting particular themes or issues which might be the subject of further examination. The inquiry sent its report to the Prime Minister on 27 June 2012. The Government are now looking carefully at its contents and remain committed to publishing as much of this interim report as possible. I will provide a further update when the House returns."

(emphasis added)

Public interest test

The exemption under s.22 is a qualified exemption. We have considered the arguments in favour of release alongside those in favour of withholding information. It is our view, that whilst there is a public interest in publishing the report now, on grounds of transparency and openness, there is a stronger public interest in ensuring sufficient time and space: to identify the material in the report that can properly be made publicly available; and to distinguish this from material disclosure of which would not be in the public interest (which material is exempt from disclosure by virtue of the exemptions considered below).

Accordingly, where the s.22 exemption applies, the public interest balance falls in favour of withholding the material.

We continue to look carefully at the content of the report in order to fulfil the Government's intention to publish as much of it as possible. At present, there is no date set for publication.

Absolute exemptions

Of the remainder of the information in the report, some is exempt information by virtue of absolute exemptions. The Cabinet Office is not required to consider whether the public interest favours disclosure of information to which these exemptions apply.
Material in the report which relates to, or was supplied indirectly by, a body listed in s.23(3) is exempt information, by virtue of s.23(1),

section 23 Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters.

Certain information in the report comprises personal data, disclosure of which would contravene the Data Protection Act 1998 (in particular it would contravene the First Data Protection Principle, in that disclosure would not be fair to the individuals concerned). Accordingly, this information is exempt information by virtue of s.40 FoIA.

section 40 Personal information.

Certain information in the report is confidential information, disclosure of which would constitute an actionable breach of confidence on the part of the Cabinet Office. I can not provide further details in this regard because to do so would disclose exempt information (see s.17(4) FoIA). This information is exempt information by virtue of s.41 FoIA.

section 17 Refusal of request.

section 41 Information provided in confidence.

Other qualified exemptions

The rest of the information in the report is exempt information on the grounds of (one or more of) s.24(1), s.27(1), s.42 and/or further exemptionsI details of which can not be provided without disclosing exempt information (see s.17(4) FOIA).

section 24 National security.

section 27 International relations.

section 42 Legal professional privilege.

Some material in the report, which is not exempt information by virtue of s.23(1), is exempt information under s.24(1), because exemption from disclosure is required in order to safeguard national security. This is a qualified exemption. Safeguarding national security is a fundamental obligation of government and the public interest in its maintenance may only be overridden in exceptional circumstances.

Some material in the report is exempt information by virtue of s.27(1), because its disclosure would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and another state, or the interests of the United Kingdom abroad: its disclosure would make international relations more difficult for the UK and/or would require us to take diplomatic steps to minimise the resulting harm. This, too, is a qualified exemption. Since disclosure of this material would be likely to inhibit other governments' willingness to share sensitive information with the UK there is a strong public interest in maintaining this exemption.

Some information in the report is exempt from disclosure under s.42 of because it is information for which a claim to legal professional privilege (LPP) could be maintained in legal proceedings. LPP stems from the strong public interest in the proper administration of justice. Accordingly there is a strong public interest in-built to the privilege itself. While this too is a qualified exemption, strong countervailing considerations must be adduced to override the in-built public interest.

Public interest test

While there is a strong public interest in openness and transparency with regard to the matters that are the subject of the Detainee lnquiry's terms of reference, this public interest will be very largely met by the publication, in due course, of as much of the lnquiry's report as possible. In these circumstances, there is only limited public interest in favour of disclosure of the information in the report to which the above exemptions apply; and the public interest in maintaining the exemptions comfortably outweighs this limited public interest in disclosure,

if you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request or wish to request an internal review, you should write to:

Roger Smethurst
Head of Knowledge and Information Management Unit
Cabinet Office
1 Horse Guards Road
LONDON
SW1A 2HQ

Email: FOI.Team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

You should note that the Cabinet Office will not normally accept an application for internal review if it is received more than two months after the date that the reply was issued,
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Cabinet Office. The information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner`s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

lf you have any queries about this letter, please Contact the Cabinet Office FOI Team. Please remember to quote the reference number FOl[reference number] in any future communicationsI

Yours sincerely,

FOI Team Cabinet Office

[signature]


It must be Christmas ! Spy Blog is pleasantly surprised that this FOIA request:

FOIA: House of Commons - Commons Select Committee Reports - numbers & sales of printed paper copies

has been answered with a Substantive Reply, within the Statutory 20 working day limit, together with accompanying Excel spreadsheets.

We wish the FOIA staff at the House of Commons a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year !

From: FOICOMMONS@parliament.uk
To: [email address]
Subject: [FOIA reference] response

Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:14:44 +0000


Dear [name]

Thank you for your request for information which is copied below.

The information in this answer relates only to House of Commons Select Committee reports and does not include Joint Committee reports, which are normally printed by the House of Lords. The House of Lords is a separate public authority and can be contacted by email: foilords@parliament.uk.

All House of Commons Select Committee reports are published on the web in HTML and PDF -- http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/. These may be read and downloaded without charge and contain links to pricing information for printed copies.

The majority of printing of Select Committee reports is carried out by the printing and publishing contractor for the House of Commons, The Stationery Office (TSO). The information given in the annexes is for Select Committee reports for the 2010-12 Session which were printed in financial year 2011/12. Some printing is also carried out by the House's internal print unit, for example, to supplement stocks; these copies are not sold to the public. Information is not held on printing of Select Committee reports carried out on office printers.

Data in annex A shows the approximate number of paper copies of Select Committee reports printed by TSO, broken down by HC number, subject matter and ISBN -- the data set does not contain full titles.

Data in annex B shows the number of paper copies of Select Committee reports printed by the House's internal print unit, broken down by HC number -- the data set does not contain titles.

The Houses of Parliament Shop (formerly the Parliamentary Bookshop) sells some paper copies of Select Committee reports to the public. Data in annex C shows the number of paper copies of Select Committee reports sold by the Shop, broken down by HC number, ISBN and sales -- the data set does not contain titles.

The House of Commons does not hold information on the number of sales of Select Committee reports by TSO or the money raised from those sales.

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, ask the House of Commons to conduct an internal review of any decision regarding your request. Requests for internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of Information Officer, Department of HR and Change, House of Commons London SW1 0AA or foicommons@parliament.uk. Please ensure that you specify the full reasons for the internal review and any arguments or points that you wish to make.

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, www.ico.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

[name of official] Freedom of Information Coordinator Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service House of Commons

Download the Excel Spreadsheets (.xlsx)

The figures confirm what we had supected, that very few people actually read the printed copies of House of Commons Select Committee Reports:

  1. most of the Select Committee Reports have a print run of about only 200 copies
  2. - far fewer than the 650 members of members of Parliament

  3. almost none of these printed copies are actually sold to members of the public .

This strengthens our contention that the Internet (web pages and email) should now be the method of Officially publishing Select Committee Reports.

The House of Commons (and the Lords) should desist from their technologocially stupid practice of pretending that the "official" publication of a Select Committee Report has to be "embargoed" and wait for the printed version to become available.

In order to send a copy to the the printers, there will already be an electronic version of the test of the report which will have been "briefed" to mainstream media journalists, or leaked.

Since the mainstream media does not seem to honour these voluntary "embargos" anyway, then Parliament should publish Select Committee Reports online on the worldwide web first on say a Wednesday, in time for analysis and comment by the weekend newspapers, with the small number of printed copies to follow as required the week after.

Perhaps a few more Members of Parliament might actually then read the detail of such reports than appear to do so at present.




FOI Team
Cabinet Office
Room 3.32
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ

E-mail: foi.team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

Sunday 9th December 2012

Dear Sirs

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please disclose the
following information:

-----------------------
With reference to

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120717/wmstext/120717m0001.htm#12071774000516

17 July 2012 : Column 132WS

Detainee Inquiry

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Kenneth Clarke): In my statement on 18 January 2012, Official Report, column 751,announcing the Government's decision to bring the detainee inquiry to a conclusion, I said that Sir Peter Gibson, the inquiry chair, had agreed to provide the Government with a report on its preparatory work to date, highlighting particular themes or issues which might be the subject of further examination. The inquiry sent its report to the Prime Minister on 27 June 2012. The Government are now looking carefully at its contents and remain committed to publishing as much of this interim report as possible. I will provide a further update when the House returns.

Please disclose:

1) The interim report of the Detainee Inquiry sent to the Prime Minister on 27 June 2012, with any necessary redactions clearly marked and with an explanation of which FOIA Exemptions, if any, are being relied on for each redaction.
---------------------

Please provide the requested information, ideally by publishing it
on your public world wide website, or alternatively by email.

Ideally this should *not* be in the form of a "copy and paste"
locked Adobe .pdf file, or similar, attachment.

In the unlikely event that this information is not already
available in a standard electronic format, then please explain the
reasons why, when you provide the information in another format.

If you are proposing to make a charge for providing the information
requested, please provide full details in advance, together with an
explanation of any proposed charge.

If you decide to withhold any of the information requested, you
should clearly explain why you have done so in your response, by
reference to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 legislation.

If your decision to withhold is based upon an evaluation of the
Public Interest, then you should clearly explain which public
interests you have considered and why you have decided that the
public interest in maintaining the exception(s) outweighs the
public interest in releasing the information.

I look forward to receiving the information requested as soon as
possible and in any event, within the statutory 20 working days
from receipt of this email i.e. no later than Thursday 10th January 2013 (allowing for public holidays).

Yours Sincerely,

[name]
[address]
[tailored email address for this FOIA request]

Freedom of Information Officer,
the House of Commons,
Department of HR and Change,
7 Millbank,
London,
SW1P 3JA

E-mail: foicommons@parliament.uk

Sunday 9th December 2012

Dear Sirs

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please disclose the
following information:

-----------------------
With reference to the Commons Select Committees Reports, for the
last calendar or financial year (whichever is most convenient)

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/committees/select-
committee-publications/commons-select/

Please disclose:

1) The approximate total number of paper copies of the Select
Committee reports actually printed.

2) The approximate number of paper copies of the Select Committee
reports actually printed, broken down by Title.

3) The approximate total number of paper copies of the Select
Committee reports actually sold to the public and / or the
approximate total amount of money so raised.

4) The approximate number of paper copies of the Select Committee
reports actually sold to the public and / or the approximate total
amount of money so raised, broken down by Title.
---------------------

Please provide the requested information, ideally by publishing it
on your public world wide website, or alternatively by email.

Ideally this should *not* be in the form of a "copy and paste"
locked Adobe .pdf file, or similar, attachment.

In the unlikely event that this information is not already
available in a standard electronic format, then please explain the
reasons why, when you provide the information in another format.

If you are proposing to make a charge for providing the information
requested, please provide full details in advance, together with an
explanation of any proposed charge.

If you decide to withhold any of the information requested, you
should clearly explain why you have done so in your response, by
reference to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 legislation.

If your decision to withhold is based upon an evaluation of the
Public Interest, then you should clearly explain which public
interests you have considered and why you have decided that the
public interest in maintaining the exception(s) outweighs the
public interest in releasing the information.

I look forward to receiving the information requested as soon as
possible and in any event, within the statutory 20 working days
from receipt of this email i.e. no later than Thursday 10th January
2013 (allowing for public holidays).

Yours Sincerely,

[name]
[address]
[tailored specific email address]

Information Commissioner's Office
FOIA casework team

via email: casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Sunday 21st October 2012

Dear Sirs

I am writing to formally complain about the mishandling of my FOIA
request for the missing online (.pdf) August and September versions
of the the London Diplomatic List, by the Foreign & Commonwealth
Office.

In their original response attached below, and in their Internal
Review, they (insultingly) pretend that the out of date, printed,
annual version of the London Diplomatic List (published in January
2012) is somehow the same as the monthly 2012 updates published as
Adobe (.pdf) documents on the the FCO website.

They failed to mention any FOIA Exemptions or any mention of my
right to an independent Internal Review or my right to complain to
Information Commissioner's Office in their original reply to my
properly formatted FOIA request.

Probably not coincidentally, the FCO Protocol section *has*
published online the London Diplomatic List for October 2012,
created on 15th October 2012, so there is no question that they do
not hold such information.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/protocol/ldl-october

The Internal Review effectively admits breaches of sections 16 and
17 of the FOIA 2000.

***********
N.B. I still want the August and September 2012 versions of the
London Diplomatic List to be published on their public website or
made available to me via email.
**********

I expect at least some informal "pull your socks up" to the
standard of other Whitehall departments advice, or a formal
Decision Notice from the ICO to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

regards
[name]
[address]


----- Forwarded message from [email of address of civil servant] -----
Dear [name]

I am writing to you as the Deputy Head of the Information Rights
Team. When we received your request we forwarded this to our
Protocol Department to deal with. Their advice was that the
information you requested was easily obtainable from The Stationery
Office (TSO). We decided that it would more effective to respond
to you quickly and provide you with that information which is what
my colleague did on 10 October. The only difference between my
colleague's response and any official FOI reply would have been the
citation of section 21 - information which is reasonably accessible
by other means. Under the FOI Act we are not obliged to provide
you with information which is already in the public domain and
would be readily accessible to you, even if it means you have to
buy a copy of the London Diplomatic List.

We would have also have quoted the following paragraphs which would
have advised you of your rights to ask for an internal review or
appeal to the Information Commissioner.

The paragraphs are as follows:

If you are unhappy with this reply you may ask for an internal
review. If you wish to do so you should contact:

Information Rights Team
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
London
SW1A 2PA

Email: dp-foi.img@fco.gov.uk

You should must submit your request for an internal review within
40 working days from the date of this letter.

I have already done so and you have already rejected my FOIA request, on spurious grounds.

I am complaining to the Information Commissioner's Office

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you
have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner
for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot make a decision
unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by
Foreign Office. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF.

I do not feel that my colleague acted in an unprofessional manner.
I believe that she was trying to be helpful in answering you as
quickly and as fully as possible. If you are still dissatisfied
with my response please write to the Information Rights Team at the
above address and we will conduct a further internal review if you
wish.

Yours sincerely


[name of civil servant]
Deputy Head, Information Rights Team
Information Management Department
SG/126, OAB
Tel: 020 7008 [POTS number] FTN: 8008 [different number]
Fax: 020 7008 [fax number]
BlackBerry: [non government mobile phone number ?]
Email: [email]


Have the anonymous bureaucrats at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office "Information Rights Team" actually attended any Freedom of Information Act 2000 training courses ?

Will we really have to involve the Information Commissioner etc. or will a more senior official sort out this mess through an Internal Review of the mishandling of our FOIA request to Foreign & Commonwealth Office - London Diplomatic List for August, September, October 2012 ?

Information Rights Team
Information Management Group
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
Room SG120
London
SW1A 2PA

via email to: DP-FOI.IMG@fco.gov.uk

Friday 12th October 2012

Dear Sirs,

Under the Freedom Information Act 2000, I demand a formal Internal Review of the handling of my Freedom of Information Act 2000 request, by a more senior official, not directly involved in handling my original request:

"FOIA request: London Diplomatic List for August, September & October 2012"
emailed to you on Saturday 6th October 2012

which is quoted in full inline below.

I am astonished by the lack of professionalism in your reply.

Has the anonymous bureaucrat who replied to me under your "Information Rights Team" cover identity actually attended any Freedom of Information Act 2000 training courses ?

You cannot simply claim that:

"Your request for information is no longer being treated as a Freedom of Information request"

It is still an FOIA request regardless of whether you want to disclose the information requested or not.

You appear to be already in breach of section 17 .Refusal of request.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/17

If you are refusing my request, then you have to formally refuse to comply and state which Exemptions you are relying on to do so, bearing in mind your default duty to disclose the information requested.

You have not bothered to cite any Exemptions at all under the Act (even though I reminded you to do so in my request)

You falsely claim that:

" the documents requested below are readily available to buy.

You can purchase them from The Stationery Office (TSO) at the following website address: http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/ (Tel:0870 600 5522)."

If you had bothered to look on the TSO website, or had asked any of your FCO colleagues in the Protocol section who compile the London Diplomatic List, you would know that an out of date printed version is available for sale annually.

http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/bookstore.asp?DI=633588&CLICKID=002289

The London Diplomatic List 2012
Incorporating Directory of International Organisations
ISBN 9780115917974
Published 31 Jan 2012

That is clearly *not* the online monthly updates which have been published on the FCO website as Adobe (.pdf) documents, almost monthly since late 2009 until July 2012.

I clearly requested the missing August, September and current (October) versions of these online documents.

You have a legal duty to confirm that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office does hold a current, up date version of the London Diplomatic List - it is inconceivable that you do not do so.

Or are you claiming that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has secretly decided to no longer publish such monthly updates on the public website ?

Your reply:

"You can find details for 'current list of consular offices outside London' at www.fco.gov.uk"

This Is quite insulting, given that I actually quoted the correct web link to you in my original request:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/protocol/Consulates

I would remind you of the criminal offence under section 77 Offence of altering etc. records with intent to prevent disclosure".

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/77

which applies to anyone who "alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure "

Yours Sincerely,


[name]
[address]
[email]


===========================


Return-Path: dp-foi.img@fco.gov.uk
From:
To: [email address]
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 09:04:23 +0100
Subject: London Diplomatic Lists
Thread-Topic: London Diplomatic Lists
x-esesecuritylabel: UNCLASSIFIED
x-eseoriginalsubject: London Diplomatic Lists

Dear [name]

Thank you for your e-mail.

Your request for information is no longer being treated as a Freedom of Information request as the documents requested below are readily available to buy.

You can purchase them from The Stationery Office (TSO) at the following website address: http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/ (Tel:0870 600 5522).

You can find details for 'current list of consular offices outside London' at www.fco.gov.uk<http://www.fco.gov.uk>

Kind Regards

Information Rights Team


About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog has been spawned from Spy Blog, and is meant to provide a place to track our Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to United Kingdom Government and other Public Authorities.

If you have suggestions for other FOIA requests,  bearing in mind the large list of exemptions, then email them to us, or use the comments facility on this blog, and we will see  what we can do, without you yourself having to come under the direct scrutiny of  "Sir Humphrey Appleby" or his minions.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog @spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

WhatDoTheyKnow.com

WhatDoTheyKnow.com - FOIA request submission and publication website from MySociety.org

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg
FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open_Rights_Group.png
Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

irrepressible_banner_03.gif
Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

anoniblog_150.png
BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

ngoiab_150.png
NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

homeofficewatch_150.jpg
Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team." - does this apply to the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government as well ?

rsf_logo_150.gif
Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

committee_to_protect_bloggers_150.gif
Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders_are_NOT_Terrorists_logo_150.jpg
Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

nocctv.gif
No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

phnat-logo-black-on-white_150.jpg

I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

power2010_132.png

Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

Cracking_the_Black_Box_black_150.jpg

Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

surveillance_72.jpg

Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

Yes, Minister

Yes, Minister Series 1, Episode 1, "Open Government" First airtime BBC: 25 February 1980

"Bernard Woolley: "Well, yes, Sir...I mean, it [open government] is the Minister's policy after all."
Sir Arnold: "My dear boy, it is a contradiction in terms: you can be open or you can have government."

FOIA Links

Campaign for the Freedom of Information

Office of the Information Commissioner,
who is meant to regulate the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish Information Commissioner,
who similarly regulates the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals against decisions by the Information Commissioners.

Freedom of Information pages - Department for Constitutional Affairs

Friends of the Earth FOIA Request Generator and links to contact details for Central Government Departments and their Publication Schemes

UK Government Information Asset Register - in theory, this should point you to the correct Government documents, but in practice...well see for yourself.

Access all Information is also logging some FOIA requests

foi.mysociety.org - prototype FOIA request submission, tracking and publication website

Blog Links

Spy Blog

UK Freedom of Information Act Blog - started by Steve Wood, now handed over to Katherine Gundersen

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke

Informaticopia - Rod Ward

Open Secrets - a blog about freedom of information by BBC journalist Martin Rosenbaum

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Syndicate this site (XML):

Recent Comments

  • wtw: This has now been published, for what it is worth read more
  • wtwu: Anonymous briefings to the mainstream press that the truncated Gibson read more
  • wtwu: Rendition report still unpublished nine months after completion Although government read more
  • wtwu: The clock is till ticking and the Cabinet Office is read more
  • GF: They obviously just wanted more time to respond, illegally (ironically read more
  • Geoff Hillyard: My police Union told be that I would be read more
  • Geoff Hillyard: My earlier letter talking about the lie that I read more
  • wtwu: Apart from an automatic email dispaly receipt from public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk Spy read more
  • wtwu: This Decision Notice is now available as a(.pdf) from the read more
  • wtwu: The ICO has now published this Deciaion Notice as a read more

February 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28  

Categories