It must be Xmas - House of Commons fully answers our FOIA request re printed Select Committee Reports, on time !

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.



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.

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