FCO FOIA 2nd Internal Review re: missing online updates of the London Diplomatic List

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.

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