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Home Positive Action Group Our Charter and Objectives Open and Accountable PAG Submission to Consultation on Freedom of Information Bill - Draft Bill: Clauses 11-14

PAG Submission to Consultation on Freedom of Information Bill - Draft Bill: Clauses 11-14

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Article Index
PAG Submission to Consultation on Freedom of Information Bill
Executive Summary
Draft Bill Clauses 5 to 10
Draft Bill: Clauses 11-14
Draft Bill: Clauses 18-22
Draft Bill: Clauses 27-31
Draft Bill: Clauses 34-42
Draft Bill:Clauses 43-47
Draft Bill: Clauses 48-50
Draft Bill: Clauses 53-67
All Pages
Clause 11 – Time for compliance

(3)       If a public authority refuses to comply with a request for qualified exempt information in the circumstances set out in section 26(3), the authority is not required to comply with the request until such time as is reasonable in all the circumstances.

Comment

At 11(1) there is a 20 working day limit which does not apply for any request which the authority is considering refusing under a qualified exemption. That is, an unspecified additional period of time is permitted to answer requests where the public interest test comes into play.

This could lead to indefinite delays and is not in the public interest. The Bill should reflect the Scottish Act which does not have this.

All requests, including those involving qualified exemptions, must be dealt with within the same 20 working day period.

Clause 12 – Manner of compliance

(3)       The means are –

(a)       the provision of a copy of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant;

(b)       the provision of a digest or summary of the information; and

(c)        the provision to the applicant of a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information.

Comment

The clause means an applicant would not be entitled to a photocopy of a document containing the requested information. Clause 12(3)(a) allows the authority to print out or retype the information - it does not permit a photocopy to be insisted on.

Insert a provision allowing the requester to specify a photocopy.

The authority would still not be obliged to provide one if that would not be “reasonably practicable” (clause 12(4)), so there is no reason to regard such a provision as onerous.

Clause 14 – Publication schemes

14        Publication schemes

(1)       A public authority may–

(a) adopt and maintain a publication scheme relating to the publication of information by the authority.

 Comment

 Amend to require authorities to produce publication schemes (as in UK and Scottish Acts)

 An advantage of FOI is that the service provided by authorities can be improved via feedback from the results of requests.

 For consistency publication needs to be on a mandatory basis. 



 

Comments   

 
0 #2 RE: PAG Submission to Consultation on Freedom of Information BillGuest 2011-11-01 20:34
I cannot accept that a Crown Dependency should have entirely separate legislation to the UK. The cost of modern governance is beyond that which our island could collect through fair taxation. Therefore, I propose that our Civil Service should be an extention of the UK operation, on some matters.
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0 #1 Peel Commissioners view of Draft FoI Billroy 2010-09-28 11:59
http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/Peel-board-critical-of-Freedom.6503601.jp
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