date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:32:26 +0100
from: "Palmer Dave Mr \(LIB\)" <David.PalmeratXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: ICO Investigation - Holland request - Response requirements (GOOD
to: "Mcgarvie Michael Mr \(ACAD\)" <M.McgarvieatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Jones Philip Prof \(ENV\)" <P.JonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Osborn Timothy Dr \(ENV\)" <T.OsbornatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, "Colam Jonathan Mr \(ISD\)" <J.ColamatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
I just had a very interesting conversation with a gentleman by the name of James Cooper at
the ICO Helpline. I had phoned him to enquire about the possibility of citing section 40
under FOIA at this stage - he consulted with colleagues and gave me the opinion that this
would be accepted and considered by the ICO.
More importantly, having given him the case reference number for our matter, he informed me
that a case officer had not yet been assigned and that it might be some time prior to that
happening! Ergo, I have no-one to speak to at the ICO about this case with specific
responsibility for it, and, it appears nothing will be happening at the ICO for some time
in regards this request.
Finally, and most crucially, I queried the 20 working days 'deadline' for our submission to
the ICO and was informed that there was no statutory force behind that time limit; it was
there simply to 'encourage' institutions to respond in a timely manner. I outlined the
fact that we were preparing a case under EIR and that several key figures and pieces of
evidence were still in the process of being acquired, and, asked how firm the ICO would be
on enforcing the deadline, or punishing us if we missed it. Mr. Cooper indicated that as
nothing much would be happening with the information we sent to the ICO that they would be
minded to allow us some 'slack' on the response time, as long as it was not indefinite.
Indeed, he suggested that we either provide an alternative date, or, contact them we have
our 'case' assembled and tell them that we are ready to transfer the requested information
In short, we have a lot more time to construct a well-reasoned case on this matter than
their correspondence of 2 June 2009 would otherwise indicate. I suggest that I write the
ICO to confirm this conversation with Mr. Cooper so as to 'nail' their position in place -
I don't want to be hammered by the ICO in a Decision Notice for bad process if the ICO
themselves have given us the go-ahead for that process... Do you concur?.
I would further suggest that we work to gather more evidence to support our case (e.g. IPCC
input) so that when we do submit our case, it is as strong as possible. Further evidence
would greatly assist our claims under EIR in particular. The outline of that evidence has
been already noted in my earlier emails to Tim & Phil.
I will continue with the work on the intellectual framework of the case under both FOIA and
EIR and will submit on Friday if possible (more likely early next week?)
The final question is how we approach the issue of providing ALL the requested documents.
We could simply defer what we would have said by 26 June to whatever date we do respond, or
we could try to flush out their position earlier than that - any comments/ideas?
I consider this very good news that will assist us in preparing as robust a case as
Information Policy & Compliance Manager
University of East Anglia
Tel: +44 (0)1603 593523
Fax: +44 (0)1603 591010