My FoI request to PCCs and MOPAC

Earlier today, I sent a Freedom of Information request to all 41 PCCs plus MOPAC (the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the London / Metropolitan Police equivalent). This FoI is related to my blog earlier today entitled Coming soon from CoPaCC – the “PCC Transparency Audit. Here’s the FoI (followed by a summary of the acknowledgement/responses I’ve had to date)…

This is a Freedom of Information request (dated 3rd October 2013) addressed to each Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) plus the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC), to provide details of how your OPCC/MOPAC meets each of the 25 transparency requirements specified within appropriate legislation. Details of the legislative requirements on PCCs and MOPAC are available here.

In order to minimise workload on your OPCC (and on MOPAC), a Google Documents spreadsheet is provided here for your office to complete. Please simply provide within this spreadsheet the pages on your OPCC/MOPAC website that most closely provide the public with each of the 25 transparency requirements. A list of the legislative requirements is provided below.
Completion of your office’s element of this spreadsheet thus entails provision of the web addresses of up to 25 pages on your OPCC/MOPAC website, and should therefore not represent any undue workload, nor should require any extensive research on the part of your team. Should you prefer not to complete the spreadsheet, please alternatively meet this FoI request by in some other way providing a list of the 25 relevant webpages on your OPCC/MOPAC website that most closely meet each of the 25 criteria listed below [omitted from this blog copy].
Please note that the responses to these 42 Freedom of Information requests (41 OPCCs plus MOPAC) will be reflected within a CoPaCC paper to be published in November 2013, around the first anniversary of PCCs’ election.
With many thanks in anticipation.
Bernard Rix
Chief Executive, CoPaCC

And here’s an early summary of the acknowledgements/responses I’ve received so far. I’ll update this regularly. Note that the relevant FoI guidance (and legislation) states I should “receive the information within 20 working days” (i.e. by Thursday 31st October, 2013). Plus also worth noting that acknowledgements from Derbyshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and South Wales initially fell into my spam folder – the summaries below reflect when these OPCCs sent their reply, and not when I spotted them in “spam”.

I have followed the Ministry of Justice’s Procedural Guidance on Freedom of Information when determining timelines. This expressly states (my emphasis):

The Act obliges you to respond:

  • promptly
  • not later than 20 working days following the date on which the request was received

The request is considered as being received by your authority when it is delivered to your authority. The clock does not start when it is assigned to an official to answer.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Timeline – within 2 hours of sending FoI request:

  • Email acknowledgement of receipt (personalised): 6 OPCCs, namely Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Norfolk, Northumbria, Suffolk, Surrey
  • Email acknowledgement of receipt (automated / not personalised): 9 “OPCCs”, namely Avon & Somerset, Dyfed-Powys, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, MOPAC, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, West Yorkshire
  • No acknowledgement of receipt to date: 27 OPCCs, namely Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Gwent, Hampshire, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Merseyside, Northamptonshire, North Wales, South Wales, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Sussex, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, Wiltshire

Timeline – within 24 hours of sending FoI request (for those listed above as “no acknowledgement of receipt to date”):

  • Email (or Twitter) acknowledgement of receipt (personalised): 16 FURTHER OPCCs, namely Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, Essex, Gwent, Hampshire, Humberside, Kent, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Sussex, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, Wiltshire
  • Still no acknowledgement of receipt to date: 11 OPCCs, namely Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northamptonshire, North Wales, South Wales, South Yorkshire

Timeline – within 2 working days of sending FoI request (for those listed immediately above as “still no acknowledgement of receipt to date”):

  • Email acknowledgement of receipt (personalised): 3 FURTHER OPCCs, namely Cambridgeshire, Merseyside and South Yorkshire
  • Still no acknowledgement of receipt to date: 8 OPCCs, namely Cheshire, Cleveland, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, North Wales, South Wales

Timeline – within 3 working days of sending FoI request (for those listed immediately above as “still no acknowledgement of receipt to date”):

  • Email or Twitter acknowledgement of receipt (personalised): 5 FURTHER OPCCs, namely Cheshire, Cleveland, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset and North Wales
  • Still no acknowledgement of receipt to date: 3 OPCCs, namely Lancashire, Northamptonshire, South Wales

Timeline – within 4 working days of sending FoI request (for those listed immediately above as “still no acknowledgement of receipt to date”):

  • Email or Twitter acknowledgement of receipt (personalised): 3 FURTHER OPCCs, namely Lancashire, Northamptonshire and South Wales
  • Still no acknowledgement of receipt to date:  acknowledgements now received from every OPCC & MOPAC.

RESPONSES [within 20 working day time limit: 37 out of 42. Not received and late responses: 5 out of 42] Timeline – within 3 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Cambridgeshire

Timeline – within 5 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Devon & Cornwall

Timeline – within 8 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Surrey

Timeline – within 10 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Essex, Suffolk

Timeline – within 13 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Greater Manchester, Thames Valley, Humberside

Timeline – within 15 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Dorset

Timeline – within 16 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Cumbria, Derbyshire

Timeline – within 17 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Avon & Somerset, Bedfordshire, Dyfed-Powys, Sussex

Timeline – within 18 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Hampshire, Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire

Timeline – within 19 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Cheshire, Gwent, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Wiltshire

Timeline – within 20 working days of sending FoI request 

  • Response from: Cleveland, Durham, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, North Wales, North Yorkshire, South Wales, West Midlands

FIVE (5) REPLIES LATE OR NOT YET RECEIVED:

  • Response within 21 working days of sending FoI request from: Kent, Nottinghamshire, West Mercia
  • Response within 23 working days of sending FoI request from: MOPAC
  • Response within 24 working days of sending FoI request from: Warwickshire
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6 Comments

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6 responses to “My FoI request to PCCs and MOPAC

  1. I would hazard a guess that most, if not all, will try to claim that this request exceeds the maximum cost (£450 I believe) to comply and will issue a Refusal Notice on those grounds.

  2. benjamyn damazer

    Bernard

    I am sure I am teaching you to suck eggs.

    There is a range of exemptions to avoid answering including one of cost.

    If they do that, remind them that under section 16 of the FoIA 2000 they have a duty to help you reframe the question in such a way as to answer it. Haven’t got time right now to expand but there are many ways to skin this cat.

    • These are the 25 specific areas where, statutorily, PCCs have to be transparent. If they decide it’s too expensive (or “difficult”) to find that information on their own websites, Benjamyn, that in itself tells us something about their transparency (or lack of it). It also tells us something about their determination (or otherwise) to fulfill their statutory responsibilities.

      I’d anyway welcome your further views..

      Very best wishes

      Bernard

  3. Pingback: Too expensive to meet my FoI request? What it would tell us about PCCs (and MOPAC)… | Bernard Rix - mostly re policing...

  4. Pingback: Making sure that PCCs have received my FoI request… | Bernard Rix - mostly re policing...

  5. Pingback: YOUR views on PCCs’ transparency: strengths and weaknesses, the good and the bad… | Bernard Rix - mostly re policing...

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