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Departments: Freedom of Information

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whom he has designated as responsible for the management of inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 from (a) hon. Members and (b) other sources. (146264)

The Department has exactly the same arrangements and process for deciding what information is to be disclosed and what is exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act, whether the FOI request comes from an hon. Member or any other person.

Decisions on exemptions are made by officials, except in the case of exemptions under Section 36 where a Minister is the ‘qualified person’ as defined by the Act. This applies irrespective of who makes the request.

In the Department all requests for information under the FOI regime are handled by the area responsible for the subject matter.

The responses come from different people, depending on whether the request is from an hon. Member, the media, or someone else. Responses to requests from an hon. Member are made by a Minister. In other cases, the response is made by an appropriate official. For requests from the media, the response is sent by a press officer. Where the applicant is from the legal profession, it is sent by a legal adviser. In all cases, responses are approved by the responsible member of the Senior Civil Service in the department.