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Departmental Freedom of Information

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many officials in his Department’s Information Directorate were seconded to the Information Commissioner’s Office in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. (306648)

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the independent authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act.

The ICO is supported by one secondee from the Information Directorate in the Ministry of Justice, who joined the Office in April 2009. There have been no previous secondees from the Information Directorate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received by his Department in 2008 received a substantive response within 20 days. (305570)

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice on Freedom of Information in central Government for 2008 show that of a total of 2,492 non-routine requests received by the Department, 56 per cent. (1,393) received a substantive response within 20 days. 62 per cent. (1,537) of requests were dealt with ‘in time’, that is, within 20 days or by meeting a permitted extension deadline.

To improve its performance, the Department brought the management of all of its freedom of information requests within the remit of a new data access and compliance unit, in late 2008.

Since 2008, the timeliness with which it deals with requests has risen substantially—from 51 per cent. at the end of 2008 to 71 per cent. in the second quarter of 2009. It expects to see further improvements in timeliness during 2009.

The statistics can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/freedomof informationquarterly.htm

and copies are available in the Library of the House.