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Data Access and Compliance Unit

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which senior officials work in his Department's Data Access and Compliance Unit; what their roles are; what their qualifications are for undertaking those roles; and who is responsible for the performance of the unit. (314696)

The Data Access and Compliance Unit is part of the Information Access Division, which is responsible for the Ministry's compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act, as well as for the provision of library services to the Ministry. It is headed by a Senior Civil Servant, reporting to the Information Director. The performance of the Unit is monitored at all levels of management, individual measures being part of the job objectives of the members of staff involved. All managers receive appropriate levels of training and support to enable them to fulfil their roles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what evaluations have been made of the performance of his Department’s Data Access and Compliance Unit; who undertook those evaluations; and what use has been made of those evaluations by (a) his Departments Corporate Management Board and (b) Ministers. (314716)

The Ministry of Justice’s Data Access and Compliance Unit’s performance targets are incorporated into the objectives of the staff that work in and manage the unit, as well as into departmental targets. Regular updates on performance against these targets are provided to senior staff, members of the Ministry’s Corporate Management Board, and Ministers.

Starting with the Unit’s formation in late 2008, a body of work has been undertaken to improve Freedom of Information performance across the Ministry. Timeliness performance—the number of cases answered within statutory deadlines—has risen from 51 per cent. in December 2008 to 77 per cent. at the end of October 2009. We expect a further improvement when the figures for the period ending in December 2009 are available.