Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NOMS issued with practice recommendation

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has been issued with a practice recommendation by the Information Commissioner's Office. An ICO press release states:
A review into the handling of FOI requests by NOMS found that the agency had repeatedly extended the time limit for considering whether there was a public interest in releasing information, in some cases for 12 months consecutively, and had failed to give specific reasons for the delays. In the ICO’s view such delays may appear to be designed to hold-up the process of providing full responses to FOI requests. The ICO is also aware of a number of unacceptable delays in dealing with internal reviews after a request has initially been refused. In one case an internal review was only completed nearly 29 months after being requested.

The ICO’s review of NOMS found that the agency had not acted in accordance with the Act and had failed to conform to the associated Codes of Practice in various ways, including giving unhelpful advice which could be discouraging to requesters. The ICO also considers that the agency regularly failed to explain sufficiently why exemptions applied when refusing to release information.
View the practice recommendation (pdf)

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