Friday, December 12, 2008

ICO plans for possible funding cut for FOI

The possibility of a cut in the Information Commissioner's Office FOI funding has been raised. The ICO's Executive Team minutes from 11 November 2008 state:
6. Funding for FoI 2009-10

6.1. Richard Thomas gave an overview of 2009/10 funding. It is expected that funding across the public sector will be tight next year and the ICO will need to plan for possible reductions in grant in aid (affecting freedom of information). This was despite our understanding that the £5.5 million paid this year was a baseline figure.

6.2. Data protection funding may also be affected by the recession.

6.3. ET discussed the use of secondees from government departments to help in freedom of information case work, but noted that to make an impact; a large number would be needed. And whilst the secondees would be funded by their home departments, there were costs associated with training and accommodating extra staff which would fall to the ICO.

6.4. In respect of freedom of information funding and our view that the £5.5m was baselined, the ICO would need to discuss with the MoJ its understanding of the position.
The ICO's Corporate Plan 2008-11 assumes funding of £5.5m for 2009/10:
"This allows us to keep pace with the current volume of freedom of information complaints. We will not be able to reduce the number of cases held at any one time, which will remain at around 1,300."
Any reduction in funding would almost certainly lead to an increase in the backlog.

No comments: