UK Information Commissioner criticised

A House of Commons Committee has heard that the Freedom of Information Act has been implemented in a way that hinders requests, and that the Information Commissioner is partly to blame.

Maurice Frankel, head of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, said that delays in dealing with FOI requests were a problem at every stage of the FOI process. He said that the experience of those who used the legislation was characterised by a delay in public authorities responding to request, delays in completing internal reviews and also lengthy delays in getting decisions from the Information Commissioner.

Concerning the Commissioner’s performance and, in particular, the backlog of appeals cases, Mr Frankel said that problems existed with "the quality of the notices and the investigations". He was concerned that when the original enforcement arrangements in the legislation were designed, people generally thought that the tribunal would be there "to hold the Commissioner back" and that cases before them would relate to public authorities complaining about the release of information. In practice, he said, "what the tribunal are doing is pushing the Commissioner forward" stating that more of the requested information should have been released to the applicant.

Information Commissioner criticised for FOIA implementation (Out-Law, Pinsent Masons, 12 April 2006)

Oral evidence presented to the Constitutional Affairs Committee: