Monday, 28 February 2011

Information Commissioner Rules Against NCC in Register of Delegated Powers Case

At long last, the Information Commissioner has issued a decision notice on my request for an up to date list of officers with 'A' delegated powers.

In the short term it looks like a bit of a pyrrhic victory because I still have no better idea as to which officers have been granted delegated decision making powers. But perhaps more importantly, it's clear that NCC hasn't got the first clue either.

Obviously the ICO confirmed that NCC was late with the response that it did give me but that's pretty routine. Other procedural matters include the failure to issue a refusal notice when it claimed that the information I wanted was intended for future publication but, confusingly, also issued a fees notice should I want the information now.

The most important part of the decision concerns this claim that future publication was intended. The ICO finds that there was no evidence that NCC had a settled intention to compile an up to date list and that, even if it had, there was no evidence that they intended to publish it. In other words, a cynic might suggest that this particular response was a bit of a panicky one.

Another possibility, and the one that I hope is true, is that my request highlighted a very real problem in that NCC has not kept track of the hundreds of officer powers delegated by various committees and therefore, really doesn't know what decisions officers are making in its name. And now they've decided to do something about it, which is a good thing.

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