Sunday, 25 September 2011

Not 'Vexatious' After All (But We Can't Bring Ourselves to Say It Out Loud)

Remember a little while back I had a couple of FoI requests refused on the grounds that they were vexatious? I got round one of them by getting the information elsewhere but the other ended up going to the Information Commissioner because NCC failed to deal with my request for a review. Which is so unlike them.

However, they have now responded (about 3 months late mind). It's quite interesting.

First thing to notice is that, despite the fact that my original request was clearly refused on the grounds of being vexatious, they seem to have forgotten about it by the time of the latest response. All they say is that they have failed in their duty under s.10(3) of the Act which, as far as I can tell is the provision that allows them to go beyond the normal 20 days for a full response if they are considering public interest arguments under a possible exemption.

This wasn't the situation at all. They refused on the grounds that my request was vexatious (although their reasons clearly showed that in fact, what they meant was that it was ME that is vexatious rather than the request which isn't allowed). This is an absolute exemption so there would be no need to consider the public interest.

It seems that NCC couldn't bring themselves to actually admit in writing that my request was not vexatious and that they were wrong to say that it was. Which is pretty pathetic really. Almost as pathetic as their rather obvious tactic of delaying responses by not dealing with requests properly until the Information Commissioner gets involved.

I'll be writing a separate post about the actual content of the response because a) I can't be arsed to deal with it right now and b) I need to consider how I'm going to challenge it first.

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