LAMBETHWATCH FREEDOM OF INFORMATION SPECIAL TWO: HOW TO AVOID ANSWERING AN FOI QUESTION TWO – JOB DESCRIPTIONS OF OUR TOP 68 WAGE EARNERS? WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO ANSWER THAT

Indar Picton-Howell 13 February 2018

Dear Lambeth Borough Council,

The draft accounts for 2016/17 show that another 40 staff were paid over £80,000 p.a., compared to the previous year. Please could you supply the job description for each of these persons.

Yours faithfully, Indar Picton-Howell

Lambeth’s response

I can confirm that we have reviewed your request but consider that to comply with the request would exceed the cost/time limit specified by s12 FOIA.

Section 12 (cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit)

12. — (1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

In this instance, we have decided that the process of determining whether the information is held will exceed the Appropriate Limit as provided by The Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

The Appropriate Limit applies to costs/time the Council reasonably expects to use in carrying out the following activities to comply with your request:

o Determine whether the information is held
o Locating the information or documents containing the information
o Retrieving such information or documents
o Extracting the information from the document

The Appropriate Limit is currently set at £450 which is the equivalent to 18 hours of work at £25 per hour.

There are 68 staff members falling within this category whose individual files would need to be interrogated; information would also need to be extracted from files stored  in various systems.

A preliminary investigation estimates that it would take 30 minutes per individual file; 30 x 68 giving a total of approximately 34 hours.

The process of retrieving and collecting the data is therefore likely to exceed the Appropriate Limit.

In accordance with Section 17 FOIA this letter represents a Refusal Notice for this request.

Should you wish to redefine or shorten your request then please resubmit another request to us and we will consider if we can respond.

BUT…..

Giovanni Bianco left an annotation (18 April 2018)

Request an internal review.

If it takes an individual 30 minutes to flick through a file to identify a jd (job description)they need to train staff!

A JD does not need all of the pages to be read, a simple check of the header will identify this.

Giovanni Bianco 24 April 2018

Dear Lambeth Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Lambeth Borough Council’s handling of my FOI request ‘Job descriptions for 40 additional staff paid over £80,000 p.a. in 2016/17’.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/j…

Yours faithfully, Giovanni Bianco

From: Internal review team, Lambeth Borough Council 25 April 2018

Dear Mr Bianco

I write in connection with your request for a review received on 24 April 2018. Please quote your case reference number, IR234489, in any further correspondence about to this Internal Review request.

The Council anticipates responding within a period of 20 working days following the date of receipt; in this case that date is 23 May 2018. Thank you for your interest in Lambeth Council.
Yours sincerely Jane Shields

…..OR: JUST BAFFLE THE PERSON MAKING THE REQUEST

Having started this article News From Crystal Palace found the following response to a request from W – K Cheung asking for details of meetings between a Lambeth councillor and the Garden Bridge Trust:

We consider that Regulation 6(1)(b) applies to the information requested because the information requested is already publicly available and easily accessible. The information you requested is available [from … at ?xxx.xx] on our website using the following link – [insert link to website].

(Source: WhatDoTheyKnow website)

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