Friday, 9 November 2012

A very poor showing

A very poor showing this week from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister:

Stormont department took 320 days to answer FoI request

Apparently, the Office took nearly a year to answer the request and only responded to avoid being forced to do so in court. That's not very encouraging.

A look at the OFMDFM responses on the What Do They Know? website suggests this may not be an isolated incident. Several long-delayed responses, with excuses such as 'We are not in a position to respond to your request at this time as it is still under consideration.' Some poor-quality answers, too.

If so, it's not perhaps surprising: the Deputy First Minister appears not to be a fan of Freedom of Information, telling the Assembly members that 'There is absolutely no doubt that freedom of information allows people to abuse their access to information.'

I have submitted a request to find out how many requests have been received, and how many were overdue. Is this an isolated incident or is there a pattern? I think we should be told.

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