Thursday, 14 November 2013

TEMPLATE POLITICS - Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 we establish that Jo Swinson and Vince Cable are simply banging out identical template response letters to constituents who've raised legitimate concerns about being blacklisted via their MP's.

This is disturbing, but what is even more disturbing is that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills hold large amounts of hard copy material off site in relation to the Blacklisting that will never be searched, as they have an exemption under Section 12.

Section 12 - Buried For Ever

The following document is a response from the department to FOI request 13/0549. I do not know the source.

FOI 13/0549 (Pg1)

FOI 13/0549 (Pg2)

On page 2 they respond by saying:

"Some years ago the then officials working on this and similar policy stored large amounts of data off-site which covers the period".

They then go on to cite Section 12 as their reason for not searching through and providing information from this.

What this means is that this large amount of hard copy information stored off site is buried for ever.

It's as simple as that, as any request for any document held in this "stored large amount of hard copy data" would result in them having to search the entire stash. This provides them with an exemption under 'Section 12' as it would cost more than the 'one person taking 3.5 days' as stated in their response to 13/0549 and most probably every other FOI response.

Therefore, buried for ever.

Section 35(1)(a) - Buried For Ever

Another exemption being used and detailed on page 2 of this FOI request is titled the 'Formation of Government Policy'.

What this means is that the department can decide to withhold anything they like without providing any explanation or reason.

Summary

So what is the point of having a Freedom of Information Act when a Government department like this can bury so much data? 

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