Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Freedom of Information Update

Well, this is no surprise:

From the DfCSF:

"Thank you for your request for information which the Department received on 4 July 2007. In that request, you asked for copies of all correspondence sent from the Department and all internal correspondence related to elective home education between 1 January 2007 and 28 February 2007.

I can confirm that we hold information falling within the description specified in your request. However, we estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit which has been specified in regulations and for central Government is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3.5 working days in determining whether we hold the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the Department is not obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further.

If you were to make a new request for a narrower category of information or limit the scope of your enquiry, it may be that we could comply with that request within the appropriate limit, although I cannot guarantee that this will be the case. Possible ways of narrowing your request might include limiting it to: correspondence which the Department has sent related to elective home education; internal correspondence related to elective home education; a shorter time period. "

Yep, it was unlikely that the DfCSF would cough up in the current circumstances, but it is a tad cynical to make us wait until three working days after they should have responded to the request for information to tell me that they would not be responding.

It seems wise (for various reasons) to resist the temptation to apply the Heimlich manoeuvre at this point, and will therefore only be sending in a more limited request - for only internal correspondence for the first two months of 2007.

Given that previous requests for information on EHE which have received a positive response from the DfES have been larger in scope and longer in time scale, it would seem perfectly reasonable to conclude that this request could be met.

Below, a copy of the further FOI request that has just been sent:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your e-mail response to my request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, (reference number 2007/0044465).

I wish to pursue the matter further and will therefore do as you suggest and limit the scope of the enquiry, to ask for information only on all internal correspondence within the DfES on the subject of Elective Home Education from January 1st 2007 to February 28th 2007 inclusive and
for this information to be sent via e-mail to the above address.

I understand, through information received in the home education community, that you did respond to a request to cover both internal correspondence and correspondence that was sent out by the DfES on EHE for the end of 2006. Indeed this request not only asked for more information than my current request, but also covered a longer period of three months. It would therefore seem reasonable to conclude that it should be possible to respond to my much more limited enquiry.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours faithfully,


Dani said...

I guess we also need someone else to put in a request for the correspondence sent from the Department. I'll do it if you like - who did you write to?

Carlotta said...

It would seem like a very good idea, but I gather there is a risk that the DCSF will bunch the requests together and then refuse to do it on the same time and cost pretexts..

Ergh...very annoying though.