Headlines: June 17th, 2010

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is facing enforcement notice by the Information Commissioner after failing to resolve 69 freedom of information requests within the legal timeframe. The Commissioner says the IPCC has repeatedly failed to respond to requests in line with the Freedom of Information Act.

The ICO says it hopes its action will ensure requests for information are dealt with appropriately in future. It said it had received a number of complaints about FOIA requests which the Complaints Commission had failed to respond to within the 20 day time limit. The IPCC confirmed in a letter to the ICO that it was experiencing difficulties because of an increase in the volume of requests.

The Enforcement Notice requires the IPCC to respond to requests which are overdue by the end of September with either the information requested or a valid refusal notice. The cases referred to the ICO have to be resolved within 35 calendar days.

Graham Smith, the Deputy Information Commissioner, said: “I am concerned that the IPCC has denied people access to information by repeatedly failing to respond to requests in line with the Act.” Individuals had important rights to access information held by public authorities and despite the current strain on resources all those authorities had to remember their responsibilities. He added: “This Enforcement Notice serves as a strong signal to all public authorities that failure to respond is unacceptable.”