ICO reviewing Trafford Council over FoI performance

Trafford Council will be monitored over the timeliness of its responses to Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced.

The ICO said that the council had not responded to a significant number of requests within the required 20 working days.

It is also reviewing the Metropolitan Police’s response to FoI requests.

Gerrard Tracey, principal policy adviser at the ICO, said: “The law sets limits on how quickly public authorities must respond. Trafford Council has not been meeting that requirement, and we’ll now be reviewing its performance.

“Similarly, the Metropolitan Police Service will continue to be looked at. They have implemented initiatives and measures to improve performance, but a growing volume of requests means that work hasn’t had enough of an impact on compliance with the law. We will continue to monitor them to ensure the necessary improvements are achieved.”

The ICO will monitor both Trafford Council and the Metropolitan Police’s timeliness in response to FoI requests between 1 May and 31 July, and carry out enforcement action if they fail to show improvement.

In a statement, Trafford Council said: “The council has been co-operating fully with the ICO since monitoring started at the beginning of May. Measures have been put in place to help secure improvements in response times across the organisation.”

The Ministry of Justice and the Department of Finance and Personnel (Northern Ireland) have also been subject to review regarding their FoI responses, but have now been taken off monitoring after demonstrating improvement.

The Commission on Freedom of Information recently recommended strengthening the Act to tackle delays beyond 20 days.

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