I have repeatedly reported on my modest request to the Home Office to tell me whether Home Office Ministers spent more time meeting the police leadership of the Metropolitan Police or the political leadership of the Metropolitan Police.
At the beginning of December last year I formally complained to the Information Commissioner about the failure to provide a response (even after an earlier intervention from his Office had elicited a response that a reply was imminent). The Information Commissioner has now (2nd February) issued a formal Decision Notice and the Information Commissioner’s decision is that:
“the public authority has failed to comply with the Act.”
The public authority in this instance is the Home Office and the Decision Notice goes on to say:
“The Information Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation.
- It should either provide the requested information or issue a valid referral notice stating why it is exempt from disclosure.
The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice.”
Failure to comply may be dealt with as Contempt of Court, although the Home Office is entitled to lodge an appeal with the Information Tribunal within 28 days.
The Information Commissioner has branded the Home Office timescale in responding (or rather failing to respond) as “unreasonable”.
So in five weeks time – a year after I first asked about the matter – the Home Office will be potentially in Contempt of Court unless it answers the question or produces a valid explanation as to why the information cannot be disclosed.
Unless, the Home Office appeals to the Information Tribunal ….