I did another guest post for the excellent foiman blog – you can read it at: A Tale of Two Commissioners – FOI Man. For your interest, the summary is below..
In my previous guest post I wrote about problems with burden of proof in the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner (OSIC). Today, I’ll highlight another issue with OSIC.
Recently I completed a study into the supply of communication aids and, in the process, built an open-access data-set for other researchers. It was a worthwhile project that’s been (I believe) able to make a small difference in the lives of people I care about. The project required a set of FOI requests to be sent out to NHS services to find out what equipment they were buying to help people speak (The study report includes some thoughts about the Freedom of Information processes).
Of course, even though both sides take every effort to minimise them there are always confusions, miscommunications, and the like that can generally be straightened out by a phone call (I don’t think it’s coincidence that the two cases I’m about to talk about had an effective policy of either not answering the phone or simply refusing to discuss). Sometimes you can’t straighten them out, and so you have the option of asking the ICO or OSIC to review the case.
I recently had two of these finish in the same week, and I think it’s instructive to look at how the appeals were dealt with.