* Posts by David Sinclair

3 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Jul 2008

Builder blacklist boss hit with £5,000 fine

David Sinclair

Re: Only £5K?

It's only £5K because that's all that can be levied according to the DPA. This is why the Information Commissioner is lobbying for a change in the law to give him more power and higher fines and possible custodial sentences. That said, if anyone on the list can prove they suffered as a result, they can sue Mr Kerr and the financial penalty is, as far as I know, is unlimited.

Go builders

Error time counts towards FOI rejections

David Sinclair

Time for compliance

Firstly, the limit on complying is monetary and not time. The specific legislation is the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. In addition, the authority can also take into consideration any costs incurred in finding and presenting the information. This includes any time considering exemptions. For central govt the limit is set at £600 and for most other authorities it's £450. In calculating the time, public bodies can only use the value of £25/hr regardless of who is involved. In terms of 'time' therefore, for central govt it equates to 24 hours (600/25) and for others it's 18hrs. As far as the tribunal is concerned, the costs incurred are not liked to the request. If a request breaches the limit, the authority is not obliged to respond. If it does, it can also issue a Fees Notice for the full amount and this would have to be paid before the work starts. If the authority decides not to, it MUST either advise and assist the requester in terms of drafting the request to make sure it comes in under the limit or advise the requester how much information would be available up to the appropriate limitAs far as taking into consideration incorrect responses, it's very easy to interpret a request one way only to find that wasn't what requester was after. Public bodies can ask the requester to clarify anything but if the authority doesn't think that's needed they carry on without it. Whose fault is that? The public body or the requester? (Given earlier responses, I think I know which way that will go!)

Secondly - there's no point in the requester making the same or similar request straight away as public authorities can refuse if they consider that the request is a repeat or substantially similar unless a reasonable period has elapsed (the Information Commissioner, the FOI watchdog, has suggested 60 days is sufficient) and this would even apply if someone else made the request as the public authority would probably consider that the request has been made with the intention of tying up the body’s time or has the effect of harassing either the body or staff. In this case, I suspect that the hospital would take this line. The enquirer would be better off waiting 3-4 months and then requesting the hospital to release further information not already disclosed. There’s no guarantee it would work but that’s what I suggest.

Court rules 90s UK.gov wiretaps violated human rights

David Sinclair


1. The word you're looking for is repeal and we can't do it because HRA is there because of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) so don't bother with that idea.

2. Why don't you change the record about local councils abusing the system. They're not - Councils can't intercept comms because they don't have the powers. They do have the powers though in terms of preventing fraud, flytipping, abuse of systems and other areas. It's all very well politicos saying that more care is taken but they don't have to justify the actions against the public purse.

3. How do you define petty issues. What if a family was pretending to live in one area to get a school place only to "move" the day after their child gets the place? Should a less well off family suffer because of that? If fishermen were destroying fragile shellfish beds because of their greed, why shouldn't the Council act? You're not going to get people to fess up, so other methods need to be used to obtain the evidence.

4. I'd bet if someone dumped the contents of a house in your garden or land, you'd want them stopped or arrested. You'd still have to get rid of the stuff yourself though. The local authority will probably move it at a cost if you ask nicely.

AC for good reason but, yes, I do work in the public sector.