The BBC has yet again displayed total contempt towards information rights and transparency, by breaking its promises to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Briefly, so as to avoid going over old ground, information rights campaigner Doug Paulley made a Freedom of Information request to the BBC on 18th July 2016 (view request here). He was seeking information about the BBC's attempts to mitigate an earlier information blunder (read more here).
The information requested by Doug will undoubtedly be very embarrassing to the BBC. It will show the desperate lengths the Corporation went to in order to undo the incompetent oversight of one of its half-witted pen-pushers.
After 90 working days the BBC has still not provided Doug with a response, despite assuring the ICO that it would do. The legal time-limit for compliance is 20 working days.
The chronology of Doug's latest request is as follows:
- 18th July: Doug submitted his request to the BBC via the WhatDoTheyKnow website.
- 19th July: The BBC sent an automatic acknowledgement to Doug's request, which was assigned the reference number RFI20161363.
- 15th August: The BBC issued what it described as a interim response, in which it said it needed more time to consider the exemptions it was considering applying to Doug's request. The BBC indicated that it would provide its final decision by 13th September.
- 16th September: Having heard nothing, Doug wrote a follow up email to the BBC.
- 17th September: Doug wrote to the ICO and asked it to conduct a review into the BBC's handling of his request for information.
- 5th October: The ICO wrote to Doug, confirming that it had asked the BBC to provide a response to his request within 10 working days. The ICO allocated the reference number FS50646863 to Doug's complaint.
- 23rd October: Having heard nothing, Doug informed the ICO that the BBC had still not provided a response to his request.
- 18th November: The ICO wrote to Doug, confirming that it had been in touch with the BBC. According to the ICO: "(The BBC) have explained the reasons for the delay and assured me that a response will be sent out next week."
- 25th November: Having heard nothing, Doug has informed the ICO that the BBC had still not provided a response to his request.
The BBC's "next week" has now passed and, contrary to the assurances given the ICO, it has still failed to provide a response to Doug's request for information.
In other words the BBC made worthless assurances and misled the ICO over its handling of Doug's request.
So much for Tony Hall's new era of transparency and accountability.
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