The quarterly statistics bulletin on FOI implementation within central government have been published for the period July to September 2009.
Departments of State reported receiving 6,208 “non-routine” information requests during the third quarter of 2009 (Q3). Other monitored bodies received 4,389 requests. Across all monitored bodies, a total of 10,597 requests were received, of which 91 per cent had been processed at the time of monitoring. This includes 238 requests handled under the amended Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) which came into force on 1 January 2005. [see Table 1]
The 10,597 requests across all monitored bodies received in the third quarter of 2009 is 20 per cent greater than the 8,825 received during the corresponding quarter of 2008. [see Table A]
During Q3 of 2009, 86 per cent of all monitored bodies’ requests (excluding those “on hold” or lapsed) were “in time”, in that they were processed within the statutory deadline* or were subject to a permitted deadline extension.
This figure is the same as in the previous quarter but slightly lower than in the corresponding quarter of 2008. [see Table 2 and Table B] Of all “resolvable” requests received during Q3 of 2009 (i.e. requests where it was possible to make a substantive decision on whether to release the information being sought), 55 per cent were granted in full, the same as in the previous quarter but slightly lower than in the corresponding quarter of 2008. [see Table 3 and Table C]
The figures show that Departments of State met the standard 20 working day deadline for 75% of requests, with the Ministry of Defence having the worst record at just 40% (a significant reduction on the 64% achieved in the preceding quarter). Other monitored bodies performed better, with the exception of the Serious Fraud Office, which answered only 38% of the comparatively small number of requests it received within the standard deadline.
The departments that withheld considerably more requests in full than the average were the Cabinet Office (51%) and Ministry of Justice (44%).