FOIMan reports on the week’s key FOI and information rights news stories.

Information Commissioner changes tune on EIR Charges

The cost of staff time can be taken into account if charging for environmental information according to new guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office. Previously the Commissioner had taken the view that only disbursements (photocopying, postage, etc) could be charged for. The Commissioner has also clarified his position on property searches and EIR.

Tribunal mauls DfE over Steiner Free Schools information

The First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has ordered disclosure of information relating to Steiner Free Schools following a request from the British Humanist Association. In frank terms, the Tribunal dismissed arguments from DfE that there was a public interest in protecting the Free School applicants from disclosure of information under sections 35 and 43 of the Act. The Tribunal was particularly dismissive of the evidence of the Department’s witness which it commented:

“was particularly weak and not at all persuasive in relation to explaining how disclosure would impact upon the ‘safe space’ sought for the formulation of policy”.

ICO Audits identify weaknesses in UK Police Forces’ Handling of Personal Data

The ICO has issued a report on audits it has carried out on police forces in the UK over the last year of their compliance with the Data Protection Act. Records management appears to have been the weakest area in most forces, echoing my observations earlier this week in relation to Barts Health Trust.

Blogpost of the week

The ICO’s blogpost summarising its new guidance on environmental information charging.