ICO push for Freedom of Information requests to be handled in a timely manner

Year Published: 2011

August was a strong month for reminders from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Not only were local authorities reminded of the principles of the Freedom of Information Act (see our article), the ICO has now issued a further reminder to finance companies that information and access requests must be handled in a timely manner.

This reminder comes as a result of an increase in the number of access requests arising from the miss selling of Payment Protection policies.

The ICO has reminded us that subject access requests must be responded to within 40 calendar days. However, there are circumstances in which time can stand still until an organisation has received the following information:

  1. sufficient information to confirm the identity of the person making the request;
  2. any information that it reasonably requires to locate the requested personal data; and
  3. a fee for dealing with the request up to the £10 statutory maximum, if the organisation chooses to charge one.

Organisations who may receive subject access requests or general requests for information must ensure that their staff are appropriately trained and aware of the procedures they must follow.

Guidance from the ICO can be found here.

For further information please contact Kaye Whitby in our Corporate team on 0844 391 5830.

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