ICO rules Cabinet Office broke the law over Infected Blood evidence and now faces contempt of court

The Information Commissioner has today ruled that the Cabinet Office has breached section 10(1) of the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).

The Cabinet Office has so far refused to respond to an FOI request made by Factor 8 on 3rd February 2019.

The ICO said

The Cabinet Office acknowledged the request on 4 February 2019 but had failed to provide a substantive response by the date of this notice.

The decision goes onto say that

7. The complainant contacted the Commissioner on 14 March 2019 to

complain about the failure, by the Cabinet Office, to respond to the

request.

8. In line with her usual practice, the Commissioner contacted the Cabinet

Office on 1 April 2019 to highlight the outstanding response. She

requested that the Cabinet Office respond to the request within 10

working days. The correspondence was neither acknowledged nor

responded to.

9. The complainant contacted the Commissioner on 15 April 2019 to

request a decision notice considering the Cabinet Office’s compliance

with the FOIA.

The ICO concluded by saying:

From the evidence presented to the Commissioner in this case, it is clear

that, in failing to issue a response to the request within 20 working

days, the Cabinet Office has breached section 10(1) of the FOIA.

The decision also states:

The Cabinet Office must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the

date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the

Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court

pursuant to section 54 of the FOIA and may be dealt with as a contempt

of court.

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