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
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
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