Don’t take this the wrong way, but………Posted on January 11th, 2012 2 comments
There has been some chatter in FoI circles on the internet recently about the Royal Mail and their rather imaginative use of the S.43(2) commercial interests exemption.
Here I should declare an interest in that the Royal Mail and me have history.
They obviously feel that as a commercial organisation battling every day to deliver post in competition against other companies that FoI is something of an inconvenience.
But as my mum would say “There’s no point moaning about it”, however, Royal Mail continues to sit in the corner sulking hoping that FoI will go away. I believe the current expression is “Man Up”, and it is time either the chiefs at the Royal Mail, or those in charge of FoI take my mum’s advice and just get on with it.
I’ve written a host of stories on the Royal Mail since FoI came in, almost all of them bad, and almost all of them prised out of the organisation grudgingly.
My catalogue of Royal Mail stories includes how many letters they shred every year because they don’t deliver them, how much they raise from auctioning off items they fail to deliver, how much compensation they pay to customers and how many postmen are fired for stealing.
So recently when trawling through some Parliamentary documents on the web I found a letter from the Royal Mail detailing how many criminal investigations it sets in train every year.
I thought I’d ask them how many had been started in previous years to see if there was a trend and perhaps it might make another story.
Well, imagine how unsurprised I was to get a reply from the Royal Mail saying the information was exempt from disclosure under S.43(2) of the Act. Their letter to me is here.Davis – DTUP-8NWESG The best bit was their rationale for the decision which was:
“ We believe the requested information, if disclosed, would be likely to be misconstrued and taken out of context resulting in unfair damage to the reputation of our employees and public perception of Royal Mail.”
Misconstrued! When has that ever been an exemption? I’m sure there are hundreds of people out there who would like to have denied me information on the basis that I might ‘misconstrue’ it, but it’s not allowed.
What about Freedom of Expression? Should the Royal Mail be in charge of some despotic Government’s Department of Information? What about all the people they employ in their press office? What are they being paid for?
Well I’ve already fired off my appeal and I’ve enclosed a copy of the letter that the Royal Mail disclosed to Parliament, which you can see below, which reveals the very information that has been denied me.
I’ll keep you posted.
2 responses to “Don’t take this the wrong way, but………”
Ganesh Sittampalam January 12th, 2012 at 21:25
Won’t Royal Mail stop being subject to FOI at all (including Decision Notices) as soon as the government sells off some of it? So it’s in their interests to stall for time…
Check out a decision that was appealed by DWP and Atos Origin in late 2010
The Appeal found in favour of the person seeking information and relates to S.43
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