FOI in Parliament: 7- 27 June 2005

Written Answers – Transport: Safety Cameras (27 Jun 2005)

Alan Duncan (Rutland & Melton, Con) Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which 20 speed camera sites have generated the largest income from fines.

Alistair Darling (Secretary of State, Department for Transport) Hansard source
The Department’s information on fines following offences detected by safety cameras relates to the totals for safety camera partnerships, and not to individual camera sites. Information on the total fine receipts and number of fines for each partnership for the latest audited year 2003-04 is available on the Department’s website of responses to Freedom of Information requests.
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Written Answers – Northern Ireland: Freedom of Information Act (23 Jun 2005)

Iris Robinson (Strangford, DU) Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and (b) NHS personnel in the Province have been employed on processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 since 1 January 2005.

Shaun Woodward (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office) Hansard source
In (a) the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety 32 staff, and in (b) Health and Personnel Social Services bodies 214 staff, have been involved in processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 since 1 January 2005. Information is not available on the precise amount of time spent on processing freedom of information requests but it represents only a small proportion of the total working time of the staff involved.
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Written Ministerial Statements – Constitutional Affairs: Freedom of Information Act (23 Jun 2005)

Harriet Harman (Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs) Hansard source

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has made the following written ministerial statement.

“Today I have deposited copies of The Freedom of Information Act 2000-Statistics on Implementation in Central Government January to March 2005 in the Libraries of both Houses”.

This is the first quarterly bulletin produced by DCA monitoring of the performance of central Government and associated bodies under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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Written Answers – Constitutional Affairs: Data Protection Act (20 Jun 2005)

Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead, Lab) Hansard source
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs

(1) what concerns the European Commission has formally expressed in relation to the definition of personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998; and if she will make a statement on the implementation of the definition of personal data in Directive 95/46/EC;

(2) what concerns the European Commission has formally expressed in relation to the powers of the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998;

(3) whether she will list the concerns that the European Commission has formally expressed in relation to the provisions in the Data Protection Act 1998 which pertain to the transfer of personal data outside the European economic area, and if she will make a statement on the implementation of articles 25 and 26 of Directive 95/46/EC through the Data Protection Act 1998.

Bridget Prentice (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs) Hansard source

The European Commission, as part of its review of the implementation of the 1995 Data Protection Directive by each member state, have raised a number of issues with the UK. We are in discussion with the Commission about these issues. We currently have no plans to disclose the detail of those discussions as the formal Commission investigation process is still taking place. If the Government were to disclose the information requested, it would prejudice the negotiating process between the UK and the Commission and so prejudice UK interests. We believe that the UK has properly implemented the Data Protection Directive via the Data Protection Act 1998 and other relevant provisions of UK law.

Written Answers – Constitutional Affairs: Freedom of Information Act (15 Jun 2005)

Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead, Lab) Hansard source

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been referred to the Central Clearing House; and what proportion of these referrals have been accompanied by a recommendation that an exemption should be applied to the request.

Harriet Harman (Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs) Hansard source

Since the Freedom of Information Act came into force on 1 January, 2,080 cases have been referred to the Clearing House, including Internal Reviews and appeals to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The first quarterly monitoring report is due to be published on 23 June providing a wide range of information on FOI requests received by central Government Departments.

Specific information relating to the proportion of cases in which the Clearing House has advised that an exemption is applicable cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
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Orders of the Day – National Lottery Bill (14 Jun 2005)
Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Con)

My third point may relate to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am concerned about access to information about lottery funding. After awards have been made and projects completed, it is possible to obtain full access to information about where allocations were made, but sometimes such information is not made readily available on projects where, although a decision has been made to allocate funding, it has not yet all been supplied. I am thinking of a case brought to my attention by a fellow councillor on South Shropshire district council: a substantial sum has allegedly been given to a local voluntary organisation, but he has had difficulty securing information on the project. The organisation in question is the Ludlow youth forum, which does some very useful work, especially in drug rehabilitation. My concern is that we have had great difficulty finding out how much money has been provided to that organisation by lottery and other bodies. To raise that matter in this debate might be to stray somewhat from the Bill, but I should be grateful if the Minister would write to me on the subject, or mention it in his winding-up speech. I hope to speak in Committee about the three concerns that I have raised in this debate.
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Written Answers – Constitutional Affairs: Census Returns (7 Jun 2005)

Lorely Burt (Solihull, LDem) Hansard source

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs under what arrangements (a) the College of Arms and (b) other applicants receive copies of personal information from closed decennial census returns; and if she will take steps to extend those arrangements to allow personal information to be exceptionally released from the 1911 and 1921 censuses for Ordsall Hall, Retford, Nottinghamshire.

Harriet Harman (Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs) Hansard source

The 1911 census returns are in the custody of the National Archives, and requests for information contained in them are considered on a case by case basis under the Freedom of Information Act, in consultation with the Office for National Statistics as the transferring department. So far it has not been possible to make any returns from the 1911 census available, including the one referred to by the hon. Member, because they are covered by the S.41 exemption of the Act relating to breach of confidence.

Census returns from 1921 onwards were taken under the provisions of the Census Act 1920 and are in the custody of the Registrar-General for England and Wales. The 1920 Act prohibits the release of personal information by the Registrar-General without lawful authority. In consequence, they are covered by S.44 of the FOI Act relating to information prohibited from disclosure by or under any enactment. No returns from the 1921 census have been made available under the Freedom of Information Act.
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Written Answers – Constitutional Affairs: Census Returns (7 Jun 2005)

Lorely Burt (Solihull, LDem) Hansard source

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on (a) 100-year decennial census closure and (b) the Public Records Act instrument no. 12 (1966); and what the basis is for the Government’s policy that the 1911 and 1921 census returns for Ordsall Hall, Retford, Nottinghamshire shall continue to be closed to inspection for 100 years.

Harriet Harman (Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs) Hansard source

The reasons behind the Government’s policy of releasing decennial census returns after a period of 100 years were most recently set out by the Constitutional Affairs Minister on 29 March 2004. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, extended closure instrument no. 12 of 1966 ceases to apply. In accordance with the Act and with Government policy, the National Archives considers each request for access to the 1911 returns on a case by case basis, in consultation with the Office for National Statistics as the transferring department. So far it has not been possible to grant any of these requests, including the one referred to by the hon. Member, because they are covered by s.41 exemption of the Act relating to breach of confidence.

Census returns from 1921 onwards were taken under the provisions of the Census Act 1920 and are in the custody of the Registrar-General for England and Wales. The 1920 Act prohibits the release of personal information by the Registrar-General without lawful authority. In consequence, they are covered by s.44 of the FOI Act relating to information prohibited from disclosure by or under any enactment.
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Written Answers – Trade and Industry: Freedom of Information Act (6 Jun 2005)John Mann (Bassetlaw, Lab) Hansard source

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many requests for information regarding the 1984-85 miners’ strike under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been refused by his Department.

Alan Johnson (Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry) Hansard source

holding answer 23 May 2005

The Department has received one FOI request for information relating to the 1984-85 miners strike and the requester was referred to the National Archives as they hold all the Department’s records relating to the strike.

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