Names of MPs staff: Correspondence

The correspondence between myself and the House of Commons FOI office from the time of the Commons initial rejection of my FOI request through to their internal review.

Email received 24 March 2005

Dear Ms Brooke,

The decision notice for your review is attached. I will also send a copy of this by post.

Judy Wilson

Email sent 23 March 2005
Hello,
The date below has come and gone. Any news on when the internal review will be completed?

Regards,
Heather Brooke

Email received 3 March 2005

Dear Ms Brooke,

Thank you for your email of 28th February. We expect to advise you of the outcome of the review by Friday 18th March.

Judy Wilson
FOI Officer
House of Commons
London SW1A OAA

Email received 28 February 2005

Dear Ms Brooke,

As you know, it had been our intention to let you have a reply within 20 working days on the outcome of the internal review which you requested of the refusal of your request for certain information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I am writing to let you know that, because of the complexity of the series of overlapping cases of which your request forms one element; the fact that this is an entirely new process; and the need for full consultation with those in the House who may be affected by the outcome of the review, it will not be possible to respond to you within the original target period.

I apologise for this delay but I am sure you will appreciate the need for us to ensure that these early decisions, in particular, which may create precedents for the future, are robust and well founded.

Yours Sincerely,

Judy Wilson
Freedom of Information Officer
House of Commons
London
SW1A OAA

Email sent 28 February 2005
Dear Ms Wilson,
Could you give me a date by which you expect to have a final decision?

Regards,
Heather Brooke

Email received 3 February 2005

Dear Ms Brooke,

Thank you for your email of 31st January requesting an internal review. My colleague, Bob Castle acknowledged your email on 1st February.

Our target for dealing with an internal review is 20 working days. We expect to let you know the outcome of the review by 28th February.

Judy Wilson
Freedom of Information Officer
House of Commons
London SW1A OAA

Email received 1 February 2005

Thank you for your reply, I will forward your views to the review team. If you have any questions about the review process please contact the FOI Officer on 0207 219 1178.

Regards,
Bob Castle

Email sent 31 January 2005

Thank you for your response to my request for the names and salaries of MPs staff. I am not happy with the refusal to disclose this information. I therefore seek an internal review of this decision.

The information relates to the public life, rather than the private life, of public officials – namely publicly elected MPs. This information is routinely made available in other countries, and I see no reason why members of the British public should not know who is working for their local MP. To continue such archaic secrecy gives every impression that the system is unaccountable and shady. In addition, this matter involves public money so there is a pressing need for direct and detailed accountability so the public knows how their tax money is being spent.

I look forward to hearing the results of your internal review.

Regards,
Heather Brooke

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