FOI request on the number of Capita linguists refused... again
Our Reference: 78803
ICO Reference: FS50467125
6 February 2013
Dear Mr Pells,
Freedom of Information Request
I am writing further to your recent complaint made to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regarding the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) handling of FOI 76816/76808 and Internal Review 78269.
My understanding is that your complaint regards MoJ’s decision to withhold the information from you in respect of the following part of your earlier request:
‘‘Please provide the number of linguists on the Register on the following dates; 31st August 2011, 30th September 2011, 31st October 2011, 30th November 2011, 31st December 2011, 31st January 2012, 29th February 2012, 31st March 2012, 30th April 2012, 31st May 2012. For each of these dates, please provide the total number of registered linguists, and how this number is divided between those registered as Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3.’
The ICO contacted us on 19 December and have asked us to consider our handling of these requests. MoJ has been liaising with them subsequent to this, and I am writing to update you on our current position.
We have re-assessed our handling of 76816/76808 and have reached the conclusion that, although the material in question is commercially sensitive and should not be released, it would have been more appropriate to apply section 12(1) of the FOIA to these requests, as the cost of retrieving/extracting and collating the full information within scope of the request would exceed the cost limit set by the FOIA.
To collate the information we would have to ask Capita to search approximately 1300 individual files. Each Capita interpreter has a file and every one of these would need to be checked for the date of registration. We estimate that it would take us around 15 minutes to check each file, and additional time would also be required to add up the figures and collate totals. We estimate that in total, this would take approximately 325 hours to process, and that the cost of processing would be £8125.
The law allows us to decline to answer FOI requests when we estimate it would cost us more than £600 (equivalent to 3½ working days’ worth of work, calculated at £25 per hour) to identify, locate, extract, and then provide the information that has been asked for.
Please accept our apologies that our initial handling of your request was not correct.
You are welcome to submit a refined request to MoJ, and we will consider it in line with the terms of the FOIA. However, please note that MoJ’s view is that the information in contention is commercially sensitive and will not be appropriate for release.