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Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Cherry on 09.07.10 15:59

Doesn't that mean then they have broken the law!

It all just adds to what the majority of people seem to think about something dodgy going on so they are not doing themselves any favours imo.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7004936.ece This seems to relate to a breach of the Freedom of Information Act (on another issue when people were trying to hide something) but it says they couldnt be prosecuted because the complaint came in too late about them breaching the law by not replying in time - if I am reading it correctly then does that mean Tony if you made an official complaint to the Information Commissioner then whoever is responsible for answering the questions but hasnt done so in the required time - could be prosecuted?

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Laffin Assasin on 10.07.10 6:25

Home Office and McCanns have been hand in hand since before they were declared suspects.

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by aiyoyo on 10.07.10 6:45

Yeah, but the public need to know what they were hiding.

If the HO was sitting on dirts and refusing to answer with stipulated dateline they should be taken to task with the Authority with remit over them isn't it.

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Tony Bennett on 10.07.10 19:26

@aiyoyo wrote:Yeah, but the public need to know what they were hiding.
Indeed. We all know that Alan Johnson met the McCanns. Why can't they tell us on what date that was?

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Still no reply from the Home Office

Post by Tony Bennett on 13.07.10 10:30

@Cherry wrote:Doesn't that mean then they have broken the law! - if I am reading it correctly then does that mean Tony if you made an official complaint to the Information Commissioner then whoever is responsible for answering the questions but hasn't done so in the required time - could be prosecuted?
No. If a public authority either refuses to supply information, or delays unreasonably in doing so, the Information Commissioner can make decisions - and there is a further right of appeal to an Information Tribunal. These appeal bodies can basically order information to be produced.

I am really not sure if they have any powers beyond that, possibly fining a public authority for a breach, I am not sure.

But I don't think any individual commits a criminal offence by not supplying the information.

P.S. Working day No. 78 - 58 working days late - and still no reply from the Home Office

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79 and counting

Post by Tony Bennett on 14.07.10 13:04

P.S. Working day No. 79 - 59 working days late - and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Government statistics highlight "unacceptable" freedom of information delays

The unacceptable delays experienced by many people using the Freedom of Information Act are highlighted in official statistics published today.
The Campaign for Freedom of Information said the government’s figures showed that a “disturbing” level of requests were not being dealt with within the Act’s time limits. The figures show that:

  • more than a third of all requests to government departments (36%) took longer than the Act’s 20-working day deadline to answer.
  • although extensions are permitted for some types of requests [see note overleaf] departments must tell applicants they need the extra time within 20 days of the request. Departments failed to meet this deadline in a quarter of all cases (25%).
  • The Home Office had the worst record of any government department. In 60% of all requests it failed either to respond to the request within 20 days, or even tell the applicant that it needed more time within that period. The Campaign said this represented “routine disregard for the Act’s requirements”.

http://www.cfoi.org.uk/foi230605pr.html (23 June 2005)

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Judge Mental on 14.07.10 18:09

Proof that the two previous governments and the newly instated current government are not really working towards their much vaunted goals of transparency and empowerment of the people.

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80 days

Post by Tony Bennett on 15.07.10 12:21

P.S. Working day No. 80 - 60 working days late - and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010

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Still no reply (cont...)

Post by Tony Bennett on 19.07.10 20:54

Working day No. 82 - 62 working days late - and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010

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63 working days late

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.07.10 18:39

Working day No. 83 - 63 working days late [12 weeks and 3 days] - and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by kangdang on 20.07.10 18:40

I have not had a reply either, despite sending weekly emails to the HO's Mr. Lister. Absolutely disgraceful.

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Judge Mental on 20.07.10 19:32

Do they not know they are breaking the law?

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by kangdang on 20.07.10 22:01

They do, they just don't care

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by listener on 20.07.10 23:57

@Judge Mental wrote:Do they not know they are breaking the law?

They beleive they ARE the law!

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Four months, three days, and counting

Post by Tony Bennett on 22.07.10 16:48

Working day No. 85 - 65 working days late [12 weeks and 3 days] - and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010 (four months and three days ago)

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Judge Mental on 22.07.10 17:54

Such simple questions are taking such a long time to answer that one is most concerned as to how long it will take to answer one's own more difficult and trickier questions.

What possible dastardly threats to national security must Tony Bennett's questions have posed for those who crawl around the cobwebs in those dark dungeons of Freedom of Information?

One wonders at the possibility of there being a box bolted to the floor in one of those dungeons with a big label across the top saying, 'Gordon Brown And Tony Blair Do Not Want This Box Opened Until The Year 2107'

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by kangdang on 22.07.10 20:56


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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Cherry on 23.07.10 22:03

They obviously cant decide on which 'story' or 'lies' to tell! The truth would not take this long!

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by aiyoyo on 24.07.10 3:43

@listener wrote:
@Judge Mental wrote:Do they not know they are breaking the law?

They beleive they ARE the law!

That's so true. They even believe they are ABOVE the law.

Take consolation at least they didnt come back (yet?) with a fob off standard reply that does a whole lot of good for nothing.

Take the example of the reply they'd given to the ex-copper - can't talk about ongoing case.

I am damn sicked of them citing 'sensitivity' issue as an excuse.

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67 working days late

Post by Tony Bennett on 26.07.10 23:34

Working day No. 87 - 67 working days late - and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010 (four months and seven days ago)

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by aiyoyo on 28.07.10 13:32

I do think they've no intention of replying at all!

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Is it really so hard to tell me on which date the McCanns met former Home Secretary, Alan Johnson?

Post by Tony Bennett on 29.07.10 15:55

90 working days since I asked my 12 questions on Madeleine McCann case -

70 working days (14 weeks) later than the 20 days normally allowed -

and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010 (four months and ten days ago).

Is it really so hard to tell me, for example, on which date the McCanns met former Home Secretary, Alan Johnson?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LETTER TODAY (29.7.2010) TO THE FOI SECTION AT THE HOME OFFICE

Dear Mr Lister

FOI Questions about the Madeleine McCann case

I wish to express my complaint that today, four months and ten days since I asked my 12 questions on the Madeleine McCann case, you have been unable to answer them.

These were mostly extremely simple questions such as: 'When did the McCanns meet with the Home Secretary?' It seems totally baffling that you are unable to answer such straightforward questions after an interval of such length.

I would also point out that no-one at the Home Office has yet even acknowledged, never mind answered, the small number of more recent FOI Act questions I have raised.

I will require a proper explanation for the delay as well as the answers to those questions that can be answered under the FOI Act.

Please also acknowledge the other questions I have asked.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Bennett

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Judge Mental on 29.07.10 17:47

@Tony Bennett wrote:90 working days since I asked my 12 questions on Madeleine McCann case -

70 working days (14 weeks) later than the 20 days normally allowed -

and still no reply from the Home Office to my FOI Act questions asked on 19 March 2010 (four months and ten days ago).

Is it really so hard to tell me, for example, on which date the McCanns met former Home Secretary, Alan Johnson?

May one suggest that asking about Alan Johnson is possibly one of the hardest questions you have posed anywhere to date? big grin

One says this, because even if one were to squeeze one's eyes tight shut and try to imagine that Alan Johnson has never heard of the McCanns, much less laid eyes on them or engaged with them in any way, he still has many truckloads and cartloads of other debris and detritus trailing in his wake.

Johnson is no longer the simple cheery lad who left school at 15 to stack shelves for Tesco and join a pop band. Pseudo-Marxist Alan Johnson's meteoric rise to the dangerous height of Home Secretary was not due to a stroke of luck stoked by the dubious mergings of trade unions. Alan Johnson is a complex individual with a complicated background, hindered further by his acquaintance with the likes of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

His resignation on May 4th 2007 hit some Cabinet members like a truck, and those serving members have yet to recover. The recent change of Government has obviously hindered and impeded the Alan Johnson clean-up operation which has been underway for three years.

If we were to compare the preparation of the answers to your questions as being akin to planning a complete modernisation of the inner London sewage system, we would perhaps better understand why these questions are taking so long for the Home Office to answer.

Let us imagine that your questions are rather like men taking pneumatic drills and digging at the pavements and tarmac of London, and that those men are sticking their rods down into the grids. The surface vibrations and damage could very well cause cracks, and create a shift in those areas of the sewage system that are aleady on the verge of collapse.

Your questions are merely stroking the surface of something that runs so deep, they cannot fathom it.

The paragraphs below are copied from wikipaedia.

Mr Johnson insisted that the media coverage of the torture had been “baseless, groundless accusations” He also claimed that Government lawyers had not forced the judiciary to water down criticism of MI5, despite an earlier, draft ruling by Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct.


In October 2009 Alan Johnson sacked the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), Professor David Nutt. Nutt had accused the government of "distorting" and "devaluing" research evidence in the debate over illicit drugs

Johnson has been married twice. Firstly to Judith Cox, in 1968, with whom he has one son and two daughters. After his divorce he married Laura Jane Patient in 1991, with whom he has one son who was born in 2000


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A message of support

Post by Tony Bennett on 29.07.10 21:07

Well, someone has been kind enough to send me this message tonight, after I copied him my e-mail to the Home Office.

I think what he's saying is that the Freedom of Information Act approach could well be tried out on a much bigger scale - just suppose that these very same questions had been asked by 100 people, 1000, or 10,000! Some people would then start to get very rattled indeed! Anyway, here's the message:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Muy bien.

This sort of approach has the ability to get someone, somewhere, very rattled, and may cause a Minister to say something without thinking about it too much, as we are beginning to see with this administration!

I think the pressure you are applying, cool, calm, collected, polite and wholly within the law, is a very good way of attacking.

Just don't go down to the woods with a small pocket knife and sit under a tree!

(Have you ever read "The Feathermen" by Ranulph Fiennes, 1991? - as good as a conspiracy theory as you can get, and leaving you with the uneasy feeling that it just... might...happen)

Good luck.

Anything I can do...?

From: (withheld)

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Re: Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Judge Mental on 30.07.10 10:05

One hopes that people have been copying all of your letters, Tony Bennett.

It is not at all difficult to copy and paste each letter you write and send it to the same address, rather than sit around here all day and night tutting and puffing that you have not had replies.

One wishes that there were not such a silly hooha about email addresses being harvested and held by the Home Office and sold on to Carter Ruck. If people do not have the courage of their convictions and are afraid of being walked into wooded glades and murdered, or simply having their vehicle brakes tampered with, may one suggest that a new email address be created solely for the purpose of sending such vital documents?

We expect people to sit in shadows of fear in China, not in Great Britain. People should consider there is safety in numbers and come into the light.




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