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Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Mm11

Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Regist10
The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
Welcome to 'The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann' forum 🌹

Please log in, or register to view all the forums as some of them are 'members only', then settle in and help us get to the truth about what really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann.

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Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Mm11

Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Regist10

Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

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Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Empty Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Post by Verdi 26.03.19 22:58

Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Submitted to The Home Office by Tony Bennett on 19th March 2010.

It couldn't be easier to file a Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office.

Just e-mail your questions to:

public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Below is my letter. You can copy and paste as much as you like. Strictly speaking only the questions need to be in the letter, but I included some background since, where there is a doubt as to whether information should be released, the issue of the degree of public interest is highly relevant (see FOI Act).

I would just add this.

It would have a significant impact if hundreds of people were suddenly all to e-mail these same 12 questions to the Home Office:

From: Anthony Bennett

Home Office Friday 19 March 2010
Head of Freedom of Information Act Section
Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
LONDON
SW1P 4DF

By e-mail to public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
And by hard copy

Dear Sir/Madam

re: Questions to the Home Office Freedom of Information Act Section - Involvement by the Home Office with the McCanns regarding a possible review or re-investigation into the disappearahce of Madeleine McCann

During the past two weeks, several newspapers have referred to the following matters in relation to the Madeleine McCann case:

a) one or more meetings between Home Secretary Alan Johnson and the McCanns
b) several meetings between the McCanns and staff of the Home Office
c) the commencement of a ‘scoping exercise’ to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance may take
d) the appointment of the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, to advise the Home Office as to which police force should carry out any review or re-investigation
e) the reported decision by Jim Gamble and the Home Office to appoint West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation.

It is evident that there remains huge public interest in and beyond the U.K. in what really happened to Madeleine McCann, which was described as recently as 19 February by the McCanns’ chief public relations adviser, Mr Clarence Mitchell, as ‘a complete mystery. The clear public interest will therefore be served by your section providing full answers as soon as possible to the following questions under the Freedom of Information Act. We would add that the answers to these questions must be readily available to officials and so the cost of providing them should be minimal. Here are the questions:

1. On what date or dates has the Home Secretary Alan Johnson had meetings with one or both of the McCanns?
2. Who else was present at these meetings: in particular, was any lawyer or other adviser for the McCanns present?
3. On what dates did meetings take place between one or both of the McCanns and staff of the Home Office?
4. Please identify all the staff who met with the McCanns and again identify whether the McCanns had legal or other representatives with them.
5. On what date did the McCanns first approach the Home Office asking for a review or re-investigation by a British police force into Madeleine’s disappearance?
6. Is the Home Office carrying out what the Daily Telegraph called ‘a scoping exercise’ to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance may take’ and, if so, on what date did that scooping exercise
commence?
7. Why, according to the press, was Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, given the role of advising the Home Office as to which police force should carry out any review or re-investigation?
8. On what date did the Home Secretary ask Mr Gamble to perform this role?
9. On what date did Mr Gamble make his recommendation?
10. Did he, as reported, recommend West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation?
11. Has West Yorkshire Police, as reported, been asked to carry out a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?
12. If so, what is the brief or remit that the Home Office has given to West Yorkshire Police?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Bennett

Link: https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t647-freedom-of-information-act-request-to-the-home-office-about-a-review-or-re-investigation-into-the-disappearance-of-madeleine-mccann

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Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Empty 55 working days gone by [11 weeks] and still no answers: Tony Bennett wrote on 5th June 2010

Post by Verdi 27.03.19 14:42

Our original request for answers to 12 questions under the FOI Act to the Home Office was made on Friday 19 March, received by the Home Office that day by e-mail.

The FOI Act stipulates that responses must be made within a maximum of 20 working days, which brings us to, er, Friday 16 April.

It is now Saturday 5 June and 55 working days have gone by, 35 more than the normal permitted maximum of 20.

The alleged officlal reason for the delay, in a case which has been the most publicised missing child case in the world ever, is that the Home Office are trying to decide whether, erm, it is 'in the public interest' to give us the answers to these questions.

Our questions weren't that awkward.

Were they?

Here's a reminder, nearly 3 months later, of what they were:

1. On what date or dates has the Home Secretary Alan Johnson had meetings with one or both of the McCanns?

2. Who else was present at these meetings: in particular, was any lawyer or other adviser for the McCanns present?

3. On what dates did meetings take place between one or both of the McCanns and staff of the Home Office?

4. Please identify all the staff who met with the McCanns and again identify whether the McCanns had legal or other representatives with them.

5. On what date did the McCanns first approach the Home Office asking for a review or re-investigation by a British police force into Madeleine’s disappearance?

6. Is the Home Office carrying out what the Daily Telegraph called ‘a scoping exercise’ to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance may take’ and, if so, on what date did that scooping exercise commnece?

7. Why, according to the press, was Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, given the role of advising the Home Office as to which police force should carry out any review or re-investigation?

8. On what date did the Home Secretary ask Mr Gamble to perform this role?

9. On what date did Mr Gamble make his recommendation?

10. Did he, as reported, recommend West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation?

11. Has West Yorkshire Police, as reported, been asked to carry out a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?

12. If so, what is the brief or remit that the Home Office has given to West Yorkshire Police?

Tony Bennett

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Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Empty Why the Home Office is taking so long to answer 12 simple FOI questions about Madeleine McCann - by the Home Office

Post by Verdi 27.03.19 14:53

The following information was posted by the forum owner, Jill Havern, on 22nd June 2010

The latest in the Home Office's attempts to explain why they are taking so long to answer 12 straightforward questions about a possible review or re-investigation of the Madeleine McCann case.

This is not confidential.

Tony Benentt
Secretary
The Madeleine Foundation


--- On Tue, 22/6/10, Lister Ian (IMS) wrote:

From: Lister Ian (IMS)
Subject: RE: Home Office FoI request CR14428 PLUS FOUR MORE FOI QUESTIONS and COMPLAINT
To: "ANTHONY BENNETT"
Date: Tuesday, 22 June, 2010, 14:03

Dear Mr. Bennett,

Thank you for your email of the 17th June 2010 about your ongoing request under the Freedom of Information Act that we received on the 22nd March 2010, in which you asked the twelve questions which you have detailed below.

I would like to apologise again for the amount of time it has taken to provide a substantive answer to your request. I appreciate that the fact that your request is still ongoing might appear to indicate that we are deliberately delaying our response to you or that we are trying to obfuscate the matter. I would like to reassure you that this is not the case.

The questions that you have asked relate to an investigation into the disappearance of a missing child; an investigation that is still ongoing within the UK at this time, as I am sure you are aware. Whilst your questions ask for the release of simple facts, as you put it, we must be extremely careful that our answers to those questions and the release of any information that we may or may not hold, does not prejudice this investigation, any relations between UK and Portuguese authorities or would be otherwise prejudicial to the effect conduct of public affairs.

I acknowledge that this matter is of significant interest to a large number of people and that there is great deal of ongoing speculation about the stage of investigation. As you have said, there is huge public interest in ascertaining what happen to Madeleine McCann. However, the ‘public interest’ that we consider in conjunction with the Freedom of Information Act, is not the same as what might be of interest to public, or what they might find interesting. In carrying out a Public Interest Test we consider the greater good or benefit to the community as a whole if the information is released or not. The ‘right to know’ that is provided by the FoI Act must be balanced against the need to enable effective government and to serve the best interests of the public.

Furthermore, the FoI Act is ‘applicant blind’. This means that we cannot, and do not, ask about the motives of anyone who asks for information. In providing a response to one person, we are expressing a willingness to provide the same response to anyone, including those who might, in some circumstances, represent a threat to the UK. In this instance, we must also consider whether or not our answers to your questions could be used by some members of the public to prejudice the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

We have to balance, on one hand, the inherent public interest in the Home Office being open and accountable whilst, on the other hand, how the public interest would be served by us providing answers that could prejudice these investigations or be otherwise detrimental to the work of the police, the government and the McCann family in their efforts to locate Madeleine. Would it be in the best interest of the public for the Home Office to be seen as releasing information that might prejudice the investigation? Probably not. Would it be in the public interest for the Home Office to release information that could potentially jeopardise relationships between the United Kingdom and policing authorities with which cooperate around the world? Would these authorities be willing to work with us in the future if we released information that potentially prejudices an ongoing investigation? The answer to both is no. Would it be in the public interest to release information that could help Madeleine’s captor evade detection and arrest? Most certainly not.

These are some of the considerations we are currently considering. Simply because the questions are direct and would only require simple answers, does not mean that potential prejudicial effects of providing those answers would not be far reaching. Whilst we do not doubt that, as a concerned member of the public, you are interested in ascertaining what information the Home Office holds on this matter, we must consider the possibility that some individuals may use this information to their advantage and not for the benefit of the community as a whole.

I would therefore like to apologise once again for the time it is taking us to provide you a response to your questions. Please be assured that this is because the subject matter is extremely sensitive and not because we are trying to obfuscate the matter or be deliberately awkward. Please also be assured that I am aware that we have exceeded the twenty working day deadline provided under s.10(1) of the Act and that, despite legitimately extending this deadline under s.10(3) of the Act, we have also exceed the forty working day guideline provided by the Information Commission. The Home Office does aim to provide a prompt response to all FoI requests but, in some cases, where the information is particularly sensitive, we do need to take some extra time to make sure we have considered all the aspects relevant to that case.

In regards to the four new questions which you have asked us to consider, these will need to be treated as a separate request. This is because a valid FoI request under s.8 of the FoI Act only concerns information that was held at the time a request was received. Because your new questions concern information that might have been recorded since your original request was received, we will need to consider it separately. In light of this, I would be grateful if you can confirm that you would like us to answer these questions separately.

Thank you again for your interest in the Home Office and for your patience in this matter. If you have any more questions about the handling of your request, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to help.

Yours sincerely,

Ian

Ian Lister
Information Access Consultant
Information Access Team

Tel: 020 7035 6065
Email: ian.lister@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: ANTHONY BENNETT [mailto:ajsbennett@btinternet.com]
Sent: 17 June 2010 8:14 PM
To: Information Access; FOI Responses; Lister Ian (IMS); Public Enquiries (CD)
Subject: Home Office FoI request CR14428 PLUS FOUR MORE FOI QUESTIONS and COMPLAINT

Dear Mr Lister,

COMPLAINT re 3-month delay in answering 12 FOI Questions on 19 March

Note: This e-mail is NOT confidential

On 21 April you wrote and told me that the Home Office were unable to answer my 12 questions about Madeleine McCann in the normal 20-day period required under the Freedom of Information Act, because you needed more time to consider whether answering any or all of these 12 questions was or was not 'in the public interest'.

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Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office about a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Empty Answers to 4 FOI Questions - the rest were not answered

Post by Verdi 27.03.19 15:10

Reported by Tony Bennett on 13th September 2010

A brief summary of responses received today from the Home Office by those of us who asked the 12 FOI questions back in March.


The full reply is on a pdf. which I can't upload and in any event is long, running to 5 pages in all.

In summary, the first four questions have been answered in the following terms:

1. Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann met with Home Office Minister Alan Johnson on an undisclosed date in October 2009.

2. Also present at that meeting were the following:

a) Two member's of staff from 'The Minister's Private Office' and

b) one 'Home Official Official.

3. The Home Office did not disclose one way or the other whether the McCanns were accompanied or represented by anyone at this meeting.

4. The Home Office say that there were no other meetings between:

a) The McCanns, the Home Office Minister and/or any Home Office staff, or

b) Any representatives of the McCanns and the Minister and any Home Office staff...

...between the October 2009 meeting and the date of my letter, viz. 19 March 2010.

The answers to all the other questions (Nos. 5 to 12 below) have been denied, under one or more of the following provisions:

1. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 Sections 31(1) (a) and 31(1)(b)
2. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 36(2) (b)(i) and 36(2)(b)(ii)
3. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 40 (2)
4. The Data Protection Act.

In broad terms, these sections cover:

a) information relating to a past or current police investigation, the majority of which is normally exempt from disclosure,
b) information regarded as 'not in the public interest' to disclose, and
c) personal information relating to a living person.

There is also a reference to the McCanns' expectation that their meeting with the Home Secretary would be 'private'.

The letter concludes, as is required by law, a list of 'considerations in favour of disclosure' and equally a list of 'considerations against disclosure. As you'll see when the full letter is disclosed, the arguments for and against disclosure of information are very finely balanced.

I will publish the full response here wehn I can although several others have got identical replies and someone more technically-minded will almost certainly beat me to it.

The letter outlines the procedure for this decision to be reviewed. as it took 6 months bar 6 days to get a reply, I am not sure how long that procedure will take. Specific reasons under the FOI Act have to be given for seeking a review.

If the review still does not produce a satisfactory reply, the applicant for information has the right to apply to the Information Commissioner, based in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Two further points.

The 16 additional questions I asked on 17 and 22 June and 13 July have not yet even been given a case reference number, let alone answered.

Finally, why did it take close on 6 months to dislcose just this extremely limited information?

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