25th March 2009

Case Reference Number FS50232537

Dear Mrs Oliver

Thank you for your email of 21/03/09, section 50 (1) of the FOIA sets out that ‘Any person (in this section referred to as “the complainant”) may apply to the Commissioner for a decision whether, in any specified respect, a request for information made by the complainant to a public authority has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part 1’ (of the FOIA). You should therefore encourage those individuals responsible for making the request in the first place to communicate with this office if they need to make a complaint. Were you to act for another individual in respect of an application made to the Information Commissioner under section 50 (1) then you would need to provide a suitably signed letter of authority from the person who made the original request for information.

We are required to investigate complaints individually so that we can assess whether there has been non-compliance with the legislation based on the merits of the complaint in question. This allows the Information Commissioner to address non-compliance in the most appropriate way, whether that be by informal or formal advice, published guidance, recommendations as to good practice (under section 48 of the Act) or by issue of an Enforcement Notice (under section 52 of the Act).

I would confirm however that we monitor the complaints we receive for evidence of persistent non-compliance by individual public authorities. This evidence will be then be used to support the proportionate and targeted use of the regulatory tools at our disposal. This may also include face-to-face meetings with the public authority in question to specifically address those issues identified as part of that monitoring activity.

Yours sincerely

Jim Dunn

FoI Case Officer

FoI Case Reception Unit

The Information Commissioner’s Office