Posts Tagged ‘Jane Affleck’

Useful Resource: Lobster’s Guide to the 2005 Freedom of Information Act

August 14, 2013

My brother, Mike, of Vox Political, Sparaszczukster, Johndee and many other bloggers and activists have had trouble getting the DWP to give the statistics on the number of disabled people, who have committed suicide after being refused benefit by ATOS. This follows their attempts to get that information under the Freedom of Information Act. Nine years ago, way back in 2004 the parapolitical magazine, Lobster, published a short guide to the then-forthcoming 2005 Freedom of Information Act by their long-time contributor, Jane Affleck. The article was entitled ‘Freedom of Information – New Access Legislation’. It included guides to making a request, the fees charged, complaints and appeals, exemptions to the act, qualified exemptions and environment information. Regarding exemptions, she states that

‘An authority is not obliged to comply with a request if it estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the appropriate limit (s12); alternatively, the authority may charge for information in such circumstances (s13). Nor need an authority comply with a request if it considers it to be ‘vexatious’ (s14); or if the request is ‘identical’ or ‘substantially similar’ to a past request, unless a ‘reasonable interval’ has elapsed between the two requests (s14). Also exempt is information held by an authority that is intended for future publication (s22); information that is covered by other access regimes: the Environmental Information Regulations – where the information concerns the environment, see below (s39, s74); or under the Data Protection Act – where the information constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject. (s40).’

Mike and Sparaszczukster have both had their requests turned down on the grounds that their requests are ‘vexatious’ and based on a prior request. She also includes in the article a number of websites on the act, the 2002 Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, the regulations for environmental information, and the Freedom of Information page for the Department of Constitutional Affairs, as well as the Data Protection Page. She also provides the web address for the Campaign for Freedom of Information. They’re at

Lobster is now on the net, along with an archive of its back issues that includes the edition with this article on the Freedom of Information Act. This is issue 48, for Winter 2004. The article is on pp. 30-2.