Information relating to SIROs (Senior Information Risk Officers)

FOI request reference: F0042661
Publication date: August 2015

Outcome:

Successful

Request:

Please can I now also request the list you have stated you hold, namely the “details of individuals who have previously attended SIRO training at The National Archives and[1] have registered an interest in receiving training newsletters”

Response:

Freedom of Information Request. Reference: F0042661

Dear

In our response to your previous Freedom of Information (FOIA) request[2], we informed you that The National Archives does not hold or maintain a list of HMG Senior Information Risk Officers (SIROs). We explained that we hold some details of individuals who have previously attended SIRO training at The National Archives and have registered an interest in receiving training newsletters.

On 7 July 2015, you made a subsequent request for the following information, which we have also handled under the terms of the FOIA:

“Many thanks for this. Please can I now also request the list you have stated you hold, namely the “details of individuals who have previously attended SIRO training at The National Archives and[3] have registered an interest in receiving training newsletters”

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request and we are pleased to be able to provide some of this information to you[4].

In the attached table we have provided a list (by central government department) of individuals above Senior Civil Service [SCS] grade who have previously attended SIRO training at The National Archives and have registered an interest in receiving training newsletters.

In line with Whitehall guidance, we follow the general principle that members of staff at SCS grade are sufficiently senior for their names to already be in the public domain and are therefore not exempt from release. However, we consider that to publish the names of junior members of staff would represent an unfair use of personal data and, as such, we have withheld the names of officials below this grade (‘junior’ officials) are withheld under section 40(2) of the FOIA.

Section 40 exempts personal information about a ‘third party’ (someone other than the requester), if revealing it would breach the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. The DPA prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress. Junior members of staff would have no expectation that information about their positions would be made available in the public domain; to do so would be unfair and contravene the first data protection principle of the DPA 1998.

Similarly, we have not provided the direct contact details of any of the individuals listed because this information is also exempt under section 40(2) FOIA. As we have explained, section 40(2) by virtue of section 40(3) (a) (i) of the FOI Act states that personal information is exempt from disclosure if revealing it would break the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. One of the terms of the DPA states that information should not be released if it would be unfair to the person involved. FOIA is a public access regime; what that means is that any information released to a requester then becomes available to the wider public.  Equally, if an exemption applies to the requested information it will be withheld from the requester and also the wider public. To release the  direct email addresses of these individuals into the public domain would be unfair in that it would have a considerable detrimental impact upon their ability to perform their duties and carry out the functions associated with those duties effectively. In addition, the fact that there exists a reasonable and reasonably accessible alternative method of contacting staff in the relevant business areas of each government department identified on the list, further diminishes the argument that there would be any further value gained from the release of this additional information.

For more information about the publication of junior staff names, please see the following link:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1187/section_40_requests_for_personal_data_about_employees.pdf

For more general information about the section 40 exemption, please see the following link:

http://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/personal-information-section-40-and-regulation-13-foia-and-eir-guidance.pdf

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request or the decision which has been reached, you have the right to ask for an internal review.  Internal review requests must be submitted within two months of the date of this response and should be addressed to:

Quality Manager
Public Services Development Unit
The National Archives
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU

complaints@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Please mark your complaint clearly.  You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to investigate any aspect of your complaint.  However, please note that the ICO is likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted before beginning his investigation.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Request Manager
Freedom of Information Centre
Information Policy and Services Directorate
The National Archives

 Attachments: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/f0042661-senior-information-risk-officers.xls

[1] Please note this reference should correctly read ‘and/or’, as the two are not mutually exclusive

[2] 20 May 2015 –  F0042343

[3] Please note this reference should correctly read ‘and/or’, as the two are not mutually exclusive

[4] As you are already aware, some information is missing from this response, and will be provided as soon as we have been able to collate it. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.