Timeliness of Internal Reviews for FOI requests to The National Archives between April 2017 and March 2018

FOI request reference: F0053626
Publication date: September 2018

Request

I would be very grateful if you could provide me with a similar table [see request F0053219] for Internal Reviews for FOI requests (regarding access to documents held at TNA), covering the same time period – 1st April 2017 – 31st March 2018, and presented in a similar table, with the same time-scales for the rows of the table as the one below

[Previous request;

What proportion of FOI requests to TNA for the opening of historical archival files received in the year to 31st March 2018 received initial decisions:
(A) Within 20 working days of the FOI request being received.
(B) Within 21-40 working days
(C) Within 41-60 working days
(D) Within 61-80 working days
(E) Within 81-100 working days
(F) Within 101-120 working days
(G) Longer than 120 working days.

Please could you provide both percentages and absolute numbers.]

Outcome

Successful

Response

I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request. We are pleased to be able to provide this information to you.

Timeliness of Internal Reviews for FOI requests to The National Archives between April 2017 & March 2018:

Time taken for internal review to be completed Number of cases Percentage of Overall Cases
(A) Within 10 working days                                                    11                                   18
(B) Within 11-20 working days                                               8                                    13
(C) Within 21-40 working days                                              23                                  38
(D) Within 41-60 working days                                              15                                  24.5
(E) Within 61-80 working days                                               4                                   6.5
Total 61

Advice and assistance

Section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) relates to a code of practice that provides guidance to public authorities for ‘desirable’ practice to follow. Included within this code of practice is the guidance that:
• A public authority should establish complaint-handling procedures with set target times for resolution. These procedures should be publicised and covered in the public authority’s publication scheme.
• During the internal review process, it is important to keep the applicant informed at all stages on the progress of the complaint and the likely timescale for completion.

The code’s guidance is that an internal review should take 20 working days in most cases, or 40 working days in exceptional circumstances. This is guidance for good practice and these suggested time frames are not written into FOIA. Depending on the complexity of the original FOI request, the number of departments that need to be consulted, and the extent of any redactions that need to be completed, internal reviews can take a varying amount of time. The National Archives works hard to ensure appropriate scrutiny of our FOI decisions and on occasion, given the additional time available for internal reviews, the original FOI decision is overturned in full or in part.

Throughout the internal review process, The National Archives keeps the complainant regularly updated with updated timescales for completion if we are unable to complete the internal review within our initial deadline.