Sent: 28 February 2014 11:34
To: Sheila

Ms Oliver

Request Ref: 04706

Reference: CS782764

I write in
reference to your Internal Review request to Devon County Council made on
14th February 2014 concerning the Council’s response to your Freedom
of Information Request (Ref: 04706). Having reviewed this email from you I note
you are not satisfied with the response provided to your request. Given that
the Council’s response has stated that the documents you have requested is
exempt from disclosure under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act
(the Act), I have made this the point of my investigation.

Please note
that I have now considered the Council’s response to your request again and can
confirm that I uphold the original decision to withhold these documents on the
grounds that the information is exempt by virtue of Section 43(2) of the Act
2000 and the public interest test weighs in favour of withholding the
information for the reasons previously explained to you. I will outline my
reasons for this below.

By way of
explanation please note that Devon County Council’s Information Governance Team
have recently established a trading arm to explore ways of generating income to
help address recent budget cuts imposed by central government. Trading activity
from this service includes the sale of advice, training, policies, guidance, and
other bespoke products.

Whilst at
present the Council has not made its Freedom of Information Request Handling
Policy & Procedure available for sale, it is our intention to do so in the
near future. It is therefore our view that releasing these documents into the
public domain is likely to have the effect of diminishing the number of sales of
these documents. This in turn is likely to prejudice our commercial interests
through reducing the size for the market for these documents therefore leading
to reduced revenue generation for the Council.

Although the
Council considers that our Freedom of Information Request Handling Policy and
Procedure are exempt from disclosure, we wish to be as open and transparent as
possible and therefore to assist your understanding of how requests are handled
by the Council, I have summarised our Request Handling Procedure

Request for
information is received by the Council and where necessary forwarded to the
Information Governance team

All requests
are recorded and acknowledged within 2 days

Requests are
then sent to the relevant service who will nominate an appropriate officer to
work with a Disclosure Officer from the Information Governance Team to gather
all the necessary information to compile a response

from the relevant service is then sent back to the Information Governance Team
where a Disclosure Officer will compile a response and will apply any relevant

The relevant
Disclosure Officer will then seek any necessary sign off required and will then
issue a formal response to the applicant in line with the requirements of the
relevant legislation

With regard to
the Council’s Freedom of Information Request Handling Policy, please note that
this document simply reaffirms the Council’s obligations in respect of the
Environmental Information Regulations & Freedom of Information Act
legislation and associated codes of practice. We feel that given requests under
this legislation are governed by statute, there would be little that disclosure
of this document would do to further the public’s understanding of how requests
under this legislation are managed by the Council. However to assist your
understanding of the contents of this document, I have attached a copy of the
introduction and contents page of this policy which I you will find

I hope this
information is of assistance to you, however, if you remain dissatisfied how the
Council has responded to your request, you are entitled to ask for your
complaint to be escalated to Stage 2 in our Corporate Feedback Process, for a
further review. Should you wish to do so, please email
or write to Customer Relations Team, County Hall, Room 120, Topsham Road,
Exeter, EX2 4QD.