The House of Commons just does not seem to grasp “Freedom of Information”, they refused to provide me with copies of documents on the grounds they were not information despite an ICO Decision Notice that clearly indicates that this approach is wrong:

Paragraph 18 of the ICO Decision notice FS50076355 states that:

“Defra has advised the Commissioner that public authorities are
only required to release information, not documents. Consequently,
it believes that to provide a summary is adequate. The Commissioner
does not accept this view. The Act provides a right of access to
recorded information held by a public authority. This will normally
be fulfilled through access to existing documents or electronic
media, though in some cases the information can, or should, be
disclosed through other means. The Commissioner’s approach is
consistent with paragraph 6 of the Explanatory Notes to the Act
which states that the Act provides access to documents, or copies
of documents as well as to information.”

The House of Commons has now missed its own deadline for dealing with my complaint. Yes this is a rant and yes I am angry about this.

For the record I am in favour of votes for prisoners but I don’t think the vote of a convicted prisoner should ever count for more than my vote. Here is question 13 of the Government’s consultation on prisoners’ voting rights.

Question 13. Do you have any other comments and suggestions on the proposals for implementing the Hirst (No. 2) judgment?

[in a nutshell the judgement says you cannot have a blanket provision
that stops all prisoners voting]

My response to this part of the consultation
Given the UK’s obligations with respect to human rights and in particular the Hirst (No. 2) judgement it seems inevitable that at least some convicted prisoners will be allowed to vote. If that happen we must all accept that the votes of prisoners will have an impact on election results. What I could not possibly accept is a situation where the vote of a convicted prisoner counted for more than the vote of a law abiding citizen. Under first-past-the-post it is very common for votes to be unequal in value. Around 70% of all votes cast at the last General Election were wasted according to Make Votes Count. The only solution is to change the voting system to ensure all votes count equally. The change would have to be made at the same time as the Hirst (No. 2) Judgement was implemented or earlier.”

What is perhaps more unfair is that prisoners might well get to choose between voting in the constituency that the prison is in or voting in the constituency they lived in before prison [note 1]. The prisoners who understand the voting system may well choose to vote in the constituency where they think it will have the greatest impact. Most law-abiding citizens won’t get that choice.

note 1:
“The Prison Service has confirmed that it regularly deals both with the MP for the prisoner’s
home address and the MP for the constituency in which the prison is situated, and are perfectly content to do so…a Prison Service Instruction on Legal and Confidential Access Correspondence which states that correspondence between prisoners and various organisations and individuals, including MPs, should be subject to confidential handling arrangements… where the MP is acting in a “constituency capacity”, which the Prison Service confirms, covers both the home address MP and the MP for the constituency in which the prison is situated…” Members and Constituency Etiquette

“Thank you for your e-petition about the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

It is true that the effect of section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is that only companies that are wholly owned by a single public authority are subject to the Act.

However, there is a provision in the Act for other bodies that appear to exercise public functions to be made subject to the Act, by means of an order under section 5. The Government has recently conducted a public consultation on whether to use the power under section 5 to extend the coverage of the Act to bodies that carry out functions of a public nature. We intend to publish our findings by this summer.”