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Palace of Westminster complaints (2015)

Request

Copies of all the complaints made about the fabric of the Palace of Westminster for the first three days of this session of parliament?
This would be the Wednesday 27, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 of May 2015.

 

Response

Notifications relating to building and maintenance issues received by the Facilities helpdesk, by phone or email, are logged on a computerised system which then provides the facility to track and complete each task. It is not possible to differentiate between a ‘request, complaint or notification’ as this information is not recorded by the House.

Section 40

Names and telephone numbers of individuals have been redacted from the data provided. This information is exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the exemption for personal information), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with the data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Section 31

We have also redacted details of office locations of staff and Members from the data provided. The House considers that releasing this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and apprehension and prosecution of offenders. The information is therefore exempt by virtue of s.31(1)(a) and (b) of the FOIA (the exemption for law enforcement). This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public interest test applies.
We have considered our obligation to assist the public in understanding how we conduct our business and the legitimate interest in the use of resources funded by the taxpayer including how money is spent on maintenance and the allocation of office space within the Parliamentary Estate. These obligations and legitimate interests are outweighed by the risk of the prejudice that arises in relation to the prevention of crime by disclosing specific locations of offices of named individuals, which would assist anyone with malicious or criminal intent towards those individuals or offices in identifying exact locations to carry out such activities. Disclosure of this information would fail in our duty to assist those services providing us with law enforcement as it would hinder their work in preventing and detecting crime and apprehending offenders. By providing information as to where individuals are most likely to be located on the Estate we would be assisting those individuals that might plan attacks against the Estate and its occupants.

Section 38

The information relating to office locations is also being withheld under section 38 (1) (a) and (b) (health and safety) of the FOIA as to disclose this information would be likely to endanger the safety of individuals. This is not an absolute exemption and requires a public test to be performed.
We have considered our obligation to assist the public in understanding how we conduct our business by operating in an open and accountable manner and in understanding that cleaning and maintenance on the Parliamentary Estate is carried out effectively. These legitimate interests are outweighed by the risk of prejudice that might arise in relation to the health and safety of the individuals in the specific offices named. By disclosing the office locations of these individuals we would make it easier for them to be located within the Parliamentary Estate by anyone planning to cause harm to their health and safety. The information would make it easier to target their offices in criminal attacks designed to harm their and others health and safety. In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

It is possible that numerous staff in the Department of Facilities may receive correspondence regarding issues which were not sent directly to the Facilities helpdesk. We have checked with senior, operational managers in the Department and no correspondence relevant to your request is held.

However, to fully answer your request we would need to check with all other staff of that Department, approximately 600 in number. We would also have to attempt to identify which complaints and issues sent to staff have also been logged on the Facilities helpdesk system, or which have been addressed in some other way.
We estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the appropriate limit of £600. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for the House of Commons is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days in determining whether the House holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the House is not obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further.