The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued a notice setting out how it will, from 1 April 2009, monitor and enforce the adoption by public authorities of the new model publication scheme to comply with their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The ICO introduced the model publication scheme that all public authorities were to adopt from 1 January 2009. The latest ICO guidance note seeks to remind public authorities of the powers the ICO possesses.
The ICO intends to monitor at least 20 public authorities per month and the process will involve a number of steps, including confirming that the authority has adopted the model publication scheme, reviewing the authority's guide to the information it holds, checking that any charging regime is clear and reviewing request handling procedures and accessibility.
Where the ICO identifies a failure to comply with their FOIA obligations, it will first seek to resolve the issue on an informal basis, where necessary, through a practice recommendation notice. The ICO will consider formal enforcement action only after serious, repeated or systemic failure to comply.