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Extended Freedom of Information requests (FOI)

Extended Freedom of Information requests (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 08 August 2018.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


I would like to request  records of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests where there has been a request for an extension beyond the 20 day period. I would like:


Numbers of FOI requests that took longer than the 20 day period given in the law by month / year


Numbers of FOI requests where an extension was requested by month / year


For each request where there was an extension requested, the topic of the request (as published on the website) and


All emails sent by the FOI Office to other FOI applicants explaining the need for an extension on that request.


All internal emails or records created received by the FOI office from departments explaining the need for an extension in each case and the FOI office responses where applicable.


The number of other FOI requests being processed by that department at the time that request was received.


Only requests completed at 31 July 18 are included in the figures below

A and B

Please see the PDF below:

Extended Freedom of Information requests


Requests are not recorded with the title that is used on the disclosure log. To identify all requests which have received extensions and cross reference these to the disclosure log would exceed the time limit set out under Article 16 the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.

Since 2017 requests have been categorised on the Central Freedom of Information system with a set request topic. Requests may be coded with more than one topic.


​Topic​Times applied to extended requests
​Community services​5
Environment and waste​3
​Government policy and administration​23
​Health treatment and services​22
​Legislation and legal matters ​5
​Planning applications and issues​1
​Policing, crime, courts and prison​2
​Public property and infrastructure ​4
​Public sector staffing, spending and costs​33
​Roads - safety, parking and vehicles​3


D to E

The identification and provision of the requested records would far exceed the 12.5 hour time limit allowed for Freedom of Information requests and the requests are therefore refused.


The information requested is not held in a searchable format. To identify which were ongoing at the time of each extension would involve a review of every request and would far exceed the 12.5 hours allowed for Freedom of Information and therefore refused.

Article and regulation applied

Article 16 A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive

(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.

Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

Following additional questions and an internal review a further response was made to this request as follows:

Internal Review Request A

As I can see on this request, there is reference number. So it is clear that the FOI unit have a reference number to identify requests. As parts A and part B were answered, then there must be a record that includes the date the request was received and if it had an extension.

Thus I cannot understand how the title of the request cannot be identified, and would request a full detailed explanation of why this cannot be done – even if the website title is not recorded against the reference number, then the FOI unit should be able to identify the table from the body of the persons request (which I would be highly surprised if this was not recorded).

If the FOI office thinks it would take more than 12.5hrs to do this matching, I would like to request you release these records of the requests (in whatever raw format you hold these in) that had extensions with the wording of the persons request and I will match the wording of the request to the titles myself from the website (in any case I am more interested in the types of requests that required extensions and the reasons for those extensions than actually what it was published as).

Internal Review Response A

Freedom of Information requests are logged within a sharepoint system. Each FOI request generates a unique code and a separate file is set up for each request. This is a necessary requirement for the segregation of confidential and personal information.

Within the set up form is a notes section in which the Central Freedom of Information Unit (the CFU) record a brief title of the request - for example ‘FOI extensions’. To identify each extended request on the website would involve accessing every file which has received an extension (188 individual files), then locating the published response on Similarly, to provide the request wording of each request would require the team to access each file and copy / paste the wording from the original submission into a document. This would exceed the time frame allowed under the regulations.

Internal Review Request B

Since this request will be reviewed by somebody senior, then I might like to make the recommendation that the website title is recorded against the request reference number to improve request identification since the reference numbers are not published on, or even better the reference number is included with the published response.

Internal Review Response B

The unique identifier is a reference that allocates the request to an individual. In data protection terminology it therefore becomes part of an individual’s personal data and should not be released.

Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018

Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005

Internal Review Request C

For the same reason as C, parts D and E should not cause the FOI office issue in finding those emails.

However I can also see from your extension request email that there appears to be a standard email subject “Extension Requested” (or at least the word 'extension' has been used). As most email allows you to search by the subject, then I cannot understand how you cannot retrieve these emails in less than a few minutes! since you have the email address of the FOI office and a suitable word to search on! Therefore this part of the request must surely be answerable in under the cost limit!

I cannot accept any excuse that this part of the request would take too long to answer. This should be the simplest part!

Internal Review Response C

The States of Jersey have a limited size on all inboxes. This therefore requires the CFU to delete emails after a certain period. Currently emails are stored from April 2018. Emails can be retrieved from the email archive server but this only records the last two years.

As noted previously, we utilise a sharepoint system and all emails are recorded within this system. However a search on the term ‘extension’ generates over 5,000 records. This is due to a combination of factors;

a) All 15 and 18 day alerts (issued by CFU to departments) contain the word

b) A number of policy documents and process documents are also saved in sharepoint

c) The word extension is often used as part of an FOI request ie planning – ‘extension of property’, legal – ‘extension of the Law’, financial – ‘extension of the budget’

d) Extension requests

Therefore a simple search cannot be implemented and to retrieve these emails would involve accessing every file which has received an extension to extract and save the relevant emails.

Internal Review Request D

Not releasing the detailed reasons for request extensions shows that the states is not committed to transparency and makes the branding of the FOI “Freedom of Information Your Right to Know” hollow and void. It also suggests that perhaps some of the reasons for request extensions have not been particularly valid or reasonable.

Internal Review Response D

There is no intention to hide information or to be less than transparent. The request asks for information which is time consuming to provide and therefore not possible within the time frames of the FOI Law.

Internal Review Request E

As for Part F the website explains that the individual departments legal responsibility to finalise and approve responses to FOI requests, so surely the states ministerial departments must keep a record of requests they have received and authorised?

Internal Review response E

Whilst all departments keep a log of requests that they have received and authorised, there is no requirement for them to record how many requests they have outstanding at the time of requesting an extension.

Internal Review Request F

Given that in part A and part B (and on other reports / requests published on the website) have indicated that information is kept on when requests are received and how long it took to answer individual requests, then it must be possible to determine how many requests the individual states departments were processing at the time a given request was received.

Internal Review Response F

The information could be compiled. The original response noted that this is not held in a searchable format which may not be clear. The information is not held in the format requested and would need to be manipulated.

To compile this information would once again require the CFU to access every extended file, note the date of the requested extension, then to cross check that against a report to see how many requests are outstanding for the department at that time. With 188 cases to check, this would take considerable time.

It would also potentially be misleading – a department may only have one request outstanding, but if that request is exceedingly time consuming then they could be under greater pressure than a team that has ten easy requests. It should also be noted that whilst some requests consist of one question, often the CFU receive requests with multiple questions and multiple departments that need to be involved in compiling a full response.

Internal Review Request G

Even at a bare minimum the table provided does not give a breakdown by department as requested. Part of the reason for asking this is to determine in principle which departments are not answering FOI requests within the time limit and which are.

The request was worded as follows, with no request for breakdown by department:


Numbers of FOI requests that took longer than the 20 day period given in the law by month / year


Numbers of FOI requests where an extension was requested by month / year

In the interest of transparency the information by department can be provided as follows;

Data is as at 31 July 2018.


​Chief Minister's Department


​Environment Department

​Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture​02​6​​0



​Health and Social Services

​Community and Constitutional Affairs ​53​1​​0

​Judicial Greffe


​Social Security


​States Greffe








​External Relations




Internal Review Request H

I believe that the reasons for my dissatisfactions in the response I have received are clear, and the fact that parts of the request have been answered along with no other exemptions applied infers that the FOI office holds the records and the only issue is that these records are 'not held in a searchable format'.

In this digital day and age, such excuses for not being able to identify the records it holds (especially from a states office that should be championing good record keeping and government transparency) only compounds the reputation of the states as being secretive, technologically backward and that its systems and processes are unfit for purpose. Answering this request properly would show a commitment to government transparency, and a desire to improve its record keeping ability.

Internal Review Response H

The questions posed within this request are broad and cover a large number of cases. As previously noted the CFU hold data in a segregated format to ensure that all records are accurate, up to date and maintained in isolation. The FOI Law requires the States of Jersey to treat all requests as applicant blind, which in conjunction with the processing requirements of the Data Protection Law, has informed the processes put in place around CFU data handling.

The CFU is committed to transparency, and publishes Freedom of Information statistics on the website at the following link:

Freedom of Information data and statistics

However the information requested within C-F would require an excessive amount of time to be spent on this one request.

We would draw your attention to the Information Commissioners advice on How to access information from a scheduled public authority:

Office of the Information Commissioner

Internal Review Request I

If the FOI office is maintaining even after internal review that this information is not held in a searchable format and would take too long to review then. I would request its release in its raw un-personalised format (however the FOI office holds it), so that I may review the information for myself as I am happy to spend the time to do this myself and save the cost from my fellow taxpayers.

Internal Review Response I

This is not possible. The information held by the CFU is confidential information submitted by requesters under the terms of our data protection statement.

Internal Review Request J

I would also ask that this internal review request is published on the website alongside my initial request.

Internal Review Response J

This is part of CFU policy – where an internal review amends or provides additional information to a final response, this will either be incorporated in the disclosure log, provided as an addendum to it, or released as an additional disclosure log.

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