University of London fails to submit assignment on time.

Information Commissioner instructs the University of London to respond to review request.

On 13 August 2019 I made a request to the University of London under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for information about pass rates and average marks awarded to LLB students taking the examinations in May / June 2019. The University refused to disclose the information on the grounds that disclosure “would be likely to prejudice our commercial interests to disclose.”

On 25 September I asked the University to conduct what is known as ‘an internal review’ of its decision. After a couple of months, as I had not heard anything, I sent follow up emails to find out how the review was progressing. In November the University claimed that it was dealing with a high volume of information compliance work which had impacted a number of its deadlines. On 16 January 2020 as I had still not received a response I reminded the University again that I was waiting for the outcome of the review. Although there is no statutory time set out in the FOIA within which public authorities must complete a review, the Information Commissioner – responsible for ensuring information rights are upheld – considers that a reasonable time for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the request for review. Exceptionally a period of 40 days may be justified if an internal review is complex.

On 24th January 2019 I made a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. And on 10 February the ICO instructed the University to issue a response within 10 working days, pointing out that ‘significant or repeated unreasonable delays in dealing with internal reviews will be monitored’ by their Enforcement team.

In fact,  a week before receiving the ICO instruction – 87 days after requesting the review and 67 working days after the end of the ‘reasonable period’ identified by the Commissioner – the University sent me the outcome. You will shortly be able to read it here.