Information Ombudsman: Getting ever more bizarre

My complaint to the Information Ombudsman regarding the refusal of the Department of Justice to answer a question becomes ever more bizarre.

I wrote recently about correspondence I received from the Ombudsman which effectively stated that the office had no power to investigate the Dept. of Justice.

Here’s the relevant and bizarre comment.

This Office is precluded from examining the issues you have raised in your online complaint. This exclusion includes complaints about the failure of the Department to reply to your correspondence.

This, of course, is ridiculous. If the Ombudsman cannot investigate a refusal by a Government department to answer a simple question then it has no power to do anything.

My reply:


I would be greateful if you could answer the following questions.

What precise piece of legislation precludes your office from examining my complaint?

What precise piece of legislation precludes your office from investigating the refusal of the Department to reply to my correspondence?

Your sincerely
Anthony Sheridan

I received no reply to this correspondence so I phoned the Ombudsman’s office yesterday and spoke with the official dealing with my complaint.

The official claimed that she thought I was asking the Ombudsman to deal with the content of my question to the Dept. of Justice rather than the refusal of the Dept. to answer the question.

I pointed out to her that this explanation was contrary to her previous correspondence in which she clearly stated that the Ombudsman does not have the power to examine the Dept’s refusal to answer my question.

She promised to get back to me soonest.

And so, on it goes.

2 thoughts on “Information Ombudsman: Getting ever more bizarre”

  1. The Information Ombudsman will have no power as long as government departments can claim that they cannot find documents requested.

    You appeal that. They say they’ve looked REALLY HARD but still can’t find them. In addition, it would cost too much to look any harder. But, if they ever find the documents (like under a bed or on top of a wardrobe) they will, of course, send them on.

    I’d swear that, when you pass certain departments, the predominant noise is that of shredders working flat out.

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