The Information Commissioner’s Office has ruled the FCA breached the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to a FoI request related to its investigation into Keydata.
In a decision published earlier this month, the ICO upheld a complaint against the FCA and ruled it must process the request within 35 days. Failure to do so could result in court action.
The unnamed complainant originally contacted the FSA in December 2012 requesting information relating to its 2007 review of Keydata’s traded life policy investments and the distribution of them by advisers.
The FSA responded last January to say a number of points in the request would be outside of the scope of the FoIA because they asked for explanations of actions and decisions rather than requests for record information.
The FCA provided further guidance on what would constitute an appropriate request.
The complainant sent a revised application for information, which included requests for internal communications between the investigation team and senior management, and internal communications regarding the FSA’s decision not to publish the Keydata review.
The FCA says the request would exceed the cost limit of £450 per request as it would take too long to extract the requested information from documents.
But the ICO says the FCA and the complainant have different interpretations of the scope of the request. It says the FCA could release all relevant documents, rather than extracting information from them, and therefore complete the request in the required time.
It ruled the FCA “failed to give proper consideration to the complainant’s intended reading of the requests”, and therefore must consider the alternative reading and issue an appropriate response.
The FCA has the right to appeal the decision and take it to a tribunal.
A spokeswoman for the FCA says: “We will consider the judgment. No decision has been made on an appeal at this stage.”
The FSA came under fire from the Complaints Commissioner in May 2011 after sending out confidential information related to its Keydata investigation on unencrypted discs. One package was delivered to a neighbour of a Keydata director.
Keydata founder Stewart Ford also lodged a complaint with the FSA alleging the regulator delivered his confidential copy of the Keydata preliminary investigation report to his ex-wife.