Private Eye for the DTI
A warm welcome to anyone who has been led here by that esteemed publication Private Eye. Just so you don't have to rake around the less interesting corners of the site, you can find the bits about the DTI here:
- 17th May 2006 - DTI achieves new low
- 18th June 2006 - The DTI responds
- 27th June 2006 - More questions for the DTI
- 21st July 2006 - DTI update - FOI shenanigans
My co-conspirator Bruce Lawson has a handy category just for the DTI on his site, clever bloke, which will complete the picture.
For visitors who don't subscribe to the Eye (shame on you) Bruce has a transcript of the Eye piece on his site.
At the moment I'm waiting for a response to the internal review I requested after the department dodged our follow-up enquiry. They've told me:
The Department is carrying out an Internal Review into the decision not to disclose the information you request. The review will be undertaken by the Director General within the DTI who is responsible for the policy area within which your original request falls.
The target for conducting an internal review is 20 working days from receipt of your letter. We will write to you again following the review.
I made my request for an internal review on 26th July, so should have a response by 23rd August, which will be published here. If the result of the review is unsatisfactory the final course of action is an appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office.
The tip of the iceberg?
It's probably worth pointing out that the DTI is by no means the only government department to procure and publish such a low quality website, and in doing so ignore the government's own guidelines on web development. There's a fundamental flaw in the current e-government setup at Whitehall, where the eGovernment Unit issues some very good (if now dated) guidance on producing accessible, usable websites, based on best practice, which is subsequently ignored by departments. There's no threat of sanctions from the government itself, so the only risks the departments are taking by ignoring the guidance are of legal action (miniscule) and bad publicity (hello!).