FSA and FOI requests, what’s good for the goose?

 

Linda Woodall recently affirmed that there was tension between regulated firms and the FSA and that this is how it should be.

Most of us would agree with the first part of her statement but probably not with the second.

Notwithstanding her views one of the reasons for ongoing tension is the us and them attitude that they have created. One instance is where the FSA will insist on a reply within a designated period but do not accept that similar time-frames apply to them.

One recent example came when the FSA’s Neil Gregory posted on Citywire’s NMA blog and made comments regarding the ongoing RDR awareness campaign and the involvement of the Citizens Advice Bureau. Another adviser posed a number of questions regarding this and despite some cajoling the FSA remained silent on the subject.

The questions posed seemed reasonable and deserved answers so, on 18 September, I posed the following questions under the Freedom of Information Act.

 In respect of the RDR and the on-going awareness campaign could you please advise the following;

a)     What consideration and calculation was carried out to determine that the Citizens Advice Bureau was the most appropriate disseminator of such information?

b)     Has any cost benefit analysis been carried out in this regard or with regard to any other dissemination option?

c)     How will the FSA or its successor body determine whether using the CAB has been successful?

Two days later the information access team advised that it was a matter for the Press Office/Consumer Communications team and they would be in touch shortly.

On October 12 I felt it appropriate to chase up the information and was told that my enquiry was still being “considered”.

The Freedom of Information Act specifies that the matter must be resolved within 20 working days and as I write, on the 17th October, it is day 21.

The relationship between regulator and regulated would be far more evenly balanced if it was a two way street.

From: Highclere

Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 1:29 PM

To: Freedom of Information

Subject: Re: Freedom of Information; Right to Know

Dear 

It is now 22 days since your e-mail advising me that I would hear further regarding my FOIA request.

I have heard no further from yourself or from the Press Office /Consumer Comms Team.

Sad to relate this delay does not surprise me as I have found that the adviser/regulator relationship tends to work in one direction only.

Could I ask that somebody responds to my reasonable request within a short period of time, say one week?

Yours sincerely

Alan Lakey

From: Freedom of Information

Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:25 AM

To: Alan Lakey

Subject: Freedom of Information; Right to Know

Email: foi@fsa.gov.uk

Dear Mr Lakey

Thank you for your email of 18 September 2012 addressed to our Freedom of Information Team requesting the following information:

In respect of the RDR and the on-going awareness campaign could you please advise the following;

a) What consideration and calculation was carried out to determine that the Citizens Advice Bureau was the most appropriate disseminator of such information?
b) Has any cost benefit analysis been carried out in this regard or with regard to any other dissemination option?
c) How will the FSA or its successor body determine whether using the CAB has been successful?

I am writing to inform you that your request has been forwarded to our Press Office and Consumer Comms Team as they are the most appropriate area to respond to your request.

They will be in touch with you shortly.

Yours sincerely

Information Access Team

Information Access Team| Finance and Operations Division|Operations Business Unit|

Financial Services Authority
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5HS

Alan Lakey

Highclere

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