Freedom of Information on DFID’s role in BAE Project in Tanzania? Bado

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I submitted a Freedom of Information request with the Department for International Development (DFID) last month. I’m asking for the Memorandum of Understanding between DFID, the Government of Tanzania, the Serious Fraud Office and BAE Systems, and related budget details. (See here and here for some background).

The government legally has to respond within 20 days – the deadline is tomorrow. 

I got a response a few minutes ago:

Dear Mr Taylor

Freedom of Information Request F2013-416

I am writing to confirm that we are not yet in a position to respond to your Freedom of Information request of 14 November 2013 seeking information relating to the Primary Education Support Project (PESP) in Tanzania.

I can confirm that DFID holds information relevant to your request. We are obliged under the Freedom of Information Act to respond to requests promptly and, in any case, no later than 20 working days after receiving a request. But, when a qualified exemption applies to the information and the public interest test is engaged, we are allowed to extend this timescale to allow us to consider where the public interest lies. We do try to do this within the 20 working days but, in your case, I’m afraid, we’ve not yet reached a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. I estimate that we will be in a position to let you have a response by 15 January 2014. The specific exemption which applies to your
request is Section 27 (International Relations).

If you are unhappy with the service we are providing and wish to make a complaint, you should write to Openness Unit at the above address or e-mail.

Yours sincerely

Alison Marshall
DFID Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team

Or to put it more concisely, bado.

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UPDATE: Here’s the relevant section of the UK Freedom of Information Act. And the section of the act that explains about exemptions and public interest is Section 2 (2) (b).