Data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has forced several government departments to sign undertakings committing them to improve their response times for Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.
In April, the ICO singled out the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence and Birmingham City Council from 33 organisations it had been monitoring, saying it would take the appropriate "regulatory action" because of their slow FoI response times.
The public-sector bodies have now given written assurances that plans will be actioned to improve their response times to FoI requests.
"I'm satisfied that this will now happen but do not rule out taking further action if needed," said Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.
However, the ICO's hands are somewhat tied if it wants to take further regulatory action, given that it is unable to impose monetary fines in this case as the transgressions fall under the Freedom of Information Act rather than the Data Protection Act.
In April, the watchdog warned parliament that it could struggle to enforce the Freedom of Information Act as its budgets are reduced in line with government cuts.
"We are responding to that constructively, trying to achieve better for less, but the fact is that, if we're asked to do more and more under the transparency and accountability agenda, we'll need more resources to do it," Graham told the home affairs committee.
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