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Ms A. Thyer, Policy Division,
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane
London SW8 5NQ

8 August 2006


Dear Ms Thyer,

I am responding to that part of your letter of 4 August that relates to my freedom of information requests of 10 July: your reference, FOI06/236.

I am unable to accept the apology for your ‘oversight’. This particular correspondence – so typical of many others with the MHRA – has led to a succession of delays, and always the apologies arrive on a Friday afternoon (just like badly built cars). See Table. 







17 March 2006

Dr J Williams Unfortunately I will not be able to answer your request within the 20 working days specified in the Act. However, I should be able to reply by 3rd April 2006 Failure to respond to FOI request dated 17 February within 20 working days MHRA delays FOI response by 10 working days

7 April 2006

Ms S Wark I apologise for the delay in responding Repeated failure to respond to FOI request dated 17 February MHRA delays FOI response by a further 5 working days

9 June 2006

Ms S Wark I apologise for the delay in responding Failure to respond to FOI request of 26 April MHRA delays FOI response by 9 working days

4 August 2006

Ms A Thyer

I apologise that due to my oversight those requests have only been forwarded today to Miss Wark.

Failure to forward FOI requests dated 10 July MHRA delays FOI response by 20 working days


I now wish to make a formal complaint about each and all of these delays and, to save time, let’s also include the still unexplained delay between 8th June (when Ms Wark received Mr Fletcher’s review) and 3rd July (when she forwarded it to me).

In your letter, you sought to persuade me that the MHRA Policy Division’s handling of FOI complaints "provide an independent focus" and "an impartial means of reviewing complaints". However, in this case, you might think otherwise: please will you let me know as soon as possible who is appointed to handle this complaint.

Charles Medawar


E-mails – 9 August 2006

Dear Mr Medawar

Thank you for your  further letter of 7 August. Mrs Sue Jones will be considering the detail of your complaints about MHRA delays in responding to the listed FOI requests and the delay in forwarding the report of the internal review undertaken by Mr Fletcher. Mrs Jones  will be in touch with you shortly to outline her timetable for reply

Yours sincerely
Anne Thyer


Dear Ms Thyer,

Thank you for letting me know that Mrs Jones will be dealing with this complaint. But is she not directly answerable to you and, if so, how can she give (and be seen to give) any impartial assessment, when the complaint also involves an oversight by you? Please let me know if I’ve got the pecking order wrong; meanwhile, I remain perplexed and more.

Charles Medawar


Dear Mr Medawar

Mrs Jones is not answerable to me on any aspect of her work. Sue works directly to Shaun Gallagher who is the Director of Policy here in the Agency (Shaun has taken over from Roy Alder who has now retired).  Sue's normal duties do not involve FOI at all apart from her role (with Mr Fletcher - one  of Sue's staff) in handling internal reviews. She is also the Agency's Complaints Officer - which has a wider remit than FOI.  I do not oversee any reports prepared by Sue and would  not  be involved in the process unless I was involved in the original case and needed to provide information to the review or check factual accuracy.

Sorry if my reply caused any confusion.



Dear Ms Thyer,

OK, thanks,


Charles Medawar