26th August 2015
As I didn't a clue what the Parliamentary Under-Secretary was talking about in his response to my questions I asked for clarification…
From: Stop Junk Mail
To: Clive Lewis MP
Subject: Re: (Case Ref: ZA0208)
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:35:55 +0100
Dear Mr Lewis,
I hope you don't mind me asking for further assistance as I don't quite understand the response. In my letter I asked six specific questions about the voluntary agreement with the junk mail industry, none of which Mr Stewart seems to have answered. After thanking me for the "interesting points and questions" Mr Stewart goes on to explain that Government feels that self-regulation by the junk mail industry is working quite well ("We do not consider there to be a clear market failure in this area and believe that business is best placed to act."). I genuinely don't understand how that's related to any of the questions I asked - none of my questions were about whether or not Government should end self-regulation by junk mailers.
I'm thinking that perhaps Mr Stewart's answer is trying to say that the current voluntary agreement with the junk mail industry will not be renewed. The agreement dated 1 November 2011 talked about what would be achieved by 2014, and to the best of my knowledge the agreement hasn't been renewed. The statement that "Defra is taking no further proactive action in this area" perhaps indicates that there will be no further responsibility deals with the DMA. I'd be most grateful if Mr Stewart could clarify if that's the case indeed.
Either way, I feel the six interesting questions I raised deserve an answer. The questions all concern the current voluntary agreement; they're relevant even if the current agreement isn't going to be renewed.
As a minor point, Mr Stewart ends his letter by noting that my repeated requests for an internal review of my Freedom of Information request dated 2 April 2015 had now been acknowledged. At the time of writing this wasn't the case - Mr Stewart's letter is dated 11 August while I received an acknowledgement (via e-mail) on 14 August. Still, I'd like to thank Mr Stewart for asking Defra's Information Rights team to acknowledge my e-mail; I don't think I would have received a response without his intervention. However, I'd also like to note that Defra's reluctance to communicate with me has since reoccurred. On 15 August I asked the person who will be dealing with the review if he agreed that the matter should be escalated to the ICO, given that the review should have been completed by the time I received the acknowledgement e-mail. Ironically, I'm still waiting for a response to that e-mail.
Are you able to forward this e-mail to Mr Stewart?