John Donovan of the website Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com
LETTER FROM SHELL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED TO JOHN DONOVAN
Shell International Limited
London SE 1 7NA
Tel +44 (0120 7934 1234
Fax +44 (0120 7934 5153
16 November 2009
Our ref: LC-SFL
Dear Mr Donovan
Data Protection Act 1998 – Subject Access Request
We acknowledge receipt of your emails dated 10 and 15 November 2009 (copies attached).
We are currently working to comply with your current Subject Access Request (“SAR”) submitted on 4 September 2009, within the prescribed period, which is 40 days beginning with the day on which we received your fee, as per sections 7(8) and 7(10) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (“Act”). Bearing in mind that your cheque was received by Shell on 22 October 2009, we will respond to your SAR not later than 1 December 2009.
As you may be aware, section 8(6) of the Act provides that only the data held by Shell at the time when the SAR is received must be communicated to you. Our response to your SAR will therefore not include any additional documents and information produced after such date. This is in accordance with the requirements set out in the Act; in addition, to accommodate your additional request now would involve significant disruption to our efforts to comply with your SAR within the prescribed period. We therefore cannot accommodate your additional request.
Should you wish to submit a further SAR, please find enclosed the relevant form together with an Information Leaflet. However, please note that when considering your application we will be looking at whether, in the light of Section 8(3) of the Act, we are obliged to comply with a further SAR submitted by you. As you may be aware, a data controller who has complied with a SAR request is not obliged to respond to a subsequent identical or similar request unless a reasonable interval has elapsed between compliance with the previous request and the making of the new request.
Shell International Limited
Company Secretarial Department
EMAIL REPLY FROM JOHN DONOVAN DATED 18 NOVEMBER 2009
Copied to Michiel Brandjes and Richard Wiseman
Dear Mr White
Thank you for your letter dated 16 November 2009.
My email dated 10 November requested any relevant documents/notes/instructions relating to:
1. Alleged intimidation by Shell security guards at Shell Centre carried out with the endorsement and encouragement of Richard Wiseman, the Chief Ethics Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
2. Shell statements about me issued recently to the Guardian newspaper and the BBC.
You claim that seeking this information would involve significant disruption which could hamper efforts to meet the SAR deadline. This conjures up an image of a team beavering away day and night gathering the necessary information. I somehow doubt this is the case. Since there has been no request for extra time to deal with what would amount to nothing more taxing than a few minutes work to avoid a further SAR application, with all that apparently entails, it leaves a suspicion that Shell has something to hide and is trying to delay disclosure. This impression is reinforced by the threat that you will not respond to a further SAR application from me until an undefined “reasonable interval”. Is this months or years?
My email of 15 November relates solely to any relevant Shell correspondence concerning the supposedly decontaminated land at Earley that Shell sold to a property developer for a housing estate. Any such correspondence took place before my SAR application. Consequently there is no possible excuse for it not being supplied. I know that it exists.
You say that you won’t supply any additional documents and information produced after 22 October (whatever that means) but include with your letter two such items, thus acting in apparent breach of the rule you have just quoted.
I would like to make a constructive suggestion which would avoid the need for any further SAR application to Shell by me in the foreseeable future. The last gap was nearly three years and dependent on your response, I have no plans to shorten that interval. I am quite relaxed about waiting until say, 15 December for Shell to supply all of the requested information.
The ball is in your court.