THE Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has “chased up” the Home Office for a second time over a delayed freedom of information (FOI) request from The National.

Back in March, we asked how many asylum seekers had been removed from the UK between February 2018 and last February because of “human error”.

Our request followed the case of Isabella Katjiparatijivi, a 29-year-old from Namibia, who had sought asylum here fearing that she faced persecution in her home country because of her sexuality.

The Home Office initially claimed it had not issued removal orders and only after accusing us of getting it wrong, said the instructions had been issued through “human error”.

However, our request was refused when the department said it would cost more than the limit of £600 for each FOI application.

They said a “conservative” time estimate to comply with the request was 175 hours on the basis that more than 3500 case files would have to be manually examined, taking a minimum of three minutes each.

We disputed that a manual search would be required and said there should be a digital solution to extract the information within the prescribed time and cost limit, after we received Scottish immigration data from the Home Office which referenced almost 14,000 files.

The department has now ignored two ICO communications, and a senior case officer told us by email: “I have not yet received a substantive response from the Home Office. I have chased them ... and as soon as I have received one and had an opportunity to consider it, I will contact you again.”