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Round-up iconDecisions Round-up: 18 to 22 August 2014

 We published four decisions between 18 and 22 August - details, links and learning points are below.

 

Key messages:

  • For our investigation, we need full submissions and to see the withheld information
    Authorities must support their reliance on an exemption or exception with full submissions and any relevant supporting evidence. Only in exceptional cases will the Commissioner be able to make a decision without looking at the withheld information. In Decision 176/2014, the authority didn't provide all the information we needed until the investigation had been under way for some time.

 

  • The timing of the request may be crucial
    Each decision is based on the circumstances of that particular case at the point the public authority notified the applicant of the outcome of its review. If there is an ongoing investigation by another regulator, there might be greater harm in disclosing information during that investigation than there would be after it had concluded. In Decision 176/2014, we found that substantial prejudice to the UK's international relations was likely if the authority was required to disclose information which was evidence in a "live" European Commission case.

 

  • Check you've identified all the information the requester is looking for
    Authorities should make sure they've carried out adequate searches for everything they hold which might be covered by a particular request. In Decision 178/2014, the authority didn't identify (and give the applicant) everything it should have.

 

 

Decisions issued:

 

  • Decision 176/2014 Mr L and Glasgow City Council
    Mr L asked for a geotechnical report on Celtic Football Club's Westthorn training ground. The report was withheld on the basis that disclosure would, or would be likely to, substantially prejudice international relations. We agreed that the report should be withheld.

 

  • Decision 177/2014 Mr Tom Gordon and the Scottish Ministers
    Mr Gordon asked for information about arrangements for an interview with the First Minister which appeared in the June 2014 edition of GQ magazine. We found that the Ministers failed to respond to the request and the requirement for review within the timescales allowed by the FOI Act.

 

  • Decision 178/2014 Ms E and West Lothian Council
    Ms E asked about addresses the Council had marked on its system as being potentially violent and about its policy if a member of staff has to attend these addresses. The Council provided some information. During the investigation, the Council located more information falling within the scope of Ms E's request. We found that the Council should have disclosed this to Ms E in response to her request. As the Council provided this information to Ms E during the investigation, we did not require it to take any action. We also found that the Council was late in responding to Ms E's requirement for review.

 

  • Decision 179/2014 Mr Tom Gordon and the Scottish Ministers
    Mr Gordon asked for the recordings and transcripts of an interview given by the First Minister to Alastair Campbell. We found that the Ministers failed to respond to the request and the requirement for review within the timescales allowed by the FOI Act.

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