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Round-up iconDecisions Round-up: 23 to 27 February 2015

 

We've published two decisions this week – details, links and learning points below.

         Key messages:

  • If you can’t disclose, redact.But if you can’t redact …
    If you can’t disclose information (because it’s exempt from disclosure), it’s good practice to redact the exempt information from a document rather than withholding the whole thing.  However, there are times when that can’t be done.  Decision 024/2015 looks at a case where it wasn’t possible to separate the information the requester wanted from other information.  This meant that all of the documents had to be withheld.
  • Check what information you hold before responding
    Unfortunately, this is a common theme for our Decisions Round-up.  A lot of the problems faced by authorities could be resolved by checking what information they hold before responding to a request.  In Decision 025/2015, Police Scotland told the requester they’d received an email about an event she was organising.  She then made a request for the email.  During the investigation, it turned out that no email existed.

    As mentioned before, you can improve your practice with Module 2 of the Commissioner’s Self-Assessment Modules: Searching for, locating and retrieving information.

    Decisions issued:

  • Decision 025/2015 Jeanette Findlay and Police Scotland
    Police Scotland told Ms Findlay that they had received an email about an event that she had organised.  She then asked for that email under FOI.  The Police, arguing that FOI gave a right to information and not documents, gave Ms Findlay some information about how they had known about the event.  During the investigation, it became clear that no email actually existed.
  • Decision 024/2015 Marianne Rugard Jarvstrat and Argyll and Bute Council
    Ms Jarvstrat made an offer to buy a property the Council was selling.  Her offer was unsuccessful.  She made a complaint about the way the bid had been handled, and then asked the Council various questions including how her bid had been assessed.  We found that the Council was entitled to refuse to disclose the information.  The property was still up for sale and we were satisfied that disclosing the information would substantially prejudice the commercial interests of the Council. 

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