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Round-up iconDecisions Round-up: 25 to 29 August 2014

 We published three decisions between 25 and 29 August - details, links and the key messages from these are set out below:

 

Key messages:

  • Make sure you understand the scope of the request
    In Decision 180/2014, the public authority didn't recognise that the requester wanted a response to both sets of questions in his request, which led to a failure to respond to part of the request within 20 working days. Although we accepted that the request was open to misinterpretation, this should have been cleared up when the requester clarified his request and referred to the questions which had been overlooked.

 

  • Be clear about why you want a review, and what it should cover
    When asking an authority to review its handling of your request, be clear about what you are asking it to review. Make sure you have clearly expressed what you are dissatisfied with, and why. In Decision 180/2014, we accepted that the public authority's interpretation of the request for review was reasonable, even though it later became clear that the requester had intended something different. 

 

  • Be prepared to provide detailed reasons when applying exemptions
    In Decision 182/2014, we accepted that disclosure of the names of hotels where Ministers had stayed would make it easier to predict where they would stay in future. However, the authority did not provide any evidence to support their view that this would increase the risk of endangerment, by potentially leading to attacks on Ministers. If you withhold information, make sure you can provide the reasons and arguments to support your decision, and avoid relying on hypothetical speculation.

Decisions issued:

 

  • Decision 180/2014 Mr Michael Roulston and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland
    Mr Roulston asked for information concerning senior officers in the Police, including their salaries and benefits. We ordered the Police to disclose the salaries of Assistant Chief Constables (ACCs), but we found that the Police were entitled to withhold information about ACCs' benefits packages on the basis that this personal data was exempt from disclosure. We also required the Police to provide some information to Mr Roulston to which no exemption had been applied, and found that the Police had failed to respond to his request in time.

 

  • Decision 181/2014 Midlothian Taxi Owners Association and Midlothian Council
    Midlothian Taxi Owners Association (MTOA) asked Midlothian Council (the Council) for a breakdown of its new fees for taxis, including the Taxi Vehicle test and the Taxi Drivers Licence. The Council believed it had already given MTOA all the information it held in relation to the breakdown of costs and an explanation of why the fee had risen. Following our investigation, we accepted this.

 

  • Decision 182/2014 Mr Andrew Picken and the Scottish Ministers
    Mr Picken asked the Scottish Ministers (the Ministers) for expenditure on travel and subsistence cards by Scottish Government ministers, excluding the First Minister, since 2007. The Ministers disclosed some information but withheld the names of relevant hotels. Following an investigation, during which more information was disclosed, we required the Ministers to disclose the hotel names.

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