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Filing cabinet with papers flying outDecisions Round-up: 25 to 29 March 2013

There was one decision issued this week, relating to a request made to the City of Edinburgh Council.

 

Learning points:

  • Searches MUST be adequate and appropriate
    This point has been made before, but it has particular relevance to this week's decision. When identifying information it is essential to ensure that full and appropriate searches are conducted. In Decision 049/2013, the Council repeatedly failed to identify all relevant information, resulting in a gradual "drip feed" of information being released to the requester over an extended investigation period.

 

  • Respond to appeal inquiries promptly and accurately
    Inadequate searches were not the only feature of this case. We also had concerns about the Council's responses to inquiries from our staff, which further delayed the resolution of the case. Problems included the failure to respond to specific questions, delays in responding, and the failure by the Council to take the actions it had told us it would take.

    Both of the issues highlighted above resulted in significant delays, along with substantial inconvenience for the requester, and a disproportionate amount of staff time being spent on the case - for our office and for the Council.

 

Decisions issued:

  • Decision 049/2013 - Ms Helena Wilson and the City of Edinburgh Council
    Ms Wilson's request concerned work undertaken in relation to a statutory repairs notice. The Council withheld some information, and informed Ms Wilson that it did not hold the remainder. During a lengthy investigation, all of the information that had been withheld originally was disclosed to Ms Wilson, while additional documents were also identified and released.

    The Commissioner agreed with the Council that one of the additional documents discovered could be appropriately withheld under the EIR regulation relating to material which is in the course of completion (regulation 10(4)(d)).

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