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Filing cabinet with papers flying outDecisions Round Up: 10 to 14 February 2014

Four decisions were published this week 

 

 

Key messages:

 

  • Always think about what can be released
    Remember that, while documents may contain some exempt information, there will often be other information which is appropriate for release.  As a first step, always ask yourself whether the document can be released with some information redacted (blacked out).  In Decision 017/2014, the authority only released a redacted version once the case had been appealed to the Commissioner.  An earlier release would almost certainly have led to a quicker resolution.

 

  • Be specific in your submissions to the Commissioner
    It is essential that authorities provide specific arguments when responding to the Commissioner’s investigations.  Doing so will help to demonstrate the impact of the disclosure of any withheld information.  In Decision 017/2014, the clear submissions made by the authority supported the claim that substantial prejudice would be likely to occur from disclosure. 

 

 Decisions:

 

  • Decision 015/2014 – Simon Johnson and the Scottish Ministers
    Mr Johnson asked for details of the cost of Team Scotland’s trip to the Ryder Cup.  This decision finds that Ministers failed to respond to Mr Johnson’s request and request for review within the statutory 20 working day timescale.

 

  • Decision 016/2014 – Mr Surender Singh and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland (Police Scotland)
    Mr Singh requested information about cases involving the parental abduction of children.  The information was withheld by Police Scotland on the basis that the information was held for the purpose of investigations (section 34(1)(a)).  Following her investigation, the Commissioner found that the public interest favoured the non-disclosure of the information.

 

  • Decision 017/2014 - Ms Julie Bills and the City of Edinburgh Council
    Ms Bills’ request for a copy of a Resolution Complaint Panel Report was refused by the Council under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations (the EIRs).   Ms Bills appealed to the Commissioner, and the Council subsequently disclosed a version of the report with some information (including the personal data of third parties) redacted or blacked out.  Our investigation found that the Council was entitled to withhold the redacted information.  However, we also found that the information provided to Ms Bills should have been provided at a much earlier stage.

 

  • Decision 018/2014 – Mrs R and Stirling Council
    A decision which finds that the Council failed to respond to both Mrs R’s request and request for review within the statutory timescale.

 

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