Decisions Round-up: 8 to 12 December 2014


We published three decisions between 8 and 12 December – details, links and learning points below.

This is the last Decisions Round-up of 2014. The next Round-up will be issued on 9 January 2015.

Key messages:

  • Make sure all staff know what to do with FOI requests and requests for review

    Decision 251/2014 concerns a case where a request for review was not passed to the relevant part of the Health Board, and no response was sent.

  • Make sure your request for review is fully explained

    You must give reasons why you’re not happy with the reply you received.  It helps if you explain these reasons, to make sure the authority understands why you are asking for a review (also Decision 251/2014).

  • Public authorities can give different responses to a request for the same information

In Decision 252/2014, the requester was unhappy that one public authority refused to give out information that another authority had provided.  The FOI Act will never prevent an authority from giving out information; however, there may be particular reasons why one authority feels able to do so while another has reasons to withhold the information.  In this case, the information related to complaints being investigated by one of the authorities.  We accepted that it was reasonable for the other authority to withhold the information until the outcome of the complaint investigation was known.

Decisions issued:

  • Decision 250/2014 Tom Minogue and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland (Police Scotland)

    Mr Minogue asked the Police for copies of all correspondence held relating to the recovery of a gold wreath.  The ownership of the gold wreath was the subject of legal action. The Police believed they should withhold the information requested by Mr Minogue, in case it was required for any other criminal or civil matters in the future.  After investigating, we accepted that the information was exempt from disclosure.

  • Decision 251/2014 James King and Highland Health Board

    Mr King asked for the audit trail of a complaint about the care given to a patient.  We found that the Health Board had failed to respond in time to his request for review.

  • Decision 252/2014 Alison Mackenzie and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland (Police Scotland)

Ms Mackenzie asked for correspondence with the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) relating to three complaints.   The Police initially withheld the information, on the grounds that disclosure could affect PIRC’s ongoing investigation. PIRC disclosed the same information.  

At the time the Police responded to Ms Mackenzie’s request and requirement for review, PIRC’s investigation of the complaints was ongoing, and it was appropriate for the Police to conclude that disclosure could prejudice the investigation. We decided that the Police had been entitled to withhold the information at that time.

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