Decisions Round-up: 21 to 25 November 2016

While the identity of the requester isn't relevant when considering most FOI exemptions, this week's round-up features a case where the requester's circumstances were crucial…


Learning points:


  • Think about the requester before applying the "otherwise accessible" exemption
    Section 25 of the FOI Act allows authorities to refuse to disclose information if the requester can access the information without making a FOI request for it. Decision 246/2016 is a reminder that authorities need to take account of the individual circumstances of the requester when deciding whether information is accessible - if the requester can't access it, it won't be accessible.


  • Respond on time - again!
    Another two decisions this week deal with authorities failing to comply with the timescales in the FOI Act. If you work for an authority that is struggling to meet timescales, why not use our self-assessment module "Responding on time" to help?


 Decisions issued:


  • Decision 246/2016 The Applicant and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMIPS)
    HMIPS was asked for the five most recent annual reports and inspection reports for each Scottish prison. HMIPS withheld the reports, arguing that they could be accessed from the prison library. The Commissioner concluded that, in this case, the applicant could not reasonably obtain the information from the prison library. She required HMIPS to disclose the reports.


  • Decision 247/2016 Peter Cherbi and the Scottish Ministers
    The Ministers were asked about the stepping down of the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, and the Solicitor General, Lesley Thomson. We found that the Ministers failed to respond to the request and the request for review within the timescales in the FOI Act.


  • Decision 248/2016 Mr A Milligan and Glasgow City Council
    Mr Milligan asked the Council to provide evidence of the location of the nearest parking ticket machine in relation to a parked car which had received a Penalty Charge Notice. We found that the Council failed to comply with the request for review within the FOI timescale.

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