Decisions Round-up: 22 July to 2 August 2019

The identity of the requester shouldn't be relevant in most FOI requests, but there are one or two exceptions. We consider one of these in this week's round-up.


Learning Points

  • Information is exempt where the requester can reasonably obtain it without asking under FOI 
    This exemption has a different focus from the others, recognising that where information is already available, there's no need to provide a different right of access under FOI.
  • This one of the few exemptions where the identity of the requester can be taken into account. This is because information may be generally accessible to the wider public, but perhaps not to an individual requester (or vice versa). In Decision 108/2019, we found that the requester's circumstances meant that the information they wanted was not otherwise available to them.


Decisions issued:

  • Decision 108/2019 Mr L and the Risk Management Authority (RMA)
    The RMA was asked for risk assessment information, guidelines and for copies of papers. The RMA said that it didn't hold some information, that some was otherwise accessible to the requester and that the remainder was exempt from disclosure.

    We investigated and found that the RMA had partially complied with the FOI Act in responding to the request. While we accepted that the RMA was entitled to withhold two documents on the basis that disclosure would harm the conduct of public affairs, we didn't accept that this applied to information which was publicly available online. We also didn't accept that some information was otherwise accessible to the requester.


  • Decision 109/2019 Mr Y and East Renfrewshire Council
    The Council was asked for information about Braidbar Quarry from March 2018. We investigated and found that the Council did not hold any relevant information.


  • Decision 110/2019 Mr X and Highland Council
    The Council was asked for information relating to a repair at Cromarty Harbour. We found that the Council failed to respond to the request and review request within the required timescales.


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