Decisions Round-up: 25 to 29 March 2019

This week, we look at just two cases, one where we see good practice by an authority when dealing with a request that has different parts to it, looking at each part in turn and evidencing its responses. We also look at a case where we agreed that disclosure of some information would contravene a family's privacy rights.

Learning points:

  • It's good practice for authorities to consider each part of a request separately
    Responding to detailed, multi-part requests is challenging, and each part should be considered separately. In Decision 048/2019, the authority told the requester that it did not hold information for most parts of the request. In its submissions to us, it was careful to address each part of the request, and to explain why it did not hold information which the requester believed it should hold.
  • When human rights can prohibit disclosure under FOI
    Decision 047/2019 looks at a request for the total figure paid in settlement of a claim against the Council, and whether disclosure of this information would breach the individual family members' rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. We accepted that disclosure would be incompatible with these rights, even though the requester was seeking the total figure and not the amount paid to individual family members, and even though there had been some publicity about the case. This meant that disclosure was prohibited by the Human Rights Act 1998, and, accordingly, by section 26(a) of the FOI Act.

Decisions issued:

  • Decision 047/2019 Mr J and Glasgow City Council
    The Council was asked how much it paid to a family in an out of court settlement following a death and it refused to disclose the amount.

    We found that disclosing the amount paid would contravene the family's privacy rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and that the Council was entitled to withhold it.
  • Decision 048/2019 Mr C and the Risk Management Authority
    Mr C asked the Risk Management Authority (RMA) about its policy, practice and guidance regarding individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. RMA told him that it did not hold information covered by most parts of his request. It also refused to comply with one part of the request as the cost of providing the information was estimated at more than £600.

    After investigation, we accepted RMA's position.

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