Decisions Round-up: 27 to 31 October 2014

 Three decisions were published this week, all relating to failures by authorities to respond. 


Key message:

  • Responding within 20 working days is a statutory requirement
    Disappointingly, all of the decisions we published this week involve failures by public authorities to respond to requests or to carry out reviews within the timescales set down by FOI law. The Commissioner's Special Report on the impact of authorities failing to respond to FOI requests highlights the problems that arise when authorities fail to respond to FOI requests on time. We will continue to monitor and report on these types of cases over the coming year. Decision 225/2014 looks at a case where the authority failed to respond in time because it simply misspelled an email address.

Decisions issued:

  • Decision 224/2014 Mr P and Scottish Borders Council
    Mr P asked the Council about the penalty paid by construction firms for the late completion of a new school. Although the Council replied to Mr P's request, it failed to respond to his request for review within the timescales set down by the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations (the EIRs).


  • Decision 225/2014 Ross Dougal Fish Merchants Ltd and Scottish Borders Council
    Here, the Council thought it had sent a response to the Fish Merchants. The email address was misspelled, meaning that the Fish Merchants didn't receive the response. The Fish Merchants sought a review, but this time the Council failed to respond.

    In both this and the Mr P case, the Council carried out a review once we became involved. The Council is identifying steps to improve the overall efficiency of its review procedures.


  • Decision 226/2014 Mr A and Lothian Health Board
    Mr A wanted information about risk assessments for healthcare staff at a particular prison. The Health Board failed to respond to Mr A's request for review within the timescales set down by the FOI Act. It did, however, issue a response once Mr A had referred the case to us.

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