Decision Round-up: 28 April to 2 May 2014

 We published three decisions last week


 Key messages:


  • Communication with requesters can help prevent appeals …
    If you don’t hold information, it’s good practice to explain why you don’t hold it.  In Decision 089/2014, the requester thought that the authority was required to carry out a particular impact assessment.  If the authority had explained to the requester at an earlier stage that it wasn’t required to do this, this might have satisfied the requester and thus avoided the further work for the authority of the review and appeal to the Commissioner.


  • … but don’t forget to dot those i’s and cross those t’s
    While it’s obviously good practice to help requesters, don’t forget you still need to comply with all of the technical requirements in the Act.  In Decision 090/2014, the public authority helped the requester by locating information for him online, but failed to tell him that it didn’t hold any information falling within the scope of his request. 


Decisions issued:

  • Decision 088/2014 - Chris Musson and Moray Council
    A technical decision, where we found that the Council failed to carry out a review within 20 working days.  The decision requires the Council to carry out a review.


  • Decision 089/2014 - Susan Crosthwaite and the Scottish Ministers
    Ms Crosthwaite asked the Ministers for a copy of an environmental impact assessment carried out for a wind farm planning application.  She understood that the Ministers were required to carry out the assessment and as such that the document would exist.  Following our investigation, we were satisfied that the Ministers did not hold the impact assessment.


  • Decision 090/2014 - Mr X and Forth Valley NHS Board
    This case involved a request about doctor/patient consultations.  Mr X wanted information which came from NHS UK and not from Forth Valley NHS Board.  The Board found some information online for Mr X, but did not itself hold any relevant information.  The Board clearly tried to help Mr X by finding information for him, but because it forgot to tell Mr X that it didn’t hold the information in its own right, it failed to comply with the Act. 


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