Decisions Round-up: 31 March to 4 April 2014

 We published four decisions this week


Key messages:


  • A third party’s personal data will not usually be released without sufficient legitimate reasons
    As highlighted in Decision 073/2014, when requesting the personal data of individuals, it helps if you can provide reasons why the information should be released. Consider whether you really need an individual’s personal data to progress matters. In this particular case, other information accessible to the requester meant his legitimate interests were met without the need for the additional personal data.     


  • Consider carefully whether an exemption actually applies
    We see many cases where information was initially withheld, but is disclosed during the investigation. In Decision 075/2014, the authority decided to withdraw its reliance on the exemption it had used and the information was made available to the requester.


  • Make sure that responses contain all appropriate rights
    In Decision 075/2014, the authority failed to notify the requester of his right under the Act to appeal to the Court of Session on a point of law following the issue of a decision by the Commissioner.


Decisions issued:


  • Decision 072/2014 – Mr I and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
    Mr I requested information about first aid training. The SPS provided some information and, following a review, informed the requester that they held no further information. We found that the SPS had provided all relevant information to Mr I, whilst at the same time providing him with appropriate advice and assistance.


  • Decision 073/2014 – Mr Derek Cooney and the Scottish Court Service (SCS)
    Mr Cooney wanted to know the number and identity of people who had been granted permission to raise actions in terms of section 1 of the Vexatious Actions (Scotland) Act 1898. The SCS withheld the identity of individuals on the grounds that its release would breach data protection law. We agreed with this approach.      


  • Decision 074/2014 – Mrs Lesley Don and East Dunbartonshire Council
    A technical decision where we found that the Council failed to respond to Mrs Don’s information request and request for review within 20 working days.


  • Decision 075/2014 – Mr W and the Scottish Criminal cases Review Commission (SCCRC)
    Mr W asked the SCCRC for information about legal fees and expenses relating to two judicial reviews. The SCCRC provided some information, but withheld other relevant information on the grounds that it was commercially sensitive (section 33(1)(b) of the Act). During the investigation, the SCCRC was unable to show why disclosure of the information would cause substantial harm to the interests of the relevant parties involved. We found that the SCCRC had not been entitled to withhold the information under this exemption.    

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