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Decisions Round-up: 23 to 27 July 2018

In responding to a request, an authority will decide what information to disclose or withhold. If information has been redacted from a document, it's important to make it clear which redactions are for information withheld under an exemption/exception and which redactions are for information not covered by the request. We also look at one authority that got tangled up after failing to respond to an initial information request, and responded to the review request as if it were the initial information request.

Learning points:

 

  • Information withheld or out of scope? Make it clear.
    In Decision 111/2018, we found that the authority was correct to withhold some information, but had failed to show the requester which parts of the redacted information were withheld under an exception, and which simply fell outside the scope of the request. It's important to help requesters understand this, and we required the authority to put it right.

 

  • Authorities: Don't get request and review mixed up
    In Decision 113/2018, the authority failed to respond to the initial information request. After receiving a request for review, it responded to the initial request. Authorities should be clear that, in such circumstances, they must address the request for review, not the initial request.

 

Decisions issued:

 

  • Decision 110/2018 Mr M and the Scottish Police Authority
    The SPA was asked for information relating to draft minutes. We found that the SPA failed to respond to Mr M's request and request for review within the required timescales. We required the SPA to respond to Mr M's review request.

 

  • Decision 111/2018 Mrs Y and the Scottish Housing Regulator (the SHR)
    Mrs Y asked about two heating renewal projects in Glasgow. The SHR disclosed some information, but withheld some personal data.

    After investigation, we were satisfied that the SHR had identified all information covered by the request. However, we found that it was wrong to withhold some information. We also found that the SHR hadn't made it clear, when redacting documents, what information was withheld and what was not covered by the request. We required it to disclose the information that was wrongly withheld, with a schedule showing what information was outside the scope of the request.

 

  • Decision 112/2018 X and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland
    Police Scotland were asked to disclose legal advice given to the Scottish Police Authority about police powers to close roads or restrict traffic at pre-planned events. Police Scotland withheld the information.

    After investigation, we agreed that the legal advice was exempt from disclosure because it was information which was subject to legal professional privilege.

 

  • Decision 113/2018 Mr Brian Gourlay and West Dunbartonshire Council
    The Council was asked for information which would corroborate its stance on a matter relating to the requester. The Council found the request to be vexatious. Taking into account the history of the requester's dealings with the Council, we agreed that the request was vexatious. We also found that the Council had failed to respond to the initial request within the required timescale.

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