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Decisions Round-up: 27 - 31 August 2018Round-up icon

This week we saw an unfortunate rise in cases involving a failure to respond by authorities. There are clear steps authorities can take to avoid these appeals - find out how below…

Learning points:

 

  • Exemptions: Do they apply to all the withheld information?
    In Decision 128/2018, we found the authority was entitled to withhold most of the information it had applied exemptions to. However, during our investigation, the authority realised it had wrongly withheld some information and then disclosed it. While it's good that this was recognised, the late disclosure meant a failure recorded against the authority.

 

  • Authorities: It's a legal duty to respond on time
    Authorities provide many reasons why they fail to respond on time to requests and requests for review: complexity or volume of requests, staff shortages, annual leave etc. The number of "failure to respond" decisions this week was particularly high. Authorities that have repeated problems in this area should take urgent steps to improve response rates. Our self-assessment module on responding on time is free to use and helps authorities resolve issues. Where we see such failures recur, we can take action under our Intervention Procedures.

Decisions issued:

 

  • Decision 128/2018 Peter Cherbi and the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB)
    SLAB was asked about a court case that it had been involved in. It disclosed some information, but withheld some under a number of exemptions. During our investigation, SLAB disclosed some of the withheld information.

    We accepted that, for the most part, SLAB was entitled to withhold the information, but had wrongly withheld information which was disclosed during the investigation.

 

  • Decision 129/2018 Mr T and the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Scotland
    Mr T asked how many support staff of the Scottish Police Authority and the Police Service of Scotland are working beyond normal retirement age and are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme. We found that Police Scotland failed to respond to the request and request for review within the FOI timescales.

 

  • Decision 130/2018 Ms D and Dumfries and Galloway Council
    Ms D asked about the repair history and road maintenance policy for the Old Military Road. We found that the Council failed to respond to her request and request for review within the 20-working day timescales.

 

  • Decision 131/2018 Mr B and Highland Council
    Highland Council was asked about provision of parking bays for disabled people and residents. We found that the Council failed to respond to Mr B's request and request for review within the FOI timescales.

 

  • Decision 132/2018 Mr D and Dundee City Council
    Mr D asked about the demolition and disposal of the former Kingspark School. We found that the Council failed to respond to his request and request for review within the timescales, and required the Council to carry out a review.

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