The complainant requested from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) various information relating to its operations. The MHCLG refused to comply with the request under section 14(1) of the FOIA because it considered that the request was vexatious.
The Commissioner’s decision is that the MHCLG was entitled to rely on section 14(1) to refuse to comply with the request.
The Commissioner does not require the MHCLG to take any steps.
The complainant has requested information on the costs to the ICO of the provision of legal services by outside bodies. The ICO has withheld the information it holds under section 40(2) (personal data) and 43 of the FOIA (commercial interests) and considers the public interest favours maintaining the section 43 exemption. Regarding section 43, the complainant considers that there is greater public interest in releasing the information he has requested, than in withholding it. The Commissioner’s decision is as follows: The withheld information engages the exemption under section 43(2) of the FOIA and, in line with section 2(2)(b), the public interest favours withholding the requested information under this exemption. The ICO breached section 17(1) as it did not refuse the request within the required timescale of 20 working days. The Commissioner does not require the ICO to take any remedial steps.
The complainant has requested information relating to named individuals he believes attended the University of Westminster (“the University”). Subject to section 40(5B)(a)(i) of the FOIA, the University neither confirmed nor denied whether it held the requested information, as to do so would disclose the personal data of third parties.
The Commissioner’s decision is that the University of Westminster has correctly withheld the information in reliance of the exemption at section 40(5B)(a)(i) of the FOIA.
The Commissioner does not require the public authority to take any further steps.
The complainant has requested details of complaints received by the Question Time production team. The BBC explained the information was covered by the derogation and excluded from FOIA. The Commissioner’s decision is that this information was held by the BBC for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature’ and did not fall inside FOIA. She therefore upholds the BBC’s position and requires no remedial steps to be taken in this case.
The complainant has requested information relating to a building dispute which occurred between a school and a building company in 2015. The council refused to disclose some information on the basis that section 40(2) of the Act applied (personal data), section 32 (court records) and section 42 (legal professional privilege). During the course of the Commissioner’s investigation the council also applied section 41 in place of its application of section 32. The Commissioner’s decision is that the council was correct to apply section 40(2), section 41, and section 42 to withhold information. She has also decided that on a balance of probabilities no further information is held by the council. She has, however, decided that the council did not comply with section 10(1) of the Act. The Commissioner does not require the council to take any steps.