Friday, November 19, 2004

DFeS guidance for schools conflicts with IC guidance

Someone on an email discussion list has pointed out: From the Teachernet website, in DFeS guidance for schools the following appears in Annex C as a factor agains disclosure:

"Is disclosure likely to distort public reporting or be misleading because
it is incomplete? "

However IC Awareness note No 3 states that

"It may sometimes be argued that information is too complicated for the
applicant to understand or that disclosure might misinform the public
because it is incomplete (for instance because the information consists of
a policy recommendation that was not followed). Neither of these are good
grounds for refusal of a request. If an authority fears that information
disclosed may be misleading, the solution is to give some explanation or
to put the information into a proper context rather than to withhold it."

I am very on which on the side of the IC guidance- the DFES guidance would appear not to follow the premise of a public interest test - any information could be witheld with the possible worry of misreporting, the presumption should be to disclose and only withold when the public interest in withholding cleary outweights the PI in disclosing.

The issue of conlicting guidance is important, indeed speaking at the Select Committee last month a DCA offical admitted that all guidance was not tracked. Surely there is need for single website briging this togther and a system of monitoring?

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