Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Decision notices

The first decision notices produced by the Information Commissioner have been published on the IC website (not before time!). This is the first chance practitioners have to see the emerging case law on the Freedom of Information Act, learn about some of the early mistakes made and users have the chance to see how their complaints will be handled.

For newcomers to the Act Read section 50 to learn more about the powers of the Information Commissioner

The notices served are to a mix of authorities, mostly in local government, only the Inland Revenue is the authority connected with central government. If is difficult to say whether the lack of central government cases is an indication - but the memorandum set up between the IC and Central Government may be leading to a less public "pre-decision notice" system building up. It may also be that the Clearing house for Central Government is heading off some problems before they emerge.

The cases that have been upheld mainly relate to S17 notices that do not clearly explain to applicants or breaches of the 20 day limit with no interim communication.

The IC website is rather hard to follow and the presentation of the notices could be easier. You also only see a summary and have to email to see the full notice - this seems strange - why not publish the full copy?

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