The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has ordered Liverpool City Council to release documents relating to managed zones for prostitution in Liverpool under the Freedom of Information Act.
Although the council disclosed some information in response to a request it refused to release all documents on the grounds that it may inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and would be likely to prejudice commercial interests.
In his decision the Commissioner ruled that the Council had incorrectly applied the exemptions and failed to properly consider the public interest test.
The Commissioner concluded that the public interest in disclosing the information outweighed the public interest in withholding it. The Council now has 35 days to disclose the information to the complainant.
The Commissioner found the Council’s response to his enquiries was ‘seriously deficient’ throughout the course of his investigation. He has now referred the case to the ICO’s Good Practice and Enforcement team. In December Liverpool City Council was prosecuted and fined for failing to comply with an Information Notice served by the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act.
To read the Commissioner’s full decision notice on this case, please go to www.ico.gov.uk
Monday, January 22, 2007
ICO: Liverpool Council ordered to release prostitution documents