28 March 08
The Information Commissioner has ordered East Riding of Yorkshire Council (East Riding) to release details of its contract with an independent waste management company, Waste Recycling Groups (WRG).
East Riding refused a request to disclose the contract with the waste management contractor. The council argued that the contract was subject to commercial confidentiality. It claimed that releasing the contract would amount to a breach of confidence which would be detrimental to the economic interests of the council and the contractor.
In his decision, the Information Commissioner highlighted the public interest in waste management and how it can affect all parts of a community to a degree. The Information Commissioner ruled that the public interest in disclosing the following information, in this particular case, overrides the public interest in maintaining the commercial confidentiality exemption:
• All information relating to pricing contained within the contract other than that highlighting specific costs or profits of the contractor
• All operational information contained within the contract other than the names of preferred subcontractors
• All information about emission levels or likely emission levels held within the contract
• All planning and development information held within the contract, other than that containing systems and technical information falling within the scope of the exception
In his decision, the Information Commissioner highlights that the decision to disclose pricing information in this situation does not equate to a decision to disclose this sort of information in all cases.
Read the decision notice (pdf)