12 May 2011
Aberdare Girls’ School has signed a commitment to improve its freedom of information practices following concerns over the school’s handling of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today.
The ICO contacted the school in October 2009 after receiving a complaint about the school’s refusal to disclose information. The information in question related to the legal costs and advice sought over the exclusion of a former pupil who refused to remove a religious bangle. During the ICO’s enquiries the school repeatedly failed to provide timely responses to the Commissioner’s questions. This led to the ICO issuing the school with an Information Notice requiring them to disclose information necessary to the investigation.
The ICO issued a decision notice ordering the school to provide the information to the requester on the 20 December 2010. The ICO has also now served the school with an undertaking to ensure that it continues to demonstrate a commitment to openness and compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.
Assistant Commissioner for Wales, Anne Jones, said:
“This case should serve as a warning to all public authorities that are failing to fulfil their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.
Where justified, we will use the powers available to us to ensure authorities are open and accountable.
I am pleased that Aberdare Girls’ School has signed a commitment to improve its handling of information requests.”
P Scott, Chairman of Aberdare Girls’ School has now signed a formal undertaking to ensure that staff receive adequate training on the requirements of the FOI Act. The school will also provide the Commissioner with timely responses to any future enquiries related to the school’s handling of information requests made under the FOI Act or the Environmental Information Regulations.
A full copy of the undertaking can be viewed here: