Internal correspondence relating to FOI request reference FOI2012-A081

Request

I would like to request - correspondence relating to my request [FOI2012-A081] and its denial - to be treated as an FOI request and therefore formally ask for full copies of all internal correspondence in electronic and other form relating to this matter to be released under the Freedom Of Information Act


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

In relation to your request, we have considered the public interest arguments surrounding the release of any correspondence between IPSA’s Freedom of Information team and its qualified person. 

Our qualified person, Sir Neil Butterfield, as designated by the Lord Chancellor under s.36(5)(o)(iii) of the FOIA, undertook a public interest test to assess whether the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure in relation to the s.36 exemption.

Sir Neil has conducted the public interest balancing exercise in relation to the engagement of exemptions in the Act at s.36(2)(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and s.36(2)(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation). In doing so, Sir Neil considered the correspondence requested and the arguments for and against applying s.36.

In balancing the arguments, Sir Neil has commented as follows:

“In considering whether the information requested should be exempt from disclosure under Section 36 of the Act as being prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs I have reminded myself that there is a presumption that the information should be released on request. I have further given full weight to the public interest in understanding how decisions are reached within a public authority. However, release of some items requested would be likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice by the qualified person when considering the public interest arguments as to whether Section 36 was engaged. Such release would further be likely to inhibit the free and frank exchange of views between the qualified person and the Freedom of Information team at IPSA in the course of consideration of the request.”

Sir Neil has, therefore, in his capacity as the Qualified Person, applied s.36(2)(b) of the Act to exempt the requested information which specifically relates to correspondence between IPSA and its qualified person from being released.

Please find attached all other correspondence requested (Annexes 1-18) [.ZIP].  You will see that all other correspondence requested is released under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. 

The names of junior members of staff and third parties have not been disclosed as this information is personal data.  Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt if one of the conditions set out in Section 40(3) is satisfied.  Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential.  Please see www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/40 for further information on this exemption.

Ref:
FOI2012-A131
Disclosure:
February 15, 2013
Categories:
CORRESPONDENCE
Exemptions Applied:
Section 36