The complainant has requested information from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (‘the council’) regarding allegations made into the conduct of a councillor and the investigation and report that followed. The request included interview statements, correspondence and communications between named and unnamed individuals. Although the council provided some information, the majority of it was withheld under section 12 (cost of compliance), section 30 (investigations and proceedings), section 40(2) (third party personal data), section 41 (information provided in confidence) and section 42 (legal professional privilege). The Commissioner’s decision is that the council was entitled to rely on sections 30(1)(a)(i) and (ii) and 30(1)(b), 40(2) and 42(1) to withhold this information. However, the Commissioner finds that the council has breached section 10(1) of the Act in that it failed to provide a valid response to the request within the statutory time frame of 20 working days. She also finds that the council did not correctly apply section 12(1) to part of the information, though the passage of time means that the Commissioner is unable to order any steps in respect of this. With regard to its application of section 12(1) the council also breached section 16 of the FOIA by failing to provide adequate advice and assistance to aid the complainant. The Commissioner does not require the council to take any steps.
Powered by WPeMatico