The complainant has requested information on the number of cases involving the death of a hospital in-patient which the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) had investigated in total, together with the number of such cases that the two named officers had investigated. The LGSCO refused the request for the total figure under section 12 – cost of compliance would exceed the appropriate limit, and the requests for number of cases investigated by the two officers were refused under section 40(2) – personal information. The Commissioner’s decision is that the LGSCO is entitled to refuse the first part of the request under section 12. However the Commissioner is not satisfied that the LGSCO has complied with its duty under section 16 to consider what, if any, advice and assistance it can provide the complainant to enable him to refine his request so that it can be dealt within the appropriate limit. In respect of the requests for the number of cases investigated by each of the named officers, the Commissioner finds that the LGSCO is entitled to refuse these requests under section 40(2). In relation to section 16 of the FOIA, the Commissioner requires the public authority to consider what, if any, advice and assistance it could provide the complainant to allow him to formulate a request which can be answered within the appropriate limit and to inform the complainant of the outcome of that consideration.
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