The Commissioner’s decision is that DCMS misapplied section 36(2)(b)(ii)(prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) to some of the withheld information, this information being instead exempt under section 35(1)(a)(formulation or development of government policy). While the Commissioner is satisfied that all of the withheld information is exempt under section 35(1)(a), she considers that the public interest favours disclosure of some of the information.
In addition, as DCMS responded to the request after 20 working days and failed to confirm that some information was held under 12 months after the request, they have breached section 10 and 1 of the FOIA.
The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation.
Disclose the information contained in Annex A
The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.
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