The complainant has requested information from the Home Office relating to the e-mail inboxes of four specified individuals. The Home Office refused to disclose the requested information, citing section 12(1) of the FOIA as a basis for non-disclosure. The Commissioner’s decision is that the Home Office has correctly applied section 12(1) of the FOIA to the requested information. The Commissioner however finds the public authority in breach of section 16(1) FOIA (duty to advise and assist applicants). The Commissioner requires the Home Office to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation:- • the Home Office should consider whether it can comply with a narrower version of the request e.g. searching the inbox of one of the individuals for e-mails encompassing a shorter time period and attempting to filter out standard terms which would be included in emails such as press briefings. It should discuss this with the complainant further to its duty under section 16(1) of the FOIA. 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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