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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50063907
  • Date: 25 August 2005
  • Public Authority: Hertfordshire County Council
  • Summary: The complainant had requested information relating to the care of his late mother by the Council Social Services Department. The Council issued a Refusal Notice in which it stated that it required an extension to the usual 20 working day period allowed for response in order to consider the public interest in confirming or denying that it held the information requested. As a result of the Commissioner's intervention, the Council belatedly issued a second Refusal Notice in which it stated that the information was exempt by virtue of section 21 of the Act because it had previously been provided to the complainant and was thus reasonably available to the applicant by other means. The Commissioner found that the first Refusal Notice was inadequate. He did not accept that further time was needed to consider the public interest or that there should have been any question about whether the Council was prepared to confirm or deny the holding of the information requested. Moreover the Notice failed to provide a target date for response. However, the Commissioner considered that the second Refusal Notice, albeit issued after considerable delay met the requirements of the Act. He also upheld the Council's reliance on s.21 after being provided with copies of documents that had previously been supplied to the complainant. The Information Tribunal has ruled on this decision and has dismissed this appeal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: dn.pdf