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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50081543
  • Date: 29 November 2006
  • Public Authority: Department for Transport
  • Summary: The complainant requested copies of the invitation to tender that had been issued to four bidders for a major rail franchise. The public authority initially withheld the information under section 43 on the basis that its disclosure would prejudice its commercial interests and under section 22, as it intended to publish the information at a later date. At internal review the public authority also applied section 36 – information likely to prejudice the conduct of public affairs. The public authority did release this information to the complainant once the franchise had been awarded and the public authority perceived it was no longer commercially sensitive. The Commissioner found that section 43 did not apply and that although section 36 was engaged, the exemption could not be maintained in the public interest. In relation to section 22 the Commissioner found that there was no settled intention to publish the information at the time the request was received and so the exemption could not be relied on. In light of this the Commissioner found the public authority had failed to provide the information within the 20 working days allowed by the Act. This constitutes a breach of section 10.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]