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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50084358
  • Date: 19 February 2008
  • Public Authority: Cabinet Office
  • Summary: The complainant appealed to the Commissioner about the Cabinet Office’s refusal to supply him with the second part of a report produced for the Prime Minister by Lord Birt on the subject of crime. The Cabinet Office stated that the information was exempt from disclosure under sections 35 (Formulation of government policy) and to the extent that the information is not exempt by virtue of section 35, section 36 (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs). However, it confirmed that much of the withheld information is in the public domain as the information is derived from statistics published by the Home Office. The Commissioner has decided that all the information (aside from the statistical information contained within the report) is exempt under section 35, but that the balance of the public interest test favours the disclosure of this information. This led the Commissioner to further decide that section 36 cannot be engaged in respect of this information. This is because section 36(1)(a) provides that section 36 can only apply to information held by a government department which is not exempt by virtue of section 35. In addition, although the Commissioner does not consider the statistical information contained within the report to be exempt by virtue of section 35, he does not consider that prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs could be caused by its disclosure. The Commissioner therefore requires the Cabinet Office to supply the withheld information to the complainant. This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]