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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50089556
  • Date: 15 October 2009
  • Public Authority: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Summary: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) withheld from the complainant, in March 2005 and subsequently, information about the Ministerial Direction by the Secretary of State for Defence to his Permanent Under-Secretary on 30 July 2003 regarding the purchase of the Hawk 128 advanced jet trainer aircraft. In deciding this matter, the Commissioner relied in part upon his decision in an earlier complaint by the same complainant against the Office of Government Commerce (reference FS50093000) concerning closely related subject matter. The Commissioner decided that BIS did not comply with section 1(1) of the Act in not disclosing the relevant information by the time of completion of the internal review. BIS breached sections 10(1) and 17(1) of the Act by not issuing a refusal notice within 20 working days of the request. The internal review made no reference to the public interest in breach of section 17(3)(b) of the Act. After a careful evaluation of the requested information, the submissions of the parties and the relevant provisions of the Act and case law, the Commissioner’s decision is that section 26 of the Act was not engaged and that the section 29 exemption would not be considered. He decided that BIS had properly applied the section 35(1)(a) and 35(1)(b) and 43(2) exemptions to parts of the information. For the section 35(1)(b) exemption the Commissioner found that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed that in disclosing the information. With regard to the section 35(1)(a) and 43(2) exemptions, the Commissioner found that it was in the public interest to disclose part of the withheld information but not all of it. The Commissioner therefore ordered BIS to disclose some information to the complainant as set out in this Notice. The Commissioner’s decision is that BIS partially dealt with the request for information in accordance with the Act.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]