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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50098388
  • Date: 1 September 2008
  • Public Authority: Cabinet Office
  • Summary: The complainant asked the public authority for drafts of the Iraq dossier from 11 to 16 September 2002 which were circulated to Joint Intelligence Committee members, a covering note with redactions removed, and any comments on the drafts made by the Defence Intelligence Staff or anyone else. The public authority decided that some of the information was not held, and the remainder was exempt under sections 27(1) and/or 36(2)(b)(ii) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’). Following a complaint to the Commissioner, it added that the withheld information was also exempt under section 24(1). The Commissioner decided that, in failing to specify in its refusal notice all of the exemptions which applied to each element of the requested information, the public authority breached section 17(1)(b). The Commissioner also decided that some of the withheld information should be released on the grounds that it was not exempt under sections 24(1) and although exempt under 36(2)(b)(ii) the balance of the public interest favoured disclosure. The public authority had therefore breached section 1(1)(b) in failing to disclose this information, and in addition section 10(1) in failing to disclose it within the statutory time limit. In applying the section 36(2)(b)(ii) exemption without having first obtained a valid qualified person’s opinion the Cabinet Office also failed to comply with the requirements of section 36(2). Finally, the Commissioner decided that the public authority failed to comply with its duty under section 10(1) to confirm or deny within 20 working days whether it held the requested information, and also breached section 17(1) by failing to provide the details required by that section within 20 working days. Information Tribunal appeal (EA/2008/0081) has been withdrawn.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]