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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50125370
  • Date: 23 February 2009
  • Public Authority: Cleveland Police
  • Summary: The complainant requested a copy of a report written by a senior officer of the public authority regarding an investigation into alleged corruption at Hartlepool Borough Council between 1996 and 1998. The public authority said that it was unable to locate the final report following extensive enquiries but it had located an interim report into the same matter. It refused to provide the interim report arguing that it was exempt from disclosure under section 30 of the Act (Investigations Information). It further argued that the public interest in maintaining the section 30 exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosure. It upheld this position on review. The Commissioner is satisfied that the public authority did not hold a copy of the final report. Having read the interim report, the Commissioner is satisfied that a significant portion of it is the personal data of the complainant. As such this portion should have been exempted from disclosure under section 40(1) (Personal Data of the Requester). The Commissioner has decided that the remainder of the interim report constitutes personal data relating to third parties and that it is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) by virtue of section 40(3)(a)(i). This exemption applies where disclosure would contravene any of the data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998. However, the Commissioner found a number of procedural failures on the part of the public authority. It failed to respond within 20 working days in contravention of section 10(1) and failed to provide a refusal notice in contravention of section 17(1). It also failed to specify and explain fully which exemptions it had applied in contravention of section 17(1)(a), (b) and (c) and section 17(3)(b). No further steps are required.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]