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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50128567
  • Date: 30 March 2010
  • Public Authority: Department of Health
  • Summary: The complainant submitted a seven-part request to the Department of Health (“the DH”) concerning the correspondence which the DH may have exchanged with HRH The Prince of Wales and His Royal Highness’ representatives. The DH initially refused to confirm or deny whether it held information falling within the scope of the request in reliance on section 37(2) of the Act – communications with the Royal Household. During the course of the Commissioner’s investigations the DH confirmed to the complainant that it did hold information falling within the scope of his request. The DH also reconsidered its approach to the complainant’s request and determined that it was not obliged to provide the information because to do so would exceed the appropriate cost limit under section 12(1) of the Act. The DH provided the Commissioner with documents containing information relevant to the complainant’s request. The Commissioner has determined that some of the information contained within them is environmental information and should therefore have been dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the EIR”). For the information which is not environmental, the Commissioner has decided that the DH is entitled to refuse the complainant’s request on the basis that to comply with the request would exceed the appropriate limit and therefore section 12(1) of the Act applies. In respect of the environmental information, the Commissioner has decided that the DH is also entitled to refuse the request under regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIR on the basis that the request is manifestly unreasonable. In its handling of the request the Commissioner has determined that the DH breached sections 1(1)(a), 10(1), 16 and 17(5) of the Act and regulations 9, 11(4), 14(2) and 14(3) of the EIR. The Commissioner requires no steps to be taken.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]