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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50154913
  • Date: 18 December 2007
  • Public Authority: Northern Ireland Office
  • Summary: The complainant requested information about communications between the Northern Ireland Office (the ‘NIO’) and Maybin Support Services NI Ltd (‘Maybin’), since renamed “Resource”. The NIO released some information in response to the request, and released further information following the Commissioner’s intervention, but withheld the remainder. The NIO initially relied on the exemptions under sections 40(2), 42 and 43(1), but during the course of the Commissioner’s investigation the NIO withdrew reliance on section 42 and claimed reliance on sections 31(1)(b), 38(1) and 36(2)(c). As a result of the complainant narrowing the scope of his request, the Commissioner’s decision relates solely to the information withheld under sections 31(1)(b) and 43(1). This includes information relating to a tender exercise run by the NIO, and information relating to Maybin’s security licence. The Commissioner finds that the exemption under section 31(1)(b) is not engaged. The Commissioner finds that the NIO had correctly applied the exemption under section 43(1) to all of the withheld information, but that the public interest lay in disclosing some of the information rather than maintaining the exemption. The Commissioner therefore requires the NIO to release some of the withheld information to the complainant. The Commissioner also found that the NIO failed to respond within the statutory time limit, and so breached section 10(1) of the Act.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]