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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50160256
  • Date: 6 April 2009
  • Public Authority: Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Summary: The complainant asked DCMS for information about the government’s casino policy, which it subsequently clarified as being for ‘any objective external assessment that led to the adoption of first the 8-8-8 policy, and then 1-8-8 policy; and, any advice from officials to Ministers that led to these decisions being taken’. DCMS withheld the information by reference to section 35(1)(a) and (b) and section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’); at the internal review stage it added that part of the information was exempt by virtue of section 42. The Commissioner decided that section 43(2) was not engaged; that the balance of the public interest test for section 35(1)(a) and (b) did not favour withholding the information; and that one document was exempt under section 42(1). The Commissioner decided that DCMS breached section 17(1)(b) by failing to specify within the statutory time limit which sub-section of section 43 applied; and that, in using a blanket public interest assessment for all of the claimed exemptions, it breached section 17(3)(b) by failing to assess the public interest properly for each exemption. He also decided that, in failing to confirm or deny within 20 working days whether it held the requested information, DCMS breached the requirements of section 10(1) of the Act, and also breached section 17(1) by failing to provide the details required by that section within 20 working days. Finally, it breached 10(1) in failing to disclose information which was not exempt within the statutory time limit, and section 1(1)(b) in failing to disclose it at all. The Commissioner required DCMS to disclose the majority of the withheld information. Information Tribunal appeal EA/2009/0038 part allowed.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]