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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50173361
  • Date: 21 July 2009
  • Public Authority: University of Oxford
  • Summary: The complainant requested information from Oxford University relating to the consideration, by the University’s Donations Acceptance Review Committee (‘DARC’), of a gift from an entrepreneur. The University replied, refusing to release this information and providing no grounds for doing so. It did, however, give some general information about the guidelines used by the DARC. The complainant requested an internal review. Following the review, the University provided some further information, to the effect that the DARC did consider the proposed gift, confirming that a number of documents were used by the University during this process and drawing the complainant’s attention to a number of publicly available information sources. However, it claimed exemption for some information, citing 43(2) of the Act and maintaining that some of the information was personal in respect of the donor. It also maintained that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information. The Commissioner has decided that, in failing to specify in its refusal notice all of the exemptions that applied to each element of the requested information, the public authority breached section 17(1) (b). The Commissioner has also decided that all of the withheld information should be released as he considers that sections 40(2) and 43(2) are not engaged. The public authority had therefore breached section 1(1) (b) in failing to disclose this information and section 10(1) in not doing so within the required period. The Commissioner requires that the information be released within 35 days. This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]