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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50198015
  • Date: 30 April 2009
  • Public Authority: Department of Health
  • Summary: The complainant made a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Act”) to the Department of Health (“DoH”) for information concerning how the DoH reached its most recent decision to recommend that pregnant women and those trying to conceive should avoid alcohol. The DoH refused the complainant’s request as it stated that the information was exempt from disclosure by virtue of section 35(1)(a) of the Act which relates to the formulation or development of government policy. The Commissioner has reviewed the withheld information and considers that whilst section 35(1)(a) was engaged the public interest in maintaining the exemption does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure. The Commissioner also found that in failing to make available the withheld information available to the complainant the DoH breached section 1(1)(b) and section 10(1) of the Act. This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]