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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50203810
  • Date: 19 May 2009
  • Public Authority: Magherafelt District Council
  • Summary: On 22 February 2008 the complainant requested information from Magherafelt District Council (‘The Council’) in relation to disciplinary action taken against members of The Council staff and the statistics involved. The complainant asked that the information cover the previous three year period. The complainant made it clear in his request that personal information about any individual was not required. The Council provided some information but withheld the remainder of the information relating to the discipline itself and reasons for dismissal, on the basis that it is exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’) and contended that given the small number of staff involved, it may be possible to identify those individuals. The Council applied section 38 of the Act at the internal review stage holding the view that disclosure would be likely to endanger the physical or mental health of the individuals concerned. The Commissioner finds that the Council have not dealt with the complainant's request in accordance with section 17(1) of the Act in that the refusal notice did not specify the subsection of section 40 to be relied upon. The refusal notice also failed to mention the applciation of section 38 and the public interest arguments which was not applied until the review stage. As the Council failed to provide the information to the complainant which he was entitled to by the end of the internal review stage the Commissioner finds the Council in breach of s.1 (1) (b) of the Act. As it failed to supply this information within the statutory time limit of 20 working days the Commissioner also finds the Council in breach of s.10 (1) of the Act. The Commissioner has instructed the Council to release to the complainant the summarised schedule of information. This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]