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Information Tribunal dismisses OGC Appeal - finds in favour of full disclosure

It looks as if Spy Blog has won another round in the long running attempt to get some of the background information on the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme, which should have been made public before the Identity Cards Act 2006 was debated in Parliament.

Office of Government Commerce v Information Commissioner (2 May 2007) (.pdf 104 kb) {UPDATED link to .pdf file)

Information Tribunal

Appeal Numbers:
EA/2006/0068 and 0080
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

Decision Promulgated
02 May 2007

Heard at Procession House, London
On 12, 13, 14 and 16 March 2007


John Angel

David Wilkinson and Peter Dixon




For the Appellant: Mr Robin Tam QC
For the Respondent: Mr Timothy Pitt-Payne


The Tribunal upholds the decision notices dated 31st July 2006 and 5th October 2006, except that we find that section 33 as well as section 35 FOIA is engaged, and dismisses the appeals.


90. The Tribunal has considered all the circumstances of this case and finds that the public interest in maintaining the exemption does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure. In other words we uphold the Commissioner’s Decision Notices in this case.



92. The Tribunal orders that the disputed information is disclosed to the complainants. However before requiring this order to be carried out we are prepared to give the parties 14 days from the date of this decision to make written submissions to us as to whether the names of the individuals listed as Reviewers and Interviewees in the disputed information should be redacted. Once we have determined this matter we will then require the OGC to disclose the information in whatever format we determine within 14 days of that determination.

John Angel

Date 02 May 2007

The only crumb of comfort for the OGC is that the Information Tribunal rejects the idea that the "floodgates will open" for the disclosure of all Gateway Reviews, they say that each case needs to be looked at on its merits, but they have rejected the OGC's attempt at what amounts to a blanket exemption from the Freedom of Information Act.

On the matter of the the Redaction of the names of Reviewers and Interviewees, Spy Blog is not too bothered, either way.

It would be common courtesy, and within the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act, to ask these individuals if they mind having their names published or not.

We note that Freedom of Information Act requests do not require individuals seeking information to personally identify themselves, and that the Information Commissioner's Decision Notices deliberately omit such information, but the Tribunal has not done so in this case.

How much public money has this long running defence of secrecy and obscurity cost the taxpayer ?

Will the Treasury waste even more money by appealing against the Information Tribunal in the High Court ?

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