Freedom of Information: 10 requests rejected in full and 21 in part

By by Adrian Darbyshire adrian.darbyshire@iomtoday.co.im Twitter:@iomAdrian in Politics

A third of Freedom of Information requests have been turned down in full or in part.

LibVan MHK for Ramsey Lawrie Hooper asked in the House of Keys how many and what percentage of FoI requests have not been answered because of a claimed exemption - and how many have been successfully appealed?

A total of 91 FoI requests have been dealt with since the Act was implemented on February 1 last year.

In a written reply, Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas said in the vast majority of cases, information has been either disclosed in full or disclosed in part due to the application of an exemption.

But he gave figures showing that 10 FoI requests - 11 per cent of those completed - had seen information withheld in full and in a further 21 cases - 23 per cent of the total - information was disclosed in part.

He revealed that exemptions had been successfully appealed in two cases following an internal review, and in case following a review to the Information Commissioner.

One of the successful appeals was by Isle of Man Newspapers over the health and safety investigation into the accident involving a run-away Snaefell Mountain Railway tram.

Following an internal review, DEFA confirmed that an exemption had been wrongly applied.

FoI legislation initially covered only DEFA and the Cabinet Office but from this year has been rolled out to the other government departments, the Clerk of Tynwald’s office and Isle of Man Constabulary.

Mr Thomas’s reply showed that the most commonly applied absolute exemption was personal information (21 cases) , followed by information accessible by other means (13 cases).

Legal professional privilege was the most often cited qualified exemption, used in eight cases.

Investigations and legal proceedings were cited as a reason not to disclose information in four cases.

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