ICO comprehensively rejects royal secrecy exemptions

It is worth taking a closer look at a recent ICO ruling to see just how desperate the Government is to keep information about the Royal’s secret.

The Government tried to use no less than eight separate exemptions to keep the information secret the ICO found that five of these exemptions were not relevant and two of the others should not have been used to withhold information. I have to concede that one of the exemptions was correctly applied but it related to less than 4% of the documents falling in the scope of the request.

Today is a good day for anyone who believes in transparency. The ICO has issued a polite yet damming ruling against the Governments attempt to protect the Royal Finances from scrutiny.

FOI requestors will be able to use the arguments in this Decision Notice to get more information about the Royal Family released more quickly.

The Government refused to disclose the information under:

  1. FOI section 21: Information Accessible By Other Means [relevant, applied to just four out of more than 100 documents]
  2. FOI section 31: Law Enforcement [not relevant]
  3. FOI section 36: Prejudice To Effective Conduct Of Public Affairs [relevant but public interest was still in favour of disclosure]
  4. FOI section 37: Communications With Her Majesty, With Other Members Of The Royal Household, And The Conferring By The Crown Of Any Honour Or Dignity [relevant but public interest was still in favour of disclosure]
  5. FOI section 38: Health And Safety [not relevant]
  6. FOI section 43: Commercial Interests [not relevant]
  7. EIR reg 12(5)(d): Confidentiality of the Proceedings [not relevant]
  8. EIR reg 12 (5)(f):Adverse impact on the interests of the person who provided the information [not relevant]
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