Select Committee on Public Administration Memoranda



  1.  The draft Bill's general approach seems to be based on the assumption that a request for information will fall into one category or the other (ie information about the applicant or third party information). This is unlikely always to be the case. It is possible that requests may involve information about the individual as well as information about third parties.

  2.  In the case of the former, the information could include:

    —  information falling within the unamended 1998 Act;

    —  structured information falling within the additional category to which the section 7 application provisions would apply; and also

    —  some unstructured information to which the special provisions set out in the new section 9A would apply.

  Information about third parties could also be included within the information to be disclosed in the subject access response and that information would be subject to the 1998 Act provisions relating to third party information.

  3.  However if the information requested also included information relating to third parties which was not linked to the information relating to the applicant, the third party access provisions set out in the draft Freedom of Information Bill would come into play. This third party information could also require a split approach, if a section 10 order were to apply to some of it. For the remainder of the information the other two tests would have to be applied (breach of a data protection principle or whether a subject access exemption would apply).

  4.  A further complication would be if some of the information requested proved to be exempt from disclosure under the Data Protection Act 1998 subject access provisions (in the case of information relating to the data subject) or under the draft Freedom of Information Bill (in the case of information relating to a third party). The request in respect of that exempt information would then require further consideration under the Freedom of Information regime; a discretionary closure would have to be considered.

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