West Highland Free Press and Scottish Ministers: SIC 9 Nov 2009

The West Highland Free Press requested from the Scottish Ministers (the Ministers) all communications between Ministers and within the Scottish Government concerning the appointment of a chairman to the Gaelic Media Service.
The Ministers responded by withholding some of the information under various exemptions in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), arguing that disclosure would have a substantially inhibiting effect on the formulation of responses to public appointments in future. A review was requested by West Highland Free Press, but the Ministers failed to respond within the 20 working day time limit for doing so under FOISA. Following the Commissioner’s intervention, a review was conducted and further information was supplied by the Ministers. The West Highland Free Press remained dissatisfied with the result of the review and applied to the Commissioner for a decision.
Following an investigation, the Commissioner found that the Ministers had partially failed to deal with West Highland Free Press’s request for information in accordance with Part 1 of FOISA, by breaching the 20 working day time-limit for responding to the request for review. However, the Commissioner found that the Ministers were correct to have withheld the relatively small amount of information ultimately withheld by them. He did not require the Ministers to take any action.

[2009] ScotIC 127 – 2009

Scotland, Information

Updated: 16 December 2021; Ref: scu.434086