February 2014

Request:


Please provide all documents relating to the requested document (PREM 19/1332) being withheld from the batch of documents last week - for example any correspondence between TNA and the Cabinet Office, Number 10 etc in relation to the document. It appears to have been retained under the PRA on September 25 last year. No reason is given for the retention of this document. Please provide all information held relating to the reasons for withholding the document.

Outcome:


Part Successful

Response:


The requested extract relates to retained extract from PREM 19/1332. This material is still held by the Cabinet Office.

The Cabinet Office applied for retention in November 2013 and this appears on LCI 114, signed and approved in December 2013.

The National Archives holds the following communications regarding this application and transfer (status) of this record:

• 1A) - PREM 19 retention application from The Cabinet Office to TNA
• 1B) - LCI 114 Schedule
• 1C) - Original e-transfer form for PREM 19 series transfer October 2013 from  Cabinet Office to TNA
 
For further information on the transfer process please use the link below:
nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/our-services/selection-and-transfer.htm 

The open piece from which this retained extract originates was part of the Annual Press Release in December. The Press Pack that is generated for this event contains details of the open material. We do not hold any communications relating to the closed material in relation to this event.

If you are interested in these details, please see the Press Event page on The National Archives website please use the link below:
nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/latest-releases.htm  

As explained above, the material is retained by the Cabinet Office and the justification for this retention are specified in the application and on the LCI presented to the Lord Chancellor.

Please see our Access Manual for details on the retention of records including a list of retention criteria (page 25 onwards): nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/access-to-public-records.pdf.   
The communications listed above as 1A) and 1B) will be withheld and part of 1C) as the information is considered exempt under FOI exemptions:

• Section 36 - prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs
• Section 40 (2) - personal information

Below I have outlined our reasoning for the exemptions we have applied. The original e-transfer form, listed as item 1c) has been attached and supplied with this response.

Section 36
The communications have also been withheld under the qualified exemption section 36 - prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

36 (2) (b) "would or would be likely to, inhibit -

(i) The free and frank provision of advice, or
(ii) The free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation"

The balance of the public interest assesses whether the interests of the public are best served by disclosure or non disclosure of the requested information. The balance to be considered when using this exemption is the public interest in ensuring that there is a space within which officials can discuss policy options and delivery, freely and frankly. Therefore assessing whether disclosure would have an effect on the ability of officials and to discuss and debate such matters openly.

It has been determined; following the public interest test that disclosure would be prejudicial to the provision of free and frank advice and the free and frank exchange of views. The requirements of openness must be balanced against the proper and effective functioning of government.

Having considered all the relevant arguments, our view is that the balance of the public interest favours maintaining the exemption and withholding the information under Section 36(2) (b) (i) & (ii) of the FOI Act at this current time

Section 40 (2)
Some of the information which you are looking for is exempt under section 40 (2) of the Act (by virtue of section 40 (3) (a) (i)).  This means that we cannot release those parts and they will be redacted.

Section 40 exempts personal information about a 'third party' (someone other than the requester), if revealing it would breach the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. The DPA prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.

In this case the exemption applies because the communications contain the names of individuals in junior positions. The release of names and contact details of junior officials who have not given express permission would be deemed to be unfair as there is no expectation that this information would be released.  Additionally, further processing to attribute names to actions would be seen to breach the first data protection principle in that it would be neither fair nor meet a Schedule 2 condition.  As such the names and contact details of junior officials are not being provided to you.

Section 23 (5)
In reliance on the exclusion in section 23(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, which relates to bodies dealing with security matters, I can neither confirm nor deny whether any of the information held is subject to the exemption at section 23(1) of the Act.  To confirm or deny whether this was the case would involve the disclosure of exempt information. The exclusion at section 23(5) is an absolute exclusion.   

F0037163 Retention of PREM 19/1332/2 (PDF, 0.06Mb)

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