“disclosure could have a detrimental impact”

The BBC have managed to uncover the correspondence between the UK Foreign Office and the NI Department of Culture about that incomplete report on minority languages. But not even a “lazy” Freedom of Information request could reveal the correspondence between Department and the NI deputy First Minister.. From the BBC report

Under the Freedom of Information Act the BBC requested correspondence between Mr McGuinness and the Department of Culture but the request was denied on the grounds that the disclosure could have a detrimental impact on the process of finalising the report.

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  • igor

    Oh yes….we don’t want light shed on how our politicians and Ministers really do business now, do we.

    What about an appeal to the Information Commissioner?

  • William

    Lucky for the BBC….if they made a FOI request to the SEUPB, who administer European funds, it would be denied, whilst there is an ongoing consultation within the Dept. for Finance & Personnel as to whether that body should come under the Act.

    This means that people can’t find out the reasons why terrorist organisation related groups can get millions of Pounds of european monies, nor view their application forms, which many believe are less than open as to what they do with the money they receive.

  • Framer

    Flint could have overridden Belfast and answered itself. London is therefore responsible for any international delay.

    The UK cannot plead its internal constitution as an excuse in international law and practice.

    It is the same thing as happened in Geneva at the UN Human Rights council recently where the NIO and OFMDFM sent no-one to answer for here even though some 50% of the complaints against the UK were from NI voluntary and community sector orgs.

  • jone

    To an extent Flint did override – the NIO threw together some limited stuff about it’s particular, limited obligations which she submitted.

    Could she have submitted the non-agreed report which is in the Executive system without causing a massive row?

  • Here’s a new twist to me in the art of dodging. It comes from the chief executive of a government agency:

    You asked for a copy of the *** for ********; the Freedom of Information Act entitles people to recorded information, rather than simply for copies of documents. Could you specify what information you require from this document?

    Some related documents that I’ve had sight of look decidedly dodgy so the document itself might be just as interesting as a transcription of some of its contents. Perhaps I should pursue the matter through the Office of the Information Commissioner.

  • igor


    Funny that. On one FOI request I put in they responded that they couldnt give me an abstract of the information in the document, only the document itself.

    I think the answer in this one is ‘I ant all of the information contained in the document’

  • Pigeon Toes


    That seems like a rather absurd argument i.e if you knew that information why would you be requesting it?

    Though Igor’s advice is very helpful.

    Does anyone know if subject access request can be termed “vexatious”?

  • Igor, I’ve been sent documents where personal details such as home address and phone numbers, landline and mobile, have NOT been redacted!!

  • Pigeon Toes

    “The OSC uncovered evidence that the Home Office may have improperly advised the Environment Agency on how to circumvent strict laws governing the use of covert surveillance…Despite the alleged breaches being uncovered last year, the documents – released following a Freedom of Information request – show that the Environment Agency has continued to use the controversial tactics..However, the agency is also trialling a register of secret informants who report suspected waste offences in the north east of England, and eventually plans a national spy network, the Commissioner reported.”