The London Borough of Lambeth has been held to be accountable and issued with a censure following a second failure to provide information under the FOI Act.
The complainant has requested information on the procurement of a developer for a housing estate redevelopment. The London Borough of Lambeth (‘the Council’) disclosed some information but withheld tender documents under section 43 (Commercial interests) of FOIA. It also said that it did not hold some of the information described in the request.
During the Commissioner’s investigation, the Council recognised that the request should have been dealt with under the EIR and it disclosed more information, with redactions for commercially sensitive information (regulation 12(5)(e)) and personal data (regulation 13). It maintained that it did not hold some of the information described in the request (regulation 12(4)(a)).
The complainant did not dispute the application of the non-disclosure exceptions, but he was dissatisfied that the Council had not responded to his request in this way at the outset.
The Commissioner’s decision is that the Council breached regulation 5(2) of the EIR by failing to disclose information within 20 working days of receipt of the request. It also breached regulations 14(2) and 14(3) of the EIR, by failing to specify the EIR exceptions it was relying on when refusing the request, within 20 working days.