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  • Would-be Commissioners’ notes to be kept secret….for now

    Posted on April 19th, 2010 admin 1 comment
    Interview tables should be wide enough to avoid physical confrontation but narrow enough that you can hear each other.

    Interview tables should be wide enough to avoid physical confrontation but narrow enough that you can hear each other.

    Last year the Information Commissioner issued a Decision Notice which sent ripples of worry through the Human Resources departments in public authorities.

    It ruled that a council employee, who had applied for two internal vacancies, had the right to see various details of the other candidates as long as their identities were kept secret.

    I wrote about the Decision Notice [link], which was issued against Leicester City Council, in March 2009 (Giv Us a Job).

    The Information Commissioner said in that Decision Notice: “Some of the information about applicants’ experience and qualifications could be provided in an anonymised form, without breaching their rights under the Data Protection Act.”

    Why am I regurgitating the details of an old Decision Notice I hear you ask?

    Well I thought this ruling was interesting and was just waiting for a real life situation to come along that would be a good test.

    So what could be more appropriate than the appointment of the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham? What did the interview panel think of the candidates? What sort of qualifications and background did the unsuccessful would-be Commissioners have?

    I sent in my question on WhatDoTheyKnow [link] and surprise, surprise the Ministry of Justice refused me claiming the information was covered by S.40 (personal information). I appealed and made it clear I didn’t want any names or anything that would identify any of the applicants.

    Quick as a flash – well quick when you consider how long you normally wait for a MoJ appeal – they came back upholding the appeal.

    So what do I do now? I have to say the temptation to lodge an appeal with the Information Commissioner will be too great to resist.

    If I do surely it means the information has to be sent to the Information Commissioner so he can examine it and then make a ruling on whether the notes do in fact identify anybody. Of course if he were to side with the MoJ it would make the Leicester City Council decision look suspect.

    Once again it appears to show one of the unwritten laws of FoI, in that there is one application of the rules for hard-pressed, doing their best lower tier public authorities and a whole different set of standards for those that breath the giddy atmosphere of Government.

    Remember. Dressing appropriately is important!

    Remember. At job interviews and weddings it is important to dress appropriately!

  • Giv Us a Job…

    Posted on March 9th, 2009 admin No comments

     

    Destined for the shredder?

    Destined for the shredder?

    A recent decision by the Information Commissioner could have personnel departments sharpening their shredders.

     

    The ruling means that unsuccessful job applicants have a right to see limited details from the CVs of the other candidates for the job.

     The issue was raised by the complainant, who worked for Leicester City Council, and applied for two internal vacancies, unsuccessfully.

    The applicant then asked for information relating to the recruitment process, including copies of the application forms submitted by the other applicants, suitably redacted as necessary.

    Officials at the Council refused the request for the application forms, on the grounds that the Section 40(2) exemption applied.

    The Commissioner decided that the exemption at section 40(2) applied in respect of some of the application form information, but that it did not justify withholding all the information.

    He considered that some information about the other applicants’ experience and qualifications could be provided in an anonymised form, without breaching their rights under the Data Protection Act.

    Read the rest of this entry »