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FOI14580 – Request for information


Thank you for your email of 14 August 2015, requesting the following information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):

1. Copies of any emails sent to or from Sir Rob Margetts, Nigel Clifford or Craig Lester that contain the word(s) ‘privatisation’, ‘valuation’ or 'sale' in either the subject line or in the body of the email, sent or received between 1 January 2015 and 7 August 2015. Please include any attachments to any emails. If any of this information is deemed to be commercially sensitive then please redact the emails as necessary.

2. An itemised list of such emails if possible.

Please reply by email to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. We are happy to sift through the data as appropriate and would appreciate being sent as a zip file if possible.

Our response

1. I confirm that Ordnance Survey does hold the requested information, however, we will not be releasing some of this information as we consider it to be exempt from disclosure under sections 36(2) (b) and (c) (prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs) and section 43(2) (commercial interests) of the FOIA.

Please note that we have excluded emails which include the word(s) ‘privatisation’, ‘sale’ and ‘valuation’ which are clearly not relevant to your request. For example, emails in relation to our charity cake ‘sale’ or other commercial matters which do not relate to your request and in which s 43(2) (commercial interests) would apply in any event.

We have attached the remaining information in email form (available on request). These communications are not available in a zip file. We consider some of the information within the attached emails to be exempt from disclosure under section 40 (personal information) of the FOIA (detailed below) and have redacted such information from the emails.

Sections 36(2) (b) and (c) of the FOIA
We consider that the exemption under Sections 36(2) (b) and (c) apply.

The disclosure of some communications between Ordnance Survey Board members would inhibit the future ability of individuals to express themselves openly or to explore options when providing advice or giving/exchanging views as part of the deliberation process.

The application of the exemption under Sections 36(2) (b) and (c) requires the consultation of a “qualified person”. Following consultation, it is the opinion of the qualified person that detailed public knowledge of the information requested:

  • would or would be likely to, in the future, inhibit:
    1. the free and frank provision of advice;
    2. the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.
    • would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

    As section 36(2) is a qualified exemption, we are required to consider the public interest. Potential disclosure makes it less likely that individuals will be prepared to engage freely in discussions, thus hampering the ability of the organisation to reach collegiate decisions in the public interest. Without such discussions, the ability to deliver successful business outcomes would be undermined.

    We are satisfied that there is public interest in favour of withholding the information and consequently, we will not be releasing this information.

    Section 40 (2) (a) (b) of the FOIA
    Within the provided attachments, individuals’ names, email addresses and any other personal information have been redacted under Section 40 (2) of the FOIA.

    Section 40 (2) (a) and (b), together with the condition under section 40 (3) (a) (i) of the FOIA, provides an absolute exemption, where the disclosure of information would contravene any of the data protection principles under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. In this case, we have exempted information constituting the personal data of living individuals, the release of which would be in breach of the Data Protection Principles.

    In applying this exemption, we have considered whether disclosure of the personal data in question would be 'fair' (as described in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act). We have given particular consideration to the likely expectations of the data subjects, and their grades, regarding the disclosure of their personal information in this manner in reaching our decision to withhold this information.

    Section 43(2) of the FOIA
    We consider that the exemption under Section 43(2) would also apply in addition to s36 (2) (b) and (c) above.

    2. In reference to your request for an itemised list of the emails, in accordance with the terms of the FOIA, Ordnance Survey is not under obligation to create new information in response to a request. Therefore, this has not been included in the response.

    I hope the above is of use to you.

    Internal review

    Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our FOI Internal Review Officer, by contacting them as follows:

    FOI Internal Review Officer
    Customer Service Centre
    Ordnance Survey
    Adanac Drive
    SO16 0AS

    Email: foi@os.uk

    Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

    • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
    • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
    • Failed to provide the information you have requested
    • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
    • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

    The FOI Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

    The FOI Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

    Appeal to Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
    If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal with the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

    The Case Reception Unit
    Customer Service Team
    The Information Commissioner’s Office
    Wycliffe House
    Water Lane
    SK9 5AF

    Email: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

    Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 for advice, Monday to Friday.

    Thank you for your enquiry.

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