Freedom of Information Act 2014

Chapter 3

Internal Review

Review by heads of decisions under Chapters 1 and 2

21. (1) This section applies to a decision made pursuant to this Act by a person to whom the function concerned stood delegated at the time of the making of the decision, being—

(a) a decision to refuse to grant an FOI request, whether wholly or in part, (other than a request to which section 38 applies) (a “request”) in relation to the record concerned,

(b) a decision under section 9 to refuse to amend a record,

(c) a decision under section 10 in relation to the contents of a statement furnished under subsection (1) of that section or to refuse an application under that subsection,

(d) a decision under section 16 to defer the offering of access to a record falling within paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of that section,

(e) a decision under section 17 to grant a request by giving access to the record concerned in a form other than that specified in the request,

(f) a decision under section 18 to gran t an FOI request by offering the requester concerned access to a copy of part only of the record concerned, or

(g) a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a particular amount, under section 27 .

(2) Subject to this section, the head of the FOI body concerned, on application to him or her in that behalf, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, by a relevant person—

(a) may review a decision to which this section applies, and

(b) following the review, may, as he or she considers appropriate—

(i) affirm or vary the decision, or

(ii) annul the decision and, if appropriate, make such decision in relation to the matter as he or she considers proper,

in accordance with this Act.

(3) A person to whom a function under this section stands delegated under section 20 shall not perform that function in relation to a decision to which this section applies that was made by a member of the staff of the FOI body concerned whose rank is the same as or higher than that of the person aforesaid.

(4) A decision under subsection (2) shall be made, and the head concerned shall cause notice thereof, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, to be given to the relevant person and any other person whom he or she considers should be notified thereof, not later than 3 weeks after the receipt by the head of the application for the review under that subsection concerned.

(5) A notice under subsection (4) shall specify—

(a) the day on which the decision concerned under that subsection was made,

(b) if the decision is to grant, in whole or in part, the FOI request concerned, the information referred to in section 13 (2)(c),

(c) if the decision is to refuse to grant, wholly or in part, the request aforesaid, the information specified in subparagraph (i) of paragraph (d) of section 13 (2) and, if the refusal is not pursuant to section 15 (1)(c), 28 (5), 31 (4), 32 (2), 33 (4), 35 (4), 36 (4) or 37 (6), the information specified in subparagraph (ii) of that paragraph,

(d) if the decision is to defer the giving of access to the record concerned, the reasons for the deferral and the period of the deferral,

(e) if the decision is a decision referred to in paragraph (b), (c), (e), (f) or (g)of subsection (1), the reasons for the decision, and

(f) particulars of the rights of review and appeal under this Act in relation to the decision, the procedure governing the exercise of those rights and the time limits governing such exercise.

(6) This section shall not be construed as requiring the inclusion in a notice under subsection (4) of matter that, if it were included in a record, would cause the record to be an exempt record.

(7) An application for a review under subsection (2) shall be made not later than 4 weeks after the notification under this Act of the decision concerned to the relevant person concerned or, in a case in which the head concerned is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for extending that period, the expiration of such longer period as he or she may determine.

(8) The relevant person concerned may, at any time before the making of a decision under subsection (2) following the review concerned, by notice in writing or in such other form as may be determined, given to the head concerned, withdraw the application concerned under that subsection and the head concerned shall cause a copy of any notice given to him or her under this subsection to be given to any other person to whom, in the opinion of the head, it should be given.

(9) Subsection (3) of section 13 shall apply in relation to a case where a decision under subsection (2) is to grant an FOI request or to annul or vary a deferral under section 16 with the modification that the reference in the said subsection (3) to the grant of a request under subsection (1) of section 13 shall be construed as a reference to the making of the decision under subsection (2) .

(10) Subject to this Act, a decision under subsection (2) shall—

(a) insofar as it is inconsistent with the decision to which this section applies, have effect in lieu thereof, and

(b) be binding on the parties concerned.

(11) In this section “relevant person”, in relation to a decision to which this section applies, means—

(a) the requester concerned, or

(b) if the decision is made under section 9 or 10 , the person who made the application concerned.