FOI Exemptions - Freedom of Information Requests - University of Derby

FOI Exemptions

Exemptions exist to protect information that should not be disclosed, for example because disclosing it would be harmful to another person or it would be against the public interest.

Under the Act there are two different types of exemption, absolute and qualified. Absolute exemptions are ones that you can withhold automatically for example personal data. If it is qualified then we must consider the public interest arguments. This balancing exercise is called the public interest test (PIT).

Absolute exemptions

  • Section 21 - Information accessible to applicant by other means information that is reasonably accessible to the applicant already. For example, if it is available in the University's Publication Scheme.
  • Section 32 - Court records. Information held by the University, but only in court documents.
  • Section 40 - Personal information. We will withhold personal information if disclosure would breach one or more of the principles of the Data Protection Act.
  • Section 41 - Information provided in confidence. Information where disclosure would be a breach in confidence of common law.
  • Section 44 - Prohibitions on disclosure
    Information where disclosure is prohibited by law.

Qualified exemptions

  • Section 22 - Information intended for future publication. Where it is reasonable to withhold until publication; for example, information that is published in the University’s annual accounts.
  • Section 24 - National security. Information is exempt if disclosure would prejudice national security. 
  • Section 31 - Law enforcement. If disclosure of the information would prejudice for example the prevention or detection of crime, we can withhold it.
  • Section 36 - Free and frank discussions/advice, prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
    Disclosure of the information would prejudice the ability to have free and frank exchanges of views or to give free and frank advice, or would prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. 
  • Section 38 - Health and safety
    This exemption is about protecting the health or safety of any person (not just University of Derby staff).
  • Section 42 - Legal professional privilege
    Legally privileged information is exempt.
  • Section 43(2) - Commercial interests
    Information is exempt it is disclosure would prejudice, or would be likely to prejudice, the commercial interests of the University of Derby or anyone else. 

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