‘Post-panel feedback’ sent to the Suffolk Record Office
I can confirm that The National Archives holds information relevant to your request. We are pleased to be able to provide this information to you.
Please find attached the requested information. These are:
[Section 31: Law enforcement]
Information that is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to; prejudice (a) the prevention or detection of crime, (b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, and (c) the administration of justice
Section 31 is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and the information must be released. In the FOI Act there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it.
The public interest test has now been concluded and the balance of the public interest has been found to fall in favour of withholding information covered by the section 31(1) (a) exemption. Considerations in favour of the release of the information included the principle that there is a public interest in transparency and accountability in disclosing information. However, release of information about the security arrangements, staff routes and storage of Suffolk Records Office would make SRO more vulnerable to crime. As such, release of this information would be seen to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime by making SRO more vulnerable to malicious activities. There is an overwhelming public interest in keeping Suffolk Records Office secure, which would be served by non-disclosure. This would outweigh any benefits of release. It has therefore been decided that the balance of the public interest lies clearly in favour of withholding the material on this occasion.
Further guidance can be found at:
[Section 40(2): Personal information where the applicant is not the data subject]
The Data Protection Legislation prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject has officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.
In this case, the exemption applies because this information represents the personal information of a junior member of staff at The National Archives. Publishing the names of junior members of staff is considered an unfair use of personal data. As such, the names and positions of junior officials are withheld under section 40(2) of the FOIA.
[Section 41: Information provided in confidence]
Section 41 (1) of the Act exempts information if (a) it was obtained by the public authority from any other person (including another public authority), and (b) the disclosure of the information to the public (otherwise than under the Act) by the public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.
In this case, the exemption applies because this information has been obtained in confidence and relates to other archives outside the scope of this request. Publishing this information would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.
As such, this information is withheld under section 41 of the FOIA.