Refusing a request
A public authority may refuse a request or withhold information either in part, or in full, if:
- the applicant has not complied with a request for additional information within 28 days;
- a practical refusal reason applies;
- the information is absolutely exempt; or
- the information is qualified exempt.
Requirement to issue refusal notice
A public authority must give the applicant a refusal notice if it is not going to provide the information sought, in part or in full, whether that is due to a practical refusal reason or application of exemptions. A refusal notice must:
- specify the reason why the public authority may refuse to give the applicant the information requested in the request for information;
- if the information is absolutely exempt information or qualified exempt information, state (if not otherwise apparent) why the exemption applies;
- if the information is absolutely exempt because it is accessible by other means state those other means;
- if the information is qualified exempt information, the refusal notice must state the public authority’s reason for claiming that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that in disclosure of the information.
- contain particulars of
- the public authority's complaints process or
- applying to the Information Commissioner under section 42; and
- alternative dispute resolution processes available under section 44.