Select Committee on Public Administration Ninth Report



APPENDIX 2

 

  Letter from the Clerk, Public Administration Select Committee, to all Departments

I am writing, first, to introduce myself as the new Clerk to the Select Committee on Public Administration, in succession to Alda Barry.

As you may remember, the Committee has continued the practice initiated in 1995-96 by the Public Services Committee of obtaining from the Table Office of the House of Commons a list of the questions which the Table Office has 'blocked' in the previous session because of Ministers' refusal to answer. For the last two years the Committee has asked departments to expand on the reasons given for such refusals, and this year it has decided to do the same again, for answers given in the 1999-2000 session. I enclose a copy of the letter from the Principal Clerk, Table Office dated 19 March 2001, and of the part of the list that relates to your department.

The Committee would like you to explain more fully why it was necessary to withhold information; to indicate, where a refusal is justified by reference to a 'practice' or a policy, what is the reason for that practice or policy; and to indicate in each case where there is not reference to the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (which, as you know, the guidance on answering Parliamentary Questions says should be referred to when departments withhold the information in response to a Parliamentary Question) how the refusal relates to the Code. The Committee does not need any further information on cases where the information requested was not held or collected by the Department, or was the responsibility of another Department.

It would be very helpful if Departments could, where possible, follow the example of the Prime Minister's Office in the format of their replies. I attach a copy of last year's return from that office as a guide. I would be grateful if you could send the information requested to the Committee Secretary, Jenny Cowan, in electronic form quoting the PQ number beside the subject. Please send in electronic form to [email protected] and on disk by Monday, 11 June.

11 May 2001

 

  Letter from the Clerk, Public Administration Select Committee, to all Departments

I am writing to remind you of the Committee's request for information on Parliamentary Questions that were 'blocked' last Session. Our letter of 11 May 2001—which is attached—requested a response by 11 June 2001, but up to now we have had no reply from your department. The Committee requires this information speedily so that it can produce a report on this important issue. I would be grateful for a response by Friday, 21 December 2001.

I would be grateful if you could send the information requested to the Committee Secretary, Jenny Nelson, in electronic form and on disk quoting the PQ number beside the subject. Please send in electronic form to [email protected] and on disk to Public Administration Select Committee, Committee Office, First Floor, Portcullis House, London SW1A 2LW.

20 November 2001

  LIST OF MEMORANDA

Submitted by  Page

1  Attorney General's Chambers  60

2  Department of Culture, Media and Sport  61

3  Ministry of Defence  63

4  Office of the Deputy Prime Minister  70

5  Department for Education and Skills  71

6  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  72

7  Foreign and Commonwealth Office  73

8  Department of Health  77

9  Home Office  77

10  Department for International Development  81

11  Lord Chancellor's Department  82

12  Northern Ireland Office  83

13  Prime Minister's Office  85

14  Scotland Office  86

15  Department of Trade and Industry  87

16  Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions  91

17  HM Treasury  92

18  Wales Office  94

19  Department for Work and Pensions  95

 

  MEMORANDUM 1

Submitted by the Attorney General's Chambers

Thank you for your letter of 11 May seeking further information about why certain information was withheld in answer to two PQs in the last Parliamentary session.

I set out below more detail, where appropriate, on the reasons why the Solicitor General decided to withhold certain information.

21 May 2001

 

13.12.99

Subject:    Nuclear deterrence policy (102132)

Reason:    Exemption 2—By convention Law Officers' advice, and the fact that they have been consulted, is not disclosed outside Government other than in exceptional circumstances. This convention, which is of long standing, is intended to protect the confidentiality of the legal advice given to the Government.

24.1.00

Subject:    Senator Pinochet (106408)

Reason:    Exemption 4—When the Crown Prosecution Service acts as the agent for another country in relation to an extradition request, it has a solicitor/client relationship with that country. Invariably, information passing between the CPS and that country will be covered by legal professional privilege. In accordance with a Divisional Court decision, this could, of course, be waived by the country itself and the information could then be made available.

  MEMORANDUM 2

  Submitted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your letter of 11 May, in which you ask us to explain more fully why we were unable to provide a full explanation in response to a number of Parliamentary Questions during the last session. I am sorry for the delay in replying.

I enclose a table which I hope explains this to the Committee's satisfaction.

I am sending in electronic form and on disk to Jenny Cowan as requested.

6 September 2001

 

2.12.99

Subject:    Millenium Dome—99338

Reason:    Exemption 7—the cost of construction of each zone of the Dome was held to be commercially confidential, the disclosure of which would harm the New Millenium Experience Company's (NMEC) ability to obtain value for money in its dealings with contractors. NMEC was required to operate in a commercial way in order to deliver its objectives and compete in the visitor attraction market. This would have been considerably compromised by the publication of commercially sensitive details.

2.12.99

Subject:    Millenium Dome—99321

Reason:    Exemption 7—the details of the individual responses to the invitation for outline ideas for future uses of the Dome site were commercially confidential. They could not, therefore, be disclosed. Negotiations with potential future users of the site were extremely sensitive.

4.2.00

Subject:    Millenium Dome—104602

Reason:    Exemption 7—The sponsorship contracts included a confidentiality clause preventing disclosure of details of the contract. This included the number of tickets that each sponsor received as part of the agreement.

28.2.00

Subject:    Millenium Dome—109958

Reason:    Exemption 12—It would have breached employer and employee confidentiality to have published details of the Chief Executive's contract. Details of remuneration and bonus arrangements were given in the answer and actual remuneration included in NMEC's Annual Report and Accounts.

10.3.00

Subject:    Millenium Dome—113510

Reason:    Exemption 13—To publish information on unpaid creditors would have place NMEC in breach of contract with those firms. The information could not, therefore, be disclosed. NMEC was required to operate in a commercial way in order to deliver its objectives.

17.3.00

Subject:    Millenium Dome—110505

Reason:    Exemption 7—NMEC believed that publication of this information would harm its negotiating position with the firms in question.

15.5.00

Subject:    Millenium Dome—120229

Reason:    The potential range of net receipts under discussion was commercially confidential because it was directly relevant to NMEC's competitive position. Details of actual receipts are reported in NMEC's Annual Report and Accounts.

7.12.99

Subject:    BBC—99965

Reason:    It is a longstanding principle that the Government does not intervene with the BBC's programming and editorial matters, which are matters for the Board of Governors.

27.1.00

Subject:    Representations (ITV Mergers)—106953

Reason:    Exemption 6—Information was commercially confidential and could prejudice the conduct of official market operations, or could lead to improper gain or advantage.

4.7.00

Subject:    Lottery funds—123845

Reason:    Exemptions 7 and 14—This information is not centrally held by the Department. In most cases applications for Lottery funds are made to the National Lottery distributing bodies voluntarily in confidence.

6.7.00

Subject:    Internal advice—129164/129175

Reason:    Exemption 2—It is not normal practice of Governments to release information relating to internal advice and consultation.

30.10.00

Subject:    Ministerial engagements—134635

Reason:    Exemption 2—It is not the normal practice of Ministers to publish details of their schedule of engagements for legitimate reasons of confidentiality.

14.11.00

Subject:    Royal Art Collection—137547

Reason:    Answer cannot be expanded upon. Responsibility for the care and display of the Royal Collection rests with the Royal Household, not Government.

 

  MEMORANDUM 3

  Submitted by the Ministry of Defence

Thank you for your letter of 11 May about the reasons why information was not provided by the Ministry of Defence in answer to certain parliamentary questions in the session 1999-2000.

In each instance, the reason Defence Ministers were unable to provide the information requested was explained in the answer. In the case of 76 of the 80 cases cited by the Table Office, each refusal concerned a category of information which is expressly exempt from the disclosure commitment under Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Of the remaining four cases, question number 116560, the answer did cite Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice as the information requested was commercially sensitive. Question numbers 108409, 117775 and 133075 explained why the information was not provided although no Exemption Code was cited.

As you requested the attached list follows the example of the Prime Minister's Office in the format of their replies, and in some cases, expands on the reason for withholding the information.

The enclosed schedule gives the relevant details, reiterating the Exemption Code where necessary, for all the cases you listed.

16 August 2001

 

SCHEDULE

26.11  

Subject:    Future budget—Question number 99922

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

 

Subject:    Security costs (Bloody Sunday Inquiry)—Question number 98588

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

30.11  

Subject:    AWE Aldermaston—Question number 100682

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

6.12  

Subject:    US Army Chinook—Question number 101400

Reason:    Exemption 1c—Information received in confidence from foreign governments is not made public.

7.12  

Subject:    NATO decision making—Question number 101336

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

 

 

 

Subject:    Munitions—Question number 101337

(a) Use

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

28.1  

Subject:    (b) Holdings—Question number 107273

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

28.2  

Subject:    (c) Provision levels—Question number 111787

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

Subject:    Procurement—Question number 98481

(a) Cost Estimates

Reason:    Exemption 7—Information whose disclosure could lead to improper gain or advantage. This question covered 20 parts, 12 of which were answered. The remainder were all covered by Exemption 7 as the details are commercial in confidence.

15.12  

Subject:    (b) Number of missiles ordered—Question numbers 100760, 100759

Reason:    Exemptions 1 and 13—Details relating to numbers of missiles ordered is not made public.

21.12

Subject:    C-17—Question numbers 103107, 103108, 103105, 103106

(c) Antonov 124-100

Reason:    Exemption 7 and 13—Information whose disclosure could lead to improper gain or advantage and would harm competitive position of a third party.

3.4  

Subject:    (d) Placing Antonov on British military list—Question number 116598

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

3.4

Subject:    (e) Unit cost of Antonov 124 and Boeing C17—Question number 116560

Reason:    Information withheld as commercially sensitive. The answer quoted Exemption Code 13 as unwarranted disclosure of the costs would harm the competitive position of a third party.

28.1

Subject:    (f) Representations from interested parties—Question number 104404

Reason:    Exemption 13—Information including commercial confidences, trade secrets or intellectual property whose unwarranted disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

 

 

2.2

Subject:    (g) Employment forecasts (A400M Project)—Question number 104420

Reason:    Exemption 13—Information including commercial confidences, trade secrets or intellectual property whose unwarranted disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party. Inappropriate to publish information provided by companies as it is commercially sensitive.

14.3

Subject:    (h) Astute Class Submarines—Question number 113912

Reason:    Exemption 13—Information which is commercial in confidence is not made public.

14.3

Subject:    (i) Strategic Airlift—Question number 113934

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information has security and commercial sensitivities and is not made public.

27.3

Subject:    (j) Global Positioning System—Question number 115750

Reason:    Exemption 7—Part of answer withheld as commercial in confidence.

6.4

Subject:    (k) Invitations to tender (CVR(T) Tank—Question number 117129

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence.

12.4

Subject:    (l) PFI for service accommodation—Question numbers 118063, 118059

Reason:    Exemption 7—Partly answered, however some information was withheld as it was commercially sensitive.

19.4

Subject:    (k) New Carriers—Question numbers 118265, 118268

Reason:    Exemption 2 & 7a—Information whose disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion and lead to improper gain or advantage.

14.12

Subject:    Nuclear Weapons—Question number 102128

(a) US/UK exchanges of information

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information received in confidence from foreign governments is not made public.

10.1

Subject:    (b) Trident missile yields and targets—Question number 104077

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence.

 

 

 

21.3

Subject:    (c) Tritium production—Question number 114444

Reason:    Exemption 1 & 13—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and harm the competitive position of a third party.

3.4

Subject:    Question number 116592

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence.

12.4

Subject:    (d) Experts names—Question number 118513

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

17.5

Subject:    (e) Nuclear accident response plans—Question numbers 1214121, 121348

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence.

15.12

Subject:    Army Intelligence Corps—Question number 101865

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence.

16.12  

Subject:    STANOC Centre, Larkhill—Question numbers 102872, 102873

Reason:    Exemption 13—Only part of the information was withheld as it was commercial in confidence.

16.12

Subject:    Death of Gulf Veterans—Question number 103469

Reason:    Exemption 11a—Where disclosure could be misleading.

10.1

Subject:    Army Foundation College—Question number 102580

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

28.1  

Subject:    Internal discussions and advice—Question number 106726

(a) Record of internal discussions

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

14.3

Subject:    (b) Advice to ministers—Question number 113953

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice to Ministers is not made public.

10.7

Subject:    (c) Internal advice and consultation—Question numbers 129159, 129106, 129178

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

 

 

 

28.1

Subject:    Sale price of Ministry land—Question number 107027

Reason:    Exemption 7—Information withheld as it was commercially confidential.

31.1

Subject:    PFI contract (Defence Helicopter Flying School)—Question number 100284

Reason:    Exemption 11—Exact value of contract withheld.

3.2  

Subject:    Correspondence with Members—Question number 108409

Reason:    It is not the normal practice of Government to make public correspondence with Members which might involve unwarranted disclosure to a third party. Original MP might choose to make the correspondence public. Exemption 12 would have been appropriate.

7.2

Subject:    Operational matters—Question number 108433

(a) Iraq

Reason:    Exemption 1a—It is not Government policy to provide detailed information on operational matters as disclosure would harm national security or defence.

2.3

Subject:    (b) Location of vessel—Question number 111949

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

6.6

Subject:    (c) Allied operations—Question numbers 122846, 122848, 122844, 122847

Reason:    Exemption 1c—It is not Government policy to provide details of information received in confidence from foreign governments.

6.6

Subject:    (d) Authority to attack—Question number 122849

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

7.7

Subject:    (e) Readiness of submarines—Question number 129670

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

9.2

Subject:    Thiepval Barracks—Question number 109082

Reason:    Exemption 1a—Information withheld on the grounds that the reports contained sensitive information which would harm national security or defence.

 

 

 

 

28.2

Subject:    Individuals' details—Question numbers 111699, 111701

(a) Nancekuke study

Reason:    Exemption 12—Unwarranted disclosure to a third party of personal information about any person which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

5.6

Subject:    (b) Personal service record—Question number 123557

Reason:    Exemption 8 & 12—Information, opinions and assessments given in confidence where disclosure would cause invasion of privacy.

8.3

Subject:    Nerve agents—Question number 112367

(i) Toxic doses

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

25.7

Subject:    (ii) Toxicity level—Question number 1030528

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

25.7  

Subject:    Chemical weapons—Question number 130852

Reason:    Exemption 1—Specific quantity withheld information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

21.3

Subject:    Strategic Defence Initiative—Question number 114325

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

21.3  

Subject:    Transport aircraft—Question number 114744

Reason:    Exemption 13—Information withheld to protect third party's commercial confidences.

22.3

Subject:    Live Firing Exercises—Question number 114547

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

3.4

Subject:    Weapons performance—Question number 114214

(a) Light Support Weapon

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security or defence is not made public.

3.4

Subject:    (b) Field Trial Report—Question number 114215

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information withheld on the grounds that the report contained information which would harm national security or defence.

5.4

Subject:    Security matters

(a) Security clearance—Question number 117775

Reason:    As the answer states, it is not appropriate to give details of the particular levels of security clearance held by individuals. The use of Exemption 12 would have been appropriate.

10.4

Subject:    (b) Injunctions—Question number 117260

Reason:    Exemption 4 & 14—Information whose disclosure could prejudice the administration of justice and information given in confidence.

23.5

Subject:    (c) Intelligence activities—Question numbers 122763, 122764

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence is not made public.

19.6

Subject:    (d) Use of informants in Northern Ireland—Question number 126222

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence is not made public.

19.6  

Subject:    (e) Anglo-Irish meeting—Question number 126223

Reason:    Exemption 4, 12 & 14—Information whose disclosure could prejudice the administration of justice and information given in confidence and could facilitate an invasion of privacy.

12.5  

Subject:    RAF Menwith Hill—Question number 121780

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence is not made public.

23.5

Subject:    Joint NBC Regiment—Question numbers 123119, 123116

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence is not made public.

19.6

Subject:    Animal experiments—Question number 125675

Reason:    Exemption 13—Information including commercial confidences, trade secrets or intellectual property whose unwarranted disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

26.6

Subject:    Ballistic Missile Defence—Question number 126940

Reason:    Exemption 1—Information whose disclosure would harm national security and defence is not made public.

24.7

Subject:    Michael John Smith—Question number 132275

Reason:    Exemption 4c—Information whose disclosure could prejudice the administration of justice.

 

27.7

Subject:    Ministerial duty rosters—Question number 133075

Reason:    Not normal practice to publish duty rosters. It would have been appropriate to refer to Exemption 12.

 

  MEMORANDUM 4

  Submitted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

You wrote to John Fuller on 11 May seeking further information about why certain information was withheld by Cabinet Office Ministers in answer to some PQs in the 1999/2000 Parliamentary session.

I attach a Memorandum providing more detail, where appropriate, on the reasons why Cabinet Office Ministers decided to withhold certain information.

26 July 2001

 

21.12.99

Subject:    Ministerial meetings

Reason:    Exemption 2. Information whose disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

3/2/00

Subject:    Correspondence with MPs

Reason:    Exemption 14. Correspondence between MPs and Departments is treated in confidence unless the originating MP chooses to make such issues public.

28/2/00

Subject:    Special advisers to Cabinet Committees

Reason:    Exemption 2. Membership of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is made public. Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees is not made public.

28/2/00

Subject:    Salaries of civil servants

Reason:    Exemption 12. Personal information. It is not the Government's practice to give personal salary details of those employed in the civil service.

27/7/00

Subject:    Ministers' duty rosters

Reason:    Exemption 12. Personal information. It is not normal practice for the Government to publish information which would reveal the details of Ministers' holiday plans.

 

  MEMORANDUM 5

  Submitted by the Department for Education and Skills

Your letter of 11 May requested further information on certain Parliamentary Questions recorded as being "blocked" by the Table Office because of Ministers' refusal to provide answers.

The information you have requested accompanies this letter.

21 September 2001

 

07.12.99

Subject:    Education Service Providers (bids)

Reason:

(101504)    The response to the question was limited by the "commercial in confidence" nature of the documents requested. Releasing such information would not only have damaged the companies' competitiveness in procurement exercises, but would have breached a well established convention designed to protect business and commercial activities. Such information is covered by exemption 13 to the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

12.01.00

Subject:    Remploy

Reason:

(104095)    The Bourton report is a commercially sensitive document and was withheld under Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Specifically:

Exemption 7—disclosure could prejudice Remploy's commercial or contractual activities;

Exemption 13: disclosure could harm the competitive position of a third party; and Exemption 14: Remploy was not under any legal obligation to supply the information to the department and had not consented to its disclosure.

16.02.00

Subject:    Correspondence with Members

Reason:

(108410)    Exemption 14—Correspondence between MPs and Ministers is not made public.

19.07.00

Subject:    Internal advice

Reason:

129146/    Exemption 2—Internal advice is not made public.

129180

 

  MEMORANDUM 6

  Submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Before Christmas you wrote to Brian Bender requesting the DEFRA return on why certain information was withheld in answer to some PQs in the 1999/2000 Parliamentary Session. I have been asked to reply. With apologies for the delay I attach the information requested. I should point out that 2 of the questions you have allocated to this Department, were in fact answered by the Northern Ireland Office and the Home Office. This has been made clear in the attached schedule.

21 January 2002

 

7/12/99

Subject:    100273 Badgers (TB)

Reason:    Exemption 12—Privacy of an individual. Disclosure of information to third party could facilitate an unwarranted invasion of privacy

11/01/00

Subject:    101749 Pesticides

Reason:    Exemption 13—Third party's commercial confidences. Disclosure of information including commercial confidences would harm the competitive position of the third party

25/01/00

Subject:    105512 CAP Payments

Reason:    Exemption 13—Third party's commercial confidences. Disclosure of information including commercial confidences would harm the competitive position of the third party.

10/02/00

Subject:    108404 Correspondence

Reason:    Exemption 14—Information given in confidence.

29/03/00

Subject:    100175 Correspondence

Reason:    This Question was tabled to and answered by the Northern Ireland Office

21/02/00

Subject:    108484 Beef Exports

Reason:    Exemption 13—Third party's commercial confidences. Disclosure of information including commercial confidences would harm the competitive position of the third party.

28/02/00

Subject:    107237 Leaked and internal documents

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice. Disclosure of information would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

 

 

 

 

15/05/00

Subject:    121955 Advice to Ministers

Reason:    Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice. Disclosure of information would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

13/06/00

Subject:    125902 Animal Experiments

Reason:    This question was tabled to and answered by The Home Office

 

  MEMORANDUM 7

  Submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

In his letter of 11 May to Sir John Kerr, Philip Aylett asked that the FCO expand on the reasons it has given for withholding information in response to certain Parliamentary Questions tabled in the 1999-2000 Session.

I understand that, following the General Election, the new Public Administration Select Committee has confirmed the request and that when we spoke on 13 November you confirmed that a letter requesting this information would issue shortly.

As requested in Philip Aylett's letter and confirmed in our telephone conversation, I am sending the information in the tabular format requested.

16 November 2001

 

23.11.99

Subject:    Murdered hostages (Chechnya) 99250

Reason:    Exemptions 1c and 14a—information provided in confidence; 14b—disclosure could prejudice future cooperation; and 4—law enforcement and legal proceedings.

8.12.99

Subject:    Intelligence Operations (Echelon)100839

18.1.00

Subject:    Intelligence reports 104857

29.3.00

Subject:    Intelligence sharing between UK/US 116353

20.6.00

Subject:    Surveillance systems 126298

Reason:    The Security and Intelligence Services are not within the scope of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, nor is information obtained from or relating to them. It remains the long-standing practice of successive governments not to provide information on the activities of, or speculation about, the intelligence and security services which could have a bearing on the operational effectiveness of the agencies, or the safety of their staff and those who operate with them. The reasons were set out by the then Prime Minister in his written answer of 14 July 1994 (Hansard col 711).

27.1.00

Subject:    EU Handbooks 106162

Reason:    Exemption 1b, 2 and 7(a)—The disclosure of these documents would harm the conduct of international relations or affairs, and the frankness and candour of internal discussion and advice. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information available.

15.5.00

Subject:    EU Working Groups 121511

Reason:    Exemption 15—statutory restrictions. Confidential discussions between officials from EU Member States within CFSP Working Groups are covered by the exemption in Article 4 of the Council Decision of 20 December 1993 on access to Council Documents. This is in line with exemption 15(a) of the Code (information whose disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment, regulation, European Community law or international agreement).

In fact a very full answer was given to this question. On reflection, it would have been possible to add, without incurring disproportionate expense that the mandate of the Working Groups, in very general terms, follows Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union, that they should cover 'all areas of foreign and security policy'.

18.1.00

Subject:    Threat Assessment 104859

Reason:    Exemption 1a—It is the long standing practice of successive governments not to disclose information that would harm national security where there is no public interest in its release.

18.1.00

Subject:    Financial links between Iran and Hamas 104858

Reason:    Exemption 1a—It is the long standing practice of successive governments not to disclose information that would harm national security where there is no public interest in its release.

18.1.00

Subject:    Data on countries which sponsor terrorism 104770

Reason:    Exemption 1a—It is the long standing practice of successive governments not to disclose information that would harm national security where there is no public interest in its release.

25.1.00

Subject:    Sources of funds for Islamic Jihad 106540

Reason:    Exemption 1a—It is the long standing practice of successive governments not to disclose information that would harm national security where there is no public interest in its release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20.1.00

Subject:    Correspondence with other Governments (Pinochet) 106009

Reason:    Exemption 1c—Information received in confidence from foreign governments.

Furthermore, the non-disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 prohibit the disclosure of personal data to third parties. This is in line with exemption 15 of the Code (Statutory restrictions).

24.1.00

Subject:    Internal discussions 106646

Reason:    Exemptions 1(b) and 2—To release the minutes of internal meetings and deliberations would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion and could harm the conduct of international relations. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information available.

3.2.00

Subject:    Correspondence with Members 108401

Reason:    Exemptions 14 and 15—This information cannot be released as it was supplied in confidence and cannot be made available without the consent of the supplier.

17.2.00

Subject:    Sale of Property—names of buyers 110512

Reason:    Exemptions 7(a) and 13—to disclose this information, which is commercially confidential, could unreasonably disadvantage the other parties involved in the course of their lawful business, commercial and financial affairs. Disclosure could also undermine the reputation of the FCO and its future negotiating position and commercial activities. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information available. It notes that it was however possible to give a very full answer giving the location of properties sold, and prices obtained.

5.5.00

Subject:    Sale of Property—Price etc 119326

Reason:    Exemptions 7 (a) and 13—to disclose this information, which is commercially confidential, could undermine the reputation of the FCO and prejudice the competitive position of the FCO and the effective conduct of its commercial activities. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information publicly available. The Member asking for the information was however given it in confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.2.00

Subject:    Departmental meetings 110510

Reason:    Ministers and civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and analysis. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, Civil Service Code and guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists. Some of these discussions take place on a confidential basis and, in order to preserve confidentiality, it is not the normal practice of Governments to release details of specific meetings with private individuals or companies.

This point was reinforced in the Government's response to the Sixth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, published in July 2000.

6.3.00

Subject:    UK/French Joint Nuclear Commission 112417 to 112422

Reason:    Exemption 1 (a & b)—to release records of these meetings would harm national security or defence and the conduct of international relations or affairs. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information available.

24.3.00

Subject:    Import & export of nuclear materials 116268

Reason:    Exemption 1 (a and b) and 2—To release such correspondence would harm national security or defence, the conduct of international relations and the frankness and candour of internal discussion. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information available.

2.5.00

Subject:    Internal Advice 120045

Reason:    Exemption 2—To release internal advice and the source of such advice would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion. The FCO believes that the harm from disclosure outweighs the public interest in making the information available.

27.7.00

Subject:    Ministerial Holidays 132939

Reason:    Exemption 15 (statutory restrictions)—The non-disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 prohibit the disclosure of personal data to third parties except where an exemption applies. The FCO does not believe that any of the exemptions to these provisions apply in this case.

27.7.00

Subject:    Ministerial duty rosters 133072

Reason:    It is not the normal practice of Government to publish the daily ministerial Duty Roster. The FCO did however fulfil the undertaking given in answer to the question, that it would maintain sufficient cover through the summer recess in line with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

 

  MEMORANDUM 8

  Submitted by the Department of Health

I am replying to your letters of 11 May 2001 and 20 November 2001, which I understand were discussed at your meeting with Olga Senior and Trish Fretten on 5 February. I apologise for the long delay in replying—the reason for which, I trust, was explained to you then.

I am told that you were given copies of the relevant Hansard references which demonstrate, in our opinion, that we did not block the questions identified in your letters. As is usual practice, we either followed Cabinet Office guidance on questions directed at more than one department or referred to the appropriate section of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

I hope this has resolved the matter, and I apologise again for not meeting your original deadline.

18 March 2002

 

  MEMORANDUM 9

  Submitted by the Home Office

Thank you for your letter of 11 May to Mr John Gieve requesting further explanation of why the Home Office had withheld some information whilst answering certain Parliamentary Questions.

I attach a list giving reasons for Ministers not giving full answers and, where applicable, the corresponding reference to the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

If you need any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

24 August 2001

 

 

Date

Subject

PQ reply

Reason

Reference to Code

23.11.99;

column 66

Security matters—costs

Not in public interest to disclose information that could compromise the security arrangements relating to public figures [99258; 99259]

Information is not made public about the nature or costs of the security measures provided to the Royal Family or other public figures as to do so can provide terrorists and other potential attackers with sufficient information enable them to determine levels of protection being provided, and to whom, in a way which would increase vulnerability of those identified as targets.

Part II, exemption one (bullet one)

2.5.99;

column 76

Security matters

—individual records

Long-standing Government policy neither to confirm or deny whether security or intelligence agencies hold records on any individual. [120048]

To give a full reply would impair the operational effectiveness of the Security and Intelligence Agencies in fulfilling their statutory functions under the Security Service and Intelligence Services Acts.

Part II, exemption one (bullet one)

20.11.2000

column 90

Security matters

—extremist political involvement

Policy of successive Governments not to comment on extremist political involvement in matters. [139019]

It is not appropriate to respond to requests which may carry a danger of exposing confidential sources.

Part II, exemption two (bullet four)

24.11.99;

columns

123-126

Police deployment

For Chief Officers to determine staffing levels and deployment within the resources available. [99056; 98518; 98519]

The Home Secretary has no power to determine police numbers. That was a responsibility passed by him to Chief Constables under the provisions of the Police & Magistrates' Court Act 1994 (consolidated in the Police Act 1996). It is therefore for Chief Officers of Police to decide on how the force budget will be allocated in respect of the numbers of officers employed, deployment of police officers and where police buildings are situated.

N/A

7.3.2000

column 568

Personal protection (Senator Pinochet)

Number of officers employed and cost relating to protection of Senator Pinochet withheld for security reasons; number of officers deployed an operational matter for the relevant chief officers of police. [113513; 113514]

For reasons of security details of cost and number of officers involved are not disclosed because of the assistance it could offer to terrorist and like minded organisations. The cost to the Surrey Police has since been published in a later PQ about all Senator Pinochet related costs.

Part II, exemption one (bullet one)

29.11.99; column 8

Commission for Racial Equality (settlement of claims)

Details of individual settlements relating to claims of racial discrimination by employees of the CRE confidential between the parties. [100211]

Information by virtue of the fact that it is information whose disclosure could prejudice the proceedings of the Employment Tribunal (whether actual or likely) is not disclosed. In each case a confidentiality agreement was signed by both parties.

Part II, exemption four (bullet one)

15.11.99; column 211

Communications between Ministers and officials.

Internal discussion and advice exempt from the commitments to provide access to Government Information. [101709]

The specific level at which particular decisions are taken, which particular Minister or official took the decision, or the manner in which a Minister consults colleagues is not normally disclosed.

Part II, exemption two (bullet two)

1.2.2000; column 509

Discussions between Ministers

Normal convention that discussions between ministers are not disclosed. [106650]

The specific level at which particular decisions are taken, which particular Minister or official took the decision, or the manner in which a Minister consults colleagues is not normally disclosed.

Part II, exemption two (bullet two)

21.12.99; column 489

Immigration —Individual Cases

Detailed records on individual overseas nationals are confidential. [102775]

Detailed records on individual overseas nationals are not made public.

Part II, exemption five

6.3.2000; column 542

Asylum— Accommodation

All information about organisations which have tendered to provide accommodation for asylum seekers under the national asylum support scheme and the details of their bids is commercially confidential. [113315]

At the time the question was asked NASS was in negotiation with a number of companies who had tendered to provide accommodation for asylum seekers. Information such as commercial confidences whose unwarranted disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party is not made public.

Part II, exemption thirteen

24.1.2000; column 20

Communications with other Governments (General Pinochet)

Not practice to make publicly available the contents of correspondence with other Governments; details of this nature are confidential to the Governments concerned.

Government policy is that discussions and correspondence with foreign governments are normally undertaken on a confidential basis; to release the content of such dialogue would damage the good working arrangements that the UK usually has with foreign governments where those governments participate in the dialogue on the expectation of confidentiality, and would be harmful to the conduct of international relations. There appeared at that stage to be no overriding public interest in making the information available.

Part II, exemption one (bullets two & three)

27.1.2000; column 232

Negotiating positions of member states.

Not practice to disclose negotiating positions of EU member states. [106423]

Article 6 of the European Council's Rules of Procedure says that the deliberations of Council shall be covered by the obligation of professional secrecy except insofar as the Council decides otherwise. The Member States have a duty under Article 10 TEC, not to impair the application of those Rules

Part II, exemption fifteen

3.2.2000; column 700

Correspondence with Members

Correspondence with Members confidential unless the Member wishes otherwise. [108408]

As in reply.

Part II, exemption fourteen

3.2.2000; column 707

Burns Inquiry (appointments)

Invidious to give details of merits of persons not appointed to the enquiry. [108181]

Information given in confidence in relation to public employment and public appointments made by Ministers of the Crown is not made public.

Part II, exemption eight

22.2.2000;

column 878

Animal experiments

S.24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prohibits the naming of applicants for licences under the Act. [110987; 111048; 110989; 111015; 111083; 111013; 110988]

Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prohibits the naming of applicants for licences under the Act.

Part II, exemption fifteen

27.3.2000; column 5

Legal Advice

Not policy to disclose details of legal advice in relation to commercial arrangements for installation and operation of Information Technology. [116294]

Information covered by legal professional privilege or that which results from internal advice is not made public.

Part II, exemption four (bullet four) and also Part II, exemption two (bullet two)

24.5.2000; column 488

Extradition

Long standing policy not to comment on whether an extradition request has been made for a particular individual. [123047]

It is official UK policy never to confirm or deny whether a person is the subject of extradition proceedings; to do so could enable a fugitive criminal to evade the forces of law and order, and place the UK in breach of its international operations.

Part II, exemption four (bullet four)

27.7.2000;

column 900

Ministerial Duty Rosters

Not normal practice to publish duty rosters. [132976; 133076]

Unwarranted disclosure to a third party of personal information about any personal information about any person or any other disclosure which would constitute or could facilitate an unwarranted invasion of privacy is not disclosed. Disclosing Ministerial rosters could inadvertently cause details of Ministers' holidays to be disclosed.

Part II, exemption twelve

 

  MEMORANDUM 10

  Submitted by the Department for International Development

I am replying to Philip Aylett's letter of 20 November to Sir John Vereker requesting details of Parliamentary Questions that were "blocked" during the last Session. I should first apologise for failing to respond to the original request but I spent much of June and July in hospital and by the time I returned to the Office I had completely forgotten about it.

I attach a pro-forma setting out the details of why we withheld the information requested. If you do need any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

As requested in Philip's letter, I enclose a disk containing this letter and the pro-forma. I will also send you both by electronic mail.

12 December 2001

 

24 January 2000 Question No 106343: Special Advisers (CVs)

Reason: this is standard human resource policy, supported by the Data Protection Act: personal details cannot be disclosed without the permission of the individual.

27 January 2000 Question No 106447: Cabinet Committees

Reason: Exemption 2—membership of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is made public. Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees is confidential.

 

4 February 2000 Question No 108405: Correspondence with Members

Reason: Exemption 2—it is not the normal practice of Government to make public correspondence which is sent in confidence unless the Member wishes otherwise.

 

  MEMORANDUM 11

  Submitted by the Lord Chancellor's Department

I refer to your letter of 20 November and, once again, apologise for the delay in responding to you. As my Private Secretary stated on 22 November, it appears that somehow your letter of 11 May was not properly dealt with and I have made it clear that this was unacceptable.

I will now comment on the parliamentary questions in the order set out in the attachment to your letter:

1.  Number 102824, answered on 20 December 1999, Official Report, Column 315W.

The minister declined to publish the value-for-money study relating to a PFI contract for magistrates courts in Derbyshire because this information was commercially sensitive. It was properly withheld under exemption 7 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (the Code).

2.  Number 103610, answered on 10 January 2000, Official Report, Column 36W.

Mr McNamara asked what training the judiciary in Northern Ireland and Scotland had been given to prepare for the incorporation of the ECHR into domestic law. A full answer was provided for the judiciary in Northern Ireland as this was part of the Lord Chancellor's Department's responsibilities. As regards the Scottish judiciary, Mr McNamara was referred to the Scottish Executive. It is a devolved matter and, in any event, the Lord Chancellor's Department has never been responsible for training the judiciary in Scotland.

3.  Number 105335, answered on 19 January 2000, Official Report, Column 505W.

The information requested by Dr Cable was provided in the answer in anonymised form. It would not be proper to disclose the names of complainants against the judiciary without their consent. This information can be properly withheld under exemptions 12 and 14 of the Code. Nor would it be proper to disclose the names of those judges against whose conduct complaints are made as these are essentially personnel matters and the information may be properly withheld under exemption 7 of the Code. Only in those cases where the Lord Chancellor finds that a complaint is justified, and reprimands or takes other disciplinary action against a judge, would it be proper to place such information in the public domain.

4.  Number 122479, answered on 16 May, Official Report, Column 118W

Mr Bottomley called for a report on the conduct of a trial. It would have inconsistent with the constitutional principle of the independence of the judiciary for the executive to have complied with Mr Bottomley's request. The proper avenue for those dissatisfied with the conduct or outcome of a trial is to appeal to a higher court. This request was properly declined under exemption 4 of the Code.

5.  Number 107026, answered 31 January 2000, Official Report, Column 473W

Mrs Curtis-Thomas asked a question relating to legal proceedings. It is not appropriate to comment on individual cases, particularly as these cases involve children. This information was properly withheld under exemption 4 of the Code.

6.  Number 108399, answered 3 February 2000, Official Report, Column 727W

This was a 'round robin' question. The Department followed the long-standing parliamentary convention that correspondence between Members of Parliament and Departments is treated in confidence unless the originating Members chooses to make it public.

7.  Number 130603, answered 25 July 2000, Official Report, Column 537W

In answering this question, the Minister did not withhold any information requested by the Member of Parliament. She declined his request for a review and state the Government's policy on this issue. The Minister was perfectly entitled to refuse the request for a review of the policy.

8.  Number 133171, answered 27 July 2000, Official Report, Column 872W

This was another 'round robin' question. The Department followed the long-standing convention that the Ministerial Roster is not published. Neither is it normal practice to disclose Minister's holiday plans as this is essentially personal information and is properly withheld under exemption 12 of the Code.

Conclusion

In sum, I believe that none of the answers given to the above Parliamentary Questions should be described as 'blocking' replies. Full answers were given where possible. Information was only withheld where an exemption applied under the Code, or where to provide the information requested would have contravened a long-established convention or constitutional principle.

4 December 2001

 

  MEMORANDUM 11

  Submitted by the Northern Ireland Office

Thank you for your letter of 20 November in which you reminded me of the outstanding request for a fuller explanation of why it was necessary to withhold information in answers to particular Parliamentary Questions. I have looked into this matter and am pleased to able to provide the attached schedule providing more detail, where appropriate, on the reasons why the Secretary of State decided to withhold certain information. I apologise for the delay in supplying this information.

As requested, I also enclose a disk containing the above information.

30 November 2001

 

 

8.2.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Correspondence with Members of Parliament (108406)

Reason:

 

Exemption 14—Information not released as it was given in confidence by persons who were not under any legal obligation to do so and have not consented to its disclosure.

 

14.2.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Contributors to consultation (Parades Commission) (110048)

 

Reason:

 

Exemption 14 (a)—information withheld on grounds that it was supplied in confidence and contributors have not consented to its disclosure.

 

15.2.00

 

 

Subject:

 

RUC (individual operational responsibilities (108429)

Reason:

Exemption 8(a)—Information withheld as it related to personnel records relating to public appointments as well as employees of public authorities.

 

2. 3.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Security (Rosemary Nelson) (103817)

Reason:

Exemption 2—Information not released as it is not normal practice of Government to make public the content of meetings with groups and individuals whose disclosure could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

 

22.5.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Surveillance (Listening Device) (118979)

Reason:

Exemption 1—The Government does not comment on matters of intelligence.

 

12.6.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Shootings (prejudice to proceedings) (124326)

Reason:

Exemptions 4(a) and 4(b)—To disclose the information could prejudice the enforcement of proper administration of the law, including the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

 

17.7.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Internal Advice (129172 & 129158)

Reason:

Exemption 2—information relates to internal advice/consultation whose disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion

 

27.7.00

 

 

Subject:

 

Ministerial Duty Rosters (133073)

Reason:

 

Exemptions 1 & 12—Information withheld on security grounds and also because disclosure would constitute or facilitate an unwarranted invasion of privacy of an individual.

 

 

  MEMORANDUM 13

  Submitted by the Prime Minister's Office

You asked for information about why certain information was withheld by the Prime Minister in answer to certain PQs in the 1999/2000 session. I am sorry for the delay in replying. The information requested is attached.

1 February 2002

 

 

Number

Date

Subject

Reason for Refusal

1

6 December 1999

Private Meetings

Exemption 2. It is not the normal practice of the Government to release details of specific meetings or their content as some of these discussions may have taken place on a confidential basis.

 

2

7 December 1999

Cabinet Committees

Exemption 2. Membership of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is made public. Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is confidential.

 

3

7 February 2000

Correspondence with Members

Exemption 14. Correspondence between MPs and Departments is treated in confidence unless the originating MP chooses to make such issues public.

 

4

9 March 2000

Confidential Information from Foreign Governments

Exemption 1(c). Information received in confidence from foreign governments, foreign courts or international organisations is not made public.

 

5

20 March 2000

Honours

Exemption 8. Information, opinions and assessments given in relation to recommendations for honours is not made public.

 

6

20 April 2000

Internal Advice

Exemption 2. Internal discussion and advice is not made public.

 

7

25 May 2000

Honours (Removal)

Exemption 8. Information, opinions and assessments given in relation to honours is not made public.

 

8

28 July 2000

Leak Inquiries

Exemption 7(b). Information relating to leak investigations and the action taken in each case is withheld on the grounds that it could harm the efficient conduct and operations of individual Departments.

 

9

28 July 2000

Civil Servants Pay

Exemption 12. Personal information. It is not normal practice for the Government to publish the detail of individual civil servants' pay in order to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned.

 

10

10 November 2000

Value of Sites—the Dome

Exemption 7. Information withheld as disclosure could prejudice: the competitive position/negotiations.

 

 

  MEMORANDUM 14

  Submitted by the Scotland Office

Philip Aylett's letter to Eric Ferguson of 11 May requested reasons for the 'withholding of information' to a number of Parliamentary Questions in Session 1999-2000. I now attach as an enclosure the contribution from the Scotland Office.

18 September 2001

 

PQ No. 127330

Subject:    Revenue Funding

Reason:    This question was addressed to and answered by the Home Office. Not for the Scotland Office therefore.

PQ No. 123576

Subject:    Local Economic Development

Reason:    This question was addressed to and answered by the DTI. Not for the Scotland Office therefore.

PQ Nos. 101754, 103611, 112042, 126692, 126271, 109633, 114016, 101244

Subject:    Devolved Matters

Reason:    All of these questions were answered on the lines that they raised matters that are the responsibility of the Scottish Executive or the Scottish Parliament. This is in line with the resolution approved by the House of Commons on 25 October 1999 that in general, parliamentary questions may not be tabled at Westminster on matters that have been devolved to Scotland.

PQ No. 129916

Subject:    Relocation of Scottish Executive Civil Service Posts

Reason:    The "blocking" part of the answer simply states that the policy in relation to the relocation of civil servants who work for the Scottish Executive is a matter for the Scottish Parliament. That part of the answer also provided additional information by referring to announcements made by the Scottish Executive in relation to relocation of public service jobs. This should not, therefore, be regarded as a blocking answer.

 

 

PQ Nos. 129166 and 129177

Subject:    Internal Advice

Reason:    Exemption II—The answer to these questions referred to the appropriate exemption in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information thus giving the reason why the information could not be provided.

PQ No. 108398

Subject:    Correspondence

Reason:    Exemption II—In accordance with convention, correspondence received by Departments from Members is treated in confidence.

PQ Nos. 133078 and 133146

Subject:    Ministerial Duty Roster

Reason:    Exemption II—It is not normal practice to publish the daily Ministerial Duty Roster

PQ No. 101249, 112042

Subject:    Legal Advice

Reason:    Exemption 4(d)—Information covered by legal professional privilege.

 

  MEMORANDUM 15

  Submitted by the Department of Trade and Industry

Earlier this year you asked for a memorandum identifying the reasons for withholding information in a number of answers to Parliamentary Questions given by the Department of Trade and Industry in the 1999-2000 session.

In the attached memorandum we have linked each of the answers listed in your letter to the relevant exemption under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. As my predecessor noted in response to the Committee's enquiry last year the Parliamentary Clerk will continue to monitor draft answers prepared by the Department and where necessary emphasise the importance of the Code.

October 2001

 

Departmental Support

9 Dec 1999    (100550)

Subject    Royalties from Launch Aid

17 Jan 2000    (104767)

Subject    Financial support for glass factory

9 Feb 2000    (109004)

Subject    Application for export credit support

2 March 2000    (112411)

Subject    Amount of export credit support

 

 

26 July 2000    (131892)

Subject    Grant to BAe Systems

Reason    Exemption 13—Information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

29 March 2000  (116218)

Subject    Application for grant

Reason    Code exemption not necessary as no information was refused; the company had not applied for a grant

 

Post Office (Benefit Payments)

20 December 1999  (103143)

21 June 2000    (124713)

Subject    Cost to Post Office of processing benefit payments

Reason    Exemption 13—Information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

21 December 1999  (101609)

Subject    Payment of Benefits

Question answered by HM Treasury

 

ADD Report on the Synchrotron project

19 Jan 2000    (105625)

Subject    Publication of report

Reason    Exemptions 2 and 7 claimed in answer

 

Horizon Working Group

20 Jan 2000    (104724)

Subject    Publication of Working Group report

Reason    Exemption 2—information whose disclosure would harm the "frankness and candour of internal discussion", and Exemption 13—information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

 

Departmental Inquiries

20 January 2000  (104670)

Subject    Publication of report into investigations

Reason    Exemption 15—information whose disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment.

 

 

Grants to businesses

27 January 2000  (105874)

Subject    Action to recover grants

Reason    Exemption 13—Information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

 

Mergers (Representations)

27 January 2000  (106144)

20 March 2000  (115213)

3 July 2000    (128493)

Subject    Representations regarding mergers

Reason    Exemption 13—Information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party, and 14(a)—information supplied in confidence.

 

Communication

7 February 2000  (108397)

Subject    Correspondence with Members

Reason    Exemption 14—information supplied in confidence

3 March 2000    (112354)

Subject    Correspondence with Companies Release of exchange of letters

Reason    Exemption 14—information supplied in confidence

3 March 2000    (112355)

Subject    Release of exchange of letters with Japanese Government

Reason    Exemption 1c—Information received in correspondence from foreign Governments

20 March 2000  (114082)

Subject    Release of correspondence with British Embassy

Reason    Exemption 2—confidential communication between departments

14 April 2000    (118721)

Subject    Release of internal correspondence

Reason    Exemption 2—confidential communication between departments and Exemption 13 information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.

20 June 2000    (126286)

Subject    Release of correspondence with the European Commission

Reason    Exemption 1c—Information received in confidence from an international organisation.

Sellafield MOX plant

7 February 2000  (106713)

Subject    Release of contract information

Reason    Exemption 13—Information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party

 

Affairs of particular companies

3 March 2000    (112735)

6 March 2000    (113038)

Subject    Investigation into companies

Reason    Exemption 4 (c)—Information relating to investigations which have or might have resulted in proceedings.

 

A3XX Super-Jumbo Project

17 March 2000  (115137)

3 April 2000    (116950)

7 April 2000    (118263/118261)

Subject    Release of independent appraisal of project

Reason    Exemption 13—Information whose disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party

 

DTI investigations

29 March 2000  (114471)

Subject    DTI investigations

Reason    Exemption 4—law enforcement and legal proceedings

 

Internal advice

3 May 2000    (120046/120050/120304)

24 May 2000    (122942/122943)

10 July 2000    (129179/129153)

Subject    Internal advice

Reason    Exemption 2—confidential communications between departments, public bodies and regulatory bodies

 

Allegations against companies

21 June 2000    (127079/127080)

Subject    Court action overseas

Reason    Exemption 4 (a)— information whose disclosure is, has been, or is likely to be addressed in the context of [legal] proceedings.

Matters for the London Mayor

22 June 2000    (127139)

Subject    Inward investment in London

Reason    Responsibility has passed to the London Development Agency

 

Leak Inquiries

22 November 2000  (139248)

Subject    Publication of findings of inquiries

Reason    Exemption 7(b)—Information whose disclosure would harm the proper and efficient conduct of a department

 

  MEMORANDUM 16

  Submitted by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions

Thank you for your letter of 20 November, following up your request, made before the election, for information on why DETR Ministers refused to answer Parliamentary Questions during the 1999-2000 Session.

I apologise for the delay in responding. We had been waiting for advice from within Government on handling the earlier request following the changes after the Election. I now attach a table listing the PQs you identified and explaining why the information was not provided (where appropriate giving the relevant exemption under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information).

21 December 2001

 

 

 

13.1.00

 

 

Subject:

Reason:

Millennium Dome (Financial Value): 104437

Exemption 13—Commercial confidentiality

 

 

3.2.00 & 20.11.00

 

Subject:

Reason:

Correspondence: 108402

Exemption 2—It is not the normal practice of Government to make public correspondence which is sent in confidence

 

24.3.00

 

 

Subject:

Reason:

Future Engagements: 116261

It is not the normal practice of Governments to give details of Ministers' forthcoming engagements, primarily due to security considerations and the uncertainty of their diaries

 

 

20.4.00, 19.05.00 & 7.7.00

 

Subject:

Reason:

Advice: Internal Advice: 12004, 120586, 129161, 129181

Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public

 

 

26.6.00 & 27.6.00

 

Subject:

Reason:

Advice: Legal Advice: 127314

Exemption 2—Internal discussion and advice is not made public

 

 

 

Matters for the London Mayor

13.6.00

 

 

Subject:

Reason:

Congestion Taxes (London): 124013, 124027

From 3 July 2000, this is a matter for the London Mayor.

 

 

3.7.00, 26.7.00 & 27.7.00

 

Subject:

Reason:

GLA Roads: 128382, 128295, 133168, 133165, 133170, 133167, 133166, 133169, 133175

From 3 July 2000, these are matters for the London Mayor.

 

17.7.00

 

 

Subject:

Reason:

Single Regeneration Budget: 130509

From 3 July 2000, this is a matter for the London Mayor.

 

13.7.00

 

 

Subject:

Reason:

Confidential Communications: 130438

Exemption 2—It is not the normal practice of Government to make public confidential communications between Departments and public bodies

 

 

  MEMORANDUM 17

  Submitted by HM Treasury

Thank you for your letter of 11 May to Sir Andrew Turnbull about "blocked" written questions in the 1999-2000 session.

In each of the 19 cases cited by the Table Office the reason why the Table Office the reason why the information could not be provided was explained in the written answer. Non-disclosure was permissible under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The enclosed note gives the relevant details in the form you requested.

This letter and enclosure are also being sent to you by e-mail.

18 May 2001

 

22 November 1999 (Q99194)

Proposals for simplifying capital gains tax system

Exemptions 6 & 10. Possible future Budget changes cannot be anticipated

24 November 1999 (Q99509)

Customs and Excise investigations

Exemption 4. It is not normal practice to disclose information provided to Customs and Excise in connection with their enforcement and investigation responsibilities

 

6 December 1999 (Q100862)

Adlearn Foundation

Exemption 12. The Inland Revenue has a statutory duty of confidentiality in respect of all taxpayers' affairs.

13 December 1999 (Q102150)

Gold Reserves

Exemption 13. Details of any arrangements the Bank of England has with other central banks are commercially confidential

20 December 1999 (Q103053)

Joint Ministerial Committee

Exemption 2. Proceedings of the Joint Ministerial Committee are confidential in order to permit free and candid discussion

12 January 2000 (Q105332)

Smuggling

Exemptions 2 & 6. The information sought was personal and confidential advice to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it included issues of operational sensitivity to Customs and Excise

24 January 2000 (Q105443)

Ministerial Shareholdings

Exemption 2. Advice to Ministers from civil servants is confidential

24 January 2000 (Q106167)

National Insurance Records

Exemption 12. Public disclosure of personal information about an individual would be unwarranted

3 February 2000 (Q108412)

Correspondence with Members

Exemption 12. Correspondence with Members is treated in confidence

28 February 2000 (Q112041)

Prices secured for resale of contraband goods

Exemption 13. Information requested is commercially confidential

30 March 2000 (Q116717)

Deployment of anti-smuggling staff

Exemption 6. Disclosure would assist tax avoidance and evasion

30 March 2000 (Qs116719 & 116716)

Drug seizures

Exemptions 4 & 6. Disclosure would prejudice law enforcement and assist tax avoidance or evasion

5 April 2000 (Qs117321 & 117345)

Capital Modernisation Fund

Exemption 7. Disclosure would prejudice the successful operation of the scheme

7 July 2000 (Q129152 & 129173)

Ministerial Code

Exemption 2. The circumstances in which Ministers consult colleagues and seek advice from the Permanent Secretary is not made public

27 July 2000 (Q133060)

Ministerial Duty Roster

Exemption 2. Information relating to Ministers' movements and their availability during Parliamentary recesses is not made public by long-standing convention

 

  MEMORANDUM 18

  Submitted by the Wales Office

Thank you for your letter of 20 November referring to your letter of 11 May.

I interpreted the guidance in your letter of 11 May as meaning that there was no need for me to reply. Of the 17 questions listed, 14 were matters for the National Assembly for Wales, one quoted the exemption under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and I thought at the time that I could add nothing to the answers given to the other two.

On re-reading, however, I see that this assessment may have been mistaken in the case of the last question listed and I apologise.

The information you request is attached.

3 December 2001

 

You have sought further information about why the Secretary of State for Wales decided to withhold information in response to a number of Parliamentary Questions.

The information is below.

December 2001

27.7.00

Subject:    Ministerial Duty Rosters

Reason:    There are only two Ministers at the Wales Office. Between them the Secretary of State and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State ensure that there is Ministerial cover in the summer adjournment and other recess periods.

 

  MEMORANDUM 19

  Submitted by the Department for Work and Pensions

Philip Aylett's letter dated 20 November 2000 to Rachel Lomax seeking further information on why information was withheld in answer to certain PQs in the last Parliamentary session refers. The questions in the list were all for the former Department of Social Security.

I attach a table that sets out for each question the reason information was withheld and the appropriate reference in the Code of Practice On Access To Government Information.

19 December 2001

 

 

29.11.99

PQ no. 99572

Subject:

Industrial injuries scheme (individual complaints)

Reason:

Code of Practice part II paragraphs 12 and 14. Personal information about claimants is confidential.

 

 

 

 

18.1.00

PQ no. 104991 and 104990

Subject:

Legal advice

Reason:

Code of Practice part II paragraph 2. Internal advice is confidential

 

 

 

 

3.2.00

PQ no.108411

Subject:

Correspondence with Members

Reason:

Code of Practice part II paragraphs 12 and 14. Correspondence from MPs is confidential.

 

 

 

 

9.3.00

PQ no.113620 113621

Subject:

Cabinet committees

Reason:

Code of Practice part II paragraph 2. Proceedings of Cabinet committees are confidential.

 

 

 

 

 

11.7.00

 

PQ no.129154 129169

Subject:

Internal advice

Reason:

Code of Practice part II paragraph 2. Internal advice is confidential.

 

 

 

 

 

27.7.00

PQ no.133057

Subject:

Ministerial duty rosters

Reason:

Code of Practice part II paragraph 1. It is the custom across Government not to give details of Ministers movements for security reasons.

 


 
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