Freedom of Information Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART II, EXEMPT INFORMATION - continued

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Audit functions.     31. - (1) This section applies to any public authority which has functions in relation to-
 
 
    (a) the audit of the accounts of other public authorities, or
 
    (b) the examination of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which other public authorities use their resources in discharging their functions.
      (2) Information held by a public authority to which this section applies is exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the exercise of any of the authority's functions in relation to any of the matters referred to in subsection (1).
 
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to a public authority to which this section applies if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice the exercise of any of the authority's functions in relation to any of the matters referred to in subsection (1).
 
Parliamentary privilege.     32. - (1) Information is exempt information if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for the purpose of avoiding an infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament.
 
      (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not apply if, or to the extent that, exemption from section 1(1)(a) is required for the purpose of avoiding an infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament.
 
      (3) A certificate signed by the appropriate authority certifying that exemption from section 1(1)(b), or from section 1(1)(a) and (b), is, or at any time was, required for the purpose of avoiding an infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament shall be conclusive evidence of that fact.
 
      (4) In subsection (3) "the appropriate authority" means-
 
 
    (a) in relation to the House of Commons, the Speaker of that House, and
 
    (b) in relation to the House of Lords, the Clerk of the Parliaments.
Formulation of government policy, etc.     33. - (1) Information held by a government department is exempt information if it relates to-
 
 
    (a) the formulation or development of government policy,
 
    (b) Ministerial communications,
 
    (c) the provision of advice by any of the Law Officers or any request for the provision of such advice, or
 
    (d) the operation of any Ministerial private office.
      (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1).
 
      (3) In this section-
 
 
    "government department" includes the National Assembly for Wales;
 
    "the Law Officers" means the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, the Advocate General for Scotland, the Lord Advocate, the Solicitor General for Scotland and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland;
 
    "Ministerial communications" means any communications between Ministers of the Crown, Northern Ireland Ministers or Northern Ireland junior Ministers and includes, in particular, proceedings of the Cabinet or of any committee of the Cabinet and proceedings of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly;
 
    "Ministerial private office" means any part of a government department which provides personal administrative support to a Minister of the Crown, to a Northern Ireland Minister or a Northern Ireland junior Minister;
 
    "Northern Ireland junior Minister" means a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly appointed as a junior Minister under section 19 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs.     34. - (1) This section applies to-
 
 
    (a) information which is held by a government department and is not exempt information by virtue of section 33, and
 
    (b) information which is held by any other public authority.
      (2) Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under this Act-
 
 
    (a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
 
      (i) the maintenance of the convention of the collective responsibility of Ministers of the Crown, or
 
      (ii) the work of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly,
 
    (b) would, or would be likely to, inhibit-
 
      (i) the free and frank provision of advice, or
 
      (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, or
 
    (c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information to which this section applies (or would apply if held by the public authority) if, or to the extent that, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, have any of the effects mentioned in subsection (2).
 
      (4) In subsections (2) and (3) "qualified person"-
 
 
    (a) in relation to information held by a government department in the charge of a Minister of the Crown, means any Minister of the Crown,
 
    (b) in relation to information held by a Northern Ireland department, means the Northern Ireland Minister in charge of the department,
 
    (c) in relation to information held by any other government department, means the commissioners or other person in charge of that department,
 
    (d) in relation to information held by the House of Commons, means the Speaker of that House,
 
    (e) in relation to information held by the House of Lords, means the Clerk of the Parliaments,
 
    (f) in relation to information held by the Northern Ireland Assembly, means the Presiding Officer,
 
    (g) in relation to information held by the National Assembly for Wales, means the Assembly First Secretary,
 
    (h) in relation to information held by an Assembly subsidiary as defined by section 99(4) of the Government of Wales Act 1998, means the Assembly First Secretary or any officer or employee of the subsidiary authorised by the Assembly First Secretary,
 
    (i) in relation to information held by the National Audit Office, means the Comptroller and Auditor General,
 
    (j) in relation to information held by the Northern Ireland Audit Office, means the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland,
 
    (k) in relation to information held by any public authority which does not fall within paragraph (b), (f) or (j) and whose functions are exercisable wholly or mainly in or as regards Northern Ireland and relate wholly or mainly to transferred matters, means the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland acting jointly, or any Northern Ireland Minister nominated in relation to that public authority by those Ministers so acting,
 
    (l) in relation to information held by the Greater London Authority, means the Mayor of London,
 
    (m) in relation to information held by a functional body within the meaning of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, means the chairman of that functional body, and
 
    (n) in relation to information held by any public authority not falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (m), means-
 
      (i) a Minister of the Crown,
 
      (ii) the public authority, if authorised for the purposes of this section by a Minister of the Crown, or
 
      (iii) any officer or employee of the public authority who is authorised for the purposes of this section by a Minister of the Crown.
      (5) Any authorisation for the purposes of this section-
 
 
    (a) may relate to a specified person or to persons falling within a specified class,
 
    (b) may be general or limited to particular classes of case, and
 
    (c) may be granted subject to conditions.
      (6) A certificate signed by the qualified person referred to in subsection (4)(d) or (e) above certifying that in his reasonable opinion-
 
 
    (a) disclosure of information held by either House of Parliament, or
 
    (b) compliance with section 1(1)(a) by either House,
  would, or would be likely to, have any of the effects mentioned in subsection (2) shall be conclusive evidence of that fact.
 
Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours.     35. - (1) Information is exempt information if it relates to-
 
 
    (a) communications with Her Majesty, with other members of the Royal Family or with the Royal Household, or
 
    (b) the conferring by the Crown of any honour.
      (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1).
 
 
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