For a public authority to withhold information requested under the Act at least one exemption must apply.  There are two categories of exemptions: absolute and qualified exemptions.

Absolute Exemptions 
If one of these exemptions applies, the information will be withheld.   These include information that is already in the public domain. 
Qualified Exemptions   
This category of exemption is subject to a public interest test.  In these cases the Council will look at whether the balance of public interest is weighted in favour of providing or withholding the information.

Relevant qualified exemptions under the Act include:

  • where release of information will be damaging to individuals or to businesses (commercially sensitive)

  • where information is incomplete or draft

The application of each of the exemptions, and the Public Interest Test will be considered on a case by case basis and set out in our response.

A full list of the exemptions (together with guidance notes) is published on the ICO website.

Date of last review: 16 March 2012