FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1997
Information obtained in confidence.
26.— (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a head shall refuse to grant a request under section 7 if—
( a) the record concerned contains information F52 [ given to a public body ] in confidence and on the understanding that it would be treated by it as confidential (including such information as aforesaid that a person was required by law, or could have been required by the body pursuant to law, to give to the body) and, in the opinion of the head, its disclosure would be likely to prejudice the giving to the body of further similar information from the same person or other persons and it is of importance to the body that such further similar information as aforesaid should continue to be given to the body, or
( b) disclosure of the information concerned would constitute a breach of a duty of confidence provided for by a provision of an agreement or enactment (other than a provision specified in column (3) of the Third Schedule of an enactment specified in that Schedule) or otherwise by law.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to a record which is prepared by a head or any other person (being a director, or member of the staff of, a public body or a person who is providing a service for a public body under a contract for services) in the course of the performance of his or her functions unless disclosure of the information concerned would constitute a breach of a duty of confidence that is provided for by an agreement or statute or otherwise by law and is owed to a person other than a public body or head or a director, or member of the staff of, a public body or a person who is providing or provided a service for a public body under a contract for services.
(3) Subject to section 29 , subsection (1) (a) shall not apply in relation to a case in which, in the opinion of the head concerned, the public interest would, on balance, be better served by granting than by refusing to grant the request under section 7 concerned.
F53 [ (4) Where —
( a ) a request under section 7 relates to a record to which subsection (1) applies but to which subsections (2) and (3) do not apply or would not, if the record existed, apply, and
( b ) in the opinion of the head concerned, the disclosure of the existence or non-existence of the record would have an effect specified in subsection (1),
he or she shall refuse to grant the request and shall not disclose to the requester concerned whether or not the record exists. ]