Freedom of Information Act 2014

35.

Information obtained in confidence

35. (1) Subject to this section, a head shall refuse to grant an FOI request if—

(a) the record concerned contains information given to an FOI 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) in Part 1 or 2 of Schedule 3 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, an FOI body or a service provider) 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 an FOI body or head or a director, or member of the staff of, an FOI body or of such a service provider.

(3) Subject to section 38 , 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 FOI request concerned.

(4) Where—

(a) an FOI request relates to a record to which subsection (1) applies but to which subsection (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.

(5) Subject to section 2 , in this section “record” includes information conveyed in confidence in person, by telephone, electronically or in writing (including a written note taken of a phone message by a person authorised to receive such message).