Right to Know has been successful in another case taken against the IDA where we looked for minutes of an influential committee at the development agency.
The IDA’s organisational development committee reviews the performance of the senior management team and plans for management development and succession.
The IDA, using one of its standard scattergun tactics, originally invoked six separate sections of the FOI Act to justify its refusal.
We appealed the case and subsequently sought internal review given how little information had been released.
The Information Commissioner has now found that only a very small amount of personal information relating to the former CEO of the investment agency was actually exempt under the FOI Act.
On the Section 29 arguments put forward by the state agency, the investigator wrote: “It seems to me that the IDA has made sweeping arguments about the possibility of certain harms arising without having had appropriate regard to the specific nature of the information at issue.”
On section 30, the decision said: “Yet again, it seems to me that the IDA has made sweeping arguments about the possibility of certain harms arising without having had appropriate regard to the specific nature of the
information at issue.”
For Section 35, the investigator concluded: “The IDA has not shown that the specific information was communicated by its clients in circumstances which impose an obligation of confidence or trust on the IDA.
“I simply do not accept that the IDA’s clients have an expectation that every piece of information they provide to the IDA is provided in confidence, regardless of its sensitivity.”
That’s probably enough to get a picture of the decision.
It is of course open to the IDA to appeal the decision to the High Court.
If they did, that would be the third time in the space of a couple of years where they have used taxpayer funds to fight disclosure of information about their activities to Right to Know.
You can read the full decision below: