Department for Culture Media and Sport
why is some information unavailable?
Whilst the FoI act creates a right to request information, it also creates a number of exemptions from that right. This allows us to withhold some information requested. Exemptions fall into two categories, absolute and qualified
Some exemptions are absolute, which means that any information falling within the terms of this exemption does not have to be disclosed. In some of these cases we do not have to tell you whether or not we hold the information.
Where an exemption is qualified DCMS must decide whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure when considering whether or not to apply the exemption. This is known as the Public Interest Test. In some cases where we have applied a qualified exemption, we do not have to tell you whether we hold the information.
Where an exemption has been applied we will inform you which exemptions have been applied and why, unless to give this explanation would in itself reveal the exempt information. When considering whether qualified exemptions apply to a request for information it may be necessary to take longer than the normal 20 days to respond. In these cases you will be informed within 20 days when we expect to provide a response.
The following are a list of the exemptions:
21. Information accessible to applicant by other means.
22. Information intended for future publication.
23. Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters.
24. National security.
27. International relations.
28. Relations within the United Kingdom.
29. The economy.
30. Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities.
31. Law enforcement.
32. Court records, etc.
33. Audit functions.
34. Parliamentary privilege.
35. Formulation of government policy, etc.
36. Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs.
37. Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours.
38. Health and safety.
39. Environmental information.
40. Personal information.
41. Information provided in confidence.
42. Legal professional privilege.
43. Commercial interests.
44. Prohibitions on disclosure.
For further information about the different categories of exemptions please see the guidance issued on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) formerly Department for Constitutional Affairs website.
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