How should we consider exemptions?
Start from the position that you will disclose everything. If there is information that you think should be withheld, check if any one or more of the 10 categories apply. If they do apply, consider the public interest test.
Who decides whether something is exempt or not?
The Cabinet, committee or person (where a delegated officer decision is involved) considering the report will actually decide whether information contained in the report is exempt or not. However, bearing in mind the legal requirements for agendas and papers to be published in advance, the report writer initially needs to consider these issues and give the reasoning for their view as to whether information within a report should be exempt or not. A practice of applying "Exempt" status to a report without reasons being set out is no longer acceptable.
Democratic Services will be the first point of contact for the report writer regarding a report or information within a report which he/she considers should be exempt. Legal advice on the application and interpretation of the new Schedule 12A provisions will be provided by an Officer from Legal Services. In the event of any dispute, ultimately the Service Director – Corporate Services (Monitoring Officer) will make a final decision as to whether or not some or all of a report should be treated as exempt, before the relevant agendas and papers are published.