On behalf of a client, Artisan submitted a request to a parish council for a copy of its housing needs survey. We wanted to establish the level of housing need in the parish in order to support an application. The parish council refused to provide a copy of the report, citing several sections of the Freedom of Information Act to justify its position.
After refusing to conduct an internal review of the decision, Artisan referred the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office. We were pleased when the ICO confirmed that some parts of the report were not only disclosable, but the author of the housing needs survey actually recommended their disclosure. While the design of the questionnaire and the author’s analysis were deemed confidential, the ICO held that the ‘Executive Summary’ and ‘Next Steps’ sections should be disclosed.
Several months after submitting the initial request, Artisan succeeded in obtaining the information we needed for our client. Having said that, Artisan would much rather work with a parish council and progress a development proposal with its input. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.