Mr Y and Data Protection Commission

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date05 April 2022
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the DPC.
RespondentData Protection Commission
Record NumberOIC-118029-N1X3P8
Whether the DPC was justified in refusing access to records relating to its case-handling processes pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(f) of the FOI Act, and in refusing access to records relating to the qualifications or training of its staff regarding investigations on the basis that the records did not exist or could not be found

5 April 2022

Background

In a request dated 25 October 2020, the applicant sought access to the following:

(a) The most recent staff document for each of the years 2017 to 2020 that sets out what the DPC’s process for handling complaints is, including any rules that specify how a case progresses from one stage to another;

(b) The number of full time equivalent staff (FTE) with qualifications or training in how to conduct investigations for the previous four years, with details of the certifying body, as at the date of the request and on four previous specified dates.

After a very considerable delay, the DPC issued a decision on the request on 15 December 2021. It refused access to records falling within the scope of the first part of the applicant’s request on the basis that they are excluded from the scope of the FOI Act by virtue of Part 1(f) of Schedule 1. With regard to the second part, it indicated that it had initially understood that this part of his request was being dealt with outside of the framework of FOI. However, on further clarification it realised that it was mistaken in this understanding and indicated that it did not hold any records falling within this part of the request.

The applicant sought an internal review of that decision, following which the DPC affirmed the original decision. With regard to the second part of the applicant’s request the internal reviewer specifically relied on section 15(1)(a) to refuse access. On 12 January 2022, the applicant applied to this Office for a review of the DPC’s decision.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the applicant’s comments in his application for review and to the submissions made by the DPC in support of its decision. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with whether the DPC was justified in refusing the applicant’s request for records relating to its case-handling processes, pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(f) of the FOI Act, and for refusing access to records relating to the number of DPC staff with investigative training qualifications under section 15(1)(a) of the Act on the basis that the records sought do not exist or cannot be found.

Preliminary Issue...

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