Ms Q and Health Service Executive

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date13 Sep 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the HSE.
RespondentHealth Service Executive
Record NumberOIC-109913-C2D0M4
Whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access, under section 42(m)(i) of the Act, to the identity of the source of information provided to it concerning the applicant

13 September 2021

Background

On 25 November 2020, the applicant submitted a request to the HSE for the names of person(s) who she believes sent letters to the HSE Safeguarding Team concerning her in 2016 and 2020.

On 14 December 2020, the HSE refused access, under section 42(m) of the FOI Act, to two records it identified as containing the information sought, on the ground that the release of the records may disclose the identity of a source of confidential information. The HSE affirmed that decision on 20 January 2021, following an internal review. On 6 July 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the HSE’s decision. In her application for review, she clarified that she was seeking the name(s) of the person(s) who made allegations against her concerning the care of her late mother.

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 her application for review and to the submissions made by the HSE in support of its decision. I have also had regard to the contents of the records concerned. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.

Scope of Review

While I am required, under section 22(10) of the FOI Act to give reasons for my decisions, this is subject to the requirement of section 25(3) that I take all reasonable precautions to prevent disclosure of information contained in an exempt record or matter, that if it were included in a record, would cause the record to be exempt. As such, while I am constrained by section 25(3) in the level of detail I can give about the records identified by the HSE in this case, I believe I am not in breach of that section by describing them as referral forms. I can also confirm that the release of the forms would involve the disclosure of the identity of the source of information provided to the HSE concerning the applicant. I am also satisfied, having regard to the comments made by the applicant in her application for review, that she is, in essence, seeking the identity of that source.

Accordingly, this review is concerned solely with whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access, under section 42(m) of the Act, to the identity of the source of information provided to it...

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