Burke and Building Services Authority

Application number:
1998 S0160
Decision date:
Monday, Aug 16, 1999

Burke and Building Services Authority
(1998 S0160, 16 August 1999) 

The applicant was a director of a civil earthmoving/construction company which carried out residential development, roadworks and drainage.  In March 1998, a supplier ('the third party') which numbered the applicant among its clients, wrote to the Building Industry Credit Bureau (the BICB), seeking its assistance in determining whether a number of its clients (including the applicant) were licensed by the respondent. 

The BICB forwarded the letter to the respondent which checked its database and discovered that the applicant was not listed.  The respondent subsequently wrote to the applicant, requesting him to clarify whether or not his company engaged in work of a kind which required it to be licensed.  The applicant was able to satisfy the respondent that his company did not engage in building work of a kind which required a licence, and the respondent took no further action. 

The applicant then applied for access to the supplier's letter under the FOI Act.  The respondent claimed that the letter was exempt from disclosure under s.42(1)(b), s.42(l)(e) and s.46(l)(b) of the FOI Act.  The Information Commissioner found that the letter was exempt under s.46(l)(a).  It was provided to the BICB, and subsequently to the respondent, for a limited purpose, which imposed upon the respondent an equitable obligation of conscience not to further disclose it to any other party.