Cuttler and Department of Corrective Services

Application number:
2004 F0747
Decision date:
Monday, Jun 20, 2005

Cuttler and Department of Corrective Services
(2004 F0747, 20 June 2005)

 Personal affairs – confidential information – sufficiency of search 

The applicant sought access to documents relating to an application for employment with the Department of Corrective Services (DCS).  DCS deleted certain matter contained in four of the documents disclosed to the applicant, on the basis that it qualified for exemption under s.46(1)(a) of the FOI Act.  The applicant sought review of this decision and raised concerns regarding a number of documents that he considered were missing. 

The matter in issue comprised the names, surnames, dates of birth, scores and rankings on a psychometric test of other applicants for positions with DCS.  Applying the principles in Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227, Information Commissioner Taylor found that the matter in issue was properly to be characterised as information which concerned the personal affairs of other applicants, and therefore was prima facie exempt from disclosure under s.44(1) of the FOI Act, subject to the application of the public interest balancing test incorporated within s.44(1).  Information Commissioner Taylor then evaluated the public interest considerations weighing for and against disclosure of the matter in issue, and decided that disclosure of the matter in issue would not, on balance, be in the public interest. 

The matter in issue included information produced under a contract between DCS and an external provider, which contained a confidentiality clause.  Applying the principles in B and Brisbane North Regional Health Authority (1994) 1 QAR 279, the Information Commissioner found that the requirements necessary to establish an action in equity for breach of confidence were met, and that the information qualified for exemption under s.46(1)(a). 

Applying the principles stated in Shepard and Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning (1994) 1 QAR 464, Information Commissioner Taylor was satisfied that the searches and inquiries by DCS to locate additional documents had been reasonable in all the circumstances of the case, and that there were no reasonable grounds for believing that additional documents existed in the respondent's possession or under their control.