Scholz and Department of Public Works and Housing
(2001 S0007, 5 February 2002)
The applicant was a journalist who sought information concerning instances of misconduct within the State Government Protective Security Service, and how that misconduct was dealt with. The applicant made it clear that he did not wish to access any identifying matter in respect of any party concerned. He also indicated that he would accept information of a statistical nature.
The only responsive documents held by the Department of Public Works and Housing were the records of complaints, memoranda and correspondence relating to three officers. The Department declined to resolve the matter by creating a statistical document (which it was not obliged to do under the terms of the FOI Act) and maintained that the responsive documents comprised exempt matter (even after they had been anonymised) under s.40(c) and s.44(1) of the FOI Act.
Assistant Commissioner Shoyer decided that no substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment by the Department of its personnel could reasonably be expected to follow from disclosure of the anonymised documents, and that, in their edited form, they did not comprise information concerning the personal affairs of identifiable individuals. He also commented that, on balance, the weight of public interest considerations favoured disclosure of the anonymised documents.