Smith and Queensland Corrective Services Commission
(1993 S0200, 5 September 1997)
In this case, the Information Commissioner found that information concerning the probation details of a person other than the applicant was exempt matter under s.44(1) of the FOI Act. The Information Commissioner also found that certain matter contained in the documents in issue was exempt under s.46(1)(a) of the FOI Act on the basis that it had been communicated in confidence by a third person to the QCSC in circumstances which fixed the QCSC with an equitable obligation of conscience not to use the information in a way not authorised by the confider.
Certain other matter, which had been recorded in case notes by QCSC officers, was found to be subjective opinion and advice recorded for deliberative processes pertaining to the management and supervision of persons subject to probation orders and, therefore, 'deliberative process matter' within the terms of s.41(1)(a) of the FOI Act.
The Information Commissioner held that where disclosure of such candid assessments to the subject of assessment would be likely to prejudice or compromise a case officer's ability to effectively manage and supervise the subject of the assessment, there would exist a sufficient basis (subject to the relative weight of any competing public interest considerations which favoured disclosure) to support a finding that disclosure of such an assessment would be contrary to the public interest, in terms of s.41(1)(b) of the FOI Act.
The Information Commissioner found that to be the case with respect to the matter in question, and that the public interest telling against disclosure outweighed competing public interest considerations (eg, enabling scrutiny of the methods used in, and the effectiveness of, the QCSC's management and supervision of persons subject to probation orders). The Information Commissioner found the matter in question to be exempt under s.41(1) of the FOI Act.