Stenhouse and Department of Education and the Arts
(2004 F0274, 10 June 2004)
Application for extension of time by agency
The applicant sought access to all documents relating to his son and to records disclosing names and professional qualifications of staff of the respondent who had had dealings with his son. The respondent failed to make a decision on access within the prescribed time and the applicant applied for external review of the respondent's deemed refusal of access.
The respondent made an application under s.79(2) of the FOI Act for an extension of time within which to make a decision. The applicant contended that the respondent had had sufficient time to deal with the application, and that, in seeking an extension of time, the respondent was further delaying the applicant's access to documents.
The Deputy Information Commissioner granted the respondent a short extension of time on the basis that the large number of documents that were responsive to the applicant's access application, and the need to undertake consultations under s.51 of the FOI Act, justified the grant of additional time. Moreover, the respondent had virtually completed the necessary work and would shortly be in a position to give the applicant notice of its decision.