Information Commissioner Issues Decisions

November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez has issued four decisions: Decision 22/2019 Ministry of National Security, Decision 23/2019 Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Decision 24/2019 Bermuda Hospitals Board, and Decision 25/2019 Bermuda Police Service.

  • Decision 22/2019, Ministry of National Security [PDF]
  • Decision 23/2019, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board [PDF]
  • Decision 24/2019, Bermuda Hospitals Board [PDF]
  • Decision 25, 2019, Bermuda Police Service [PDF]

A spokesperson said, “In Decisions 22/2019 and 23/2019, the Information Commissioner considered the failure of the Ministry of National Security and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, respectively, to issue an internal review decision within the statutory timeframe.

“The Ministry of National Security issued an internal review during the Information Commissioner’s review, and was not ordered to take further action. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board was ordered to issue an internal review decision within six weeks after the date of the Information Commissioner’s decision.

“In Decision 24/2019, the Information Commissioner considered the Bermuda Hospitals Board’s refusal of a PATI request for compensation details of its Executive Team members. The Bermuda Hospitals Board initially refused the request on the administrative ground in section 16[1][d] of the PATI Act because the publication of the record sought is required by law.

“During the Information Commissioner’s review, the Bermuda Hospitals Board also relied on the exemptions for personal information [section 23[1] of the PATI Act] and for commercial information [sections 25[1][b], [c], and [d] of the PATI Act] to deny public access to the records.

“The Information Commissioner found that the Bermuda Hospitals Board’s reliance on the administrative ground and the commercial information exemptions was not justified.

“She concluded, however, that the Bermuda Hospitals Board was correct to refuse access to the actual amount of basic pay, total compensation, and total cost of each Executive Team member because it is personal information that is exempt under section 23[1] of the PATI Act.

“To satisfy the balance of the public interests, including promoting transparency for public spending, the Information Commissioner ordered the Bermuda Hospitals Board to disclose the range of total cost by individual Executive Team member position, in a band of $10,000.

“The Information Commissioner also found that the standardized components of the Executive Team members’ cost such as social and health insurance rates and amounts, as well as the pension and payroll tax rates, is not personal information or otherwise exempt, and should be disclosed.

“Decision 25/2019 concerns the Bermuda Police Service’s decision that partially refused a PATI request for records relating to the 2 December 2016 protest. The Bermuda Police Service disclosed a redacted copy of the relevant Operational Order and based the redactions on the health and safety [section 22[1] of the PATI Act] and law enforcement [section 34[1][e] of the PATI Act] exemptions.

“The Information Commissioner founds that the Bermuda Police Service’s reliance on the health and safety exemption to withhold the identities of most of the police officers involved in the policing of the protest was appropriate. The Information Commissioner also found that this was not the case with respect to the identities of the Gold and Silver Commanders. The Information Commissioner also noted that their identities have already been made public.

“The Information Commissioner concluded that the Bermuda Police Service was correct to withhold some parts of the Operational Order, but found that other parts did not fall within the law enforcement exemption in section 34[1][e] of the PATI Act.

“She noted that the section should be read narrowly and stated that “[i]f the only result of disclosure is to reveal law enforcement methods or procedures that are already well known to the public, then it is not reasonable to expect that the methods or procedures will be prejudiced.”

“Decision 25/2019 also found that the Bermuda Police Service did not conduct a reasonable search in response to the PATI request. The Information Commissioner required the Bermuda Police Service to conduct a reasonable search and issue a new initial decision on any additional records, including notes on the meetings that took place on 2 December 2016 taken by a scribe and the Public Order Tactical Advisors Log dated 2 December 2016. The Information Commissioner also ordered disclosure of the additional parts of the Operational Order that are not exempt from public access.

“A full version of each decision is available online at www.ico.bm.“

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