Information Commissioner Issues Two Decisions
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Information Commissioner Issues Two Decisions

The Information Commissioner issued two decisions regarding the Ministry of Economy and Labour Headquarters and the Bermuda Police Service.

A spokesperson said, “Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez recently issued two Decisions. On 8 September, the Commissioner issued Decision 32/2023, Ministry of Economy and Labour Headquarters. The Applicant had made a Public Access to Information request for non-anonymised public decisions of the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal. A key function of the Tribunal is to hear and determine labour complaints and disputes, and this includes issuing its decisions.

“The Ministry Headquarters had decided the PATI Act did not apply to the requested records. In Decision 32/2023, the Commissioner has concluded that the Ministry Headquarters’ refusal was justified because the PATI Act does not apply to the Tribunal’s records related to its quasi-judicial functions. Issuing decisions fell squarely within the Tribunal’s quasi-judicial functions, and the records did not relate to the Tribunal’s general administration. It is the general administration records of a public authority that will always be subject to the PATI Act. As a result, the Commissioner did not require the Ministry Headquarters to take further action.

“On 20 September, the Commissioner issued Decision 34/2023, Bermuda Police Service. The Applicant had made a PATI request for emails amongst the BPS’s senior leaders about their probation, but the BPS had decided not to release them. During the Commissioner’s review, the BPS changed its position; it released some records and continued to withhold others but for a different reason. The BPS concluded that revealing the records would undermine its deliberations, or decision making, about extending the Applicant’s probation and investigation misconduct allegations.

“In Decision 34/2023, Commissioner Gutierrez has found that the BPS’s refusal was not justified. Disclosing the records could not reasonably have been expected to undermine the BPS’s decision making about whether to extend the Applicant’s probation and what process was appropriate for investigating misconduct allegations. The Commissioner reasoned that some records documented the final reasons for the outcomes, not the back-and-forth of the BPS’s decision making. What remained were either routine communications or did not involve any deliberation. The Commissioner also has found that the PATI Act did not apply to parts of one record, where created or obtained by the Attorney General’s Chambers in the course of carrying out its functions as the BPS’s legal advisor.

summary Bermuda Oct 9 2023 2

“As a result, the BPS was ordered to disclose additional records, with certain personal information withheld, to the Applicant by 1 November 2023. The Commissioner emphasised that in this matter the required disclosure of the Applicant’s own personal information to the Applicant themselves was not a disclosure to the world-at-large.”

The full version of Decision 32/2023 follows below [PDF here]:

The full version of Decision 34/2023 follows below [PDF here]:

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