ICO upholds our complaint about Historic England

Last year we submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Historic England (HE) regarding the award of a £50,000 grant to the proposed Institute of Detectorists. We reported our findings in our article IOD – the hidden agenda, which created a huge response from the detecting community.

In their FOI response HE withheld or redacted information citing exemptions under three sections of the Freedom of Information Act:

  1. Section 40 – Personal Information
  2. Section 38 – Health & Safety
  3. Section 43 – Commercial Interests

We considered this to be unjustified and asked for the withheld information. HE refused to supply it.

ICO decision

We complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This week they issued this detailed report to partially uphold our complaint. ICO will also publish this report on their own website.

In summary, it found that Section 40 was correctly applied. However, it found that HE had not demonstrated that Section 38 and Section 43 were engaged and has therefore required HE to take the following step to ensure compliance with the legislation:

disclose the information withheld only by virtue of section 43(2) or38(1)(b) (with the information that engages section 40(2) redacted). HE must take this step within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of FOIA and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.

We await this further information from HE with interest.

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Max Lamont
Max Lamont
26 days ago

Well Done on pursuing this. I’m surprised it was down to you to have to ask for this information as surely the NCMD should have been onto this like a ton of bricks.

Brad Charteris
Brad Charteris
29 days ago

Well done!