ICO rules in favour of Department of Education

Published Sep 15, 2020 at 8:00 am
(Updated Sep 15, 2020 at 6:46 am)

  • Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner has upheld a refusal by the Department of Education to release information about an alleged assault by a pupil on the grounds no records had been kept.

The decision by Gitanjali Gutierrez was in response to three related public access to information requests made by a former public schoolteacher.

The applicant asked for several personal records, including those related to an alleged assault by a pupil, as well as the pupil’s records and the department’s policy on reporting and handling of incidents in schools.

The department disclosed some documents, but claimed that it did not hold any further records.

Ms Gutierrez’s decision said: “The Information Commissioner found that the department was correct to refuse the Pati request for the assault records and the former Commissioner of Education’s response to the assault … because these records do not exist.

“The Information Commissioner also upheld the department’s refusal of the Pati request for its policy on the reporting and handling of school incidents … on the same basis.

“The Information Commissioner accepted the department’s documentation that showed that the e-mail records being sought by the applicant could no longer be found.”

Ms Gutierrez also upheld a refusal by financial services regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority to release any contract or memorandum of understanding with the blockchain company Shyft Network.

The BMA refused to confirm or deny that it had a contract or memorandum of understanding with the company on the basis that the record was exempted under the Pati Act.

Ms Gutierrez’s written ruling said: “The Information Commissioner agreed with the BMA that, if the BMA had a contract or MOU with Shyft Network, such record would come to the BMA’s knowledge in the course of its statutory duty as a financial regulator.

“While acknowledging that the public has some interest in knowing if records related to a specific vendor exist or do not exist, the Information Commissioner is of the view that the public also ‘has an interest in a key financial regulator being able to perform its functions in a secure and effective manner’.”

• Decisions by the Information Commissioner can be found at ico.bm

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