‘Held on Behalf of’; the legal framework

Section 1(1) of FOIA provides for a general right to the access of information:

(1) Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled—

(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and

(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.

Section 3(2) FOIA provides:

(2) For the purposes of this Act, information is held by a public authority if—

(a) it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person, or

(b) it is held by another person on behalf of the authority.”

There is seldom any dispute the likes of National Highways is a public authority.

Therefore, the only issue for resolution is whether the information requested is information “held by another person i.e. a contractor (private company) on behalf of the Public Authority.

The arguments for release commence here: University of Newcastle upon Tyne v IC and BUAV [2011] UKUT 185 (AAC) (“BUAV”)