Information Commissioner gives rulings

  • Right to Know: Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Right to Know: Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)


Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, has released her office’s first three decisions of 2020.

The ICO, which is working remotely during Covid-19 restrictions, ruled on the Department of Human Resources in January, the Department of Health in February and the Ministry of Education Headquarters in March.

Ms Gutierrez said that human resources had granted a public access to information applicant full access to records requested after the applicant revisited a 2018 ICO decision on the matter.

She said the applicant had asked the ICO to “issue an order requiring a third party to create a statement”, and to apply the criminal provision of the Public Access to Information Act.

Ms Gutierrez said her jurisdiction under law was limited to “reviewing decisions made by heads of public authorities and to ordering the production of records, if appropriate”.

The ICO then ruled that the department had been reasonable, after its internal review granted the applicant access to the records they had requested.

In the second decision, the Department of Health ultimately disclosed the names of childcare facilities which had been the subjects of complaints.

Ms Gutierrez said the department had initially turned down the information request, citing confidentiality, but subsequently reconsidered its decision.

The applicant, The Royal Gazette, was satisfied with the disclosure, but exercised their right to a decision by the Information Commissioner.

The Information Commissioner also gave a ruling on the Ministry of Education’s decision to transfer a Pati request for personal records to the Department of Education.

Ms Gutierrez found the transfer decision “incorrect”, because the ministry did not conduct a reasonable search before concluding that it did not hold the responsive records.

The parties agreed to find a resolution, and the ministry conducted searches during the Information Commissioner’s review.

The ministry was not required to take any further steps after discovering the records and disclosing them to the applicant in full.

The decisions can be accessed online at www.ico.bm.

The ICO, which continues to work during regular business hours, can be reached by calling 543-3700 or e-mailing info@ico.bm.

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Published Mar 27, 2020 at 11:52 am (Updated Mar 27, 2020 at 11:52 am)

Information Commissioner gives rulings

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