Terms of Reference for the Binet enquiry (FOI)
Terms of Reference for the Binet enquiry (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 13 February 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please provide the Terms of Reference for the Independent Inquiry that the Environment Minister has requested concerning the complaint made by Mr T Binet and his sister Miss R Binet which they took to the Complaints Board regarding the Planning Department.
Our Government continues to say that it wants to be transparent and wants to keep people informed, so therefore there is no reason why this information should not be made public before this Inquiry begins.
When will this Inquiry be complete?
Will its findings be made public?
The information you have requested is exempt under Article 35 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 (Formulation and development of policies) as the Terms of Reference (TOR) are in the process of being written and approved.
The Government of Jersey will be able to release the TOR once they have been signed off.
Timescales for the completion of the Independent Inquiry have not been agreed since the TOR have not yet been finalised.
The report will be made public by the Minister for the Environment following the completion of the Independent Inquiry.
Article 35 Formulation and development of policies
Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.
The Scheduled Public Authority (SPA) is withholding the release of the TOR as it relates to the formulation and development of policy and procedure by the public authority.
Article 35 is a qualified exemption, which means that a public interest test is required to examine the circumstances of the case.
The following considerations were taken into account:
Public interest considerations favouring disclosure
disclosure of the information would support transparency and promote accountability to the general public, providing confirmation that the necessary discussions have taken place.
disclosure to the public fulfils an educative role about the early stages in policy development and illustrates how the department engages with parties for this purpose.
Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information
in order to best develop the Terms of Reference and provide advice to Ministers, officials need a safe space in which free and frank discussion can take place – discussion of how documentation is presented and provided is considered as integral as iterations of documents are demonstrative of the policy development process.
the need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of developing the Terms of Reference.
release of the information at this stage might generate misinformed debate in. This would affect the ability of officials to consider and develop policy away from external pressures, and to advise Ministers appropriately.
premature disclosure of this information may limit the willingness of parties to provide their honest views and feedback. This would hamper and harm the policy–making.
Following the public interest assessment the SPA has decided that, on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.