Fireworks e-petition (FOI)
Fireworks e-petition (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 18 December 2018.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Freedom of Information Request re Fireworks E Petition Ministerial Response
I would like to see copies of correspondence concerning the ministerial response between the following parties please.
Constable Norman as Home Affairs Minister and the Environmental Health Section
Constable Norman as Home Affairs Minister and the States Vet
Constable Norman as Home Affairs Minister and the Constables Committee.
Home Affairs Minister Constable Len Norman produced a ministerial statement relation to the recent fireworks E Petition (start date 6 November 2018). The response was dated 6 December 2018. It is understood that Constable Norman was conferring with the Constables Committee, the States Vet and the Environmental Health Section re this response.
There was no correspondence between Constable Norman as Home Affairs Minister and the Environmental Health Section, the States Vet or the Comité des Connétables regarding the ministerial response to the recent e-petition entitled ‘Only allow fireworks to be sold or supplied in Jersey for licensed displays’.
Accordingly, no information is held with regard to this request.
However, it should be noted that there was correspondence between the various entities and the Justice and Home Affairs department (JHA), on behalf of the Home Affairs Minister, and that the Home Affairs Minister signed off the Ministerial Response after being fully briefed on these discussions.
The correspondence between the JHA staff is exempt from release under Article 35 (Formulation and development of policies) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 as it deals with specific aspects of the proposed policy in relation to the sale, and potential restriction thereof, of fireworks.
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 SPA is withholding the release of the information as it relates to the formulation and development of policy by the public authority. Article 35 is a qualified exemption, which means that a public interest test is required to be undertaken by the SPA. On balance, it is our view that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. Although there is a need for transparency, accountability, financial and good decision making by public authorities this information relates to ongoing discussions. The SPA needs the ability to consider and reconsider the assumptions and evaluations raised by the various parties to inform their decisions.
Once a policy is formulated, the public interest in withholding information relating to its formulation is diminished, however, the use of the exemption can be supported if it preserves sufficient freedom during the formulation phase to explore options without that process being hampered by some expectation of future publication. The public authority needs safe space in which to rigorously explore and develop the best policy possible.