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Ministerial correspondence about the Hospital planning refusal (FOI)

Ministerial correspondence about the Hospital planning refusal (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 13 June 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


Please provide written correspondence, including emails, from Officers and States Members to the Environment Minister (Deputy John Young) and his responses in relation to Ministerial Decision MD-PE-2019-0004 made on 14 January 2019.

I am particularly interested in the period leading up to the decision taken by the Environment Minister following receipt of the report from the Planning Inspector. The period can, therefore, be limited to 10 December 2018 to 14 January 2019 inclusive.

Ministerial Decision MD-PE-2019-0004


Please see enclosed emails to and from the Minister for Environment for the time period 10 December 2018 to 14 January 2019, relating to the decision to refuse the application for the future hospital. Also enclosed are seven documents that were attached to the emails.

Emails from 10 December 2018 to 14 January 2019

Email attachments:

Letter to Future Hospital Panel - 18 December 2018 (Redacted)

Letter from C Parker 24 December 2018 (Redacted)

Decision Timeline - 09 January 2019

Media Release - 13 January 2019

Final Ministerial Decision - 13 January 2019

Minister Speech - 13 January 2019 

Hospital Decision - 14 January 2019

1. Redactions have been applied to the emails in accordance with the following articles of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.

Personal information has been redacted in accordance with Article 25 – in this instance the details of individuals below a certain Government of Jersey grade who have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In addition details of one individual who is no longer part of the Government of Jersey.

Article 25 Personal information

(1) Information is absolutely exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018.

(2) Information is absolutely exempt information if –

(a) it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018; and

(b) its supply to a member of the public would contravene any of the data protection principles, as defined in that Law.

2. The following documents have been withheld, in accordance with Article 35.

  • three email chains relating to the drafting of the Ministerial Decision

  • a draft Ministerial Decision document which was attached to the emails mentioned above

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 certain documents as they relate 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 has to be undertaken to examine the circumstances of the case and decide whether, on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

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 policy 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 to policy development 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 a policy

  • release of the information at this stage might generate misinformed debate. This would affect the ability of officials to consider and develop policy away from external pressures, and to advise Ministers appropriately

  • disclosure of this information may limit the willingness of parties to provide their honest views and feedback in future. This would hamper and harm the policy–making process not only in relation to this subject area but in respect of future policy development across wider Departmental business

Taking into account the various factors, the SPA decided in favour of withholding the listed documents.

It should also be noted that once a policy is formulated and published, the public interest in withholding information relating to its formulation is diminished, however, the use of the exemption has been supported in this case as it preserves sufficient freedom during the policy formulation phase to explore options without that process being hampered by some expectation of future publication.

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