Our Hospital Political Oversight Group (FOI)
Our Hospital Political Oversight Group (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 31 July 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please provide all minutes of the Our Hospital Political Oversight Group (POG) from 1 January 2019 up to 31 May 2020.
Please find attached copies of the requested minutes.
POG minutes (Redacted)
Redactions have been applied to the minutes where required under the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011. Justification for such redactions are provided within the detail below.
Whilst reviewing the minutes, a manifest error was noted in the minutes of the meeting held on Friday 13 March 2020. In point 2.3 the minutes refer to a list of 84 sites – this is incorrect, the list only ever contained 82 sites.
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.
(3) In determining for the purposes of this Article whether the lawfulness principle in Article 8(1)(a) of the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 would be contravened by the disclosure of information, paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 2 to that Law (legitimate interests) is to be read as if sub-paragraph (b) (which disapplies the provision where the controller is a public authority) were omitted.
Article 25 is an absolute exemption, and therefore does not require a public interest test. However, it is noted that minimal personal information has been redacted within the minutes, such redactions limited to the names and roles of less senior members of staff.
Article 33 Commercial interests
Information is qualified exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes a trade secret; or
(b) its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information).
Public interest test
Article 33 (b) is a prejudice-based exemption. That means that in order to engage this exemption there must be a likelihood that disclosure would cause prejudice to the interest that the exemption protects. In addition, this is a qualified exemption and consideration must be given to the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
The Scheduled Public Authority (SPA) considers that the sections of the minutes redacted under Article 33 could prejudice the commercial interests of the Government of Jersey and/or third parties. There may be public interest in the commercial information however it was considered that this is outweighed by the potential for commercial and/or financial damage.
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.
Public interest test
The SPA has redacted certain information within the minutes 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 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.
Although there is a need for transparency, accountability, financial and good decision making by public authorities this information relates to an ongoing situation. The SPA – and indeed good government, requires Ministers to be provided with full, frank advice from officials about the possible impact of proposed policy, and for Ministers and officials to be able to discuss and test those proposed policies in a comprehensive way.
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, Officers and Ministers need a safe space in which free and frank discussion can take place. The need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of a policy. Sharing views is important to ensure that all relevant considerations are taken into account in developing and implementing policy. Disclosure at a time when these views are still being considered would negatively impact the Department’s ability to fully consider the information
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 in areas where future options have yet to be finalised. 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 redacted information.
Article 34 The economy
Information is qualified exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice –
(a) the economic interests of Jersey; or
(b) the financial interests of the States of Jersey.
Public interest test
Article 34 is a prejudice-based exemption. That means that in order to engage this exemption there must be a likelihood that disclosure would cause prejudice to the interest that the exemption protects. In addition, this is a qualified exemption and consideration must be given to the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
The release of the sensitive commercial terms and conditions, at this point, could significantly disadvantage the Government of Jersey’s ability to retain commercial advantage in future tender process leading to the inability to secure best value for the tax payer.
It is considered that the likely prejudices to the Jersey Economy outweigh the argument in favour of release of the redacted information in the public interest.
Article 39 Employment
Information is qualified exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice pay or conditions negotiations that are being held between a public authority and –
(a) an employee or prospective employee of the authority; or
(b) representatives of the employees of the authority.
Public interest test
Article 39 is a prejudice-based exemption. That means that in order to engage this exemption there must be a likelihood that disclosure would cause prejudice to the interest that the exemption protects. In addition, this is a qualified exemption and consideration must be given to the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
The POG minutes contain information that could be deemed sensitive to the review of employment terms for various roles in relation to the Our Hospital project. The SPA is therefore withholding this information as it believes that to release it could prejudice negotiations which are currently taking place. It would also be concerned that any future negotiations may be affected due to the release of information before those negotiations are concluded. On balance, it is the view of the SPA that the public interest does not outweigh the potential prejudice of release.