Correspondence regarding the Crematorium (FOI)
Correspondence regarding the Crematorium (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 16 September 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please supply copies of all correspondence, emails or minutes of meetings between the Government new hospital team and Government Customer and Local Services or Paul McGinnety or Claire Follain on the crematorium during the clearing of the site or building the new hospital at Overdale.
I am only requesting correspondence from December 2020 to date please.
Please see the attachment below which contains details of emails reating to the crematorium.
As the correspondence contains personal information and content relating to the formulation and development of proposed policy, redactions have been applied in accordance with Articles 25 and 35 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
Minutes of meetings have been withheld in accordance with Article 35 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011, as they relate to the formulation and development of proposed policy.
As Article 35 is a qualified exemption, a public interest test is required.
Reasons to release information:
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 procedural development and illustrates how the department engages with parties for this purpose
information contained in the docs conveys a sympathetic approach to the handling of the crematorium during the hospital project which could inspire public confidence in the project and in government.
Reasons to withhold information:
the nature of meetings is confidential. If made public, the content outlining disagreements between parties could undermine consensus driven decision-making and the work of government officials
government officials must be at liberty to express their views frankly and candidly, without the fear of their views being automatically or even potentially reported in public, otherwise they might express their views less vigorously or more circumspectly, or even feel restrained from voicing them at all, for fear that they will be represented in the media, now or in the near-future, in a way that is damaging to either themselves, the Government, or the Island. This is especially the case during the “live” development of policy, when a “safe space” within which discussions takes place helps with the formulation of good decisions
the risk, if publication takes place, is that discussions become stilted and constrained, known as the “chilling effect”, by the knowledge that such discussions could be made public and decision-making would not have the benefit of the full range of freely expressed opinions to inform it
minutes of meetings could also become increasingly anodyne and uninformative, if they are to be public, to the detriment of good record-keeping and future decision-making where that relies on previous records of decisions taken to inform them on specific policy matters.
Information contained in the documents could be used divisively and out of context by actors wishing to derail the hospital project. The journey to reach the current position with the hospital project has been challenging and costly, and the risk of derailment is high. If this were to happen there could be significant negative consequences, for example, the public of Jersey are in desperate need of new hospital facilities and further delays could compromise health care on the island, and incur additional costs to the project.
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 2005.
(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 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.