Help from the Information Commissioner

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Can the organisation withhold any information?

Yes. There are some circumstances where the information you have asked for contains information that relates to another person. Unless the other person gives their permission, or it is reasonable in all the circumstances to provide the information without permission, the organisation is entitled to withhold this information. There are other circumstances where the organisation can withhold information under the Act. For example, if it would put at risk a criminal investigation or catching an offender. If you want more information on the circumstances when information may be withheld in this way, please see The OIC’s Website ( under ‘Exempt information'. Also, the Act does not cover all personal information. However, it does cover personal information that:

  •  is held, or going to be held on computer;
  •  is in, or going to be in, a manual filing system that is highly structured so that information about you can be easily retrieved;
  •  is in most health, educational, social service or housing records; or
  •  is other information held by a public authority.