26 Jun Success at the Information Tribunal
MG&Co and Project 17 have successfully settled proceedings in the Information Tribunal with LB Lewisham. The case concerned Lewisham’s decision not to disclose significant sections of their guidance on families with no recourse to public funds who claim section 17 support following various Freedom of Information Act requests made by Project 17 and MG&Co.
MG&Co acted as a named participant in the proceedings and on behalf of Project 17, a leading charity specialising in providing advocacy and support to families in need to section 17 support and accommodation.
Lewisham sought to justify their refusal to fully disclose the guidance under the public interest exemption as provided by section 36 of the Act. Lewisham claimed that full disclosure would enable families to fraudulently claim section 17 support.. The ICO rejected this argument and Lewisham appealed.
MG&Co and Project 17 filed extensive witness evidence to counter Lewisham’s position and in the weeks leading up to the hearing Lewisham withdrew their appeal and confirmed that the full guidance can be available to all. Lewisham also agreed to undertake searches for other relevant guidance and documents.
The obligations on state authorities to publish their guidance is an area of real importance especially where the guidance concerns the support provided to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in society.