A public authority must give the applicant a refusal notice if it is not going to provide the information sought, in part or in full, whether that is due to a practical refusal reason or application of exemptions.
A refusal notice must:
- specify the reason why the public authority may refuse to give the applicant the information requested in the request for information;
- if the information is absolutely exempt information or qualified exempt information, state (if not otherwise apparent) why the exemption applies;
- if the information is absolutely exempt because it is accessible by other means state those other means;
- if the information is qualified exempt information, the refusal notice must state the public authority’s reason for claiming that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that in disclosure of the information.
- contain particulars of
- the public authority's complaints process or
- applying to the Information Commissioner under section 42; and
- alternative dispute resolution processes available under section 44.
The public authority is not obliged to give a refusal notice:
- in relation to a request for information that is an identical or substantially similar request where a refusal notice has already been given to the applicant and it would in all the circumstances be unreasonable to expect it to serve a further refusal notice
- additional information has been sought but not provided within 28 calendar days.