In April 2024, the Information Commissioner received 3 new applications and closed 10 cases (7 withdrawal, 3 decisions). As of 30 April 2024, public authorities’ compliance was pending for 9 decisions.

Decision 13/2024, Bermuda Medical Council

What was requested: records related to all misconduct proceedings and other records related to a named medical practitioner.

In her Decision, the Information Commissioner: considered the reasonableness of the Council’s search for records and the refusal of access to some of the records that had been identified.

What was the outcome: The Information Commissioner found that the Council was correct in withholding access to some of the records because under the PATI Act these records related to either the exercise of a judicial or quasi-judicial function, were subject to legal professional privilege or contained personal information and the public interest did not require disclosure. As a result, the Information Commissioner did not require the Department to take any further action regarding Decision 13/2024. During the Information Commissioner’s review, the BMC also issued a new initial decision on additional records that had been located.

Decision 14/2024, Bermuda Police Service

What was requested: records relating to the execution of a search warrant. More specifically, the Applicant requested copies of correspondence between the Officer in Charge of the Professional Standards Department of the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) and the Commissioner of Police relating to an internal review of a search warrant obtained and executed by the BPS.

In her Decision, the Information Commissioner: considered the BPS’s decision to deny access to the records because they claimed that the records were related to the exercise of a judicial function and/or they had been created or obtained by the Attorney General’s Chambers in the course of carrying out their functions and therefore the PATI Act did not apply to the records.

What was the outcome: the Information Commissioner found that the records did not relate to the exercise of a judicial function and that the BPS had not provided any evidence that the records had been created or obtained by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

As a result, the Information Commissioner annulled the BPS’s internal review decision and ordered the BPS to issue the Applicant a new decision by Tuesday, 11 June, either granting access to the records or denying access under an administrative denial or an exemption in Part 4 of the PATI Act.

Decision 15/2024, Department of Child & Family Services

What was requested: records relating to the local residential care homes maintained by the Department of Child and Family Services. The Applicant also sought records related to the Department’s transitional living scheme.

In her Decision, the Information Commissioner: considered the Department’s decision to refuse access to a record because it did not exist or could not be found. In addition, the Department denied access to other responsive records because their disclosure would endanger the health and safety of an individual, would prejudice the operations of the public authority, or disclosure would prejudice the security of a building.

What was the outcome: the Information Commissioner found that the Department was correct in its decision because disclosure of the majority of the records was prohibited by the Children Act 1998 and the disclosure of the remaining records was likely to endanger the health and safety of the residents and staff of the residential care homes. As a result, the Information Commissioner did not require the Department to take any further action regarding Decision 15/2024.

As at 30 April 2024, the Information Commissioner had:

Total applications: 318

Pending investigations: 31

Applications pending validation: 2

Closed reviews – decided: 202

Closed applications – resolved (settled): 43

Closed applications – invalid: 33

Closed applications – abandoned: 7

Decisions pending compliance: 9 No Information Commissioner’s Decision (or other request) was subject to judicial review as at 30 April 2024.