s36: Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs


Information is exempt if, in the reasonable opinion of the Vice-Chancellor, disclosure of the information would, or would be likely to, prejudice:

  • the free and frank provision of advice; or
  • the free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation; or
  • would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely to, prejudice the effective conduct of University affairs.
  • It is the effect of disclosure which triggers the application of this exemption;
  • Qualified exemption, therefore consideration of the public interest test is required;
  • Duty to confirm or deny whether the information exists does not apply if doing so would cause prejudice to any of the above;

In assessing whether this exemption applies, consider, in respect of each request for information, what effect disclosure would have on the provision of advice or the exchange of views. For example:

  • would disclosure have an inhibiting effect on people offering advice or asking for advice in the future?
  • will it make people less likely to engage in discussion (oral or written) as part of the deliberative process?
  • would disclosure result in a restrained or distorted discussion?
  • would it result in pressure being brought to bear on individuals to provide particular advice?
  • It is unlikely that information can be held back as a result of administrative inefficiency or to cover official embarrassment.

Examples of information that may fall under this exemption:

  • Some Minutes / Notes of meetings (Topics might include negotiations on pay, organisation restructuring, where the timing of disclosure would be critical etc).

Sources of further information

More detailed guidance notes about this exemption can be found by viewing the following links: