If you’re using FOI to ask questions about public services involving private companies it’s quite common to be refused on the basis of ‘commercial sensitivity‘ or ‘breach of confidence‘.
In fact, I’d suggest anticipating this in your initial request – or at the very least pushing for details when you receive any initial refusal.
Both exemptions are often misused by authorities as a ‘catch-all’ reason to fob off a requestor.
But neither exemption is simple, and both have a public interest test element which the authority is supposed to have thought through. In brief there are two things you can do to help your request: Continue reading