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Office of the Chief Coroner Correspondence


Please can you disclose to me all correspondence between the Gambling Commission and the Office of the Chief Coroner between January 2022 and April 2024?


Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

In your email you have requested all correspondence between the Gambling Commission and the Office of the Chief Coroner between January 2022 and April 2024.

I can confirm that information falling within the scope of your request is held by the Gambling Commission. However, we are of the view that the information you have requested is exempt under section 36 of the FOIA.

Section 36

Section 36 of the FOIA provides that, information is exempt if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under this Act would, or would be likely to, inhibit:

Section 36 (2)(b)

i. the free and frank provision of advice, or

ii. the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, or

Section 36 (2)(c)

i. would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

The view of the qualified person is that disclosure in this instance would be likely to inhibit the ability of the free and frank exchange of views between public bodies or would prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. The nature of this communication also touches on an inquest matter which is currently ongoing.

Public Interest Test

Having acknowledged that the information within the scope of your request is exempt from disclosure, section 36 FOIA requires that we consider a public interest test to identify whether there is a wider public interest in fulfilling this request opposed to maintaining the exemption.

Factors in favour of disclosure:

  • It is recognised that there is a legitimate public interest in promoting the transparency of the Commission and in making information available to the public.
  • Further to this, the quality of advice and the content of deliberations by officials may improve if there was an expectation of the information being made publicly available.

Factors against disclosure:

  • Disclosure of the material falling within the scope of your request would be likely to prejudice free and frank communications and advice between Commission officials, as well as between Commission officials and other public bodies.
  • There is a need for a safe space for Commission officials to have free and frank exchanges in order for the Commission to assure itself, and therefore Government, that decision making is effective.
  • Disclosure would impact the ability of Commission colleagues to discuss live issues in the future, exchange informal views and advice and reach decisions, free from external interference and distraction.

Weighing the balance

Whilst the Commission aims to be open and transparent, there is a need to preserve the confidentiality of developmental discussions, and to be mindful of the sensitivities of information that is held. Further to this, there is no outstanding public interest in releasing this information whilst the review is still ongoing.

Having weighed these issues, the view of the qualified person is that the public interest is best served through maintaining this exemption.

Review of the decision

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email. 

Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission. 

It should be noted that if you wish to raise a complaint with the ICO about the Commission’s handling of your request for information, then you are required to do so within six weeks of receiving your final response or last substantive contact with us.

The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Information Management Team
Gambling Commission

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