24 February 2022
ATISN 16031 – Exercise Alice
Thank you for your request to the Welsh Government for information under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) received on 27 January. You asked -
1. A copy of the invitation sent to the Welsh Government to attend Exercise Alice held on 15 February 2016.
2. A copy of the response sent from the Welsh Government to the invitation to attend Exercise Alice held on 15 February 2016.
The Welsh Government holds the information for part 1 of your request and it is enclosed at Annex 1 of this letter. However, we do not hold the information in relation to part 2 of your request.
We have decided that some of the information captured by your request is exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) – Personal Information of the Freedom of Information Act. As a result you will see that this information is redacted in the attached. The reasons for applying this exemption are set out in full in Annex 1.
If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:
Information Rights Unit,
or Email: Freedom.firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.
Section 40(2) – Personal Information
Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) sets out an exemption from the right to know if the information requested is personal information of someone other than the requester and is protected by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).
Personal data is defined in Section 3(2) of the DPA as:
“Personal data” means any information relating to an identified or identifiable
We have concluded that, in this instance, the information, names and contact details of Welsh Government staff and Cwm Taf University Health Board staff, amounts to the personal data of others than the person submitting the request.
Under Section 40(2) of the FOIA, personal data is exempt from release if disclosure would breach one of the data protection principles set out in Article 5 of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). We consider the principle being most relevant in this instance as being the first.
The first GPDR principle.
……..that personal data shall be:
a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
We consider that the information highlighted falls within the description of personal data as defined by the DPA and that its disclosure would breach the first data protection principle.
Guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (Personal information (section 40 and regulation 13) v 1.4) states:
If disclosure would not be fair, then the information is exempt from disclosure.
This approach was endorsed by the Court of Appeal in the case of Deborah Clark v the Information Commissioner and East Hertfordshire District Council where it was held:
“The first data protection principle entails a consideration of whether it would be fair to disclose the personal data in all the circumstances. The Commissioner determined that it would not be fair to disclose the requested information and thus the first data protection principle would be breached. (paragraph 63).
In this instance, we believe the data subjects have no expectation that their personal information would be made public. The members of staff whose details are withheld are grades below that of the Senior Civil service and below a senior level within the health board and therefore with no public profile. Thus, we believe release of this information would be unfair and so breach the first data protection principle. For that reason, the information is being withheld under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. This is an absolute exemption and not subject to the public interest tests.