In October last year the DfE refused my FOI request for (a) Free School application forms, and (b) the acceptance and rejection letters sent to applicants. After a long and ludicrous battle (started here), the Information Commission Office have released their Decision Notice about my case.
In sum: I won.
The ridiculously lengthy 17-page judgement demonstrates why the information must be made available to the public. Given its length I haven’t taken it all in thoroughly yet . But essentially the DfE’s claims that releasing this information would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs” came down to four arguments:
- It would reduce the quality of future applications
- It would reduce the DfE’s ability to figure out which applications were of high quality
- It would put people off applying in future (because they are scared off by scrutiny)
- Application forms & letters are not a good way to scrutinise school…
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