SECTION 17 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING REGISTRATION NUMBERS AND
The request is for:
1. A list of vehicles owned or leased to the council. Please include; registration mark, fleet
number (if used), make & model and body type.
2. Identify which vehicles are owned and which are leased.
3. Name, position and email address of the staff responsible for these vehicles.
4. The estimated amount of spend (£) on diesel/petrol per annum and the cost split
between owned and leased vehicles.
The Council holds the information requested but for the reasons set out below considers
that one of the exemptions to disclosure within the Freedom of Information Act applies and
that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
The Council has had regard to the Information Commissioner’s Guidance:
The Guide to Freedom of Information (August 2017)
Law enforcement (section 31) Freedom of Information Act (May 2013),
The public interest test Freedom of Information Act (March 2013) 2. Reasons
Section 31 is the exemption for law enforcement and states: (1)Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt
information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—
(a)the prevention or detection of crime,
(b)the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,
(c)the administration of justice,
(d)the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a similar nature,
(e)the operation of the immigration controls,
(f)the maintenance of security and good order in prisons or in other institutions where
persons are lawfully detained,
(g)the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes specified in
(h)any civil proceedings which are brought by or on behalf of a public authority and arise
out of an investigation conducted, for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), by or
on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers
conferred by or under an enactment, or
(i)any inquiry held under the M1Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiries (Scotland)
Act 1976 to the extent that the inquiry arises out of an investigation conducted, for any of
the purposes specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her
Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment.
Section 31 is a qualified exemption, which means that in deciding whether or not to
withhold information the Council is required to take account of the public interest, as sent
out in section 2 of the Act and to consider whether or not it is more in the public interest to
withhold or disclose the information.
The public interest in disclosing the information is in promoting accountability and
transparency in Council matters.
The public interest in not disclosing the information is that to reveal a list of vehicle type,
make and model with accompanying registration and fleet numbers, would expose the
Council to greater risk of vehicle cloning. Vehicle cloning involves changing a stolen
vehicle of the same type to the identity of a legitimate vehicle by adding false number
Information once disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act becomes publicly
available and it is not possible for a public authority to enquire into applicant’s motivation
or distinguish between applicants with legitimate interests and those with possible criminal
In coming to a decision to maintain the exemption I have considered the following public
interest factors in favour of disclosing the information:
1. The public interest in promoting accountability and transparency in the exercise by
a public authority of its actions and decisions in these matters.
Against that I have balanced the following public interest factors in favour of maintaining
1. Contributing to the sum of criminal knowledge.
2. Prevention of criminal activity in relation to the Council’s assets.
3. Prevention of criminal activity in relation to these vehicles, i.e. vehicle cloning.
4. Prevention of fraud in terms of fixed penalty notices and other fines that could be
issued against the Council via use of the cloned vehicle.
5. Potential costs to the Council in terms of defending itself against any such action as
described in point 4.
On balance the Council does not consider that the public interest outweighs the need to
protect against the risk of criminal acts being committed if the Council released this
information at this time.
In coming to this decision, the Council is not implying anything whatsoever about the
applicant’s own reasons for making the request and it is hoped the applicant will
understand that if we disclosed a first time we would have no grounds for refusing any
Under section 2(2)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act it is considered by the council that
in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
The request for disclosure is therefore refused.
If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an
internal review. Requests for internal reviews should be submitted within 2 months of the
date of receipt of the response to your original request and should be addressed to the
Monitoring Officer,1st Floor, Civic Centre 3, Huddersfield HD1 2EY. Alternatively, you can
send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would assist if any such request for a review were clearly marked as such and
specifically referred to this refusal notice.
If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right under section 50
of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether your
request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
The Information Commissioner’s website is at www.ico.org.uk
and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Information Governance Officer
14 February 2020