Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries

Amendments to pension plan trust deed

Freedom of Information | 30 November -0001
Labour and Pensions Office

This appeal related to a request to the Department of Labour and Pensions for records relating to amendments to a pension plan trust deed made in 2016 and 2017.  In the course of the appeal the Department referred the request to the Pension Plan Administrator, who is required under the National Pensions Law to provide certain information to members of the pension plan.  This resulted in the disclosure of some 900 pages of relevant information.  However, the Department’s own records were withheld on the basis that they were privileged legal advice.  Other records were claimed to be internal communications which, if disclosed, would prejudice the conduct of public affairs.

The Ombudsman agreed that the legal advice was exempt as claimed.  However, she found that the internal communications were inconsequential and/or dealt with matters already known to the Applicant, and therefore were not exempt under the FOI Law as claimed.  The Ombudsman also found that the Department had not properly responded to two points in the initial request and directed them to do so.  The Ombudsman expressed concerns regarding the Department’s record keeping practices and recommended that all future internal discussions on amendments to pension plan trust deeds, as well as the Department’s other business and affairs, be recorded fully and accurately as required by law.