FOI request (FOIR-452604468)
Dog Control Public Space Protection
Requested Mon 19 September 2022
Responded Fri 21 October 2022
I would like to know how many people have complained about dogs or requested updates to the PSPO in West St Leonards area since June 2020 when the PSPO expired. I would also like to know specifically how many people asked for the Seasonal and weekend dogs on leads in the proposed PSPO in the area shown in yellow on the proposed new PSPO map which are currently under consultation. In addition, I would like to see minutes of all meetings where the PSPO updates were discussed. If this information is on your web site I would like specific links to the information, not just an assertion that the information is on your web site.
Hastings Borough Council holds no information relating to people that have complained about dogs or requested updates to the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in West St Leonards area since June 2020 when the PSPO expired or how many people that have asked for the Seasonal and weekend dogs on leads in the proposed PSPO.
NOTICE OF REFUSAL
The PSPO dog control order is currently out for consultation and the information in relation to the order and discussions is being refused under Section 22 - Information intended for future publication. After the consultation has ended the views will be looked at and the results, along with more details, will be published at a meeting of the Cabinet (date to be determined).
Discussions have been made at an internal working group and not a public meeting. Everything that is discussed at this meeting will be reported to Cabinet in due course.
Section 22 allows the public authority to refuse when it intends the information to be published at some future date, whether that date is determined or not and in all the circumstances it is reasonable to withhold the information until its planned publication.
The exemption afforded by Section 22 is subject to what is known as the 'public interest test'. When applying the test in a particular case a public authority is deciding whether the public interest is better served by non-disclosure than by disclosure. Although the Freedom of Information Act does not define 'in the public interest', there is a presumption under Freedom of Information that openness is in the public interest.
In applying the public interest test a public authority will take into account the distinction that has been often made by courts between things that are in the public interest, and things that merely interest the public. Where applicants have not identified public interest considerations succinctly or accurately, the public authority has a responsibility under the Act to make their own assessment of the public interest considerations in the particular case.
We have identified the following public interest factors that may be seen as encouraging the disclosure of information:
a) accountability of public spending
We consider these factors to be of limited relevance in relation to the information in question.
Public interest factors seen as encouraging non-disclosure are, generally, the exemptions themselves. In consideration of this matter we came to the following conclusions:
a) all information will be reported to Cabinet in due course
b) damage to reputation and/or financial interests
In weighing the factors for and against disclosure we have concluded that the likely benefit to the applicant and the wider public of disclosure is outweighed by the likely prejudice caused by such disclosure and that therefore the public interest is better served by non-disclosure.
For the reasons given above we will not be communicating to you the information you have requested.
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