Request for information regarding the award of a knighthood to Sir Paul Collins
The Chief Ombudsman considered a complaint against a decision by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) to withhold certain information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) relating to the award of a knighthood to Sir Paul Collins.
DPMC considered it necessary to withhold the information on multiple grounds under the OIA.
The Chief Ombudsman formed the opinion that it was necessary to withhold the information in reliance upon sections 9(2)(a); 9(2)(f)(i); 9(2)(f)(iv); and 9(2)(g)(i) of the OIA.
Although accepting that there was a clear public interest in the disclosure of information concerning the process by which nominations for Royal Honours are considered, the Chief Ombudsman considered that, in this case, this interest would be met by the agreed disclosure of summarised information, as well as by the investiture information already in the public domain. In the opinion of the Chief Ombudsman, the overall public interest would not be served by disclosing information that undermines the Royal Honours system itself.