Council Employee Fined £400 for Deleting Audio File illegally

Case marks the first ever successful conviction under the FOIA

Last updated:

A council employee has been fined £400 for an offence under the Freedom of Information (FOI) regulations, marking the first ever successful conviction under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Nicola Young, town clerk of Whitchurch Town Council, was convicted under Section 77 of the FOIA of deliberately obstructing records with the intent to prevent disclosure.

As part of her responsibilities as town clerk, Young was entrusted with the role of ‘proper officer’ whose responsibility it is to handle FOI requests to the council.

One such request was submitted by an individual who asked for a copy of the audio recording of a council meeting.

The requester believed that elements of the written minutes of this meeting had been fabricated, and requested the audio file to see if this was the case. They were informed that the file had already been deleted according to council policy.

A complaint was then sent by the requester to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and, following an investigation, the ICO discovered that Young was, after initially denying it, aware of the FOI request and had deleted the audio file some days later.

On Wednesday 11 March, Young, of Shrewsbury Street, Whitchurch, Shropshire, was convicted at Crewe Magistrates after pleading guilty to blocking records with the intention of preventing disclosure and was fined £400, ordered to pay costs of £1,493 and a victim surcharge £40.

Mike Shaw, Group Manager in Enforcement at the ICO, said:

“This case is about the public’s right to know, and we will not hesitate to take action to protect people’s right to access the information they are entitled to.”

“This case emphasises the critical importance of transparency for public authorities in the way they carry out their business.”

“People should have trust and confidence that they can access public information without the danger of it being doctored, fabricated or corrupted in any way.”

Section 77 of the FOIA states a person “is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to the communication of which the applicant would have been entitled.”

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop

Rapid Mobile

Rapid Mobile uses cookies, tokens, and other third party scripts to recognise visitors of our sites and services, remember your settings and privacy choices, and - depending on your settings and privacy choices - enable us and some key partners to collect information about you so that we can improve our services and deliver relevant ads.


By continuing to use our site or clicking I Accept, you agree that Rapid Mobile and our key partners may collect data and use cookies for personalised ads and other purposes, as described more fully in our privacy policy.


You can change your settings at any time by clicking Manage Settings or by visiting our Privacy Centre for more detailed information.


Privacy Settings saved!
Cookie Services

We need your consent so that we and our trusted partners can store and access cookies, unique identifiers, personal data and information about your browsing behaviour on your device. This enables us to serve relevant content and advertising to you, and to improve the service that we provide to our readers. This only applies to rapidmobile.biz.Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site.

We track anonymized user information to improve our website.
  • _ga
  • _gid
  • _gat

Save my preferences