The ICO exists to empower you through information.

If you are considering applying section 14(1), you should review the situation before making a final decision. This is because refusing a request as vexatious is likely to elicit a complaint from the requester and may serve to escalate any pre-existing disputes between you.

Primarily, this means ensuring you have consulted the relevant people before making a final decision.

There is little point in making a decision without understanding its implications for other departments within your organisation, or without the backing of a decision-maker at an appropriate level. At the very least, we recommend that if the request handler has been very involved in previous correspondence with the requester, they ask someone else to give their objective view, preferably a more senior colleague.

As part of this process, you may also wish to explore whether there might be a viable alternative to refusing the request outright. Some potential options are discussed in the next section.

Finally, if you refuse a request and the requester complains, then you should recognise the importance of the internal review stage. This is your last opportunity to thoroughly re-evaluate, and, if appropriate, reverse the decision without the involvement of the ICO.