Disclosure restrictions

Disclosure restrictions

If we do not disclose information, we will give reasons for not disclosing. The most likely reasons are outlined here.


The safety of our staff is a primary concern. We will not disclose information where we consider it could jeopardise our ability to operate or the safety of our staff, volunteers or partners.


Some information is by its nature private to the individuals concerned.

Confidential information

Information may be confidential because of legal, commercial or contractual reasons, or because its premature disclosure would jeopardise action that VSO is planning to take.

Copyright limitations

In some cases we do not have the right to disclose information because it is someone else's copyright, and while we have the right to make internal use of it this does not extend to publishing it. We do favour open publishing where we can, such as for our policy papers.


Where we consider that the cost of disclosure, whether as a time cost or a monetary cost, would be disproportionate to the request, we may decline disclosure but will explain that this is the reason.

Detailed information about programmes

We may decline to provide information to requests made in United Kingdom about our international programme work in other countries where this would take up significant staff time in our programme.

Internal planning, drafts and trivial or ephemeral information

We will generally not disclose internal working papers that address future plans, or drafts of work, or information which we consider is of ephemeral interest such that the work involved in disclosure is in our view disproportionate.

Harm to operations

We recognise the importance of how we put principles into practice. But there will be occasions where we do not disclose information because we consider that the disclosure could harm our work, whether in UK or in our international operations. An example would be information about a campaign involving particular targets, where the disclosure could jeopardise the effectiveness of the campaign.

How does VSO deal with multiple requests and/or requests with no discernible public benefit?

Where a person makes multiple requests for information, or we consider that the work involved in dealing with the request has no discernible public benefit, we may decide not to spend time in dealing with the request. Such a decision will be taken by the Company Secretary. If any person makes a request in an offensive manner, or has otherwise been abusive to staff or volunteers, then we may decline to engage in correspondence with that person.