Section 18: Power to disclose information
49.Subsections (1) to (3) place a duty upon the Commissioner not to disclose information obtained by him in the discharge of his functions, or from other commissioners or ombudsmen, other than for the purposes specified in subsection (3). These include disclosure to other commissioners, ombudsmen, or public bodies (defined as "permitted persons" insubsection (9)) if it is in the public interest and for the purpose of the discharge of that permitted person’s functions (subsection (3)(b)). There is also a "sunset provision" that enables the Commissioner to disclose information obtained by him more than 70 years before the proposed date of disclosure, if he considers its disclosure to be in the public interest (subsection (3)(h)). Subsection (5) provides that, in determining whether disclosure is in the public interest, the Commissioner must take into account the interests of the person to whom the information relates and such other persons as he thinks appropriate.
50.Subsection (10) provides the Assembly with a power to add to the list of permitted persons, or omit or change the description of a person. This could be used, for example, to accommodate the creation of a new ombudsman with whom it may be appropriate for the Commissioner to share information.