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Defence Reform Act 2014

Section 38 and Schedule 5: Disclosure of information

132.Section 38 gives effect to Schedule 5. Schedule 5 applies to information relating to an individual or business, which is obtained by the Secretary of State, an authorised person, or the SSRO under or by virtue of Part 2, and which is of a kind specified in the SSCRs (Schedule 5, paragraph 1) (“protected information”).

133.Schedule 5 creates a criminal offence of disclosing protected information (paragraph 2).

134.It is not a criminal offence to disclose protected information in certain circumstances (specified in paragraphs 3 to 5), including in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

135.Paragraphs 2(3) and (4) define the maximum penalty for the offence on both summary and indictable conviction.

136.Paragraph 2(5) relates to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. When that Act comes into force, penalties for offences which are punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum will be set by reference to the new levels provided for by section 85 of that Act.

137.Paragraph 6 gives the Secretary of State the power by order to create a statutory bar on the disclosure of protected information. Should this power be used, disclosure of protected information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 would be prohibited but the other permitted disclosures would not be affected. Such an order would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure (sub-paragraph (6)).

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