Freedom of Information news, Issue 06
- FOIA works well, says Campaign for Freedom of Information
- Information Commissioner denies cosy deals with Government
- Beware of FOI scam
- NHS complies well with response deadline
- DCA publishes list of persons to apply public interest test
1. FOIA works well, says Campaign for Freedom of Information
FOI legislation is generally performing well according to Maurice Frankel, Director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. He spoke about experience in the first three months in a seminar organised on 12th April by the Constitution Unit of University College London.
2. Information Commissioner denies cosy deals with Government
The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has replied to accusations over having undermined his independence by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Constitutional Affairs. The memorandum, published on 9th March, suggests that the Commissioner will not normally serve an Information Notice on any Government Department unless he believes that relevant information is being withheld from him, or that there has been undue delay in providing the information requested.
3. Beware of FOI scam
A bogus firm, “The Freedom of Information Bureau,” has made false requests for a £145 registration fee for using CCTV equipment. The organisation is not an official body, and organisations that have received a letter from this body should not pay. Organisations do not need to register under the FOI Act.
4. NHS complies well with response deadline
The NHS has, in most cases, managed to reply to FOI requests within the 20 working day limit, reveals a new survey. However, most of the 66 respondents did not have a dedicated reporting scheme for tracking FOI requests, and only eight said they had a document management solution for managing their publication schemes.
5. DCA publishes list of persons to apply public interest test
The Department of Constitutional Affairs has published a list of the qualified persons under section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Information is exempt if a qualified person believes that releasing it is not in the public interest. Section 36 can only be used if section 35 (formulation of Government policy) does not apply to the information.
Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2005