MPs urged to bring contractors' information under the FOI Act
The Campaign for Freedom of Information (CFOI) has written to MPs who succeeded in the recent ballot for private members' bills urging them to introduce the Freedom of Information (Contractor Information) Bill. CFOI says that that the bill would ensure that all information held by a contractor about a public service contract is subject to the FOI Act, regardless of what the contract itself says. At the moment, contractors are not subject to the FOIA unless they hold information "on behalf of" a public authority.
Speaking at the Privacy Laws & Business 27th Annual International Conference on 1 July, Justice Minister Simon Hughes MP, said that the government was working towards extending the Information Commissioner’s power of compulsory audit under the Data Protection Act first to National Health Service bodies and possibly, in due course, to companies carrying out work under contract for NHS bodies. On the same day at the conference, Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner, told the conference that his office was now ensuring better coordination between his DP and FoI teams so that an audit by his office could cover both subjects in the same visit.
Time for debating private members' bills is limited to 13 Fridays in each session of Parliament, with the last session in this Parliament being 6 March 2015.