Parliament seeks evidence by 3 February on FOI implementation

The Freedom of Information Act is currently being reviewed, and the deadline for submitting evidence to the Parliamentary committee is 3 February 2012.

The Ministry of Justice has published a memorandum on its post legislative scrutiny of the Act. It looks at how the Act was implemented and whether it works in practice, the impact on public authorities in terms of cost and resources, difficulties with vexatious requests, and whether the objectives of the Act have been met.

The government says that ‘the extent to which original decisions are either not complained against, or are upheld on complaint, indicate that FOIA is working largely as it should and provides a clear indication that FOIA is, broadly, operating as intended. However some aspects of FOIA’s operation where difficulties arise …. may be worthy of further consideration.’

Problems have been encountered with the time taken to process and respond to FOI requests, to conduct public interest tests and consider exemptions, to conduct internal reviews and to deal with complaints and appeals. In particular, the limitations on what activities can count towards the cost limit can leave public authorities with significant costs from dealing with a small number of complex requests, the government says.

See the Memorandum and the call for evidence.