UK Freedom of Information E-news - October 2010
- Internal ICO FOI advice now available
- ICO puts pressure on compliance
- Tribunal: DWP to release contract details
- Government committed to extending FOI Act
Thanks to a FOI request by Alex Skene, who helps maintain the WhatDoTheyKnow.com website, the ICO has now released its "Line to Take" (LTT) documents. They were produced by the ICO's Policy Team as internal policy lines on the interpretation and application of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
On 1 October the Information Commissioner's office published a list of 30 public bodies that are not meeting the requirement to respond the FOI requests on time. The organisations include the Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office, Metropolitan Police Service, Ministry of Defence, and Transport for London. The ICO’s Deputy Commissioner, Graham Smith said:
‘We will monitor the authorities named today for three months, but may take action during this timeframe if an authority’s standard of compliance is revealed to be particularly poor, or if it is unwilling to make the improvements necessary. ‘This is a perfect opportunity for the authorities named to get their houses in order and demonstrate that they take freedom of information requests seriously.’
In a FOI case involving contract details between the Department of Work and Pensions and Atos Origin, the Tribunal ruled, based on public interest grounds, that most details of the £47 million Government Gateway contract are to be published. Atos Origin was the only bidder for the contract. The FOI request sought to establish how much DWP was paying Atos Origin. Atos Origin had no objection to disclosure.
More about this case in the next issue of PL&B UK.
See the ruling of 20 September.
The Campaign for Freedom of Information held a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool on 18 September 2010. The meeting was addressed by Lord McNally, the Ministry of Justice minister responsible for freedom of information, and Sir Alan Beith, the chair of the House of Commons Justice Committee.
Lord McNally said that an announcement would be made later this year following a review of FOI issues: "What the coalition has committed itself to is an examination of how the Freedom of Information Act has worked, where it could be extended within its present powers and where it might be extended by primary legislation."
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Copyright Privacy Laws & Business 2010