In the News
No planned changes to the Freedom of Information Act
A report out later today will recommend no changes to the workings of the Freedom of Information Act (first introduced in 2000). One suggestion was to introduce a fee schedule for FOI requests in an attempt to reduce the number of frivolous or malicious requests for information. The report will suggest, however, that the FOIA works well as it currently stands.
Some would argue that the access to public information is a critical part of a democracy - the information empowers people to understand government operations, have a greater knowledge of how tax payers money is spent and hold policy makers and politicians to account. However, the very man who sought to introduce it, Tony Blair, is now one of its greatest critics - he argues that fear of the availability of information actually prevents decision making and open discussion rather than promoting it. Here is an article on why Blair does not like the FOIA.
The video below is a training video from the Information Commissions Office on the how the FOI Act works. It's a little lengthy for the classroom (13 mins) but interesting and created in an engaging way. I like the part where the Council Officer says that the FOIA exists for alien conspiracy enthusiasts! Did anyone see that clip of the mysterious flashing light over Scotland recently. I wonder what that was all about.....?