Thursday, 6 January 2011

Extending Freedom of Information

"We believe in freedom, justice, prosperity and human rights for all and will do all we can to work towards a world where these hopes become reality."
 The Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010

On Friday, Nick Clegg is set to announce plans to extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act and make it easier to process such requests. Bodies such as the Association of Chief Police Officers and UCAS could be covered, according to this report by the BBC.

The Freedom of Information Act was mentioned twice in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto - with specific but not exclusive, reference made to Network Rail:
"Overhaul Network Rail to put the interests of passengers first and bring it under the Freedom of Information Act to make it more open."
"Strengthen the Data Protection Act and the Office of the Information Commissioner, extending Freedom of Information legislation to private companies delivering monopoly public services such as Network Rail." 
By contrast it was not mention in the Conservative Manifesto, although the Office of the Information Commissioner was:
"We will strengthen the powers of the Information Commissioner to penalise any public body found guilty of mismanaging data."
So there's no prizes for identifying the origin of the following commitment from the Coalition Agreement:
"We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency."
...and no prizes for guessing the origin of tomorrow's proposals.


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