Tom Witherow writes for the University of York’s Nouse on a report on the future of the Freedom of Information Act:
The LIBOR scandal, the expenses scandal, the phone-hacking scandal. One would be forgiven for thinking that the Establishment was crumbling under the weight of the human appetite for power and greed.
And perhaps it is, but one report published last Thursday on the future of the 2000 Freedom of Information Act breathes fresh air into all of these areas and more. It is the Justice Select Committee who has seen sense and quashed the restrictions suggested by politicians and many public bodies.
The first thing of note is that Tony Blair and Jack Straw’s wishes to refuse all requests for details of Whitehall policy formulation before the 20-year mark, even in cases where it is in the public interest has been rejected by the committee. These politicians argued that there was a ‘chilling effect’ on cabinet communications – but what actually occurs is that protection for those who make poor decisions or force through laws which they know won’t work is withdrawn. This is a positive result which can go some way to shifting the ‘Yes, Minister’ culture that can sometimes appear to dominate the corridors of power.
Full article here.