United Kingdom

What's New

  • 28 April 2017

    Proactive Publication: Time for a Rethink?

    By Rosemary Agnew The following message was posted by Agnew on here final day as Scottish Information Commissioner. She summarizes her final report, on proactive publication. Today is a significant day for me, as it marks both my last working day as Scottish Information Commissioner, and the laying of my special report to Parliament. This is my last […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 14 July 2016

    Brexit and Open Government

    By Ben Worthy The author is lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. This post first appeared in the Open Data Study Blog and is reprinted with permission. Brexit, as we now know, means Brexit. But what does it mean for open government in the UK? On the surface, nothing changes. Almost all […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
Be Sociable, Share!

News Archive

  • 23 June 2016

    UK Campaign Rejects Proposed FOIA Amendment

    A Justice Committee recommendation would “seriously undermine FOI Act,” according to the Campaign for FOI. The coalition objected particularly to a proposal to abolish the main right to appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decisions. The Justice Committee report endorses a recommendation made this March by the Commission on Freedom of Information chaired by Lord Burns. The […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 30 March 2016

    Scottish Commissioner Sends Letter on Timing of Releases

    Scotland’s information commissioner has issued a clarification of policy on delaying the release of decisions during the pre-election period. A candidate for the Holyrood elections was told by the commissioner’s office would not issue certain decisions which may “put forward a critical view of ministers” until after the Scottish Parliament election on May 5, as […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 1 March 2016

    UK Commission Says Few Changes Needed in FOIA

    A controversial ad hoc commission in the United Kingdom has surprised critics by not recommending many changes to the freedom of information act. The final report issued March 1 was a welcome relief to those who had charged that the commission was stacked in favor of undercutting FOI Also welcome was a statement by the Cabinet […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 January 2016

    UK Commissioner Counsels Against Weakening FOI Act

    The United Kingdom’s information commissioner testified Jan. 20 against making changes to the freedom of information act. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham appeared at the first day of hearing sponsored by special commission considering whether to amend the law, particularly to provide more protection for information exchanged by ministers and civil servants. The commission is holding two […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 13 January 2016

    Scotland Plans to Expand FOI to Cover Prisons, Schools

    The Scottish government ministers is planning to extend the scope of the freedom of information laws law to nonpublic sector bodies delivering public services, according to an announcement and media reports such as one in Holyrood. As a result, contractors such as those who run Scotland’s two private prisons would be subject to FOI requests as will certain […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 1 December 2015

    UK Conservatives Oppose Watering Down FOI Law

    A United Kingdom Conservative Party member, David Davis, said Nov. 30 that more than a dozen Conservative members of parliament would oppose proposals to weaken the freedom of information law, according to reports in the Guardian and the Daily Mail Davis predicted that the fight to defend the legislation was “eminently winnable.” His comments came […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 1 December 2015

    Transparency International Evaluates Five Countries

    Transparency International has completed studies of how well five countries perform concerning three “pillars of open governance: Transparency, Participation and Oversight.” The countries rated were Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization applied a methodology based on 35 open governance standards and a scorecard composed of 459 questions. The […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 25 November 2015

    UK FOI Commission Deluged With 30K Public Comments

    The United Kingdom commission looking into proposals to weaken the freedom of information law has received 30,000 public comments, prompting it to extend its projected conclusion date until early next year. One observer calculated that it would take one person 208 24-hour days to read the submissions. The chairman of the Independent Commission on Freedom […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 14 October 2015

    UK Commission Poses Six Questions, Seeks Comment

    A British government commission has called for “evidence” regarding potential changes to the Freedom of Information Act. With six questions, the five-member commission has confirmed two major areas of interest: — how to protect the internal deliberations of public bodies and — the cost of handling FOI requests. The announcement summarizes the issues, including a […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 22 September 2015

    140 UK Groups Protest Bias on New FOIA Commission

    Some 140 groups have charged that the Commission on Freedom of Information announced in July is biased. The letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron by media bodies, civil society groups and and others states, “The government does not appear to intend the Commission to carry out an independent and open minded inquiry.” The […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 30 July 2015

    Book Review: UK How-To Aims to Inspire Journalists

    By Toby McIntosh Training journalists about the mechanics of using legal tools to access to information is the easy part. Motivating them is the harder. A new book by British journalist Matt Burgess does both. (Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, Routledge, 2015) While focused primarily on the Freedom of Information Act […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 20 July 2015

    UK FOIA Supporters Criticize Creation of Commission

    The British government has announced plans for a commission to study the Freedom of Information Act and transferred administrative responsibility for FOIA to Cabinet Office. Both moves were widely seen as threatening to freedom of information, following through on previously stated objections from Conservative government leaders. A “crack down” on FOI is clearly being planned, […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 9 July 2015

    United Kingdom: The Case Against Government FOI Proposals

    This post is from the website of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. The Government is likely to be considering three sets of new restrictions to the FOI Act. These are likely to involve: (1) preventing the disclosure of government policy discussions (2) strengthening the ministerial veto (3) making it easier for authorities to refuse FOI […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 25 June 2015

    UK Minister Says Changes Being Considered in FOI Law

    The United Kingdom’s Justice Secretary has suggested amending the freedom of information law to let government officials “speak candidly.” His statement triggered objections from FOI supporters. No specific proposals have been tabled. Gove said during question period in Parliament June 23:  …we do need to revisit the Freedom of Information Act. It is absolutely vital that […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 17 June 2015

    Scotland Proposes to Cover More Entities Under FOIA

    The Scottish Government has begun a consultation on a proposal to extend the Freedom of Information Act to cover contractors operating private prisons, providers of secure accommodation for children, grant-aided schools and independent special schools opened up to more public scrutiny. Parliamentary business minister Joe Fitzpatrick was quoted as saying: “Scotland already has the most robust freedom […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 13 May 2015

    UK Prince Memos Released; FOIA Changes Threatened

    As the British public finally got a look at memos sent by Prince Charles to government ministers, the re-elected Conservative government indicated its intention to tighten control of the freedom of information law. The release of the royal memos culminating a 10-year legal battle fought by The Guardian newspaper, which finally got to describe the […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 2 April 2015

    TI Rates UK Openness; Plans Reports on More Countries

    A new rating of open government in the United Kingdom is the vanguard of a much larger evaluative project planned by Transparency International. The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization already has applied the new methodology to Ghana, Indonesia, Peru and Ukraine, with results to be released soon. Plans for much wider use of the tool are in […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 26 March 2015

    UK Court Blunts Government Veto of Releasing Royal Mail

    A British journalist has won a case to get access to letters sent by Prince Charles to government agencies, a decision has ignited debate about when the government should be able to “veto” disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act. The Supreme Court ruling prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to issue a statement saying that the law […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 1 January 2015

    10 Years of FOI in the UK: Tony, Tension and Turbulence

    By Ben Worthy The author is a Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. It was first posted Dec. 28 on his blog OpenDataStudy. The 10th anniversary was widely noted elsewhere, including in an official note by Justice Minister Simon Hughes saying that more than 400,000 requests have been made under FOI laws in […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 4 December 2014

    UK Ministry Begins Review of Info Commissioner’s Office

    The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice has announced a triennial review of the Information Commissioner’s Office. Such reviews are standard for non-departmental public bodies. The ministry has asked for the public to submit “evidence” by Jan. 16, and the website includes a four question survey. Commissioner Christopher Graham said: “I am confident that the ICO […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 9 October 2014

    The Pre-Election State of FOI in the UK

    By Paul Gibbons The author writes the FOIMan website where this article was published Oct. 8. It seems like only yesterday that I coined the hashtag #saveFOI when, provoked by the launch of the government’s post-legislative scrutiny, it seemed that everybody and their uncle wanted to pile in with their FOI horror stories. And a […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 August 2014

    Wacky FOI Requests? Really? Sinister Motive? Possibly

    Media outlets worldwide recently ran a story about the “top 10” wacky FOI requests in the United Kingdom – including requests about dragon attacks and preparations for astroid attacks. Subsequently, however, the motives of the list-maker have been critically examined and the seeming oddness of the requests has been called into question. The motive? The […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 August 2014

    Several Proposals in UK Would Change Procedures

    The senior president of tribunals in the United Kingdom, Sir Jeremy Sullivan, has proposed that in some situations a judge alone could handle information rights cases. Now, two lay people experienced in information law generally sit alongside a judge, according to a summary on a website run by a law firm, Pinset Mason. “It does […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 August 2014

    Network Rail to Be Blocked From UK FOI

    By Mathew Burgess The author writes the blog FOI Directory where this article first appeared Aug. 15. Since publication, the Train Drivers’ Union issued a statement. Network Rail is due to be reclassified as a public body on 1st September however it is being reported that David Cameron will block its inclusion in the Freedom […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 14 August 2014

    Scottish Commissioner Draws Attention to Tardy Responses

    Almost a quarter of all the valid appeals sent to the Scottish Information Commissioner concern untimely responses. Rosemary Agnew, Scottish Information Commissioner, included this information in an Aug. 7 report to the Scottish Parliament. “When authorities don’t respond to requests they are effectively denying an individual’s rights, she said. “This is not only stressful and […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 4 August 2014

    UK Ruling Supports Choice Regarding Form of Disclosure

    A British Court of Appeal has ruled that a requester should be given a reply in a requested, useable Excel software and not in a pdf format, that can’t be manipulated. The Buckinghamshire County Council had resisted giving information about the 11+ school entry “in Excel format” to requester Nick Innes. It provided 184 pages […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 8 July 2014

    UK ICO Backs Privacy for Most Requester Names

    The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office recently said the names of FOI requesters should be kept private, but not always. The comment concerned the three-year practice of the Staffordshire County Council to publish requesters’ letters unredacted. For more read a blog post by Mathew Burgess and another by Jon Baines. The ICO is quoted as […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 6 June 2014

    UK ICO Calls Future FOI Funding Critical

    By Mathew Burgess Burgess is a UK digital journalist, freelancer and is writing a book on the Freedom of Information Act for journalists. This post appeared June 6 on his blog, FOIA Directory. He can be found tweeting @mattburgess1. The future of funding for Freedom of Information in the UK has reached a ‘critical’ level, […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 23 May 2014

    UK Agrees to Provide Document on EU Discussions

    Reversing course, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has agreed to provide Access Info Europe with information on negotiations in Brussels to revise the European Union’s transparency rules. The changed position will end a four-year legal process arising from an information request made June 15, 2010, by Access Info Europe Campaigner Pam Bartlett […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 26 March 2014

    UK Court Finds Common Law Right to Information

    This report appeared in the Press Gazette on March 26, 2014. It is reprinted with permission. A related analysis article is here. For additional commentary, see posting by  David Hart on the UK Human Rights Blog. Media lawyers have welcomed an “important development” in the right to access information from public authorities, after a seven-year legal […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 17 March 2014

    UK Committee Recommends FOI Coverage of Contracting

    The Public Accounts Committee of the UK Parliament on March 14 issued a report documenting the growth of contracting out public services to private contractors and calling for such activities to be covered by the freedom of information law. Half of all public spending on goods and services goes to private providers of contracted-out services, […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 12 March 2014

    UK Court Rejects Secrecy for Prince Charles’ Letters

    The Court of Appeal in the United Kingdom March 12 ruled that the Attorney General unlawfully vetoed disclosure of Prince Charles’ letters to government ministers. The three judge panel’s decision says the veto was incompatible with European Union environmental law. The Guardian newspaper nine years ago requested the correspondence sent to various government agencies in […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 6 March 2014

    Insuring transparency isn’t the cost of outsourcing

    By Steve Wood Wood is the Head of Policy Delivery at the UK Information Commissioners Office. This article appeared in the ICO blog on March 5. As talk of austerity continues to echo through the corridors of the public sector, the value of cost savings grows ever-more attractive. And if a CBI report is to […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 16 August 2013

    UK ICO Issues Guidance on Requests for Personal Data

    The United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on Aug. 8 published new guidance for organizations to help them deal with requests from individuals for their data. Under the Data Protection Act, anyone has the right to find out what information an organization holds about them by making a “subject access request.” This allows individuals to […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 29 July 2013

    UK Supreme Court Upholds Request for Pay Structure

    The U.K. Supreme Court ruled July 29 that information relating to South Lanarkshire Council’s staff pay structure should be disclosed. The judgment is the first considered by the Supreme Court under Scotland’s freedom of information law. The requester in 2010 sought details of the number of people placed at specific points on South Lanarkshire Council’s pay […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 26 July 2013

    Appeal Granted in Case Involving Prince Charles

    Three British high court judges have allowed an appeal of a decision denying public access to letters from Prince Charles to government agencies. The Guardian newspaper has been seeking the letters for eight years. In July, the British High Court refused to overturn a government decision to block the disclosure of Prince Charles’ correspondence. (See previous […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 26 July 2013

    Summer Reading: Will the Public Interest Test Prevail?

    By Helen Darbishire Darbishire is Executive Director of Access Info Europe. For FOI Geeks interested in the application of the public interest test who also like a good quick read over the summer, there’s a recent decision that can compete with page-turning novels. There’s no sex, but we do learn about the intimate and very […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 19 July 2013

    UK Ministry Releases Code on Handling Datasets

    The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice July 16 published Code of Practice (Datasets) to implement the new dataset provisions in the Freedom of Information Act. The code quickly drew criticism from the open data community. UK public authorities are required to provide datasets in a re-usable format and with a licence for re-use, where reasonably […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 12 July 2013

    UK Courts Upholds Secrecy for Prince Charles’ Letters

    The British High Court on July 9 refused to overturn a government decision to block the disclosure of Prince Charles’ correspondence with government departments. The UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve in October 2012 has vetoed the release of 27 letters sent by Prince Charles to seven government departments. A FOI tribunal court had ruled that […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 1 July 2013

    UK ICO Says Spreadsheets May Contain Private Info

    Spreadsheets sent in response to freedom of information requests sometimes inadvertently contain too much personal information, a problem being addressed by the United Kingdom’s information commissioner’s office and a non-governmental organization that facilitates requests for information. The problem occurs when public authorities fair to properly remove the underlying data before disclosing information in Microsoft Excel […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 10 June 2013

    Scottish Minister Offers Extension of FOI Law

    The Scottish government has proposed that the freedom of information law should cover cultural, sports and leisure services set up by local authorities. The Scottish Liberal Democrats called the move “too timid” and Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew suggested a broader approach. Debate about covering private organizations that perform functions for the government has been at […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 17 May 2013

    UK Group Campaigns Against Proposed FOI Legislation

    The Campaign for Freedom of Information has detailed its objections to proposed changes to the British freedom of information law and launched a drive to get support from members of Parliament. The criticisms are summarized in an eight-page letter signed by Maurice Frankel, CFOI’s Director. The letter says the proposed changes would make it easier […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 16 May 2013

    UK Commissioner Addresses Handling Vexatious Requests

    The British information commissioner’s office May 15 issued extensive guidance on dealing with “vexatious” requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The guidance “is clearly going to lead to many more requests being refused as vexatious,” according to an eight-page letter sent by the Campaign for Freedom of Information to the government to detail its objections […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 25 April 2013

    Scottish Agencies Consult Private Counsel for FOI

    Scottish agencies have spent more than £400,000 ($520,000) for advice from private attorneys on how to respond to freedom of information requests, according to the New Scotsman April 21. More than 60 Scottish authorities sought counsel on how to apply the FOI exemptions and on reviews and appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner, the newspaper’s […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 5 April 2013

    First OGP Self-Assessments Posted; Deadline Extended

    The first country self-assessment reports on progress toward fulfilling their Open Government Partnership commitments are surfacing, with more expected in the coming weeks. Posted on the OGP website now are reports from two countries:  the Philippines and the United States. The United Kingdom has released its draft report, but posting of a final report will […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 5 April 2013

    Scottish Commissioner Warns on Use of Vexatious Standard

    Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew on April 1 cautioned authorities against denying information requests on the grounds they are vexatious. Laying out revised standards based on recent cases, she said the vexatious provision must not be used “lightly,” according to the announcement. The main changes are: “Significant burden on the public authority” becomes one factor rather […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 29 March 2013

    UK FOIA Effective, According to Report by World Bank

    The United Kingdom’s freedom of information act “is relatively effective and firmly entrenched,” according to an evaluation prepared for the World Bank. The 36-page report prepared by consultant Tom McClean is one of eight case studies prepared as part of a World Bank project on the implementation of right to information laws. (See previous FreedomInfo.org […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 March 2013

    UK ICO Needs Budget Flexibility, Report Finds

    The United Kingdom’s House of Commons Justice Committee has proposed that the Information Commissioner be allowed to use income from data protection fees to support its freedom of information work. In a March 21 report, the committee commends the commissioner for reducing his budget while still making inroads into the backlog of freedom of information complaints and […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 7 March 2013

    World Bank Study Focuses on RTI Implementaton Issues

    Right to information laws “will accomplish little” in poor countries, according to the author of new World Bank study, “unless concerted efforts are made to address the broader enabling environment, and appropriate capacity building strategies are devised.”   The report by Anupama Dokeniya is based on individual research studies of implementation in eight countries: Albania, […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 22 February 2013

    FOI Supporters Organize Against UK Amendments

    Opponents of government proposals to amend the freedom of information law in the United Kingdom are organizing their campaign. Plans include an online petition and efforts to lobby members of parliament, leaders of the opposition Campaign for Freedom of Information announced Feb. 18, This and commentary on the proposals is contained in a report by Matt […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 January 2013

    Scotland FOI Modifications Disappoint Reformers

    The Scottish Parliament has passed amendments to the freedom of information law, but only made what critics called a “timid” move toward expanding its scope as sought by reformers. The bill approved Jan. 16 would strengthen enforcement against destruction of documents and unify at 15 years the time frame for releasing historical documents.     However, it would not extend the […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 21 December 2012

    Campaign for FOI Objects to UK Government Proposals

    The Campaign for Freedom of Information in the United Kingdom Dec. 18 issued a statement objecting that government plans to amend the Freedom of Information Act “would make it harder for requesters to obtain answers to new, complex or contentious FOI requests.” As explained by the Campaign: The government is proposing to make it easier […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 10 December 2012

    Scottish Panel Declines to Expand Reach of FOI Law

    The Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament Dec. 5 approved a bill to amend the freedom of information law, but did not support changes urged by reformers that would extend the law to private bodies performing public functions. The committee passed the bill on second reading, which sets up a debate in full parliament, probably in mid-January. […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 30 November 2012

    Scottish Government Backs Off FOI Exemption for Royals

    The Scottish Government has retreated from its proposal to exempt the royal family from the Scottish Freedom of Information law. The proposal, similar to a protection approved for the United Kingdom FOI law, was criticized recently by a Scottish legislative committee considering a government-proposed bill to amend the law in a variety of ways. Critics […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 26 November 2012

    United Kingdom Consults on Datasets Disclosure Code

    The British government has begun a consultation on its code of practice on government datasets. “The proposed new Code of Practice (datasets) was drafted in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, The Information Commissioners Office, The National Archives, and The Ministry of Justice and sets out what we mean by the terms in the new sections […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 2 November 2012

    Scottish Committee Rejects Government FOI Proposals

    A Scottish Parliament committee has asked the government to drop a proposed exemption for the British royalty from the freedom of information law and to consider bringing private organizations performing public functions under the act. The Nov. 1 report and press release by the Finance Committee was welcomed by the Campaign for Freedom of Information […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 19 October 2012

    UK AG Blocks Release of Prince Charles Letters

    The United Kingdom Attorney General has blocked the release of 27 letters sent by Prince Charles to seven government departments. A court ruled last month that the letters were “advocacy correspondence” and should be disclosed. Disagreeing, AG Dominic Grieve wrote that the letters were part of the prince’s “preparations for kingship.” Grieve also said, “The […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 12 October 2012

    Experts Urge Government to Protect UK FOI Law

    By Will Fitzgibbon This article was published Oct. 11, 2012, by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit organization based at City University, London. The government may clamp down on public access to information through reforms to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, experts warned during a public conference in London on Tuesday. A panel […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 5 October 2012

    UK to Allow Access to Government Emails

    The United Kingdom will require the disclosure of emails and text messages written by government officials. The move was signaled recently and will be described in new government guidance, according to reports in The Independent and on the BBC. A  letter from the Department for Education indicates that it will withdraw objections made over the […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 20 September 2012

    Scottish Commissioner Sees Growing Number of Appeals

    New Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew has reported a hike in the number of appeals to her office over freedom of information request denials and criticized the Scottish government presiding over an “unacceptable” erosion access to information.   “It is simply not acceptable that citizens’ rights continue to be eroded through complex changes in the delivery […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 9 August 2012

    UK ICO Provides Guidance on FOI Law and Copyrights

    Copyrighted material may be disclosed pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, according to recent guidance from the United Kingdom’s Information commissioner’s Office. The UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) permits such disclosures, the ICO guidance says “Providing information in response to a request made under FOIA constitutes an act specifically authorised under […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 3 August 2012

    UK Denies Release of Cabinet Minutes on Iraq War

    The British government has again refused to release the minutes of Cabinet meetings from 2003 at which the invasion of Iraq was discussed. The decision announced July 31 rejects an order by Information Commissioner Christopher Graham to release the minutes. Attorney General Dominic Grieve said he issued a certificate under the Freedom of Information Act […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 26 July 2012

    UK Committee Supports Modest Changes to FOI Law

    A committee of the British Parliament July 26 concluded that the UK’s Freedom of Information Act “is serving the nation well” and declined to recommend higher access fees or other restrictions.  “Supporters of freedom of information will be relieved, but many of its critics will be disappointed,” wrote Martin Rosenbaum for BBC. The unanimous report […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 29 June 2012

    UK Issues White Paper on Open Data, FOIA

    The United Kingdom on June 28 issued an Open Data White Paper detailing plans for publishing government data, including some mentions of the  freedom of information law that led several observers to predict higher fees. While not proposing any changes to the FOI law at this time, the White Paper said that an expanded Code […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 8 June 2012

    Scottish FOI Amendments Criticized as Too Narrow

    The Scottish government has proposed freedom of information law amendments that FOI activists say fall short. Carole Ewart, co-convener of Campaign for Freedom of Information Scotland, wrote in reaction that it is “what isn’t in the bill that is the problem” and called it “a wasted opportunity.” She said more quasi-governmental bodies need to be […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 18 May 2012

    UK Cabinet Vetoes Release of Sensitive Risk Report

    A major FOI controversy ensued in the United Kingdom after the cabinet vetoed the release of an assessment of risks of the government’s health system reforms. The decision overruled an order from Information Commissioner Christopher Graham to publish the National Health Service risk register. Graham protested the decision, saying that “none of the criteria for […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 11 May 2012

    UK Protection of Freedoms Act Makes Changes in FOI

    By Paul Gibbons This article first appeared in FOIManUK on May 10, Gibbon’s blog, and is reprinted with permission. The Protection of Freedoms Act came into force on 1 May 2012. Amongst its many implications are those for the Freedom of Information Act (though we still await a commencement order in respect of these provisions, […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 8 March 2012

    Submission of FOI Bill Delayed on Isle of Man

    Isle of Man Chief Minister Allan Bell on Feb. 22 pushed back the date for introduction of a bill on freedom of information, indicating that further study is necessary. Last November, Bell promised a bill by the start of the recently begun parliamentary session, but now he said introduction won’t occur until the end of the […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 2 March 2012

    UK Panel Holds Two Hearings on FOIA Reform

    A British parliamentary committee on Feb. 28 held a second public hearing on possible changes to the Freedom of Information Act. The Campaign for Freedom of Information gave oral evidence at the first  Justice Select Committee’s  first evidence session along with WhatDoTheyKnow and Unlock Democracy.  Journalists predominated at the second session. In another UK development, […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 17 February 2012

    Comments In, Hearing Set As UK Furthers FOIA Review

    The public comment period has ended and the Justice Select Committee has scheduled its first “evidence session” on possible revision of the United Kingdom’s Freedom of Information law. The committee will hold its first evidence session Feb. 21 and hear from: Maurice Frankel, Director, Campaign for Freedom of Information; Alexandra Runswick, Deputy Director, Unlock Democracy; […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 6 February 2012

    UK Minister Stresses Tying Aid to Transparency

    A top United Kingdom minister Jan. 30 said progress on transparency will be an important factor in British foreign aid decisions. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, spoke at the World Bank about the ascendency of transparency in the U.K. and internationally. The U.K. is in line to co-chair the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 3 February 2012

    Agnew Approved as New Scottish Commissioner

    The Scottish Parliament Feb. 1 has approved Rosemary Agnew as the next Scottish Information Commissioner. If approved by the Queen, a final formality, she will assume the job in April for a six-year term. Agnew succeeds Kevin Dunion, who retires later this month. Agnew has been the Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, which […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 30 January 2012

    UK Issues Responses to Open Data Consultation

    The United Kingdom government has posted the almost 500 responses to its consultation on open data. The “Making Open Data Real” effort was launched in August with an October deadline for answers to questions “aimed at informing Government’s strategy to embed transparency and open data as core operating principles of the public services,” according to […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 13 January 2012

    Debate Over UK FOI Act Reform Building

    The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice has indicated new entities to be covered by the Freedom of Information Act, one of many changes being contemplated as part of a major ongoing government review. The Campaign for Freedom of Information is gearing up its efforts to monitor and influence the review. A recent blog post by the […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 13 January 2012

    Dunion Makes Case for Scottish FOI Reforms

    Outgoing Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion has urged reform of the 2002 Scottish freedom of information law, making his case in a report and warning that Scotland is in danger of falling behind other countries. Public awareness of FOI rights are at an all-time high, he said, but authorities are failing to deal with requests properly […]

    Be Sociable, Share!
  • 19 December 2011

    Scotland Considers FOI Reforms; Dunion Urges More

    The Scottish government Dec. 16 proposed amendments “to strengthen and improve” the 10-year-old freedom of information law. Minister for Parliamentary Business Brian Adam said the proposals will “allow greater flexibility in reducing the lifespan of exemptions with a view to more information being made available earlier. It will also allow more time for the Information […]

    Be Sociable, Share!