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Government plans to extend the FOI Act

The Ministry of Justice has announced plans to extend the scope of the FOI Act. The plans include:

increasing the number of organisations to which FOI requests can be made, bringing in bodies such as the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Financial Services Ombudsman, and higher education admissions body UCAS; and also all companies wholly owned by any number of public authorities

consulting on bringing a range of further bodies which are believed to perform functions of a public nature under the FOI umbrella, including Examination Boards, Harbour Authorities, the Local Government Association and the NHS Confederation

making most public records available at The National Archives and other places of deposit ten years sooner, when they are 20 years old; the package will also reduce the time some types of information – including court records, ministerial correspondence and policy formulation – can be withheld, to 20 years instead of 30

undertaking post legislative scrutiny, to see how well the Act is working in practice and whether there are further changes to be made.

The full press release is here and response issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office here. Further comment to follow later today.

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