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Transparency Board minutes 2 March 2011

The minutes of the Transparency Board meeting on 2 March 2011 have been published.
TB(5)3.ii Right to data and Freedom of Information presentation and discussion
The Ministry of Justice and Cabinet Office have been working closely together to consider how best to take forward the right to data paper and the post legislative scrutiny (PLS) of the Freedom of Information Act. The paper and PLS can be used together to start the step change that the Transparency agenda demands and embed the culture change.
A joint presentation was given which detailed the information rights legislation landscape in the UK; Transparency achievements to date; an outline of the right to data paper and the plans/process for PLS.
Post Legislative Scrutiny will provide an opportunity to take stock of what the Act has achieved and assess not only whether the FOI Act does what it was intended to do, but also whether the overall objectives are still the same, and if not, what future direction the Government may need to take to achieve them. Work is about to start on the initial stage to prepare the evidence to support PLS by Parliament – this will take a few months to pull together. These documents will then be passed on to a Select Committee (possibly the Justice Select Committee) to undertake the process.
In the near term, a right to data paper provides us with the opportunity to set out a clear vision, and a programme of work to underpin right to data legislation and embed it in the culture of public authorities. Work would commence immediately on drafting the paper – while the Post Legislative Scrutiny process is progressing. This would enable momentum on the Transparency agenda to be maintained.
The Board commented positively on the update. It was noted that a move towards proactive publication, rather than just a response to requests for data, was firmly in line with the aims of the Transparency Board. The Transparency Board could help departments grapple with their data through a review of the use of the “OPSI data unlocking service”.
The Board offered their support in undertaking PLS and MOJ welcomed suggestions from the Board on methodology and approach. They also supported the production and publication of a right to data paper.
Action 4: Transparency Board members to be kept informed of the progress of the right to data paper and post legislative scrutiny processes.
Due: Provide formal updates to the Board at the April and June meetings
The meeting also discussed the Public Data Corporation, the transparency and privacy review and progress in developing data.gov.uk.
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