The Campaign’s proposals for a bill to increase FOI access to information held by contractors providing public services have been taken up by John Hemming MP (Lib Dem, Birmingham Yardley) who drew a place in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills. Mr Hemming’s Transparency and Accountability Bill combines measures on a number of different issues. As well as amending the FOI Act in relation to contractors, it includes provisions:
- regarding arrangements for children involved in court proceedings;
- on the transparency, administration and accountability of courts and case conferences;
- requiring the Secretary of State to report to Parliament annually on the number of prisoners who have exceeded their tariff and have not been released because they do not admit guilt;
- to extend the Criminal Cases Review Commission’s powers to obtain information; to make provision about consumer complaints in markets for public services.
The FOI provisions are in clauses 15 to 17 of the Bill. A copy of the Bill with explanatory notes is available on Mr Hemming’s website, which also allows you to indicate your support for the Bill. The Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons is due to take place on 17th October 2014. However, as Mr Hemming came relatively low in the ballot, Parliamentary time for the bill’s consideration may be limited.