The Campaign for Freedom of Information has drafted a bill which would bring both housing associations and private contractors providing public services under the Freedom of Information Act.
Housing associations are not subject to the FOI Act and can refuse to answer requests about fire risks, safety problems, eviction policies, waiting lists and other matters.
The Justice Committee’s report on Courts and Tribunal Fees has endorsed the proposal, made by the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information that the right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) under the Freedom of Information Act should be abolished. The Committee does not appear to have examined the case for this change itself. It simply reported that it saw no reason to disagree with the Commission’s view. The Campaign believes that if the proposal went ahead, it would significantly undermine the operation of the Act.
The Ministry of Justice is consulting on proposals that fees should be introduced for appeals to the Tribunal against Information Commissioner FOI decisions. The proposals would have serious implications for individual FOI requesters and the general public. However, figuring out precisely where these proposals can be found is a little tricky.
The Campaign has published this briefing explaining how the Information Commissioner and Tribunal have protected the ‘safe space’ and genuinely frank discussions from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Campaign has joined a coalition of more than 30 NGOs urging peers to support amendments to Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which proposes significant restrictions on the procedure for judicial review.
Briefing for a debate on 5 December 2001 in the House of Lords on a motion calling for earlier implementation of the FOI Act’s right of access for central government.
Following The Guardian’s recent reports that implementation of the Freedom of Information Act may be significantly delayed, the Campaign has produced a briefing describing the damaging consequences of this. The delay would contradict what MPs were told as the Act went through Parliament and would defer the new rights of access beyond the point that anyone imagined possible. It would also be the least practicable of all available solutions, likely to magnify the potential difficulties of implementation both for public authorities and the Information Commissioner.
Briefing for the Lords debate on the Regulations for access to information and meetings in local authorities, held on 8 February 2001. It explains the Campaign’s concern that the Regulations could lead to greater secrecy in local government.
Briefing for the Lords Third Reading Stage of the Freedom of Information Bill on 22nd November, containing notes on selected amendments which the Campaign supported. It also explains in more detail why the Campaign does not accept the claim made by the Liberal Democrat peers that their amendments to clause 2 effectively transform the bill’s class exemptions into ‘prejudice’ exemptions.
Briefing for the Lords Report Stage of the Freedom of Information Bill on 14th and 15th November explaining why the Campaign is deeply disappointed at the agreement reached between the Liberal Democrats and the government. It also describes some of the key amendments.