Briefings

FOI Bill: Lords Third Reading Briefing

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.

FOI Bill: Report Stage Briefing

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.

BSE and Secrecy: Implications for the FOI Bill

Briefing paper setting out some of the BSE Inquiry’s findings about secrecy and the implications for the Freedom of Information Bill.

Lords committee stage: Collected briefings on FOI Bill

Complete set of detailed briefing papers for the Lords committee stage of the Freedom of Information Bill, which ended on 25 October 2000. For a short summary of the key issues see pages 1-5 of the first briefing paper.

FOI Bill: Guide to amendments for Lords committee stage

Guide to amendments tabled for the Lords committee stage of the Freedom of Information Bill, the first day of which will take place on 17 October.

Notes on Government amendments for Lords committee stage

Lords Committee Stage

Note on Government amendments

Revised 7 September 2000

Introduction

The government’s amendments for the Lords committee stage of the FOI bill appeared on the Parliament internet site on July 31(*). The amendments themselves provide a number of modest improvements to the bill

But they fail to address the outstanding concerns raised about the bill, expressed in over 200 amendments tabled by peers of all parties. In particular, they do nothing to deal with the many class exemptions, which allow information to be withheld without evidence of harm. The only gesture is to remove ‘statistical information’ about decisions which have been taken from the policy formulation exemption. If anything this merely exacerbates concerns about the exemption, highlighting the fact that it permits the suppression of other factual information, including statistics about forthcoming decisions.

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Local Government Bill: Briefing for Report Stage

The briefing deals with the Report Stage amendments to the Local Government Bill proposed by an all-party group of MPs. It sets out our concern at the Bill’s approach to access to meetings and information within local government, as well as its creation of unnecessarily wide offences for the disclosure of information. Although the government have announced some improvements to their proposals for access to meetings we are still concerned that many decisions and discussions will be held in private.

Local Government Bill: Briefing for Committee Stage

The briefing deals with the amendments to the Local Government Bill proposed by Don Foster MP. It sets out our concern at the Bill’s approach to access to meetings and information within local government. Despite some recently published improvements to the government’s proposals on prior access to papers, we are concerned that the new executives will still be able to hold all their meetings in private.

FOI Bill: Briefing for Lords second reading

Briefing for Peers for the second reading of the Freedom of Information in the House of Lords on 20 April.

Local Government Bill – Briefing for Second Reading

The briefing sets out current access to information rights in local government, how the Bill will weaken them, and the changes we believe are essential to prevent this increase in secrecy.