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Archives for 30 year rule

Welcome for decision to drop proposed cabinet papers exemption

The government’s announcement that it has dropped its proposal to exempt cabinet papers from the Freedom of Information Act, and that it will reduce the 30 year rule to 20 years, was welcomed by the Campaign for Freedom of Information today.

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Concern over new freedom of information exemptions

The Campaign for Freedom of Information welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement today that the Freedom of Information Act would be extended to additional bodies and that the 30 year period before old official papers are made public would be reduced to 20 years. This was a substantial step, the Campaign said, even if it did not go as far as the 15 year period recommended by the Dacre Review earlier this year.

However it expressed serious concern at Mr Brown’s announcement that new exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act would be introduced for Cabinet Papers and for information relating to the Royal Family.

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Welcome for proposal to halve “30 year rule”

Proposals to automatically release government records after 15 years instead of the present 30 year period were welcomed by the Campaign for Freedom of Information today.

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Policy advice released after months not decades

A version of this article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in Press Gazette on 2 May 2008.

In the past, officials’ advice to ministers, and the discussions leading to it, have been confidential. You could see it after 30 years, but not before. The Freedom of Information Act has shattered that convention.

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Submission to the 30 year rule review

Response to the review of the 30 year rule that was set up by the Prime Minister. The response summarises the 7 Information Tribunal decisions to date dealing with advice or internal discussion and points out that in almost every case the Tribunal has held that disclosure should have taken place at the time of the request, a few years or months after the decision. It says that this material should now be proactively released after 15 years, though if necessary, the reduction could be brought in in two stages, starting with 20 years initially. This change would also mean that these exemptions could no longer be used to withhold information under the FOI Act once it was 15 (or 20) years old.

Welcome for positive moves on FOI

The Campaign for Freedom of Information has welcomed the government’s decision, announced today, to drop proposals to restrict the Freedom of Information Act. Instead the government has announced that it will consult on extending the scope of the Act to certain kinds of private bodies and on changing the 30 year rule.

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FOI and journalists

A version of this article by Maurice Frankel appeared in Press Gazette on 17 December 2004

After a four year delay to allow public authorities to prepare, the Freedom of Information Act finally comes into force on January 1st. It should provide journalists with a valuable tool for looking behind the gloss and spin at the actual documents in authorities’ files. Some authorities accept that they will have to adopt a more open stance and are likely to respond positively to press requests for information. Others will carry on as before, until forced to do otherwise.

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