FT front page, 17.6.15
The Cabinet Office has a policy of deleting all emails after 3 months, which recently featured in a front page Financial Times story on June 17 2015. Under the policy, all Cabinet Office emails are automatically deleted after 3 months – anything needed for permanent preservation must be printed out and stored before this happens. The FT reported on the frustration of some former officials and advisers over their disappearing emails. The Telegraph has reported that some other departments also automatically delete emails after a set time.
It was suggested that the policy was an attempt to circumvent the FOI Act. The government maintains that it was merely good record management.
It was probably both.
That Tony Blair regrets introducing the Freedom of Information Act has been known for some time. But the force with which he reproaches himself in his new autobiography for doing so is truly remarkable: Read More
This chapter by Katherine Gundersen describes the passage of the FOI Act and early experience of its operation. It first appeared as part of as part of Unlocking Democracy: 20 years of Charter 88, published by Politico’s in December 2008.
The Campaign submitted written evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Committee’s inquiry Freedom of Information: one year on. A transcript of the Campaign’s oral evidence on 28 March 2006 is available here.
A version of this article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in The Independent on 31 December 2005
The Freedom of Information Act has begun to open doors – but is yet to be fully tested against those the government is determined to keep locked.
From tomorrow (January 1st 2005) the public have five important new rights to information held by public authorities.
A version of this article by Maurice Frankel appeared in The Times on 14 December 2004
Less than three weeks until the Freedom of Information Act comes into force. From January 1, the public will have new rights to peer into a public authority’s files and check how well it is doing its job. People who want to know why they aren’t getting the service they expect, are unhappy with a proposal, or want to satisfy themselves that the right decision was taken, will now be able to see the paperwork or emails for themselves.
A version of this article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in The Guardian on 14 December 2004
On January 1 the long-awaited Freedom of Information Act finally comes into force. The Act gives the public important new rights to the information held by public authorities. Worried about possible changes to your local school or hospital? The Act should allow you to see the evidence for them. Want to know whether the police are doing enough about burglaries? Use the legislation to probe their response times and clear-up rates. Unhappy about a regulatory body that never seems to do anything when people complain? Ask for their internal guidance on handling complaints and see their staff are doing what they’re supposed to do.
The Campaign has expressed concern at a new edition of the code of practice issued by the government under section 45 of the FOI Act, which it says contravenes two ministerial commitments to Parliament. These deal with the time limits for responding to requests and the circumstances in which authorities should accept information in confidence. The Campaign has written to Lord Falconer, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, asking him to amend the code so that it complies with these commitments.
The government today delivered a double blow to freedom information. The 4 year delay in implementing the Freedom of Information Act, which the Lord Chancellor announced today was condemned as “totally unjustifiable” by the Campaign for Freedom of Information. The Campaign was also deeply critical of ministers’ decision to refuse to comply with an open government ruling by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, also announced today – the first time this has ever happened since the code’s introduction in 1994.