The Tribunal has agreed with a submission from the Campaign that the Information Commissioner was wrong to find that NHS bodies are prohibited from releasing information which they have supplied to the Health Service Ombudsman.
The Tribunal allowed the Campaign to take part in an appeal on this issue, despite the Information Commissioner’s objections. It accepted the Campaign’s arguments that a statutory bar on disclosure applied only to the Ombudsman and not to those supplying information to the Ombudsman. The Tribunal’s decision is available here
A report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman published today (July 10) reveals that the government has:
- refused to comply with part of the Ombudsman’s recommendation that the government release details of gifts given to ministers
- issued a certificate preventing the Ombudsman seeing papers of cabinet committees dealing with the passage of the Human Rights Act
- issued another certificate blocking disclosure of information about ministerial conflicts of interest on the grounds that it would be “contrary to the public interest”
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.
Individuals who have blown the whistle on dangers to the public and public bodies which have voluntarily released normally confidential information are amongst those recognised in the Campaign for Freedom of Information’s annual Awards.
Government departments have little understanding of the term “commercially confidential” and often cite this without good cause to keep information secret, according to the Campaign for Freedom of Information.
People who have fought to overcome official secrecy are recognised by the Campaign for Freedom of Information’s annual Awards, presented on the evening of February 12. This year’s Awards are presented by the former Transport Minister Steven Norris MP, who before becoming a minister was a co-chairman of the Campaign.