Archives for time limits

Information Commissioner should clamp down on excessive FOI delays

The Information Commissioner should clamp down on authorities which make requesters wait months before replying to their freedom of information (FOI) requests, according to the Campaign for Freedom of Information.
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Welcome for select committee’s rejection of FOI charges and restrictions on release of policy discussions

A major review of the Freedom of Information Act which rejects charging for FOI requests or new restrictions on access to policy discussions in Whitehall has been warmly welcomed by the Campaign for Freedom of Information which said the report “would preserve and strengthen the important advances made by the FOI Act”.

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Response to ‘Making Open Data Real’ consultation

Response to the Cabinet Office’s ‘Making Open Data Real’ consultation. The response emphasises the extent to which the government’s vision of improvements to accountability, service quality, efficiency, choice and citizen empowerment depend on the FOI Act, since (a) although data may highlight discrepancies in performance, the broader right of access provided by the FOI Act is needed to understand what is behind them and (b) the ‘right to data’ proposals are being implemented for public authorities by amendments to the FOI Act itself. It also points out that both the FOI Act and open data proposals will be undermined by the contracting out provisions of the Health and Social Care Bill and the Localism Bill. Finally, it argues that the abuse of copyright restrictions, which the government’s amendments address, is not restricted to datasets but applies to ordinary disclosures under the FOI Act.

Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act to remove the provisions permitting ministers to veto decisions of the Information Commissioner and Information Tribunal; to limit the time allowed for public authorities to respond to requests involving consideration of the public interest test and to amend the definition of public authorities. A copy of the Bill, which the Campaign helped draft, is available here and a note explaining the Bill can be downloaded here.

Your new rights to information

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.

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Letter to Lord Falconer on the new edition of the FOI code of practice

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.

Select committee recommendations “would transform weak Information bill”

The Campaign for Freedom of Information warmly welcomed two select committee reports, published today, which separately call for the government’s draft Freedom of Information Bill to be substantially improved.[1]

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