I have had a lot of correspondence in the last few days on FOI (Freedom of Information). This is where I stand;
I fully support Freedom of Information, as does the Government, but after more than a decade in operation it is time that the process is reviewed. The Government’s aim is to be as open and transparent as possible on the substance of information, as well as policy makers being able to freely give advice.
The Government has established an independent, cross-party Commission to review the Freedom of Information Act and to make sure it is functioning as intended – and I support this move. They will consider whether there is an appropriate public interest balance between transparency, accountability and the need for sensitive information to have robust protection. They will report shortly, and I will comment further should there be any recommendations for changes etc. In the meantime, I am encouraged that my colleagues in Government are strengthening accountability and making public services work better for people.