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No legal changes to the Freedom of Information

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Posted by Dominic Ponsford Press Gazette

There will be no legal changes to theFreedomof Information (FOI) Act after a review of the legislation found it was “working well", the Government has announced. The move was announced by Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock and comes after he was presented with more than 43,000 signatures in a Press Gazette petition urging him to leave the act alone.

The Hands Off FoI campaign was launched by the Society of Editors in October with the backing of Press Gazette. It followed widespread fears that the Government Independent Commission on Freedom of Information would recommend new charges on the Act and new restrictions making it easier for public authorities to turn down requests.

The Commission was partly prompted by concerns that the ministerial veto on FoI disclosures had been rendered impotent after it was overturned by The Guardian in the Supreme Court in the Prince Charles letters case.

Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock said: “After 10 years, we took the decision to review the Freedom of Information Act and we have found it is working well. “We will not make any legal changes to FoI. We will spread transparency throughout public services, making sure all public bodies routinely publish details of senior pay and perks. After all, taxpayers should know if their money is funding a company car or a big pay off."

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DATELINE: 1 March, 2016


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