Feeds

Info Commissioner to crack down on FOI shirkers

Commissioner limbers up for July review

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Britain's Information Commissioner is examining the open government credentials of over 100,000 public sector organisations as it prepares to strike a tougher line on enforcing freedom of information laws.

After an initial learning period for both the IC and the public sector, the IC is now seeking to ensure public sector organisations are acting in the spirit of the law and are not just paying lip service to it.

Dawn Monaghan, head of strategic support for FOI at the IC, is overseeing a review of the public sector's response to FOI laws introduced in January. The findings, she said, will be used to create a yardstick by which the IC will judge how seriously public sector organisations are taking their responsibilities toward freedom of information.

The main focus of the survey of 110,000 public sector organisations is the publication schemes that declare what information they will automatically make available to the public.

The infamous FOI requests are used to seek the disclosure of information not revealed as part of a publication scheme. The more information a public authority makes available through a publication scheme, the less need there is for requests to be made for its release using powers given to the public under FOI law.

Scheduled for publication in December, the review will determine what classes of information have been made available in the publication schemes of different types of organisation. It will be noted, for example, if hospitals in Cheshire typically publish the minutes of their chief executive's meetings, but hospitals in Kent do not. Those who fall short of the mark will be expected to have a good reason why they are withholding information from the public.

The IC will use the results of its survey to form a yardstick for publication schemes based on "best practice", said Monaghan. It will use its view of best practice to circumvent the weak powers of enforcement given it under FOI law.

"There's a bit of an issue because all the act says is that we should approve publication schemes," said Monaghan. "We would have liked a bit more, that the information commissioner should determine what classes of info should be in there."

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.