Feeds

Committee criticises DCA minister

'Disappointed' in FoI oversight

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs has criticised the government for failing to acknowledge the "serious threat" to Freedom of Information (FOI) in how electronic records are stored.

The cross party group of MPs have said they are "disappointed" with evidence provided by the Department of Constitutional Affairs minister Baroness Ashton on how the records will be preserved.

Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs says in its report Freedom of Information - one year on, released on 28 June 2006: "When the DCA minister Baroness Ashton came to give evidence to us about government plans to ensure the long-term preservation of documents held in digital form, we were disappointed by her failure to recognise that this was a serious threat."

It says plans are needed to handle the rapid and significant changes in technology and the "inevitable" degradation of storage media.

"National Archives and the DCA must take the lead in developing such plans," said the committee. "FoI has no force without a proper commitment to ensure that the information held is in a retrievable form."

Record management practices in some public authorities also need "substantial" improvement, warns the committee.

"More proactive leadership and progress management of departments' records management system is required."

Overall the committee finds the FoI Act a "significant success," due to the efforts made by public authorities to meet its demands. But it warns that delays in providing the information outside of the 20 day statutory deadline undermines the effectiveness of the act.

"In addition, lack of interpretation in the code of practice as 'reasonable' time limits enables public authorities to make indefinite extensions of many months in order to make public interest decisions and to conduct internal reviews," it says.

The committee recommends the DCA should also improve compliance, and finds that the complaints resolution process provided by the Information Commissioner's Office during 2005 was "unsatisfactory".

Requesters and public authorities said they have "waited months" for the commissioner to start investigating their complaints.

The commissioner responded to this by saying it will publish a progress report in September 2006, which the committee will use to assess whether any follow ups are needed.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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
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!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
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

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.