Feeds

ICO tells Cabinet Office to release Iraq docs

Cabinet Office: 'Meh'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has told the Cabinet Office that it must release documents relating to Cabinet debates over the invasion of Iraq.

The order refers to discussions between 7 and 17 March 2003 when the Attorney General's advice on the legality of any invasion was discussed. This decision potentially goes against the convention of cabinet collective responsibility; the idea that once a Cabinet decision has been reached then all members will publicly defend that decision, regardless of whether they originally, privately, supported it or not.

But the ICO does not believe its decision in this case will set a precedent for other Cabinet minutes.

A statement from the Cabinet Office leaves open the possibility of appeal: "We have received the ICO decision notice which we are considering. The requirement for openess and transparency must be balanced against the proper and effective function of government. At the very heart of that system is the constitutional convention of collective Cabinet responsibility."

But the ICO decision makes clear that these arguments have been considered. The decision notes both "the importance of the Cabinet's ability to freely consider the most important and sensitive policy issues without inhibition", and "that protecting the convention of Cabinet collective responsibility is a strong factor in favour of witholding Cabinet minutes".

Both these considerations are outweighed by the public interest because of:

"The gravity and controversial nature of the subject matter, Accountability of government decisions, Transparency of decision making, Public participation in government decisions."

For all these reasons the ICO believes the Cabinet Office should release the documents. However the ICO does allow for the non-disclosure of "a number of specific references... likely to have a detrimental effect on international relations." These can be kept secret.

The full ICO decision notice is here (pdf). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.