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Ministry of Justice issues digital preservation code

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The Ministry of Justice is recommending that public bodies do more to preserve digital records, and is extending FoI to more organisations.

Announcing the updated guidance, justice minister Michael Wills said the new recommendations will help ensure that digital records stored by public sector organisations can be accessed and used in the future and are resilient to changes in technology.

A spokesperson for the ministry told GC News: "One of the key features of a code of practice is that it sets out recommended good practice, but is not legally enforceable.

"The information commissioner is responsible for promoting the code and has the power to assess compliance, with the consent of the body concerned, and can issue practice recommendations setting out the changes he believes are needed to improve records management. So far he has issued two, one to Nottingham City Council and one to the Department of Health."

Wills said the government will also undertake a consultation on extending the Freedom of Information Act to cover academy schools, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). ACPO runs several national police services on behalf of its constituent forces.

The ministry will also consult Network Rail and utility companies on how the Freedom of Information Act could apply to them.

"The introduction of the Freedom of Information Act has significantly increased transparency in public life and the right to access information has become a cornerstone of our democracy," said Wills.

"The steps we are taking today - to keep and preserve public information for the future and extend the Freedom of Information Act - are significant if we are to truly promote the culture of openness in public life."

This article was originally published at Kable.

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

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