Feeds

Top cops placed under Freedom of Info law

Uni admissions body fitted with loose kimono also

The Power of One Infographic

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), along with the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (ACPO) and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), was added as a public authority under the Freedom of Information (Designation as Public Authorities) Order 2011.

FOS has the power to resolve individual financial disputes under the Financial Services and Markets Act. ACPO is a body that represents chief police officers from individual forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. UCAS is responsible for managing student applications for higher education courses in the UK.

The bodies join a host of other public authorities – such as government departments, local councils, NHS bodies and education institutions – which are subject to FOI laws.

The Freedom of Information Act and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act came into full force on 1 January 2005. The laws give individuals the right to see information held by government departments and public bodies.

Under the FOI laws anyone of any nationality living anywhere in the world can make a written request for information and expect a response within 20 working days. The public authority will be obliged to meet that request unless exemptions apply or unless meeting it will be too costly or difficult.

Kellie Blyth, an expert in FOI laws at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that it is expected more bodies will become subject to FOI under further expansions of the laws.

The extension of FOI laws has been debated in recent years, with the previous Labour government ruling that some bodies should be brought within its reach, but that companies should not, even when they perform the functions of a public body.

In January, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg promised that more publicly-funded and charitable organisations would be subject to FOI in an extension of the laws.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which is responsible for ensuring public authorities comply with FOI laws, told Out-Law.com that it "welcomed" the extension of the laws. The watchdog has previously campaigned for more bodies to be subject to FOI. In a government consultation in 2008, the ICO said any new organisations coming under the FOI remit to should be introduced in stages so as it could advise them on how to comply with the laws.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.