By Alex Montague
The Justice Select Committee will review the Freedom of Information Act later this year and is likely to recommend changes to the current legislation. This may improve the Act but some public bodies are expected to call for new exemptions and cost-based restrictions.
The committee is currently calling for submissions for evidence until the the 3rd February and the Campaign for Freedom of Information is holding a briefing meeting for those who are considering submitting on January 18 at 2pm.
Requesters’ experiences are essential to the review process, and are being sought after. The Ministry of Justice says there is currently “limited evidence” about requesters’ views.
Lord McNally and the Deputy Prime Minister pledged to begin the process of post-legislative assessment of the Freedom of Information Act last December. As part of this process, a parliamentary select committee has been set up and is likely to recommend changes to the law concerning the Freedom of Information Act.
Government has already submitted its assessment of how the Act has worked in practice, including how it is used and its impact on public authorities. This memorandum specified some areas of concern in increasing request volumes, the cost to public authorities; and the level of protection given to cabinet papers.
Public authorities concerned about the cost of dealing with FOI requests pile on the pressure and could lead to increased restrictions.