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NHS secretary opposes FoIA disclosure quoting ‘chilling effect’

The permanent secretary of the Department of Health, Una O’Brien, is opposing the information commissioner’s ruling for the government to reveal the risk assessments of the government’s NHS reforms, The Guardian reports.

The secretary said that publishing the documents under the Freedom of Information Act would have a “chilling effect” on the way civil servants tasked with outlining the potential pitfalls of a policy express their views.

O’Brien defended her position in front of an information rights tribunal after ICO’s Christopher Graham, ordered Andrew Lansley to release the risk assessments.

She also expressed her concern that the documents could “be interpreted and mispresented”. “If taken out of context, my own judgment is that they would lead to a distorted and wildly speculative interpretation of risk,” she said.

But The Guardian mentions that John Healey, the former shadow health secretary who submitted a FoIA request for the transition risk register, stressed “the need for reassurance about the possible consequences” of the shakeup is “greater now than when I made my disclosure request”.

Almost a thousand sex offenders remain untraceable

The Times reports that since September 1 last year the whereabouts of 843 registered sex offenders are unknown, with 690 of these having been untraceable for more than a year. The figures were released after FoIA requests to the National Policing Improvement Agency.

More than three million wasted over NHS’s IT project

The Pennine Care Trust lost over £3.2m over the last three years preparing for the NHS IT project Lorenzo, The Times reports. The data was disclosed after a FoIA request by the newspaper, relating to the patient record system that was finally scrapped last year.

Hundreds of paedophiles revealed under Sarah’s Law

Families turning to the Sarah’s Law scheme have exposed the identities of 157 paedophiles since last April, FoIA requests by The Sun have revealed.



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