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NHS reform risk report veto is sign of freedom of information downgrade, says watchdog

NHS reform risk report veto is sign of freedom of information downgrade, says watchdog

Blocking the publication of a report into the risks of NHS reforms is a sign that ministers want to downgrade freedom of information laws, a watchdog has warned.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham launched a scathing criticism of the decision to exercise the Government’s veto in a report on the case to Parliament.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley deployed it to block an Information Tribunal ruling that he should meet Labour demands to disclose the document.

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Joe Churcher | The Independent | 15th May 2012

Private firms face FoI for government contracts

The Commons public accounts committee says companies doing business with central government should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and should have their performance and contracts examined by the government’s spending watchdogs.

In its report on the Work Programme on Tuesday, the committee recommended that the Cabinet Office Efficiency Reform Group (ERG) should extend its work to ensure that taxpayers get better value from companies that depend on central government deals for most of their income.

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Jane Duhman | The Guardian | 15th MAy 2012

Anonymous takes down ICO web site

Hacktivist collective Anonymous has taken down the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) web site.

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is thought to be directed by a group on Twitter calling itself the “Anon Ateam” in protest against what it believes is corruption within the Leveson inquiry.

A spokesperson for the ICO, a pubic body that deals with independent advice and guidance about data protection and freedom of information, confirmed that access to the web site had been “disrupted over the past few days”.

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Lee Bell | The Inquirer | 15th May 2012

Civil servants caught looking at private files in personal data breaches

Almost 1,000 DWP staff were disciplined in a 10-month period for unlawfully or inappropriately accessing social security records, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information laws.

Meanwhile, over the past year there were at least 13 cases per month of unlawful access to medical records reported to the Department of Health (DoH).

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Andrew Hough | The Telegraph | 14th May 2012

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