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Straw and O’Donnell challenged over FOI changes

Straw and O’Donnell challenged over FOI changes

The Campaign for Freedom of Information (CFOI) has challenged former justice secretary Jack Straw and former civil service head Lord O’Donnell over comments they made to parliament that parts of the Freedom of Information (FoI) act were an “error” and “pernicious”.

In a final submission to the justice committee’s inquiry into possible changes to the act, CFOI criticised O’Donnell for suggesting that the public interest test relating to the disclosure of internal advice – such as government policy-making decisions – should be removed.

The group said this would “lead to the automatic withholding of all information not specifically selected in advance for publication – regardless of the weight of public interest in disclosure”.

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Paul McNally | Journalism.co.uk | 29th May 2012

Fife Council gives out £23.4m in equal pay claims

Figures obtained by The Courier under freedom of information legislation revealed compensation totalling £20,341,152 was paid to underpaid women workers in 2006/2007 and £3,088,163 in 2010/2011.

Around 4,500 women in Fife were eligible to raise equal pay claims, which could be backdated up to five years.

If all had claimed, the average pay-out would have been £5,000, but some chose not to pursue compensation.

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The Courier | 29th May 2012

Roxon to restrict freedom of access

[Australian} Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has vowed to restrict access to Freedom of Information laws and “correct an anomaly” that allows parliament to be subjected to requests for official documents.

The parliament — or, more specifically, the three departments that run parliament in Canberra — has long been considered off limits to federal FOI laws, which include an exemption protecting anything that might be considered contempt.

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Sean Parnell | The Australian | 30th May 2012

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