The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) (“FtT“) has published an interesting decision on the disclosure of commercially confidential information. In John Eustace v The Information Commissioner, Southampton City Council (the “Council“) was ordered to disclose commercial information relating to the revenue stream it received from bus stop advertising, in part because other local authorities had been
Following a Conservative manifesto commitment in 2015 to increase transparency in government, the Cabinet Office has published the UK Open Government National Action Plan 2016-2018. This is the third National Action Plan (“NAP“) since the United Kingdom co-founded the Open Government Partnership in 2011, which now includes 69 countries. The new NAP makes 13 commitments
The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information (the “Commission“) has published its report on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA“). After extensive written responses to a call for evidence and two days of oral evidence, the report has surprised commentators by not recommending any major changes to the existing freedom of information regime to
The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information has recently issued a call for evidence as part of a review which may herald comprehensive changes to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA“). The Commission, established amid concerns that the current regime does not adequately protect sensitive information (see our previous blog post), will consider how
The Cabinet Office has recently announced that a cross-party commission is to look into the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”) in light of apparent concerns that sensitive information is not being sufficiently protected. FOIA was introduced under the last Labour Government, coming fully into force on 1 January 2005, and allows a private citizen
The future of the s. 40 exemption Undoubtedly one of the more mind-bending exemptions to apply under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) is the exemption for personal information (s.40) (although sections 30 and 36 are also up there!). This is partly due to s. 40’s close link with the Data Protection Act 1998
The Supreme Court has ruled that the absolute exemption contained in s.32(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA“) continues to apply to information obtained or created by a person conducting an inquiry even after the termination of that inquiry. The decision was not without dissent, however, with the minority of the Court considering
In a judgment handed down yesterday, the Court of Appeal has – for the first time – quashed a decision of the Attorney General (“AG“) to veto an Upper Tribunal (“UT“) order that documents be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA“).
The Cabinet Office has again failed to justify its attempts to avoid the transparency it so often vociferously promotes. Last week, we reported on the Upper Tribunal’s dismissal of the Cabinet Office’s appeal which effectively sought to avoid the application of the government’s own policy on the reduction of the “30-year rule” to a “20
The Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal (“UT“) has upheld, in part, the appeal of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition (“APPGER“) from the First-tier Tribunal (“FTT“) decision in the case of All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition v Information Commissioner and Foreign and Commonwealth Office  UKUT 0560 (AAC) (“APPGER
In February 2010, the then Labour Government announced its intention to reduce the period in which Cabinet Office papers were considered confidential from 30 years to 20 years. It therefore included an appropriate amendment to the Public Records Act 1958 in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. This was one of the last policies
The High Court has expressed concern over the “constitutional aberration” that allows the government to block disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, but upheld the application of this veto to the so-called “Black Spider” letters sent by Prince Charles to various government departments. The case is interesting both for its position within the wider
On 26 June 2013, the EU adopted Directive 2013/37/EU which amends existing Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information (the “Re-use Directive“), creating a harmonised regime for the re-use of public sector information (“PSI“) by private businesses and individuals across Member States. Among other things, the amendments will: create a right to the
The Confederation of British Industry (“CBI“) has revealed that it is developing “transparency guidelines” that will apply to private companies that provide services to the NHS (the “Guidelines“). The CBI’s public service strategy board, which includes managers and directors from some of the UK’s most high-profile outsourcing firms, will be responsible for drawing up the
Helen Grant, the Justice Minister, has indicated that the Government is considering measures to reduce the burden that requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) place on public authorities. This follows the Government’s response to the Justice Committee’s post-legislative report on the operation of FOIA, which was reported on this blog in December.
In July, as described on this blog, the Justice Committee published a post-legislative report on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA“). Last Friday, the Government published its response.
In September, on this blog, we questioned whether use of the Ministerial veto under s.53 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA“) to prevent disclosure of information subject to FOIA requests was becoming increasingly routine. A month later, we can report that the veto has been used again, this time to prevent disclosure of
The Information Commissioner (the “Commissioner“) has again rejected an attempt to rely on the commercial prejudice exemption, highlighting the risks which private companies should consider when engaging with the public sector as a result of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA“). It also demonstrates the need for private companies to liaise closely with public authorities
We reported in this blog earlier this year on the decision of Andrew Lansley, the (then) Health Secretary, to exercise the ministerial veto to prevent disclosure of a NHS reform transition risk register, which disclosure had been ordered by the First-tier Tribunal. At the time we described the ministerial veto (under s.53 of the Freedom
By Todd R. Overman, Daniel Greenspahn, and David Robbins On May 11, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) properly refused to confirm or deny whether records exist regarding the alleged cyber-security collaboration between NSA and Google in response to a Freedom of