Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Freedom of Information

One thing that has come from the current expenses scandal is that even if this information had been made public under the Freedom of Information Act, much of the detail would be hidden and the full impact would not have been felt. This means we need a fundamental change to this Act.

We need the presumption that all government information, expenses, advice, minutes of meetings etc should automatically be made available and put on line. The government should have to make a case for keeping information secret (and there are reasons for keeping information secret, such as information relating to court cases or which would impact on the privacy of citizens) but all government advice and briefing papers – which we pay for with our taxes – should be available to us, by default.

We should be able to know on what basis politicians have made decisions, what advice they have received, if the advisors had any kind of interest in the outcome and if the various different options were explored equally vigorously. No more secrecy can be tolerated. If they are doing a proper job, and have nothing to hide, then they should have nothing to fear from this.

(posting by Clare Topic on Secular Thought for the Day)

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