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Freedom of information Records Management

Early day motion on freedom of information and fees

Further to the post below, the DCA recently issued the following announcement:

At 10am today, 16th December 2006, the Department for Constitutional Affairs published the consultation document ‘Draft Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007’.


This consultation document is published on the DCA website at

www.dca.gov.uk/consult/dpr2007/cp2806.htm

and contains full details of the scope of the consultation exercise and details of how to be involved in the project. This consultation will end on 8/3/2007.

So get in there and participate in the formulation of legislation. It’s our democracy, and only through such participation can we benefit.

Early day motion on freedom on information and fees
Steve Wood, at the FOIA Blog, mentions that the following EDM was submitted on Tuesday 10th October and Tory and Liberal Democrat shadow Attorneys General Dominic Grieve and Simon Hughes have both supported it.

Text of the EDM:

That this House welcomes the finding of the Constitutional Affairs Committee (HC991) that the Freedom of Information Act has `already brought about the release of significant new information and….this information is being used in a constructive and positive way’ and the committee’s conclusion that it sees `no need to change’ the Act’s charging arrangements; views with concern reports that the Government is considering changing these arrangements to permit an application fee to be charged for all requests or to allow authorities to refuse, on cost grounds, a significant proportion of requests which they currently must answer; and considers that such changes could undermine the Act’s benefits of increased openness, accountability and trust in the work of public authorities.

Contact and lobby your MP and get them to sign EDM 2699. Find your MP and contact them using http://www.writetothem.com/ .

A similar EDM back in 2004 did seem to have some effect when a harsher fees regime was mooted. Over 180 MPs signed. This blog ran a downloadable letter to send. See the Campaign for FOI site for more details of who signed in 2004.

As Maurice Frankel of the Campaign for FOI notes setting fees or reducing the threshold before fees can be charged will effectively scupper the Act’s consequences for society as that ‘freedom’ will come at a cost – as if we don’t pay enough in taxes. So get out there and lobby your MP to sign the EDM..

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