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10 Years of the Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Information

Summary

  • 10 Years of the Freedom of Information Act
  • Act enabled citizens to request access to official information from UK-wide public authorities and those throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Information Commissioner picks five key FOIA landmarks.

Original Author: ICO
Original Link: https://iconewsblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/five-important-decisions-from-ten-years-of-the-freedom-of-information-act/

Content

New Year’s Day sees the tenth anniversary of the coming into effect of the Freedom of Information Act. Under the Act (FOIA) which had been passed in 2000, on 1 January 2005, citizens were at long last able to request access to official information from UK-wide public authorities and those throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. On the same day, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act introduced similar rights in respect of the devolved authorities in Scotland.

Ten years on, it’s a good time to consider some of the key cases in the law’s evolution and what they tell us about how far we’ve come along the transparency road.

Picking just five cases out of the more 7,000 ICO decision notices was an interesting process. Some of the decisions would be unremarkable if made today, but that’s exactly why they were so important: they marked changes in approach that have increased transparency for good.

They also highlight an interesting point about the impact of the Act over time. As we ruled that information should be released, so public authorities started to publish such information proactively. That’s clearly a positive result. Our ICO mission statement includes ‘promoting openness by public bodies’, and ten years of the FOIA has shown us how proactive transparency serves the public better than relying on the request process on its own.

So here’s our list of five key FOIA landmarks. I’m sure there’ll be a few differing views on what should be highlighted, so feel free to add your own in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

See the 5 landmarks: https://iconewsblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/five-important-decisions-from-ten-years-of-the-freedom-of-information-act/