The question is : Is the Freedom of Information Act 2000 fit for purpose or is it in need of amendment? Discuss. Work must be properly and MUST use the OSCOLA system and include a bibliography.
The question is : Is the UK’s Freedom of Information Act 2000 fit for purpose or is it in need of amendment? Discuss. Work must be properly and MUST use the OSCOLA system and include a bibliography.
It does this in two ways:
The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. However, the Act does not necessarily cover every organisation that receives public money. For example, it does not cover some charities that receive grants and certain private sector organisations that perform public functions.
Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings.
The Act does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves) such as their health records or credit reference file. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a data protection subject access request.
The government first published proposals for freedom of information in 1997. In the white paper Your Right to Know, the government explained that the aim was a more open government based on mutual trust.
“Openness is fundamental to the political health of a modern state. This White Paper marks a watershed in the relationship between the government and people of the United Kingdom. At last there is a government ready to trust the people with a legal right to information.”
Public authorities spend money collected from taxpayers, and make decisions that can significantly affect many people’s lives. Access to information helps the public make public authorities accountable for their actions and allows public debate to be better informed and more productive.
“Unnecessary secrecy in government leads to arrogance in governance and defective decision-making.” – Your Right to Know
The main principle behind freedom of information legislation is that people have a right to know about the activities of public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to. This is sometimes described as a presumption or assumption in favour of disclosure. The Act is also sometimes described as purpose and applicant blind.
This means that:
This does not prevent you voluntarily giving information to certain people outside the provisions of the Act.