Benlowndes

a perspective on PR in social housing and regeneration

Freedom of information move opens more public bodies to scrutiny

Today’s announcement that Freedom of Information (FoI) rules will be changed are worth checking out by any public sector communicator – as more of them are to be affected by it.

The move signals the Government’s intention to make it easier for the public to use the Freedom of Information Act to seek details from a wider range of bodies about how public money is spent and decisions taken.

This announcement has formed part of Nick Clegg’s speech on liberty today, which also made proposals to enhance freedom of speech principles by reforming libel laws (an issue which the media has been quick to focus on in its reports).   

Despite the challenges this move poses, I welcome increased transparency and openness across the public sector. It may generate increased work levels for the organisations to be covered by the revised act for the first time; but with openness comes accountability, which is something that I would argue is a good thing. 

It also creates a role for comms teams in supporting organisations who are asked to satisfy FoI requests.

The full press statement covering the Ministry of Justice announcement can be found here.

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