Positive Action Group - Possan Jantys Jarrooagh

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Freedom of Information - yet another broken promise!

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bellnose_smOn the day when Chief Minister Allan Bell gave his 'Agenda for Change' statement to October Tynwald he also reneged on his promise for Freedom of Information legislation by the end of this current parliamentary year.

He started by saying "I promised Tynwald, and the people of the Isle of Man, that I would lead an open and collaborative government" and later "We will..... improve transparency by routinely making more information available in anticipation of the introduction of Freedom of Information legislation".

However, hidden in a written answer about changing priorities in the Government's legislative programme, FOI is not listed as a priority because "policy issues continue to be worked through" It won't appear in 2012-13 despite promises that it would.

Bell seems to be no more reliable  than his predecessor Brown over this issue. How can he and CoMin expect public support for all the the change programme when we are let down like this.

Even Speaker Steve Rodan can't get complete answers about information he originally asked for 10 months ago.

Since the beginning of the year Mr Rodan has been trying to find out the total picture of government employment of consultants. Tracing the question back reveals that information has had to be reluctantly leached out over a series  of questions, starting with 1 in January. There were 2 more in February, 1 in April and 1 in July.

With the latest question, on 16th October, he asked the Chief Minister:

Further to the Written Answer to Question 34 in July -

(a) when he intends to provide the full answer; and

(b) what data protection issues prevent the answer being fully provided?

In answering Mr Bell states "I am keen to resolve this matter and to that end I shall contact the Departments who have withheld information on the basis that the individual has withheld consent and ask them to either provide the anonymised information or clarify the reason why they cannot"

The only way to convince the general public that this government is really "open and collaborative" is to give us a Freedom of Information Act - stop prevaricating Chief Minister. Honour your promises!

 

Comments   

 
0 #3 Cuts to be made!Zephor 2012-10-29 17:06
That's a colossal sum!
I agree cuts to be made in this area.
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+1 #2 RE: Freedom of Information - yet another broken promise!Tristram 2012-10-23 12:55
The total cost of consultants identified in the written answers so far comes to £16.2 million - for an Island of 80,000 people. By contract the Ulster Government pays about £16 million for consultants for a population of around 800,000.

Consultants generate needless policy, IT projects, bureaucracy and more consultants. They also act as protective barrier for senior civil servants to hide behind.

Cutting the use of consultants is a very obvious cost saving. But that would mean that Chief Executive Officers and their Ministers would have take more responsibility.

This is not to say that we can do without consultants completely - some of their work is obviously beneficial. But we can't sustain these working practices at this current level.
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+1 #1 Government attitudesroy 2012-10-19 09:00
Judge the government and civil service by what they do not what they say.

I find Rodan's difficulty in getting information on consultants very illuminating on the goverments real attitude to transparency.

ITD for example stated they had NO consultants despite their webpage listing 'partners'. They obfuscate and confuse the Speaker and taxpayers at will.

Its seems government exists for their benefit not ours and we are not allowed to know what goes on in our name.
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