Successive IOM governments procrastinated for many years about introducing a Freedom of Information Act. It was finally implemented on February 1st 2016, but only applies to requests made to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture (DEFA).
In the first 6 months 41 requests have been made. There is already concern about the cost or potential cost. The plan is to extend the scope of the Act to all government departments on 1st January 2017 and to fully complete the process by January 2018.
The threat, written in a consultation paper, is to impose a cost limit for any request. Above that limit the public body may refuse to give an applicant the requested information.
PAG lobbied long and hard to get this law on the statute book. We consider it far too early to even be considering such a move and will be responding to the consultation. The Act has been in operation for far too short a period and the sample size is too small.
We urge government to extend the scope as promised and then review all aspects of the operation of the Act. It is in the public interest not to make an hasty decision now.
You of course can make your own submission and we urge you so to do!