Freedom of Information - Brown's underwhelming Legacy

Saturday, 25 June 2011 10:40 PAG
foiIn what may be his valedictory appearance in the House of Keys on Tuesday 28th June 2011 the Chief Minister will present a Freedom of Information Bill 2011 for first reading.

We all should be rejoicing, or should we?

If the Bill passes its first reading it will of course be left for the next House to take it forward, if at all.

PAG has made 2 detailed consultation submissions over Freedom of Information - in February 2007, and again in September 2010.

When the Draft Bill was published there was much criticism about the proposed legislation.

According to the Government's own Code of Practice on Consultation there should be "feedback regarding the responses received and how the consultation process influenced the policy."

PAG certainly hasn't received any feedback and we doubt anyone has.

This means that Members will be asked to vote through significant legislation without really knowing how it differs from the Draft published a year ago.

This administration has had five years to bring this forward and choses to do so in the dying weeks of its existence thus leaving it for the newly elected House to carry forward.

As it is the next house may not want to progress Brown's Bill.

Real commitment to open government would have required much earlier publication, followed by consultation and feedback.

As it is the bill will be left hanging in the air for many more months.

No wonder people are disillusioned by politics - as the recent government video says 'What's the Point?'

Retiring MHK David Cannan says it all with his question number 11 earlier in the Order Paper :

What the purpose is of introducing a Freedom of Information Bill at this sitting, the last sitting of the present parliament?

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2011 13:11