Written evidence from Ben Worthy[1] (FOI 21)

 

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

The Cabinet Office Freedom of Information Clearing House

 

Overview

The Cabinet Office and FOI

The operation of the Clearing House 2004-2021

Referrals to the Clearing House

Year

Number of requests

% of central government requests

2005

3168

16

2006

2428

14

2007

1228

7

Average

2275

13

(MOJ 2008)[7]

 

The impact of the Clearing House on the FOI regime

The Challenges to FOI in 2021

Recommendations

 

August 2021

5

 


[1] I am a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. I have studied FOI and transparency in the UK and elsewhere since 2003. I was also co-author on the book cited by the Cabinet Office, (2017) The Politics of Freedom of Information: How and Why Governments Pass Laws That Threaten Their Power. Manchester: MUP

[2] See IFG (2021) Whitehall Monitor https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/publication/whitehall-monitor-2021/transparency

[3] See First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights Decision notice fs50841228 Appeal Reference: EA/2020/0240 Heard on CVP platform On 29/30 April 2021

[4] See CASC (2006). Seventh Report: Freedom of Information: One Year On, 29

[5] Quoted in First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights Decision notice fs50841228 Appeal Reference: EA/2020/0240

[6] See CASC(2006), p.29 and First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights Decision notice fs50841228 Appeal Reference: EA/2020/0240 9

[7] Cited in Hazell et al 2010-note % are different from those given to CASC

[8] See Hazell et al 2010 , page 119

[9] Quoted in First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights Decision notice fs50841228 Appeal Reference: EA/2020/0240

[10] CASC (2006). Seventh Report: Freedom of Information: One Year On, 72

[11] See Birkinshaw, Patrick . (2005). Freedom of Information: the law, the practice and the ideal. Butterworths: London

[12] The Times [Editorial]. (30/9/2005). Open up: Britain’s bureaucracy is still far too fond of secrecyand Times (30/9/2005). How Requests are Stalled.

[13] CASC 2006). Seventh Report: Freedom of Information: One Year On, 30

[14] Hazell, R., Worthy, B., & Glover, M. (2010). The Impact of the Freedom of Information Act on central government in the UK. Does FOI Work, p118-119.

[15] Peter Geoghegan, Jenna Corderoy and Lucas Amin (2020) UK government running ‘Orwellian’ unit to block release of ‘sensitive’ information https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/freedom-of-information/uk-government-running-orwellian-unit-to-block-release-of-sensitive-information/

[16] Ibid

[17] First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights Decision notice fs50841228 Appeal Reference: EA/2020/0240 Heard on CVP platform On 29/30 April 2021 CASC 2006, 29

[18] Ben Worthy (2021) From private emails to Post-it Notes: How politicians avoid scrutiny Open Democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/freedom-of-information/private-emails-post-it-notes-how-politicians-avoid-scrutiny/

[19] see Ben Worthy (2020) What the RHI Inquiry tells us about the ‘chilling effect’ of freedom of information laws The Constitution Unit https://constitution-unit.com/2020/04/23/what-the-rhi-inquiry-tells-us-about-the-chilling-effect-of-freedom-of-information-laws/

[20] See IFG (2021) Whitehall Monitor https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/publication/whitehall-monitor-2021/transparency

[21] See Worthy, B (2017) The Politics of Freedom of Information: How and Why Governments Pass Laws That Threaten Their Power. Manchester: MUP.