Practicing Code

Dan Jellinek’s newsletter: ACCESS TO INFORMATION ON THE RISE

The number of requests made under the 1994 code of practice on access
to government information increased last year by around 23 per cent to
6,000, and levels of requests refused fell to 18 per cent from 29 per cent
the previous year, according to the Lord Chancellor’s latest monitoring

The code obliges some 50,000 public bodies and government
departments including local councils to disclose any information they
hold to individuals or organisations who request it, wth exceptions
covering national security and advice to ministers. The data in the report
covers only those requests that make reference to the code of practice
itself or those that have been paid for.

The code is to be replaced by the Freedom of Information Act, for which
an implementation timetable is due to be published some time soon after
Parliament reconvenes in October and before a 25 November deadline.
The timetable will work towards full implementation by 2005.

A spokesperson for the Lord Chancellor’s Department said new anti-
terrorism measures under consideration by the government would not
affect implementation of the act, which already has sufficient exemptions
in place to protect national security.

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