I have just sent my response to the call for evidence by the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information.
In the end it ran to 23 pages, just over 10,000 words. I apparently had a lot to say about how FOI works, which can roughly be summed up as, the law is mostly fine (have you even read it?), the Supreme Court ruling on ministerial veto was sensible (seriously, try reading it), and the burden is mostly self inflicted (try being more efficient instead of whinging).
I believe that the changes put forward in the consultation document are unnecessary and that more focus should be on better sharing guidance and best practice so that both requesters and public bodies can use the act in the most efficient way possible.
I think public bodies should enthusiastically embrace transparency and openness, the UK Government likes to describe itself as the most transparent in the world, I’d like it to do more to show it really is, and I want other public bodies to do all they can to ensure information about how they work and make decisions is shared as widely as possible.
I want public bodies to commit to FOI - it is easy at a time of cuts to see it as an annoying burden but placing the principles of Freedom of Information at the heart of what you do has the potential to engage more people in democracy, encourage new ways of solving problems, and to make authorities more efficient as they begin to use the data and information they hold in new and creative ways.
If you want to have your say, you have until midnight today (November 20), the NUJ and 38 Degrees have put together a form to make commenting easier