No changes to Freedom of Information law, Government announces


Ministers have made clear there will be no major changes to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act after an outcry over potential curbs.

The Government said introducing routine fees for putting in requests would be "inappropriate" after an independent review found the legislation was "generally working well".

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock said: "We will not make any legal changes to FOI. We will spread transparency throughout public services, making sure all public bodies routinely publish details of senior pay and perks.

"After all, taxpayers should know if their money is funding a company car or a big pay-off."

The pledge came as the Independent Commission's report into the operation of FOI rules was published.

Praising the legislation for "enhancing openness and transparency", the body suggested some changes were needed to improve "clarity and certainty".

But the report said: "The Commission considers that there is no evidence that the Act needs to be radically altered, or that the right of access to information needs to be restricted.

"In some areas, the Commission is persuaded that the right of access should be increased. More generally, the Commission would like to see a significant reduction in the delays in the process whereby without good reason requests can go unresolved for several years.

"We have not been persuaded that there are any convincing arguments in favour of charging fees for requests and therefore we make no proposals for change."