Business: Freedom of Information

Justice written question – answered on 28th February 2012.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward legislative proposals to extend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to private companies.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We do not currently propose to extend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to private companies in general. It would be inappropriate for companies not in public ownership and who are primarily accountable to shareholders, to face the increased administrative burden required by the FOIA when Government are seeking to reduce regulatory burdens.

However, we recognise there is a strong argument for increased transparency by all bodies in receipt of public funds, including companies providing public services under contract. The Government's “Open Data Consultation” sought views on the types of organisations to which an Open Data policy would apply. A summary of the responses has been published at:

www.data.gov.uk

The FOI Act is also subject to post-legislative scrutiny to see how it is working in practice. Further policy in this area will be developed in light of the evidence drawn from both sets of work.

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