Clause 4 - Information

Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 10 February 2022.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The clause provides for the inclusion of the Animal Sentience Committee in the list of organisations subject to the provisions of the Public Records Act 1958 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Animal Sentience Committee is designed to support Parliament in scrutinising the policy decision making, and it is therefore right that the committee is transparent and accountable in the way that it operates.

We have sought to balance the transparency of the committee with its effectiveness by ensuring that Government Departments can disclose information to it at early stages of policy decision making. The same checks and balances apply to the disclosure of sensitive information via the committee as to the Department with which it will work. The committee will receive dedicated secretariat support from my Department, which will assist in processing any of those Freedom of Information Act requests.

In addition to the transparency provisions in the Bill, we will ensure that the committee’s supporting documents and the minutes of the meeting are published online to aid that transparency and scrutiny.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 4 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.