Freedom of Information

Constitutional Affairs written question – answered on 24th October 2005.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what representations she has received from public bodies on their entitlement to withhold information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Minister of State (Department of Constitutional Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

My Department has not received any formal representations from public bodies on their entitlement to withhold information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

However, my Department, through the Clearing House, provides advice and assistance to Whitehall Departments on those requests for information that are particularly difficult or have implications across Government. Its advice is designed to ensure that a consistent and appropriate approach is taken to the application of the legislation. Since the Freedom of Information Act came into force on 1 January, nearly 3,000 cases have been referred to the Clearing House.

In addition, guidance is published on my Department's website for use by public bodies on (a) compliance with statutory requirements of the Act and (b) the appropriate application of exemptions to the Act. This information is freely available to all public bodies.

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