Freedom of Information Act 2000

House of Lords written question – answered on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is working; and whether they are considering amending it.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Since 1 January 2005 the Freedom of Information Act has enabled the public greater access to official information held by over 100,000 public authorities. The Ministry of Justice publishes annual reports on the operation of the Act in central government and quarterly statistical reports on the performance of central government monitored bodies and their handling of FOI requests since the Act came in to force.

A total of 171,000 requests have been dealt with under the Act by central government monitored bodies during the period January 2005 to September 2009. Eighty-nine per cent of these requests were answered within time, that is, a response was provided within the standard deadline or a permitted deadline extension was applied. Of those requests where it was possible to give a substantive decision on whether to release the information being sought, 62 per cent were granted in full.

In January 2009 the Dacre review of the 30-year rule recommended that the Government should consider a reduction to the 30-year rule-the point at which government information is usually opened to the public at an archive or other place of the deposit. The Government have accepted that there should be a reduction to the rule. Any such change would require amendments to the Freedom of Information Act. We are currently considering our response to the review and will publish it in due course.

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