Madrid, 3 March 2016– Access Info Europe has welcomed the decision by the UK government to abandon its plan to undermine the UK FOI law through measures such as the introduction of fees for making requests or expanding the Cabinet veto on disclosure of information.

This victory in defence of the public’s right to know was achieved after intense public debate about the proposals under consideration by the Commission on Freedom of Information and over 30,000 submissions to the public consultation.

Access Info, which had condemned the proposals and participated in the public consultation, welcomed the announcement on 1 March 2016 by Cabinet Office minister responsible for FOI, Matt Hancock, that the government “will not make any legal changes” to the FOI Act.

The UK government cannot say it is seeking to be the most transparent government in the world, whilst at the same time hatching plans to reign in the fundamental right of access to information,” stated Helen Darbishire, Director of Access Info.

The UK government has been a leading member of the Open Government Partnership and a strong promoter of open data. Access Info Europe noted that the right of access to information includes both an obligation to publish information (open data) and a right to request, something that must be protected by a strong FOI law.

The avalanche of criticism over plans to weaken legislation shows that the UK public is aware of the importance of open government for ensuring participation in public decision making and for holding government to account,” concluded Darbishire.

You can read the report by the Commission on Freedom of Information, here: Freedom of Information Commission Report

You can read the UK governments’ statement on its decision, here: Minister’s Statement

For more information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558