6 September 2021

Freedom of Information – Friend or Foe?

By Jess Pembroke, Senior Consultant

Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash

As any browbeat FOI officer will tell you, Freedom of Information Requests (FOIs) can sometimes be resource intensive and time consuming for public authorities to address. However, it is important not to forget what a valuable democratic tool we have at our disposal. It has recently been revealed though Freedom of Information requests that the Queen has lobbied the governments¹ to protect her interests prior to legislation being debated in parliament.¹ This has resulted in the Scottish parliament considering changes to the way it handles new legislation.² Freedom of Information law has also been instrumental in accessing information about the Governments handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.⁴

Whether you agree with the Queen’s access to the law-making process or the Government’s handling of the Covid crisis, having the right to hold those in power to account through access to information is an essential tool in any modern democracy. We should applaud our FOI officers for their valuable work as gatekeepers to the inner workings of law makers and public authorities across the land.

[1] The Queen has more power over British law than we ever thought | Adam Tucker | The Guardian

[2] Queen secretly lobbied Scottish ministers for climate law exemption | Monarchy | The Guardian

[3] Scottish parliament may shift stance on Queen’s secret lobbying | Monarchy | The Guardian

[4] Covid contracts: minister replaced phone before it could be searched | Health policy | The Guardian

More about the Freedom of Information legislation and its role, can be found here: www.ico.org.uk

© Naomi Korn Associates, 2021. Some Rights Reserved. The text is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike Licence (CC BY SA)

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are based on the assessment of Naomi Korn Associates Ltd at the time in which the resource was created (September 2021). The contents should not be considered legal advice. If such legal advice is required, the opinion of a suitably qualified legal professional should be sought.

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