Falconer: Give FOI a chance

Lord Falconer has urged people not to rush to any conclusions over the effectiveness of the new legislation:
"I am very concerned that people will judge FoI by a few high-profile cases. I want the act to be judged on the openness of government overall. Ask yourself in 12 to 18 months: 'Has government become more open as a result of the Freedom of Information Act? Is it now habitually the case that government provides all the facts and figures that underlie particular decisions?' If the answer to that is 'yes', it will have effected a fundamental cultural change in the way that government operates."

Scotland first foots with freedom: A new era dawns today with the 'right-to-know' legislation (The Herald, 1 January 2005) not available online

The above article also states "...the UK is now joining about 50 other countries in having such legislation which defines a new relationship between citizen and state, and already there are some small grounds for optimism that the new regime may be slightly more in favour of the citizen in Scotland than in the rest of the UK." The Herald leader echoes this sentiment, stating that, in Scotland, public bodies, including the Scottish Executive, will have to make a stronger case to the commissioner for withholding information, by demonstrating that disclosure would cause substantial prejudice. The equivalent test in the rest of the UK is simply one of prejudice.

Sweeping away our concealment culture (The Herald, 1 January 2005) not available online