Names of civil servants withheld under FOI

According to the Guardian, civil servants are refusing to accept a ruling from Richard Thomas, the UK Information Commissioner, which forbids them from routinely deleting their names before releasing documents.

The practice of keeping identities secret has enraged freedom of information campaigners who claim that this could block a considerable number of requests.

The ruling by Mr Thomas said "A distinction can be drawn between information relating to someone's private life and information relating to their professional or working life. The information in question merely identifies civil servants as attending a meeting in their official capacity, or giving their professional advice." The Department of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office have refused to stop deleting names.

Information commissioner clashes with Whitehall over deleting civil servants' names in FOI requests (The Guardian, 1 February 2005)